Do you want to add a new instrument to your trumpet collection? Before getting a new-new trumpet, consider some vintage trumpets and see if they’ll meet your needs.
Then, you may be able to save money and get a trumpet that you love to play:
1. Bach Stradivarius (Overall Winner)
The Bach Stradivarius line of trumpets is popular today, but it’s also one of the best vintage trumpet lines.
Some players will argue that vintage Bach trumpets are better because Vincent Bach made them, and the quality declined after he sold his company. If you can find an older Stradivarius, it’s worth trying.
Because of the value, a vintage Bach trumpet will cost more than many others. However, many of the older Stradivariuses are still in good condition.
Some of the older ones have a bit more wear and tear, especially those close to a century old. But the instruments look good, and they can play well if you take good care of them.
You may need to restore some of the older Bach trumpets, so prepare to spend time or money on that. Then, you can get a fantastic sound that rivals the sound of newer instruments.
2. Boston Vega Artistone (Budget Pick)
If you’re looking for a more affordable option for your first vintage trumpet, consider the Boston Vega Artistone.
Some of these trumpets are more than 100 years old, but they still look and sound great. Now, some valves can stick, so you may need to pay for full restoration.
However, you’ll then be able to play the vintage model like you would a new one. There is some cosmetic wear, as with many older horns, but that won’t affect the trumpet’s playability.
You’ll get a mouthpiece to use with the horn, so you don’t need to buy one separately. However, you may want to buy a new case because the standard ones have been through a lot.
The Artistone trumpet is an excellent option for students or amateurs who don’t have a huge budget. You can learn how to restore a trumpet yourself before attempting to play it.
3. FE Olds & Son L-10 Special
The FE Olds & Son L-10 Special is a tri-color trumpet model that uses silver, brass, and brass lacquer.
This model is from the 1960s, so it’s not as old as some, but it’s still a great vintage option. While it’s not a super popular vintage trumpet, it’s relatively affordable, so it is good for beginners.
Depending on the specific trumpet you buy, you may get two mouthpieces with it. That way, you can experiment with the sound you get out of the instrument.
It has a big bell with a 4.75-inch diameter, and the piston valves are easy to use to get the right notes. It would help if you considered this model when looking for a versatile trumpet.
Of course, it may not have modern technology or a modern design. However, it’s not as old as some vintage trumpets, so it may not be as hard to restore if it isn’t quite in playing condition.
4. Conn 22B
Moving back to some of the older vintage trumpets, there’s the Conn 22B.
Even though it’s over 90 years old, this model plays well so that you can get a good tone. It has some cosmetic wear, such as scratches, but it still looks relatively new, and it can sound similar to other trumpets you may own.
The valves move up and down nicely, so playing fast shouldn’t be a problem. If you have issues, you can use valve oil to help the valves start moving to help you play.
There is a small wrinkle in the leadpipe, and there’s a patch on the trumpet. However, you can have someone work on the instrument to help restore it.
Unfortunately, you may need to buy a case and mouthpiece for the trumpet separately. That way, you have a safe space to put it, and you don’t need to use a mouthpiece that you keep with another trumpet.
5. Conn Vintage One
The Conn Vintage One trumpet is another excellent model to consider when expanding your collection. It features silver plating over the brass finish, which is common among trumpets. There isn’t a ton of cosmetic wear, so you can look good as you play the instrument.
You’ll find the trumpet is in pretty good condition, so it shouldn’t be too hard to play. Plus, you get a mouthpiece and a hard case, so you have everything you need to play the model.
It’s not quite as old as some other vintage trumpets, which can be nice. You don’t have to worry about if no one played it for multiple decades or if it needs a lot of work.
The model is perfect for anyone who wants a sleek instrument with great features and a nice sound. Be sure to check it out when testing trumpets.
6. Conn Cavalier
If you’re on a tight budget, you may want to look at the Conn Cavalier vintage trumpet.
The diameter is 4.25 inches, so it’s not too small or too large. Unfortunately, you might need to invest time or money into restoring it because the valves may not move very well, if at all.
You may need to shop around to find a Cavalier that doesn’t require much work. Be sure to ask whoever is selling it how well they took care of the instrument.
Fortunately, if you’re willing to spend money on restoration, you may save money on the purchase. You can take the trumpet to someone you trust to have them fix it.
It does come with a case, so you shouldn’t need to worry about that. But you might need to get a new case if prior owners haven’t replaced the old one.
7. Frank Holton Model Llewellyn
The Frank Holton Model Llewellyn trumpet is another fantastic vintage option from the 1920s.
It features silver plating over the brass lacquer, perfect for advanced players. You can see a bit of wear on the outside, but it still sounds good, especially for its age.
This trumpet is playable, but you may want to take it in for maintenance to get it in better condition. Then, you’ll be able to play it like you would a newer trumpet model.
However, you can get the trumpet with a case and two mouthpieces. That way, you can experiment with a couple of combinations to find the right sound and response for you.
While this trumpet isn’t the cheapest vintage model, it’s also not the most expensive. It’s a good choice if you’re looking for a model you can play and use to improve your skills.
8. Frank Holton Herald Flag Trumpet
A lot of vintage trumpets have the same design as trumpets today.
However, the Frank Holton Herald Flag Trumpet has a slightly different shape, similar to some older trumpets. Instead of multiple wraps of tubing, the bell extends far out from the three trumpet valves to look like a flag trumpet.
This model is about 95 years old, so it has sustained plenty of use and a bit of cosmetic wear. The silver plating still looks good and can help you get a nice sound out of the instrument.
You can use the three valves to play still all of the notes you’d play on a regular trumpet. While you might not replace your current instrument with this, it’s a nice collector’s item.
If you want to play for a court or dress up as a court performer, you may want this trumpet. Then, you can look at the part or simply explore the different designs when you practice.
9. Bundy H & A
The Bundy H & A is another excellent vintage trumpet you may want to add to your collection.
From the 1940s, it’s not as old as some trumpets, but it’s still a vintage model. The piston valves move pretty well for an 80+-year old trumpet so that you can get a good, flexible sound.
Most of the brass lacquer is intact, with a few signs of cosmetic wear here and there. The bore is .465 inches, which is a pretty good size to help you get the sound you want.
A brass leadpipe helps direct your sound into the instrument to help you play easily. While the model is for jazz, you may also use it to play classical or other genres.
You may be able to find this trumpet with the original case or even a mouthpiece. However, you can swap out the mouthpiece for one you like better.
10. Getzen Super Deluxe
When shopping for the best vintage trumpet, consider the Getzen Super Deluxe.
The plating and lacquer have worn off quite a bit from some of these trumpets, but you may find some in better condition. Even if the trumpet doesn’t look new, it can still work well.
You may find the valves move up and down easily to help you hit the correct pitches. That way, you don’t have to struggle to get the instrument to play.
Some of these trumpets have a few dents, but that’s not uncommon for old instruments. You might be able to repair them and patch any holes on the outside of the trumpet.
Luckily, the Getzen trumpet isn’t too expensive for a vintage model. It’s a good choice for players or anyone looking to learn how to restore an old trumpet.
How Much Should You REALLY Pay for a Vintage Trumpet?
You should pay for a vintage trumpet is generally around a few hundred dollars.
However, you may be able to justify spending a bit more on certain brands, such as Bach.
Be sure to consider the trumpet’s condition and if you’ll need to spend more money on restoration. Consider having a repair tech look at the trumpet you want to give you an estimate for repairs.
Buying a vintage trumpet can be an excellent choice, so consider some of the best options. That way, you can save time and money to get the best model for you.