If you’re looking for your first trumpet or an upgrade, you may feel like you need a new model. Vintage trumpets are easy to find and can be a great option.
You may wonder, though, are vintage trumpets better?
Here’s How Vintage and New Trumpets Compare:
Vintage trumpets can sound different from new trumpets. The differences depend on the brands, manufacturing process, materials, age, and other factors. Either way, a suitable trumpet will be easy to play and will suit the player’s needs.
What Vintage Trumpets Are Known for Sounding Great?
You can find many vintage trumpets, and like newer models, not all sound as good. Choosing a good vintage trumpet may give you a better chance of sounding better than a new one.
Some brands are known for their vintage trumpets, so consider the following brands:
Vincent Bach started making trumpets, and the brand is still one of the most popular. Older models that the company made before Bach sold it are some of the best vintage trumpets you can find.
Bach has made trumpets for students, professionals, and players of all levels. Trumpets come in a variety of materials, including brass and silver plating.
Players like Wynton Marsalis have played on Bach trumpets throughout the years. If the brand is good enough for a professional, it’s good enough for anyone to try out.
You may also like vintage Bach trumpets if you enjoy a new Bach model. While the manufacturing process has changed, you can still get a good quality horn.
Conn is another well-known brand in the brass world, and it still makes trumpets. Like Bach, Conn is now part of Conn-Selmer, so few have been changed over the years.
Older models from before the company ownership changed offer a fantastic sound. You can use them to play jazz or any other style of music.
Some Conn trumpets from the 1920s are still in good condition. If you know where to look, you may be able to find a playable model for an affordable price.
You can find tons of Getzen vintage trumpets, and some of them are in the key of F. While that’s not a very popular key for trumpets to be in now, it can be great for serious players or collectors to have.
Many Getzen models come with silver plating, which is a great material. If you want to try out the different Getzen trumpets, you can do so without spending a ton of money.
As long as the prior owners took good care of the Getzen trumpets their selling, they may play like a newer model. Whether you want a beginner or advanced model, you can compare the available vintage Getzen trumpets.
King is yet another popular trumpet brand with vintage models on the market. You can find vintage King trumpets as old as 100 years, and some are in excellent condition for their age.
Of course, some vintage Kings may require some work to restore them. If you do that, they may not sound the same as they would have sounded when they were newer.
Still, you may want to try an old King trumpet, especially if you don’t like other vintage models. Then, you may find you love the sound more than a newer, “better” trumpet.
What Are the Main Differences Between Vintage and New Trumpets?
When looking at vintage trumpets, you may wonder what makes them different, apart from their age. The specific differences can depend on the brand and model for better or worse. The differences may even vary between individual trumpets based on the care of those instruments.
You should consider the specific vintage and new trumpets you want to compare. For example, a vintage trumpet from one brand may be similar to a newer model from that same company.
On the other hand, a vintage King trumpet might be quite different from a new Yamaha or Bach. Consider some potential differences as you compare vintage and new trumpets in general.
Some vintage trumpets have issues with intonation, which can make playing them with others almost impossible. You may find exceptions, and some of the best vintage trumpets can compete with newer models as far as tuning goes. However, technology has changed a lot, making it easier to build trumpets that stay in tune.
If possible, try any trumpet you’re considering buying before you pay for it. Then, you can check each pitch with a tuner to see if there are a ton of intonation problems.
You’ll also figure out if you can correct those issues with your technique or if the problem is bigger. Intonation can be a huge deal when choosing a trumpet, and that’s one area where newer trumpets are more consistent.
Whether you plan to play with others or alone, you need your instrument to sound in tune. That way, you won’t have to sound bad as you play.
When you first buy a trumpet, you may not think about selling it in the future.
However, resale value can make a difference when choosing a trumpet, especially as a beginner or at the intermediate level. If you want to have the option of selling a trumpet later, you should consider how well it will retain its value.
In general, vintage trumpets retain their value much better than newer models. So if you bought a vintage Bach today, you might be able to sell it for about what you paid for it.
Of course, the value can also depend on other factors, like the materials and any cosmetic issues.
Now, if you’re looking to buy a used trumpet, you may find you can get a better deal on a used model from a few years ago. The trumpet won’t have held its value as a more vintage option.
Some players may want a trumpet that can hold its value for years or decades. But if you don’t care about that, you may want to go for the trumpet at the most affordable price now.
Companies like Bach and King are now part of Conn-Selmer, which sells a variety of brands and instruments. At least with Bach, some players believe the company saw a drop in quality after Conn-Selmer acquired it. If you want to get the best instrument from the brand, you may look for a vintage trumpet.
The Bach trumpets that come out today are still good, and plenty of professionals play them. However, the ownership of a company can affect everything from the design to the finish touches of its trumpets.
Big companies have more resources, but they may not be as focused. Conn-Selmer, for example, makes everything from trumpets to saxophones.
That means the company may not know as much about making a good trumpet. On the other hand, Vincent Bach specialized in brass instruments, so his company could make fantastic instruments.
Regardless of if a big company has acquired a smaller brand, the company’s manufacturing process can change.
People who make instruments now have much more access to technology than makers in the past. Computers have allowed instrument companies to make instruments more consistent.
That means more of the new trumpets you find will have good intonation and few technical problems. If you looked for trumpets from decades ago, they might not have the same advantages.
Good manufacturing is crucial for making a good trumpet that will last. So if you buy from a good brand, you may find a vintage trumpet plays as well as a new one.
Do Vintage Trumpets Sound Different?
If you ask a dozen trumpet players if vintage trumpets sound different, you’ll probably get a dozen different answers.
Some players may prefer the sound of a vintage horn, while others like a newer one. A third group may say that they can’t distinguish between a vintage and a new instrument.
You should listen to vintage and new trumpets and try them yourself if you can. That way, you’ll be able to decide for yourself if a vintage trumpet sounds similar to a new trumpet or not.
Here are a few factors that can affect how a trumpet sounds.
The trumpet and mouthpiece materials may affect how a horn sounds.
Brass is the most common, and it lets you get that standard trumpet sound. However, you may prefer to use a silver-plated trumpet to add some brilliance to your tone.
Some trumpets feature gold brass or red brass in the leadpipe or other instrument parts. Depending on the material and where it is, you could notice a small difference in the sound.
Your trumpet mouthpiece may also affect how the instrument sounds.
Some mouthpieces are narrower or broader, affecting how your air enters the trumpet. The shape and size of the rim can also affect how it feels to play.
If a mouthpiece feels more comfortable on your lips, you’ll probably get a better sound. You won’t want to play something that hurts, so you won’t have the endurance to improve your sound with that equipment.
Another factor that can affect the sound of a vintage trumpet is the maintenance it’s had.
If someone lets a trumpet sit in a closet for decades, it will likely sound different from a new model. However, if the owner has taken good care of a vintage trumpet, it may sound new.
Are Vintage Trumpets Harder to Play?
Like the question about differences in sound, some players may find vintage trumpets are harder to play.
However, other players may pick up an older horn and play it like they would a new one.
The response you get can depend on your experience, the mouthpiece, and the brand and model of the horn. So give a few vintage trumpets a try before you decide if they’re easier or harder than new trumpets.
What Makes Some Vintage Trumpets Sound So Good?
One of the biggest factors in making a vintage trumpet sound good is having a good player to play it.
A professional can make almost any trumpet sound great, even if it’s old or even if it’s super cheap.
However, good care and cleaning of the trumpet may make it sound better. If a professional player struggles to press on the valves, even they probably can’t get the best sound.
The Trumpet Blog: The Definitive Guide to Trumpet Mouthpieces