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4 Great Trumpets For Playing High Notes (With Tips)

When learning how to play the trumpet, many students wonder when they will play high notes.

With the right instrument, mouthpiece, and technique, anyone can play extremely high notes on the trumpet.

Let’s talk about the ideal trumpets and mouthpieces for playing in the upper register, as well as proper technique:

Here Are the Best Trumpets For Playing High Notes:

Although you can learn to play high notes on most trumpets, advanced models can make this skill easier to perform. By using the Yamaha YTR-8335II Xeno or the Bach 180S43, players can have a great upper register. Other factors might include bore size, mouthpiece shape, and embouchure technique.

1. Yamaha YTR-8335II Xeno Series

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The Yamaha YTR-8335II Xeno is known for its power and projection. Designed to be a high-performance trumpet, it can play a wide range of notes.

This professional trumpet is ideal for advanced techniques. For professionals looking to improve their performance levels, the Yamaha YTR-8335II can be a great choice.

You can achieve a clear tone in the upper register of this trumpet. Unlike other trumpets, this Xeno offers a wider range of clear notes.

You won’t have a limited range like with most beginner and intermediate models.

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Reviewers find that it has a warm, dark sound. With a .459-inch bore, this trumpet can project its sound without creating any distortion.

Yamaha designed this Xeno series trumpet to be tailor-made for professionals. Yamaha constructed a trumpet that maximizes projection and power without sacrificing tone by taking advice from professional trumpet players worldwide.

Although this trumpet isn’t designed for beginners or intermediate players, advanced players can improve their upper register with this horn. After years of dedicated practice, this trumpet can be a great addition to your trumpet collection.

2. Bach 180S43

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The Vincent Bach Stradivarius 180S43 is renowned in the trumpet community.

For both intermediate and professional players, this trumpet model continues to be one of the most popular choices for lead trumpet playing.

You’ll find that this trumpet is very free-blowing. Especially in the upper register, trumpet players can effectively blow more air into those notes. This can make a player’s upper register have more power and projection.

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This is a great trumpet for all-around playing. The Bach 180S43 has a hand-hammered one-piece bell which allows for a very warm sound. This can suit many different genres, styles, and ensembles.

Whether playing in a jazz band, concert band, or even solo, the Bach 180S43 can do a great job.

Its #25 leadpipe can create a slight resistance which is ideal in centering tone. With this solid tone center, you can expect great intonation as well.

3. Piccolo Trumpet

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A piccolo trumpet plays an octave higher than a standard Bb trumpet. This is because it is half the tubing and half the size.

When playing the piccolo trumpet, you’ll need much less air to reach high notes. Because the instrument is smaller, you don’t need as much air to circulate through the instrument.

It’s important to note that high notes may not be suddenly easy to play on a piccolo trumpet. You will still need to improve your upper register technique to utilize this skill properly.

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Piccolo trumpet does present its challenges. It won’t be a walk in the park to play those high notes you’ve been struggling to play on Bb trumpet.

Your range is virtually the same with a piccolo trumpet, but it will sound an octave higher.

4. Trumpets With Smaller Bores

Trumpets with a smaller bore size may play high notes more naturally than models with larger bores.

Bore size is the diameter of the brass tubing of your trumpet. The larger the bore size, the more air a player has to move through the horn.

Because of this, a smaller bore size requires less air to play any note. High notes require a narrow stream of focused air so that a smaller bore size might be great for the upper register.

The bore size of a trumpet ranges from .45omm and .472mm. When trying to improve your ability to hit high notes, try searching for a trumpet on the lower end of this range.

Great Tips For Hitting High Notes On Any Trumpet

Have a Fast Air Stream

Most students assume that they need more air to play higher notes. However, it’s all about the speed of the air rather than the volume.

You can use a small amount of air to play high notes, but it needs to be condensed into a narrow, fast air stream. When you combine this with a raised tongue, you’ll be able to hit high notes in no time.

Change your Tongue Position:

To play high notes on a trumpet, you can’t just use more air. Tongue positioning is also a significant factor in improving your upper register technique.

The key to playing high notes on a trumpet is lifting your tongue. For a normal note, your mouth usually has an “ah” shape. You can easily reach higher notes by moving your tongue to say “ee.”

Changing your tongue position to “ee” will increase the airspeed that moves through your mouth. This is an ideal mouth position to achieve a healthy upper register.

Here’s a good rule to remember: the higher you play, the higher your tongue needs to be. The lower you play, the lower your tongue needs to be.

A good exercise to practice this is whistling. Try whistling a low note, then a high note. See how your tongue position changes with the different pitches.

Aperture Control:

Aperture is the opening between your lips that allows air to pass through. Lower notes will have a wider or thicker airstream.

Higher notes will have a narrower, faster airstream.

You can practice changing the size of your embouchure using a few exercises. You can raise your hand and blow into your palm, feeling your airstream. Try to change between a wider airstream for low notes and a narrower airstream for high notes.

You might notice that the air changes between the two apertures. This is why you need more air pressure for playing high notes.

With a smaller aperture, you need faster air.

Change your Mouthpiece:

You can usually learn how to play high notes on any trumpet. However, the size and shape of your mouthpiece might make it harder for you to learn this skill.

Getting a smaller mouthpiece may make it easier to play high notes. It is much more difficult to stretch your lips tightly against a larger mouthpiece. Although larger mouthpieces have beneficial uses, they are not ideal for the upper register.

The best mouthpieces for playing high notes are the Schilke 14A4A, the Schilke 13A4a, the Mark Curry 3C, and the Bob Reeves 43C.

These will have a smaller, shallower cup that will allow you to excel in your upper register. After spending a lot of time practicing playing high notes, consider getting one of these mouthpieces to improve this skill vastly.

For more advice about playing high notes, check out this great video by the Black Trumpeter!

Final Thoughts:

For most trumpet players, high notes don’t come easily.

The upper register is a skill that is fine-tuned over many years of practice time. Unfortunately, there is no simple trick that allows you to play great high notes overnight.

However, certain trumpets might make it easier to play high notes.

If you are a professional player, you might benefit from a Yamaha YTR-8335II Xeno or a Bach 180S43. Both offer a good amount of power and projection, allowing you to reach higher notes successfully.

Usually, the problem lies in your technique, not your trumpet model. Most trumpet players recommend learning the proper technique for playing high notes on the trumpet you currently have.

After perfecting this skill, you can move on to professional trumpets, making all of your hard work pay off.


How To Hit High Notes On a Trumpet

What is a Piccolo Trumpet?

What is the Best Professional Trumpet?