Plastic trumpets are great beginner tools for students, especially children.
They are lightweight, easy to use, and are pretty inexpensive. This is especially great for parents who don’t want to invest a few hundred dollars into an instrument that their child doesn’t actually want to play down the road.
Replacement parts are also easy to find and relatively inexpensive for plastic trumpets, too!
However, plastic trumpets are not meant to be used in a professional band or orchestra setting. This is because the sound that they make isn’t the same as one made from a metal trumpet.
Here’s How Plastic Trumpets Compare to Normal Ones:
Plastic trumpets are alright practice instruments that give off a similar sound to a brass trumpet. They are lightweight and easy for beginners to use. Plastic trumpets cost less and are easy to fix should you need to replace anything. Plastic trumpets are great for all students learning the trumpet.
We’ve created a list of everything you need to know about the difference between plastic and regular trumpets:
Table of Contents
How Good are Plastic Trumpets Really?
Plastic trumpets are more likely to be used as a practice tool for children or very beginner musicians.
This gives beginners a great way to learn how to position their lips and play the trumpet without spending a lot of money on an expensive metal trumpet. They are lightweight, easier on the wrists, and don’t require a lot of stamina to hold.
A lot of professionals or hobbyists will use a plastic trumpet as a travel tool. This is a lightweight backup for when you are out of your house but still want to keep your skills sharp.
However, plastic trumpets are not really meant to be used professionally.
This makes them great as practice tools, but for playing in a band or orchestra? Not so much.
Are Plastic Trumpets Harder to Play than Normal Trumpets?
Plastic trumpets are meant to be easier to play than a normal one.
Their lightweight design lets a child or beginner practice for a longer period of time without being weighed down or fatigued by a heavy instrument.
Plastic trumpets also are shaped similarly to a regular trumpet, which allows the student to get a feel for the grip, the valves, and the sound that they emit.
Furthermore, plastic trumpets let students practice their lip shape and placement to produce the right embouchure or buzzing. This can help them tell if the sound they are emitting is the right one.
Some plastic trumpets even come compatible with brass mouthpieces to help them practice even more!
A normal trumpet will emit a more powerful sound that is easier to get wrong for a beginner. Normal trumpets are also heavier and more challenging to use than plastic ones.
Therefore, plastic trumpets are not harder to play with than regular ones.
Are Plastic Trumpets Recommended to Beginners in Schools?
For students who want to start small or even earlier than middle school, plastic trumpets are highly recommended for students who are still in elementary or primary school.
This is because plastic trumpets are durable, easy to use, and won’t break or break the bank for parents.
However, it should be noted that once a student joins the middle school band, it is requested that they invest in a brass instrument in most schools. This is because school bands perform at sports games and during orchestra performances in the school theater.
At that point, an investment in a more expensive instrument or trumpet is recommended.
Therefore, it is important to bring up the idea of using a plastic trumpet to your musically inclined student or child as early as possible to better prepare them for a future of playing in the school band.
What Are the Best Plastic Trumpet Brands?
A few plastic trumpet brands keep popping up and seem to be popular among parents and students alike.
Here are a few brands that we found for plastic trumpets that you should check out:
Probably the most famous of the plastic trumpet brands, pBone makes several different instruments.
A few of their products are:
- pBugle (~$40)
- pTrumpet (~$150)
- pCornet (~$130)
- pBone Mini Trombone ($130)
pBone’s pTrumpets are higher quality and more widely known than the other brands on our list without being more costly!
Their website not only lists the price and lets you buy from them directly, but it also includes small audio samples for you to hear how the instrument sounds before buying!
Most customer reviews state that you can’t tell the difference between this trumpet and a brass one. They are lightweight, come in cool colors, and have apparently great valves!
The pTrumpet is probably the more traditional plastic trumpet that you will find out there and is backed with many positive reviews.
Tromba is a well-known name in the plastic trumpet industry and carries six different trumpets to choose from.
Their trumpets include:
- Flugelhorn (~$180)
- Bb Trumpet (~$100-$130)
- C-Trumpet (~$130)
- Cornet (~$130 – $150)
- Pro Trombone (~$130 – $140)
- Jazzbone (N/A)
Note: To buy their trumpets through their website, Tromba redirects you to a site called Tocaviva. Tromba offers the Jazzbone trumpet model on their site, but when redirected to Tocaviva for purchase, the page is no longer working.
Many users on Amazon give Tromba trumpets a rating between four and five stars. Many customers consider them lightweight, better than they expected, and say that the valves are nice.
However, most customers will still say that a regular trumpet made of brass will make a better sound than the Tromba trumpet.
They come in various colors, and you can even get the ones that look like they are made of metal with their shiny finishes and paint.
Allora is a brand that makes more than just plastic instruments.
In fact, if you play the music, you’ve probably heard of them. They offer brass trumpets as well as plastic ones, and also Clarinets, Bassoons, and French Horns.
Their Aere series is their plastic trumpet series, offering products such as:
- Plastic Bb Trumpet ATR-1301 (~$160-$200)
- Plastic Trombone ATB-100 (~$95-$150)
- Plastic Metallic Trombone ATB-100M (N/A)
- Plastic Bb Metallic Trumpet ATR-1301M (~$180)
These trumpets are not sold through Allora’s website but are, in fact, available at other sites, such as Music&Arts, WoodwindBrasswind, Musician’s Friend, Guitar Center, and Music123.
Depending on where you buy it from, the prices are subject to change. Therefore, you want to make sure you are using a trusted website when purchasing.
According to a few reviews on Guitar Center, customers consider them to be fun to play, consistent, and responsive. However, customers also state that it has a flat sound, is difficult to play, and can have sticky valves.
Finding the right one for you or your student is a challenge. It is probably better to try them out at one of these locations in person rather than buy online.
Are Plastic Trumpets Quieter?
Plastic trumpets are not generally quieter than brass trumpets.
In fact, plastic trumpets can make a pretty close sound to the one that regular trumpets make. This is why they are so beneficial for beginner trumpeters. However, the sound that they do make can sometimes come out pretty flat.
Without the reverberating bell sound that comes from a brass instrument, a plastic trumpet’s sound tends to stop faster and doesn’t carry as well in a big room, such as a theater.
So, no, the plastic trumpet isn’t necessarily quieter. It is, however, less likely to carry over large spaces.
How Much Cheaper Are Plastic Trumpets?
Beginner trumpets made of metal tend to cost somewhere between $400 and $1,200.
Depending on the brand that you choose, the price could be incredibly high for a first-time trumpet. That’s why plastic trumpets are so much better for beginners.
Most plastic trumpets cost between $100 and $200. This is a much cheaper option for a parent who wants to get their child started early in music.
Children in elementary school, in particular, are more likely to misplace or misuse their instruments, so a plastic trumpet is a great early investment for them.
As we’ve mentioned above, the more popular plastic models cost only about $100-$200 depending on the brand, color, accessories, or whether or not you will use a brass or plastic mouthpiece.
Most brands come compatible with brass mouthpieces, so you don’t always have to stick to just plastic!