If you’re looking to improve your trumpet playing, you can do a lot. But sometimes, you may need to upgrade to a better model to get the sound and response you desire.
This article will cover Schilke and Bach, two of the most popular trumpet brands. That way, you can decide which brand or brands to try when you go trumpet shopping:
The Main Differences Between Schilke and Bach Trumpets:
|Weight||2.0-2.1 lb.||2.1-2.5 lb.|
|Case||Leather exterior||Wood hardcase|
|1st valve slide||Yes||Yes|
While it’s nice to have an overview, every Schilke and Bach trumpet is unique, so you should compare them in more detail.
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The Quality of Bach Trumpets
No matter where you buy them, you may find that Bach trumpets aren’t of the best quality.
The brand used to be one of the best brands for trumpets and brass instruments.
However, Conn-Selmer bought the company from Vincent Bach, and that’s when the quality changed. While we can’t be sure, the company appears to have more lax requirements for an instrument to go to a customer.
Meanwhile, Schilke’s staff focuses on the details and makes instruments by hand. That way, the trumpet you get will be of the best possible quality. Even with a change in ownership, the company aims to further the mission of founder Renold O. Schilke.
How Long Do They Last?
You can find some vintage Bach trumpets on eBay from as early as the 1920s or 1930s, and they’re still in decent condition.
One vintage Schilke trumpet from the 1970s is also in pretty good condition. So you can expect both brands to last for a good amount of time.
However, the exact timeline depends on how well you take care of the trumpet. If you just leave your trumpet in a closet for decades, it’s probably not going to play very well.
But if you make sure to empty the spit valve each time, and you can take it to a technician when you need serious work, you may be able to make a trumpet from either brand last a while.
How to Test Side by Side
Before you choose between a Schilke and Bach trumpet, you should try at least one of each. Buying a trumpet is very personal, and what works well for your teacher or another trumpeter might not work for you.
Even if you get a recommendation, you won’t know for sure if you’ll like how a model feels without playing it. Be sure to keep everything else the same, from the mouthpiece to the music excerpts you use to compare trumpets.
Then, you’ll get a better idea of which one sounds best and works naturally with your playing style.
The materials, leadpipe design, and bore can also affect how it feels to play. Testing the models yourself is the best way to narrow your search.
What Are Schilke Trumpets Mostly Used For?
Schilke trumpets are mostly for professional and advanced players. The company doesn’t create models for beginners or intermediate musicians, so you may find a Schilke is a bit overwhelming.
But its focus on professional instruments means there are plenty of options to compare. Once you’re ready for a pro model, you can test a few Schilke instruments.
The company makes trumpets in Bb, C, Eb/D, and G/F, so you can choose the right key for your needs. Whether you want something to play in jazz or classical, you can give Schilke a try.
How Versatile Are Schilke Trumpets?
Because the models are for professionals, Schilke trumpets are generally pretty versatile. You can use one to play solo or with a big ensemble, and you can use the brand for different genres.
They’re an excellent upgrade for players who need a bit more control over their sound. You can find plenty of Schilke mouthpieces to further customize your playing experience.
What Are Bach Trumpets Mostly Used For?
Bach trumpets are fairly popular among classical trumpeters in schools and at the professional level. Some older players will use a professional Bach trumpet if they got one from before Conn-Selmer acquired the brand.
Classical players will usually go for a model in the Bach Stradivarius line. The line is one of the most popular when it comes to professional trumpets from any company.
You can get a relatively dark tone from a Bach trumpet, which is nice if you need to play in a big orchestra. However, you may find it’s hard to change your sound to blend in with other instruments.
While it’s not the best for jazz, you can use a Bach trumpet for jazz music. That’s a nice option if you usually play classical and don’t want to buy another trumpet for a jazz band or combo.
How Versatile Are Bach Trumpets?
Bach trumpets are pretty versatile for players of all levels. While classical music is where this brand shines, you can also use a good Bach trumpet to play jazz or other types of music.
Some players may have an easier time “unlocking” the different tones to get a good sound in various genres. If you like something more free blowing, you may find that Bach models hold your sound in a bit too much.
Don’t write off Bach trumpets before you try them, though. You may be able to find a combination of a body and mouthpiece that helps you produce your ideal sound.
What About a Used Schilke vs. Bach Trumpet?
Buying a used trumpet can be an excellent way to get more trumpet for your money. You can find plenty of older models from both brands on used marketplaces, like eBay, and you may save quite a bit on them.
Used Schilke trumpets are of the same quality as new models, and they’re worth trying. The company has high standards that have been in place for years, so you can expect a similar response from new and used trumpets.
When it comes to Bach, used may be the way to go, especially if you can find one from before Bach sold the company. You may find an older Bach in good condition players better than a new one.
Before you choose which trumpet to buy, see if you can find and test a used one. Then, you might get a better deal on your perfect trumpet.
Which Brands Do Prominent Trumpeters Use?
Famous trumpet players use instruments from a variety of brands, including Bach and Schilke.
Some Bach artists include Chet Baker and Arturo Sandoval. Alison Balsom has played both brands.
Other Schilke artists include David Argenta and Bobby Lewis.
While it’s nice to know which brands players use, don’t let that sway your decision. The best trumpet for you can be very different from that of another player. Always try a brand or model first to make sure you don’t waste your money on it.
Comparing Schilke and Bach Trumpet Prices
An important part of comparing Schilke and Bach trumpets is comparing the prices of each brand.
That way, you can decide if one fits your budget more than the other.
Schilke trumpets tend to be more expensive because they’re all suitable for professionals. Prices start at around $2,800 for a basic model, and the cost goes up from there.
A beginner Bach trumpet starts at around $1,300, and it’s a good option for new players. The brand has intermediate models for a few hundred dollars more, so you can get a few extra features.
When you’re ready for a professional Bach trumpet, you can expect to pay $3,300 to $4,300, depending on the model.
What About Student or Intermediate Trumpets?
Another important consideration is your level of playing as a trumpeter. If you’re still new to the trumpet, you may not be ready to pay for a professional model. Even if you can afford it, you may not have the skills to enjoy all of its features.
Beginners should opt for a Bach trumpet, such as the TR200 or TR300. These models are relatively affordable new, and you can find them for even less on the used market.
Before you upgrade to an intermediate model, be careful. A lot of intermediate trumpets can be a waste of money because they aren’t much better than a beginner instrument.
Instead, save your money and look for a professional instrument. Even if you don’t intend to make music a career, you’ll be able to do more with your sound on a pro model.
When you’re ready for that upgrade, take a look at both Bach and Schilke models. Then, you can compare multiple options in your price range to get the best one for you.
Schilke vs. Bach Mouthpieces
I’ve focused a lot on the differences between the trumpets of Schilke and Bach. But both brands also make and sell mouthpieces that you can use with any trumpet model from any brand.
Bach is probably the most popular trumpet mouthpiece brand, regardless of the brand of the body. You can choose from various sizes and shapes to get a Bach mouthpiece that suits your playing.
However, Schilke also makes mouthpieces of different sizes and shapes. No matter which trumpet body you select, you should test it with mouthpieces from a few brands to choose the best combination for you.