Shopping for a trumpet can be exciting yet overwhelming. If you restrict your search to new models, you may not find one you like.
Meanwhile, you could find a used trumpet that you love.
Here’s how to Decide Between a New and Used trumpet:
Consider the condition of the trumpet and if the prior owner maintained it regularly. If so, the used trumpet may be better than a new option from the same company. But if not, it won’t matter how much cheaper the used trumpet costs because of potential repairs.
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Are Used Trumpets as Good as New Trumpets?
Used trumpets can be as good as new trumpets, but there’s no guarantee.
The condition of a used trumpet depends on the care and maintenance that the seller and any prior owners put into the instrument. A used trumpet that someone oiled regularly and took in for a bath will be better than one that sat in a closet for years.
When shopping for a used trumpet, you may find a student instrument that plays better than a pro model. If the student took great care of their model, it should play well.
Student instruments can also take more of a beating than pro models. Beginners don’t always take the best care of their gear, so those trumpets have to be durable.
Do Used Trumpets Sound Better Than New Ones?
Some used trumpets may sound better than new ones, while others sound worse.
Sound can be a very subjective marker of quality because different players have unique preferences. The sound can also vary between models and trumpet brands, so it can be hard to tell if one is inherently better.
For example, an older Bach trumpet will sound better than a newer trumpet from a cheap brand that you find on Amazon. The build quality and manufacturing process can affect the sound and the materials.
A trumpet that uses cheap materials may sound poor, even when new. On the other hand, a trumpet that uses good quality brass or silver can sound great for years.
When Should You Buy a Brand New Trumpet?
While used instruments can help you save money, you may have to compromise on materials or other features.
When you get a new trumpet, you can customize it to meet your needs, which is crucial as you advance.
Beginners may want to buy a used trumpet to save money as they start learning. However, you’ll eventually need to upgrade to an intermediate or professional model.
If you want to play a specific style, such as always playing lead trumpet, buying new may be worth the extra cost. You can make sure to buy the brand and model you want with the best specs for you.
What Are the Best Used Options on a $500 Budget?
The best options for a trumpet on a $500 budget depend on the player. Most trumpets in this price range are for beginners, even on the used market.
New trumpets from brands like Yamaha and Bach cost more than $500. Cheaper trumpets exist, but they’re from less well-known brands and aren’t always worth it.
Consider a few excellent used models you can find on a $500 budget:
1. Yamaha YTR-232
The Yamaha YTR-232 is an excellent model for beginners and a great backup instrument for other trumpeters.
It features a brass body and bell, and it comes with a Yamaha mouthpiece and case. The lacquer finish makes the instrument look good even after plenty of use.
Depending on the instrument you get, you may find some dings and scratches. As long as those things are small, the instrument should still be easy to play.
You can check the valves and slides to ensure the instrument works well. Then, you may be able to use the trumpet for another decade or so as long as you take good care of it.
2. King Cleveland Superior
King is another fantastic trumpet brand, so buying a used one is relatively safe.
The Cleveland 600 trumpet is good for players of various levels as a main or backup horn. Some of the models you find on the used market will have cosmetic issues.
However, the trumpet should still play as long as the valves and slides are working. You may find a bit of tarnish, especially if the model uses silver.
Still, King makes excellent instruments that can last for years. As long as the seller maintains the trumpet well, you can use it for a long time.
3. Vincent Bach Selmer Bundy
Vincent Bach is probably the most famous trumpet brand out there.
While you can buy a new Bach trumpet, finding a used one can give you a great sound on a tight budget. Then, you can start playing or improve your skills without breaking the bank or getting a super cheap instrument.
If you want to get a used Bach trumpet, make sure it has a good Bach mouthpiece. You should also check for cosmetic and mechanical issues to ensure the instrument can play.
While small dents aren’t huge, bigger ones will need repairs. And that can get expensive, so you may end up paying just as much as you would for a new trumpet.
Quick Inspection List for Buying Used Trumpets:
If you want to buy a used trumpet, you should do so.
You’ll be able to get a better instrument for the same amount of money as if you are stuck with new models. However, you need to know what to look for when shopping on the used market.
New trumpets may go through professional testing before they leave the warehouse. Still, used trumpets don’t have that same quality control, especially if you buy the trumpet from an individual instead of a music store.
Here are a few things to think about as you try used trumpets and before you purchase one:
First, you need to make sure the valves move up and down smoothly.
Consider how quickly a valve comes up after taking your finger off it. If it takes a while or doesn’t come up at all, you may need to spend money for a professional to repair your trumpet before you can play.
You should check all three valves on the trumpet to make sure they go down as well. Consider if you need to press harder than you’re used to. If so, there might be a problem inside the valve that keeps it stuck.
Test the valves with and without playing the trumpet. Even if they seem fine when you press them down without playing, you may hear a problem when you test them with music.
Like the valves on a trumpet, you should test the slides to ensure they move easily. Consider how much force you need for the slides, if you can move them at all.
Check each slide individually to make sure there aren’t any problems. The more thorough you are now, the less you’ll have to worry about discovering a problem after you buy the trumpet.
If the trumpet you’re looking at has slide rings, you should also test those. Then, you can make sure they will work if you need to adjust your pitch while playing.
Another essential element to check when buying a used trumpet is the sound.
If you’ve played the trumpet before, you should test everything from low to high notes and soft to loud notes. Consider testing fast and slow passages to make sure the trumpet sounds good no matter what you choose to play.
If you’re a beginner, find a trumpet teacher or another player to test the sound for you. Ask them to go with you when shopping for a used trumpet so that they can test the sound.
Listen to the player and consider if you like how the instrument sounds. Then, you can decide if it’s right for you.
– Dents and Scratches
Cosmetic issues can be minor, but they may also cause serious problems.
A small scratch that you only see up close shouldn’t affect the sound or playability of the trumpet. However, if there’s a massive dent in the bell, that can affect the sound you get.
Before you write off a used trumpet for dents or scratches, try to play it. You may still be able to get a decent sound with a smaller dent.
If not, you can either move on from that model or have a technician look at it. In some cases, they may be able to fix the dent so that you can play the trumpet as normal.
It may not always come with a mouthpiece when buying a used trumpet.
If it does, the mouthpiece may not be in good condition, or it may not be right for you. In either case, you should know if the trumpet will come with a mouthpiece before you buy it.
You can make sure the given mouthpiece is easy to play with, or you can find a mouthpiece to use. Some mouthpieces can be quite expensive, so it’s worth knowing how much you’ll need to spend overall.
It might be worth spending a bit more on a used trumpet with a mouthpiece than one without. Depending on the mouthpiece you may have to get separately, you could save money on the entire cost.
Whether buying your first trumpet or an upgrade, you should consider used models.
Then, you may find your perfect horn without breaking the bank.