When choosing a trumpet, it's always best to spend the "extra" because there's such a fine line between making attractive tones and tones that will make your dog leave home for good. This article is meant to simplify your purchase, by giving you information that I have gained in the thirty years of selling brass instruments.
So lets get started, all trumpets are not made equally. In general, American built trumpets are the ones to stick with. Yes, we still make the best instruments here! The Olds Ambassador is considered the best student trumpet ever made. They have the best valves in the industry... built like tanks, these work horses are still being played by pros today. The Ambassadors were discontinued in 79'. The quality control decreased after 70' to 72'. The Ambassadors built between 54" and 70', the ZIg Kanstul era, are very fine horns. And lastly, the first run of Ambassadors, built in the Los Angeles factory from 47 to 54', are considered prized possessions. These horns were built on the original lathe that F.E Olds built his business with. The other Olds professional models like the Super, Recording, Mendez were built on this same bell mandrel at the time. With a little searching, an Ambassadors can be purchased from 50 to 500 dollars, depending on the general shape and finish.
When choosing a use trumpet one must understand a few basics. The horns built before 1970 are considered "vintage trumpets ". These horns were produced with a smaller bore, which gives them a sweeter tone. The larger bore instruments will blow easier... but the tone suffers a little. A student horn has thicker skin than a pro model. Most student trumpets have more dings and scratches versus the pro horns... serious musicians take care of their instruments. In general, small dings and scratches do not effect the sound or playability. The thicker brass on the student horns produce a darker sound, where as a thinner pro model will be a bit brighter and project better. Also keep in mind that a silver finished instrument (nickel) will have a brighter sound. SIlver finished instruments will cost between 50.00 and 200.00 more than a brass finish.
Most American horns built after 70' are built pretty well, but as a rule, the craftsmanship is not quite as good as a vintage trumpet. With advances in technology, like anything, comes some good and bad. But brands like Conn, Bach, Holton, King, Blessing, Besson, and Getzen are the names that will serve you well. Also, the Japan built Yamaha is also a fine instrument. I also like the Taiwan built Jupiter brand. These above mentioned instruments can be purchase new from 700.00 to 2500.00 depending on the model. Depending on your battering skills, used models will cost between 75.00 and 1500.00. Generally, a good used one can be had for 150 to 350 dollars. Good luck and thanks for visiting my site.
For A FREE RINGTONE of "when the saints go marching in", played solo on a 48' Olds Ambassador trumpet in high speed chipmunk form, go here . Or for the straight combo version, try this one .
You can also download my "Hello Dolly" ringtone here . Played with a 51' LA olds Ambassador.
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