Different Types of Trumpets

When it comes to the musical world, there are so many different instruments, and within them, so many versions, it can be a minefield to navigate, can't it? 

The same applies to the trumpet. Perhaps it's time to buy a gift for a musical friend, partner, or child; you've opened Google and found yourself overwhelmed by the different types of trumpets? 

We understand it can be confusing, which is why we are here today! We will break down the different trumpets so you can leave here today, ready to take on the trumpeting world! 

Let's look at some of the popular types of trumpets and what they are best used for. 

Different Types of Trumpets

Bb Trumpet 

The Bb trumpet was invented in France's early 1900s and is one of the most common trumpets and brass instruments. The Bb trumpet is the trumpet that most people usually start practicing with. 

It has a tubing length of around 1.48m and, thanks to its structure and keys, is the main selection for major orchestra performances. 

Price-wise, it is very accessible and falls into the mainstream category. The Bb trumpet has many configurations which can affect its tone and projection.

A range of alloys such as yellow brass, zinc, and gold, can be used, which will impact the Bb trumpet's tone. The bell flare's size varies between each Bb trumpet, too, for a wide or more focused sound projection. Whatever you are after, there will be a Bb trumpet for you! 

Bb Pocket Trumpet 

This trumpet is a pocket version of the above Bb trumpet. The tubing is tighter, providing its smaller size. This compressed structure delivers a unique and refined sound compared to the Bb trumpet. 

It is not used as often as other trumpets but delivers a lovely tone quality. Sound-wise, it should still be as loud as its larger counterparts. 

The Bb pocket trump is an expensive purchase compared to other trumpets. However, it is incredibly portable and pragmatic to travel with. 

The C Trumpet 

The C trumpet has a similar structure to the Bb trumpet and was made in 1874 in Paris. It is a well-known brass instrument that delivers a brighter sound, with its pitch a step higher than the Bb trumpet. 

It is a little lighter and easier to carry than the Bb trumpet, too, although the extra tone can make performing a little more difficult. These reasons have allowed the C trumpet to reach popularity, and when teamed with the Bb trumpet, the sound is exceptional. It is why they both feature in American orchestra plays. 

The Flugelhorn Trumpet 

This German trumpet has been around since the 19th century. It is known for its resemblance to the C and Bb trumpets, although it differs with its distinct sound. 

The Flugelhorn delivers bass and soprano tunes with ease and is often described as a 'swollen' version of a trumpet. The sound is softer than the C and Bb trumpets and can be more forgiving. 

Most commonly used in jazz, ballads, and epic music sounds divine on this trumpet. 

The pTrumpet

The pTrumpet is different from the other trumpets we have looked at today. It is made entirely from plastic and is waterproof and indestructible; it's remarkably robust. The pTrumpet has changed the way brass instruments and trumpets are perceived in the music industry. 

Why? The pTrumpet has a fully plastic valve system, making it light and durable without sacrificing sound quality. It works the same way as its brass counterparts and is one not to be underestimated. 

The pTrumpet is considerably cheaper than other trumpets on the market, making it an excellent option for beginners. 

The D Trumpet

The D trumpet was introduced in 1861 and is the best choice for performing Baroque music. Their sound is similar to the C trumpet but has a more piercing pitch, which separates it from other trumpets. 

The D trumpet, however, is never used in solo performances. Instead, its purpose is to act as a note added to other traditional brass instruments. This is because of the strength of its sound. 

The D trumpet was used by many famous composers, with Ravel and Stravinsky writing specific parts for the D trumpet in their works. 

The Piccolo Trumpet 

The smallest member of the trumpet family, the piccolo, was created as a replacement for the D trumpet. The piccolo features smaller tubing to deliver a sound far higher than other trumpets. 

Piccolo trumpets are usually pitched in Bb, an octave higher than the Bb trumpet, with different lead pipes. The Piccolo trumpet also has a fourth valve, which prolongs the trumpet's range down to a low F sharp. 

Often, this trumpet is mistaken for the pocket trumpet despite them both sounding different. You may recognize the Piccolo trumpet from Penny Lane by the Beatles, which is where many of us know the trumpet from. 

The Bugle

The military has used the Bugle trumpet since its creation. The trumpet was created as a practical instrument without any valves. Its valveless design allows the pitch to be controlled by the person playing, along with their embouchure. 

You can control the strength of the sound, giving you a versatile trumpet! It's simple and echoing construction is why it is the preferred trumpet for the military. 

Rarer Trumpets

Although there is already ample choice for trumpets, for those who enjoy a hunt, there are rarer trumpets available!

These come in other keys such as E, F, and G and are used on occasion in classical repertoires. While they are not mainstream, you can still pick them up if you were interested in a more obscure trumpet. 

The bass trumpet is also a rarer trumpet which has appeared in a handful of classical works, but never made its stamp on mainstream society. Nowadays, it's viewed as a novelty item, with a low sound. 

Final Word 

As you can see, there is quite a range of trumpets on the market today. They range from the popular Bb trumpet to the smaller pocket and piccolo trumpets.

Whatever music you want to perform, there is sure to be a trumpet for you!