How to Find the Best Jazz Trumpet

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The trumpet is one of the jazz world’s iconic instruments. Louis Armstrong, Miles Davis, Chet Baker – the list of great jazz trumpet players is long and gets longer every day. And for every jazz trumpet player, there is an opinion about what is the best jazz trumpet.

Jazz covers an enormous variety of styles. From its beginnings near the turn of the century, jazz has drawn from surrounding musical sources to create a spicy gumbo of local and international flavors.

Jazz runs the gamut from big band to bee-bop, from smooth jazz to avant-garde, from Dixieland to Afrobeat. But whatever your tastes in music or level of skill, there is a jazz trumpet out there that’s perfect for you, and I’m here to help you find it.

Bottom line up front: The Bach Stradivarius 18037 is the best overall professional jazz trumpet, but every instrument listed here has something to offer jazz trumpeters at any stage of their career.

How I Chose the Best Jazz Trumpet

When I’m looking for the best jazz trumpets, some of the things I consider include:


Jazz Trumpet

Becoming a great jazz trumpeter requires many hours of practice. If you’re a beginner, you need a solid instrument that plays well, stands up to heavy use, and lets you sound your best without correcting for sour tones or instrument flaws.

Professionals with years of experience know exactly what they want in an instrument, and their needs will vary based on their performing styles and preferred genres.


Many of the jazz world’s legendary trumpets are no longer available. Conn has stopped making trumpets, and Martin hasn’t built a Martin Continental since before Miles Davis died.

While you can get great deals on used trumpets, buying a used instrument is always a gamble that can leave you spending more on repairs than you did on your used horn. All the trumpets I have listed are currently in production and available new.


Jazz musicians are notoriously underpaid, so I wanted to make sure they get their money’s worth. You can get cheap generic instruments online, but they are usually poorly constructed and chronically out of tune. An instrument you throw away in disgust is no bargain no matter how little you pay for it. The horns on this list are an investment that will repay your efforts with beautiful music.

The Best Jazz Trumpets

Best Beginner Jazz Trumpet: Yamaha YTR-2330

Best Yamaha Student Trumpet: Yamaha YTR-2330

You can get a cheap trumpet online for much less than what a YTR-2330 will cost you. But you’ll soon discover that you get what you pay for. With a YTR-2330, you will avoid stuck valves, poor intonation, and other technical issues that lead students to throw up their hands in frustration and find a new hobby.

The YTR-2330 is built like a tank and will withstand neglect and abuse from young students. (Some musicians note that the softer brass that gives Yamaha horns their distinctive sound can be susceptible to dents).

While the YTR-2330 lacks some of the features found on higher-end trumpets, it will provide beginners with solid, dependable performance until they reach a level where they will benefit from an upgrade. (And even then, the YTR-2330 will serve as a solid backup and rehearsal horn) .

Perhaps the best reason to buy a YTR-2330 is because it is the perfect stepping stone to Yamaha’s excellent professional line. Once you master the YTR-2330, you’ll be ready to move up to Yamaha’s Xeno and Custom lines of trumpets built for professional and serious amateur musicians.


  • Best student trumpet on the market
  • Will work as a practice/backup trumpet even after you upgrade
  • Excellent resale value


  • Softer brass means you will need to take good care of your instrument


  • Key : B♭
  • Bell : Two-piece, yellow brass
  • Bell Diameter: 123mm (4⅞ in”)
  • Leadpipe: Gold Brass
  • Bore Size : 11.65mm (0.459”)
  • Weight : Medium
  • Finish : Gold lacquer (also available silver-plated)
  • Pistons/ Valves: Monel alloy
  • Key Buttons : Plastic
  • Mouthpiece : TR-11B4
  • Case : Included

Best Latin Jazz Trumpet: Yamaha YTR-5330MRC Mariachi Style Intermediate Trumpet

Yamaha YTR-5330MRC Mariachi Style Intermediate Trumpet

Yamaha’s YTR-5330MRC has been specifically designed, with advice from prominent mariachi players, to easily deliver the lively sound that is a characteristic of the genre. The YTR-5330MRC is free-blowing enough to hit those high crescendos, while the reverse leadpipe offers enough resistance to let you hit the hard staccato and heavy vibrato that mariachi music so often calls for.

The YTR-5330MRC’s silver plating isn’t just decorative, it contributes to the instrument’s exceptionally bright and crisp sound. Because mariachi bands often find themselves playing outdoors or in rooms with less than ideal acoustics, the 5330MRC has a longer tuning slide that lets you adjust to your venues.

Some trumpet players like lighter resistance, while some prefer more feedback from their instrument. The YTR-5330MRC lets you adjust the trumpet’s resistance and tone by changing out the 2nd and 3rd valve bottoms. You can swap one or both out or go with the original configuration

While the YTR-5330MRC is listed in Yamaha’s Intermediate line, it has many of the features found in Yamaha’s Professional, Xeno, and Custom lines. If you’re looking for an instrument designed for professionals with a very reasonable price tag, you’ll love the YTR-5330MRC.


  • Many musicians say Yamaha’s intermediate line offers the best price/value ratio.
  • First trumpet designed with consultation from mariachi players
  • Trumpet showpiece that is impossible to miss on stage.


  • Its bright and flamboyant tone might be hard to tone down for an ensemble .


  • Key : B♭
  • Bell : Two-piece, gold brass
  • Bell Diameter: 123mm (4⅞ in”)
  • Leadpipe: Gold Brass
  • Bore Size : 11.65mm (0.459”)
  • Weight : Medium
  • Finish : Silver-plated
  • Pistons/ Valves: Monel alloy, 2-piece
  • Mouthpiece : TR-11B4
  • Case : Included

Best Flugelhorn: Adams F1 Flugelhorn

Adams F1 Flugelhorn

At first glance, a flugelhorn appears very much like a trumpet. Look closer and you’ll notice the flugelhorn has a flared conical bore where a trumpet has a straight cylindrical bore.

The flugelhorn has a warmer, velvety sound that is well suited for smoother jazz genres. While Chuck Mangione is the most famous jazz flugelhorn player, many great jazz trumpeters like Clark Terry, Woody Shaw, and Maynard Ferguson have played and recorded with the flugelhorn.

Dutch instrument makers Adams Music are the world’s leading flugelhorn makers.  The Adams F1 is their standard and most popular flugelhorn model. Adams flugelhorns are noted for their light weight, easy playability, and dark, full-bodied tone.

Adams offers four different models which have an even darker sound, but the F1 is generally best for those who want a bit more trumpet-like brightness.

The flugelhorn’s V-shaped mouthpiece (which does not come with the Adams flugelhorn) will take some getting used to, and you will find that the flugelhorn is a bit harder to slot in its highest registers than a trumpet. But with an Adams F1, you can be confident that you’re playing one of the world’s most popular and versatile flugelhorns.


  • A great second instrument or main instrument for serious trumpet players
  • Adams flugelhorns are the most popular in the world
  • Variety of Adams flugelhorns on sale allows you to get the sound you want


  • Mouthpiece not included


  • Key: B♭
  • Bell Material: Hand hammered Red Brass  (+ nickel silver flare)
  • Bell Diameter: 160mm(6.3”)
  • Valve section: Brass (lightweight)
  • Valves: 3 x top center stainless steel
  • Finger buttons: Brass, flat
  • Waterkey: Traditional
  • Bore Size: ML 10.5mm (0.413″)
  • Finish: Satin Lacquered
  • Gauge: 0.45
  • Leadpipe: Nr. 2 (0.402″) or nr. 3 (0.413″)
  • Case: Included (Adams/Gard)
  • Mouthpiece not included

Best Professional Jazz Trumpet: Bach 18037 Stradivarius B♭ Trumpet

Bach 18037 Stradivarius B♭ Trumpet

Bach’s 18037 Stradivarius works well with every genre of music and will shine in ensemble or lead performances and through jazz, classical, and rock gigs.  If the 18037 is your first professional trumpet, it may very well end up being your last. The Stradivarius 18037 is one of the world’s most popular professional trumpets and with good reason.

Chet Baker, Maynard Ferguson, Herb Alpert, and Freddie Hubbard are just a few of the famous jazz trumpeters who have recorded with Bach trumpets.

Bach Stradivarius trumpets can be found at music stores and online dealers around the world. While the 18037 is Bach’s most popular model, Bach offers many variations for serious trumpet players.

The 19037 uses two-piece valves and brass valve guides that give it a more resonant, complex sound.  The LR18037 uses a reverse leadpipe that gives the horn a more free-blowing response.

And all Bach trumpets come with Bach mouthpieces, which are world-famous. (Before he began building trumpets, Vincent Bach got his start making trumpet mouthpieces.  

A Bach Stradivarius trumpet is an instrument you will use throughout your career.  The 18037 is not cheap, but if you are a serious trumpet player it is an investment in your musical future.


  • Bach Stradivarius trumpets are known and loved worldwide
  • Great sound suitable for every musical need
  • Bach also makes some of the world’s most highly-regarded mouthpieces


  • Expensive


  • .459″ Medium-large bore
  • Standard weight body
  • Standard weight yellow brass one-piece hand-hammered #37 bell
  • Standard construction #25 mouthpipe
  • Monel pistons
  • 1st slide thumb saddle
  • Adjustable 3rd slide rod stop
  • Silver-plate finish
  • Bach 7C mouthpiece
  • C180 woodshell case

Best Cost-No-Object Jazz Trumpet: Monette MF-STC Trumpet

Monette MF-STC Trumpet

For over 30 years Oregon instrument maker David G. Monette has been hand-crafting custom instruments for some of the world’s most famous trumpet players. Wynton Marsalis owns a Monette horn with bejeweled finger buttons and a tone that comes straight out of a smoky New Orleans speakeasy.

If you’ve got the money to spend and the patience to wait for a horn built exactly to your specifications, you can own an instrument that’s also a work of art.

The MF-STC is named after one of the greatest MFs ever to hold a trumpet, Maynard Ferguson. Ferguson was famous for his skill in the trumpet’s extreme upper register. The MF-STC’s lighter weight not only makes it easier to hold during long rehearsals, it gives it better power and slotting on the highest high notes. 

Monette uses a unique threaded leadpipe that helps ensure the tightest possible seal with your mouthpiece. The heavier STC-1 mouthpiece is recommended for classical and small group jazz work, while the LT and XLT mouthpieces are intended for those pieces where you’ll be playing up to double C and beyond.


  • A bespoke instrument tailor-made to your specific needs
  • Monette’s craftsmanship and technical achievement is legendary
  • An impeccably crafted instrument for the most skilled and discerning musicians


  • Monette trumpets are a love/hate instrument
  • Very expensive


  • To be discussed when you order your trumpet

My Recommendations

If you are looking for the all-around best instrument for professional jazz trumpet players, the Bach Stradivarius 18037 is your best choice. The 18037 is an all-around horn that will be suitable for professional work in any genre and will be at home in both an orchestra pit and a dance hall.

If you are a beginner looking for your first trumpet, your best bet is the Yamaha YTR-2330. Yamaha is not just one of the world’s leading manufacturers of student instruments, they have highly-regarded Intermediate and Professional lines.

If you’re a serious trumpet player with a lot of money and patience, talk to David Monette. Your Monette trumpet will be an heirloom that lasts through generations and an instrument that gives you a lifetime of amazing sound before you pass it on.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Question: Who is the Richest Trumpet Player?

Answer: Herb Alpert rose to fame and fortune as leader of the Tijuana Brass. But while his trumpet skills made him rich, he really hit the big money when he started a record label in 1962 with his friend Jerry Moss. While the label focused at first on the Tijuana Brass, Alpert and Moss (A&M for short) records soon became America’s biggest recording label.
In 1989 Polygram Records purchased A&M Records for a reported $500 million. Alpert and Moss stayed on as producers until 1993 before leaving the company: in 1998 they won another $200 million from Polygram in a lawsuit.

Question: What’s the Difference Between Jazz and Classical Sheet Music?

Answer: When reading classical sheet music, you are expected to play each note as written. Jazz musicians rely on a lead sheet that provides the basic chord progression and melody.
The jazz musician is then expected to take the basic chords and melody and improvise more complex chord progressions and melodies through substitutions and embellishments. Lead sheets are collected together in “Fake Books” which allow jazz musicians to play tunes they have never heard by following the chords and melody.

Question: How Do I Learn to Play Jazz Trumpet?

Answer: If you want to be a jazz trumpet player, you need to:
Practice. Professional jazz musicians spend hours a day honing their skills to make sure they sound their best on stage and in the studio.
Master sight reading and music theory. You will need to learn how to read from a sheet of music and understand the various ways you can improvise on a chord or progression.
Listen to great jazz trumpeters. Listen to the ways that different trumpet players approach the same jazz standard. Try to play along as much as you can and work toward mastering their sound.
Play with other jazz musicians. The real magic of jazz happens when a group of players exchanges improvised licks at lightning speed, with each riff leading the players to new heights.


The trumpet has been an integral part of jazz since its beginnings at the turn of the 20th century. If you want to master the jazz trumpet, you’ll be joining a long line of musicians who have made beautiful music on their horns.

Whatever your skill level or whatever type of jazz you prefer, there’s a trumpet out there that’s just right for you. Best of luck finding it and happy playing!

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