8 Best Intermediate Trumpets [Buyers Guide + Reviews 2020]
Posted in Trumpets | Last Updated on May 1, 2020
Now that you have been playing for a bit, you may be feeling like you have outgrown your beginner trumpet and you are currently working too hard for the results you want. Though beginner trumpets are more affordable, it also means that the price comes with some drawbacks in performance.
You also may not be ready to jump up to a professional model for many reasons; this is where the intermediate level performs best. It represents a balance of cost and performance, which will help you keep moving forward.
Yamaha YTR-4335GII – Runner up
Yamaha is always a company you find products for at all levels of instruments, and they are always high quality, consistent, and played by many people. Yamaha has a few models for the intermediate player the YTR-4335GII is one of the standouts. A great benefit of Yamaha having a presence at all the levels of instrument builds from beginner to professional is that it allows them to take traits and methods of building from one level and apply it to another. This is what has been done with the YTR-4335II.
On this model we see the same process they use when manufacturing tuning slides from their high-end models and applying that method on the 4335GII, which will help the trumpet have a stable and more mature sounding sound. The 4335GII comes with a two-piece gold brass bell which will aid the player in having a broader range of colors in their playing while still promoting good playing habits. It also has a standard .459” bore for a balance of response and control.
The 4335GII comes with a standard Yamaha case and mouthpiece and is available in both gold brass and silver finishes.
Getzen 590-S Capri – Overall Best
The Getzen 590 like the Yamaha is a very high-quality intermediate trumpet. If the name Getzen sounds familiar, it is that it is a manufacturer that makes an entire range of instruments from beginner to some of the most sought after professional models. Yamaha has a whole range of instruments available which provides their intermediate level trumpet access to a wealth of features that other brands may be lacking. This includes hand lapped tuning slides, nickel plated pistons, and water keys.
The bell on the 590 is a two-piece bell which like many intermediate trumpets gives a great balance between durability, response, and sound. Though not as vibrant sounding as a one-piece hand-hammered bell this option keeps the cost down and the quality up. The 590 comes with a first slide saddle and a third slide ring for adjusting the intonation. It also has a bore of 460,” which means you get a great balance in sound and response. Finally, the lead pipe is nickel silver, which will help prevent corrosion and enhance the longevity of the trumpet.The 590 comes with a standard wood shell case.
Another well-known manufacturer of brass instruments is the Vincent Bach Company. Like the Getzen and Yamaha, they offer a wide range of models from beginner to professional. It also allows them to give you plenty of features without paying a premium price for them.
The T200S comes with a .459” medium-large bore which is standard for most models; it gives a great balance of response and control. A mark of quality that stands out on the Bach is the two-piece hand-hammered bell which is produced on the same mandrels that Bach spins its professional trumpets on. This care to detail will enhance the overall quality and sound of the trumpet. It also comes with Monel valves, which are one of the most recognized and high-quality piston valves on the market.
With the Bach, you will get a great balance of quality and performance, and some of the special features including the bell and pistons mean that this trumpet won’t be outgrown quickly and will also really hold its value if you end up selling it the next time you upgrade.
King 2055 Series
The King 2055 is an intermediate model trumpet from the King company. The 2055 comes from a long line of high-quality instruments that date back to 1864. The goal of the 2055 is to provide an instrument that has similar characteristics to a professional model without the steep price point.
It comes with some distinctive features including the patented quick release first valve thumb trigger. Where most trumpets have a saddle or ring that you use your thumb to move to adjust the slide length for intonation 2055 has a lever which, when pressed by the thumb, moves the slide quickly. The 2055 also comes with high-quality Monel pistons and a seamless bell. Seamless bells fall somewhere between two-piece and one-piece hand hammered bells, which means the quality of sound will be consistent.
The 2055 does come with a larger bore than other trumpets listed here at .462” which will give the trumpet a free blowing feel. It comes with a standard wooden carrying case that has some extra space for accessories.
Jupiter 1100 JTR1100SQ – Honorable Mention
The Jupiter 1100 series JTR1100SQ is an intermediate trumpet of high quality and build. Coming from Jupiter like the other trumpets from Yamaha, Bach, Getzen, and King, you know you are getting a trumpet from a company with a significant amount of experience in building great trumpets. Since Jupiter offers trumpets of varying levels, you can find features you would expect on professional level instruments on these.
The JTR1100SQ features a reverse lead pipe which is something you would expect to see on a professional instrument, with the JTR1100SQ you can get it on an intermediate model. This lead pipe setup allows that player to play with less resistance coming from the instrument and leads to a freer blowing sound. The JTR1100SQ’s lead pipe is also made from rose brass, which will help with the longevity of the instrument. It has a slightly larger .460” bore which will make it play with even less resistance.
The JTR1100SQ also comes with an adjustable 3rd slide with a ring and stainless steel pistons. Though the pistons are not Monel, they are still made of quality materials. It comes with a backpack case, which is a nice bonus but is worth noting it is a soft case so it won’t be as protective as wood shell cases.
Jean Paul USA TR-430 - Budget Choice
The Jean Paul TR-430 is an instrument that outperforms its price tag. With many intermediate models at the low end of the price scale, you expect to see a “made in China” lower quality, and inconsistent instrument. With the TR-430, that is not the case. The Jean Paul company maintains a high level of quality control on the production of their instruments to reduce variability, meaning a more consistent product with fewer surprises.
Though certain features of the 430 don’t measure up to some of the other trumpets on this list fills the space for a budget conscious buyer who is looking for a trumpet that will perform better than beginner models but isn’t looking to break the bank on some of the other models available.
The 430 has a rose brass lead pipe and adjustable 3rd finger tuning slide. Though other specifics are not given by the manufacturer including bore size and valve materials you can read from reviews and what we know about brass instruments that the trumpet will perform well through the longevity may not stand up to the others.
The 430 comes with a soft case with space for accessories. As with the JTR1100SQ, this case won’t be as protective, but it does do a great job in transporting the instrument to and from rehearsal.
Jupiter 1100 Series JTR1110S
Jupiter makes the list for a second time this time with the JTR1110S. Even though this trumpet shares some features with the 1100, it has some key differences and is more in line with other intermediate models.
The JTR1110S has a rose brass bell and standard lead pipe which gives the trumpet a sound with more presence than a standard bell but helps keep the tone clear. It also features a 3rd valve ring to adjust intonation while playing. The JTR1110S comes with hand fitted Monel valves, which are some of the highest quality valves available. It also features a .460” bore which is slightly larger than average but provides a balance between free blowing and resistance.
It also comes with a soft case backpack case. This case is easier to carry but provides slightly less protection than wood shell cases.
Stagg WS – TR215S Bb
Another trumpet worth mentioning is the Stagg WS – TR215S, though it is in the same group as the Jean Paul model, it is worth mentioning a few models that come in at this very affordable cost. Often times buying the most expensive and best isn’t for everyone, the Stagg will give you an instrument that performs better than some of the cheaper beginner trumpets out there and is much cheaper compared to some of the other models on this list.
The TR215S has stainless steel valves, comes with a soft case for transporting to and from rehearsal. There is also a potential for there to be more variation in build quality as instruments in this price range tend to have less rigid quality control than more expensive models from companies that have been around for longer.
Though not for everyone, it does present another option at the cheaper end of the spectrum for consideration.
With all of the above information in hand, it is important to answer a few key questions before making the big purchase. Below is a breakdown to some specific questions that will help you in your journey of purchasing an intermediate trumpet.
After you have taken the time to weigh all the option and consider all of the variables, it will be time to choose the perfect instrument to begin or continue your brass playing journey. It is important to have a clear understanding of what you are looking for, and what needs you need to fill before you begin shopping.
Experience and goals of the player
One of the first questions to answer is the experience or level of the player. We need to consider the experience and goals of the player when we are deciding on which one to purchase.
If the student is less experienced and isn’t looking to go on to play professionally or isn’t sure yet it could be worth weighing in some of the cheaper options on the list. If the player is considering going on to study or take playing more serious, it can be worth the investment in an instrument which will last longer than some of the cheaper models and also performs better.
If you are upgrading from a rental, you will want to make sure that you are actually making an upgrade in some way. This can be a step up in quality towards something like the Yamaha or Bach ones, or even the Jupiter. Or it can also be a step up in the overall condition of the instrument.
When to make the switch
When to switch from a beginner to an intermediate instrument may not be obvious. Things to look out for are: does your current instrument feel like it is restricting your playing? Are you fighting the instrument to make it play for you, or does it not perform the way you want it to?
If any of the above feels relatable, it may be time to make the change to an intermediate trumpet.
Things to look for
It is worth considering things like the bore size, and the bell material and manufacturing when upgrading to an intermediate model.
A larger bore size will make the trumpet feel more open with less resistance as a smaller bore size will provide more resistance to the player. This is a personal preference, but many players tend to like an instrument which is average in resistance vs. free blowing.
The bell construction has a significant impact on the sound. Single piece bells resonant more evenly, seamless bells are a reasonable middle ground, and two-piece bells will give a bit more resistance.
When you are making an upgrade to an intermediate trumpet, it is a more complicated decision than getting a beginner model. You need to consider what you are already playing on, what you hope to accomplish with your playing, and for the first time, you will have ideas in what you are looking for in a trumpet in regards to resistance and how it sounds.
Use the guide above to aim you in the right direction on your search for the best intermediate level trumpet for your needs.