10 Best Professional Trumpets [Buyer Guide + Reviews 2019]

Posted in Trumpets | Last Updated on June 10, 2019

golden trumpet on a background, featured image of the review article and buying guide

When you make the move up to a professional level instrument there are some real specific things you want to consider that are based around what you are playing, where you are playing, and your own playing qualities. Professional level instruments are much more consistent than student or intermediate ones but there is also a wider range in how they sound and behave since the quality of them allows the maker to enhance certain aspects of playing.

Yamaha YTR-8345RS Xeno Series – Overall Best

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The Yamaha Xeno line is considered a standard for many players. As all Yamaha products there is a remarkable level of consistency in their instruments meaning you can grab any Yamaha instrument off the shelf, even their professional line and it will behave as you expect it to.

The YTR-8345RS has some great features which help it perform at an exceptional level. First off it comes with a large bore and reverse lead pipe which helps contribute to the YTR-8345RS’ ability to produce a full and firm sound in all registers of the instrument.  The reverse lead pipe also helps contribute to having a smooth resistance and even airflow as you move throughout the range.

The YTR-8345RS comes with Monel piston valves and thinner valve casings help the instrument have valves which move effortlessly and smoothly. Finally, the YTR-8345RS has a hand hammered one-piece annealed bell which will add brilliance to the sound. It comes with a good case that not only has a few strap options but great storage space.

Pro's of the product

  • Incredibly consistent in build
  • Full sound in all registers
  • Monel valves
  • Good case with storage
  • Hand hammered one piece bell

Cons of the product

  • Heavy

Yamaha YTR-9445CHS Xeno Artist Chicago Series Bb Trumpet

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You will notice right away that when it comes to professional level instruments Yamaha is an absolute power house, and the Xeno line has several trumpets with a varying qualities, sounds, and purposes. Enter the Yamaha YTR-9445CHS Chicago Series. Designed in collaboration with John Hagstrom who is the second trumpet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the 9445 is an unprecedented option to consider. The 9445 has a solid core to the sound, remarkable projection and gives the ability to soar over the orchestra and not just punch through the center of it.

The bell design is unique as it is narrower towards the pistons than other trumpets and features a square corner that gives the player the perfect amount of back pressure to play against.

This trumpet also features the Yamaha signature Malone lead pipe which features a shallower mouthpiece receiver which helps support the player with the right amount of resistance. Paired with lightweight pistons and valve casing this trumpet plays remarkably well and won’t get in the way. Finally the 9445 features a 3rd valve slide stopper which allows the player to play a low F and opens up a wide range of alternative fingerings.

Like all professional level Yamaha instruments if comes with a great case that has a great amount of space for storage and carries rather well.

Pro's of the product

  • Incredibly consistent in build
  • Full sound in all registers
  • Third valve slide stopper
  • Consistent tone and response
  • Good backpack style case
  • Comes is C or Bb
  • One of the most common professional trumpets

Cons of the product

  • None of note. Though a consideration, the 9445 was designed as an orchestral trumpet so that is where it truly shines, it may not be as versatile for other styles.

Bach 180S37

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Like Yamaha Bach produces some really high level instruments, the Stradivarius line is the flagship line from Bach. The 180S37 is one of their best sellers, and it is for a reason. The 180S37 features a one-piece hand hammered bell will aid in producing a warm sound that carries well in many situations and settings. It comes with a #25 lead pipe which provides a small amount of resistance which will aid in slotting the notes where they need to go, but not provide as much resistance as others.

The 180S37 comes with the fantastic Monel valves which are known for their quality. It also has an adjustable 3rd slide rod stop which will help control 3rd valve adjustments. The 180S37 comes with a standard wood shell case, though it has fewer features than the Yamaha cased it still provides great protection for the trumpet.

Pro's of the product

  • Very good build quality
  • Full sound with good response
  • Versatile sound for many musical styles
  • One-piece hand hammered bell
  • Adjustable 3rd slide rod stop

Cons of the product

  • Comes with a basic case

Getzen 3003 Genesis Custom Series Bb Professional

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Getzen trumpets are another high level professional instrument. A less common name perhaps as they don’t have such a large beginner/intermediate line of instruments compared to other companies. The Getzen 3003 trumpet is a very unique instrument with many features. The most interesting is that it comes with the ILS or Interchangeable Leadpipe System. The ILS allows the player to switch between two lead pipes the Standard and the Open, each lead pipe will impact how the instrument behaves giving you more versatility.

Like many professional level instruments the 3003 comes with a one-piece hand hammered bell which really helps with the evenness and quality of sound. Now where the 3003 stands out is in its construction. It has a large throat and heavy bracing, paired with an ovate tuning slide crook, meaning the slide is more oval compared to round or squared off, which gives a very open feeling while playing. This means it will be more work, but that effort is enhanced by the instrument in the sound it produces. It also means that the 3003 is going to be a trumpet capable of playing at louder dynamics while maintaining the overall quality of sound.

The 3003 comes with a standard carrying case with a useful music folio attachment for carrying music.

Pro's of the product

  • Interchangeable Leadpipe System
  • Versatility
  • One-piece hand hammered bell.
  • Two lead pipes
  • Projection of sound

Cons of the product

  • Heavier
  • Basic case
  • Takes more effort to play

Jupiter XO Series

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The Jupiter Xo Series of trumpets comes to the table with a medium large bore which will give a balance of openness of playing and pressure. A feature of note is that like the Yamaha it Jupiter comes with a reversed lead pipe which will help with keeping a fairly open and consistent sound throughout the entire range of the instrument. It also comes with a one-piece hand hammered bell which helps with the overall projection of sound.

Also coming with Monel valves you are getting a quality valve that is paired with a two piece valve casing with added weight. This added weight is supposed to help notes slot into place while playing. The XO comes with a standard case that will keep the trumpet safe in transport though it doesn’t boast any of the extra features many professional cases come with.

Pro's of the product

  • One-piece hand hammered bell
  • Monel valves
  • Reversed leadpipe

Cons of the product

  • Simple case

S.E. Shires, Doc Severinsen Destino III Bb Trumpet

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When the Destino was made it was done in collaboration between S.E. Shires and Doc Severinsen that took place over several years. What is unique about the Destino is it has many features which aren’t found on other Shire trumpets. When you see the Doc Severinson was involved you may assume this is a trumpet designed for Jazz and commercial playing and you would be correct this is a contrast compared to the partnership between Yamaha and John Hagstrom which was designed for Orchestral playing.

When you get into specialty instruments you get very specific design qualities to make sure that that instrument performs optimally in those settings. The Destino has a custom lead pipe, bracing, and a semi-round tuning slide. The result of these pairings is an open instrument that plays right down the center of the notes. The Destino is designed to have a powerful sound in the high register with an easy attach and quick response.

The Destino also has light weigh valve clusters and light weight tuning slides. Paired with heavy weight crooks and a 1st-valve removable weight that sits in the crook, these added weight features in certain locations help lock in the harmonics of the trumpet.

Pro's of the product

  • Custom lead pipe
  • Carefully balanced locations for added weight
  • Jazz specific
  • Brilliant and powerful high range
  • Light weight
  • Quick response

Cons of the product

  • Basic case
  • Jazz specific. This is both a pro and a con depending on the player’s needs.

Blessing-1460M Performance Series – Budget choice

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Blessing is another American instrument manufacturer that has been around for a long time making quality products. Like Jupiter and Yamaha they offer products across the entire range of players. The 1460M is a serious trumpet and the top of the line model for Blessing. Though it is not specifically a “professional” level instrument is absolutely comparable and is a great way to get into a high quality trumpet.

Coming with high quality Monel valves and a medium bore the 1460M is a free blowing instrument which will aid in its versatility compared to instruments built for specific application. Compared to most other professional line trumpets the 1460 comes with a two-piece bell compared to the one-piece hand hammered bells of many other models. There are a few more features which keeps the price of the 1460 down compared to others including plastic finger buttons, no 3rd valve stopper, and a few other small details.

The 1460 comes with a backpack style case that has a great amount of storage space.

Pro's of the product

  • Lower price but still great quality
  • Monel valves
  • Great case
  • Versatile

Cons of the product

  • Plastic finger buttons
  • No 3rd valve stopper
  • Not specifically a professional level model.

Getzen 907S Eterna Proteus

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Getzen is listed again, which speaks volumes to not only their product but the depth of the offerings when it comes to their professional models. The Eterna line was introduced back in 1962 and took the world by storm. It has remained popular ever since. The 907S has some differences to the Genesis perform and sound differently but still remains a fantastic choice for a professional quality instrument.

The Eterna comes with a two-piece bell that has received a special heat treatment and comes with a gold brass lead pipe to help make the Eterna more centered and flexible without being as bright sounding compared to the earlier Eterna Classic. The Eterna remains a very versatile trumpet but the changes in build in this model direct it more towards orchestral and chamber playing than the Eterna Classic which was geared more towards lead playing.

The Eterna is only available in bright silver plating.

Pro's of the product

  • Heat treated two-piece bell
  • Versatile
  • Centered and flexible tone

Cons of the product

  • No third valve stopper
  • Silver plating only

Yamaha YTR-8310Z and ZS Bobby Shew Model

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Yamaha makes the list for a third time. Like Getzen and Bach Yamaha has a tremendous offering of instruments for various styles and players. With professional players you are often looking to enhance certain aspects of a singular style of playing. Earlier on the list we mentioned the Chicago artist model, it is worth highlighting their jazz specific trumpet as well, the YTR-8310ZS Bobby Shew.

The bell on the 8310Z is a handmade bell that is also one of the biggest bells being manufactured by Yamaha. It is not just big but it features a unique tapering thickness that means on the player side of the instrument you experience a very open and quick response. The bell and its flat-dome style gives you more control of the tone colors you make as well.

Yamaha applied what they learned in making the heavyweight Xeno line to the 8310 with the goal to make an instrument with remarkable projection without adding the weight of the Xeno line.

The 8310 comes in either yellow brass with a gold lacquer or nickel silver.

Pro's of the product

  • Incredibly consistent in build
  • Full sound in all registers
  • Open and quick response
  • Big handmade bell
  • Light

Cons of the product

  • Jazz specific. This is both a pro and a con depending on the player’s needs.

Schilke S32HD Custom Series – Runner up

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The Schilke lines of trumpets are another very common model to see in orchestral settings along with Yamaha and Bach instruments. The S32HD has a heavy single seamed yellow brass bell. It also features a heavy mouthpiece receiver and lead pipe. The added weight in certain places on the instrument is done to help reinforce harmonics so that is will respond more easily and accurately. The added mass also gives the ability to project sound without distorting it as quickly, and to also allow the instrument to project clearly in soft dynamics.

Compared to the Yamaha and Bach the Schilke trumpet is heavier, which comes down to preference of the player. The S32HD comes with high quality Monel valves and comes with a decent case that can fit two trumpets and provides a modest amount of storage space.

Pro's of the product

  • Monel valves
  • Great projection
  • Incredibly consistent in build
  • Full sound in all registers

Cons of the product

  • Soft case may not protect the instruments as well as a hard shell case

Buyers Guide

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 a professional level instrument. The process of buying a professional level instrument is more intensive than purchasing instruments from the intermediate and lower levels due to the specific nature of the environment they are used in.

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 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. This is especially important with professional level trumpets as there is a great deal of specific application at this level.

Needs of the player

This is the big question to ask when moving up to a professional level trumpet. As you can see there are two categories of professional level models, all-around use, and specific use (Jazz, Orchestral, etc.).  The first thing you need to consider is, what do you need the trumpet for, and what do you need it to do.  If you are spending all you time playing lead in a big band you may not want a trumpet built for orchestral playing, or the opposite. Perhaps you play in Orchestras, big band, musicals, and random gigs and your best bet may be an all-around style model. Remember as you grow as a professional you will often add more trumpets to the case to let you play certain styles.

Also consider what you have in your case already. If you already have a Bb and C Chicago series, you may not need to pick up a Schilke. Or perhaps you already have all your bases covered; maybe it is time to make an upgrade to one of your existing trumpets. So take some time and inventory your needs and the resources you have on hand already.

Budget

This is a big one, professional line instruments are much more expensive than the intermediate counterparts, and as you get more specific the price tends to go up. One thing to consider is if you are upgrading an instrument you have the potential resale value of the one you are upgrading. So if you have a Yamaha or Bach you are looking to upgrade into a professional level model those brands tend to keep their value so that can help move your budget upwards.

For professional level instruments they will all hold their value, some may even end up appreciating in value over time. Though it is worth knowing selling a trumpet designed for a very specific use can take longer than an all-around one.

Materials

The material that is used when making the trumpet will have a tremendous impact on the sound. Traditionally it is considered that brass will be “darker” in sound than silver which tends to be “brighter”. Though many manufactures make use of a great deal of variables to control the sound, material still impacts the overall quality of sound.  It is up to you and the environment you play in to help you dictate which choice is best for you.

At the professional model range you aren’t worried about poor quality materials being used to keep price down which we often see at the beginner model range. You know from proven brands at this level you get great materials.

Location

This one may seem less obvious but it can be worth knowing what is being played where you are. Often when you look at the sections and players in your area you may notice you see everyone playing on the same couple models of instruments and they do this for a reason, like instruments blend better usually. If you are looking to be active in your area, it can be worthwhile to be playing on similar gear which can allow you to sit in easier.

Conclusion

There is a great deal of information out there about professional level instruments, and even more opinions. It is important to have a very clear picture of what, where, and how you plan to use the new instrument.

Take your time and really plan out what you are looking for. Consider the guide above as a place to start and try to find even more specific questions to help you build your list of options. This systematic approach will lead to you getting the best professional level trumpet you can for your needs.