Overview for Beginners: Parts of a Trumpet
Posted in Trumpets | Last Updated on June 6, 2019
As a beginner, the first step you should take is to get acquainted with the parts of a trumpet. A trumpet looks like a simple musical instrument, but it’s not. However, if you know the functions of different parts of the instrument, it will make learning to play easier. Understanding, their functions will be helpful when you maintain and repair your instrument. So bear in mind that you will not only learn about the parts of a trumpet, but you will also learn how to maintain the trumpet as you keep reading.
The mouthpiece is the part of a trumpet where you place your lips to produce sound. It is detachable and has several versions in the market. The mouthpiece determines how easy playing the trumpet will be especially as a beginner. Some brands make playing less stressful and easy to play. However, frequent practice will make you a better player.
The leadpipe provides support for the mouthpiece. You need to clean the leapipe frequently because it holds back saliva and some moisture. This will avoid rusting and mold development. So if you want your instrument always to produce a quality sound production, make it a habit to clean your mouthpiece.
The bell is like the speaker of the trumpet that projects the sound. Usually, the bell of a trumpet is manufactured with brass and coated with gold. Some are also coated with silver. The size of the bell will determine the type of sound that the trumpet will produce. If you want a sharp sound, go for a trumpet with a smaller bell. The bigger bell flares produce a mellower sound. Any alteration on the bell flare will affect the type of sound produced.
4. Finger Hook
This part of the trumpet provides support while you are playing. It makes playing more comfortable. It also provides support if you want to play with one hand.
5. Turning slide
You can find this part at the front of the instrument. It is used to change the pitch of the trumpet. To raise the pitch of the trumpet, simply pull it out. Pull it down to reduce the pitch of the trumpet. For proper trumpet upkeep, it is advised that you grease the tuning slide once in a while. If the slide gets stuck because of lack of maintenance, it may cost you some money to repair.
6. Finger Buttons
These are the buttons that trumpeters press to produce different notes. The trumpet has 3 finger buttons. Players often use their index, middle, and ringer to press the buttons.
7. Valve side
The trumpet has three valve slides. Each valve slide performs different functions. If you depress any of the valve slides, it will alter the kind of sound that will be produced. These slides are fitted firmly but it requires just a little effort from the player to make it move.
The first valve slide allows you to modulate your sound when you press it down. The second valve also has a different function. It lowers the sound by a half step compared to the first slide that lowers the pitch by a whole note. Lastly, if you want to produce a note that is lower in pitch than the first and second valve slide, press the third valve slide.
8. Valve piston
The valve piston is a thin metal cylinder that has both big and small holed bored through the small finger piece at the end of the instrument. The valve piston is inserted into a cylinder is known valve casing. These valve pistons are three and the first one is closer to the trumpeter.
The valve piston is designed to move up and down in the valve casing. If you press a valve piston down, it reroutes the flow of the air.
9. The water key
This is a small metal lever that is located on the trumpets’ tuning slide. If you open it, it allows moisture to escape. While you are playing, saliva and moisture to remain in the slide. Press the water key and blow air through the mouthpiece to remove the saliva and moisture.
There is a small disc at the end of the water key that seals the hole when the water key is closed. You also have to pay regular attention to the disc by ensuring that it is clean. Dirt or mold could damage this disc.
The primary function of the brace is to ensure that your main tuning slide tube is aligned and in place.
11. Lower valve caps
The lower valve cap retains any excess moisture or oil from playing or cleaning the trumpet. These caps are easy to remove for cleaning. If you clean it regularly, it will keep your instrument in good shape.
12. Valve Casing
The valve casings are the 3 cylinders where the pistons move up and down. The first valve casing is closer to the trumpeter. The second one is at the center while the last is closer to the bell flare. The valve casing needs to be correctly lubricated from time to time to keep the pistons moving freely. If this is not done, the piston might scratch the valve casing, thereby causing damage to the trumpet.
How to care for your trumpet?
The best way to take of care of the trumpet is to keep it clean. Dust and moisture are the trumpets worst enemy. You also need to lubricate some parts of the trumpet to avoid stiffness or corrosion. Some of these items will help you clean your trumpet and keep it in good shape.
• Dish soap.
• Valve oil.
• Slide Grease.
• A small amount of lukewarm water.
• A valve casing brush
• A lacquer polishing cloth.
The maintenance process will be divided into 3 parts, namely.
1. Before playing
If you want your instrument to produce a quality sound when you go on stage, carry out these simple maintenance routines.
• Oil the valves: To do this you have to loosen the cap on each valve, bring the piston out to the middle, and add little drops of valve oil by the side of the piston. Push the piston up and down gently to allow the oil to penetrate into the valve casing. Then push the piston back to its place. Carry out the same procedure with the remaining two pistons.
• Detach the mouthpiece and blow some air into it. Do the same while you open the water key.
2. After playing
If you want your trumpet to last longer, then you have to carry out these maintenance routines after playing.
• Hold the water key open and blow air into the mouthpiece so that drops of saliva and moisture will leave the trumpet.
• Detach the mouthpiece and rinse it with lukewarm water. Place it in its compartment in the case so it doesn’t get lost.
• Use trumpet polish cloth to wipe off the fingerprints on the trumpet. Fingerprints contain some acidic contents that could damage the lacquer finish of the trumpet.
• Place the trumpet in the case when you are through with cleaning. Don’t leave your trumpet on the bed or chair, it may get damaged. If you don’t want to put it back in the case, place it on a trumpet stand.
Assuming you don’t use your trumpet for a while, you can also carry out any of the maintenance procedures.
Each part of this instrument is essential. Don’t take any part of the trumpet granted as it could affect the quality of the sound the instrument produces.
The trumpet is no doubt this is a great instrument. Several very established brands produce high-quality trumpets, so there are plenty of options on the market. Some are more expensive than others.
No matter how cheap or costly yours is, try as much as you can to keep it clean. Carry out these maintenance procedures as listed above. It will undoubtedly keep your instrument in excellent condition.