Is buying a cheap brass instrument a good option?

Posted: May 12, 2009 in Gadget Talk

We’ve all seen the ads for cheap trumpets on various online auction sites – NZ has not escaped this phenomenon either.

So the question begs are these any good?

Let me tell you that I personally went through the process of contacting a factory in China and have them build a horn to my request as a test run based on one of their own models. What came back was about 50% of what I originally asked for and the quality was marginal at best.  I had one prototype made and one basic model – the basic model broke and has issues after light use and the prototype was actually ok and plays pretty well – the difference was US$12 is cost between the two. If you think you are doing your child a favour by picking up a cheap trumpet online think again.  These are really manufactured for quantity and not quality.

This one was ok for a casual player

This one was ok for a casual player

“But I don’t have a $1,000 for a nice instrument” I hear you say – then your options are as such:

  1. Rental – yep you can get good intermediate trumpets for not a lot of money. Talking specifically about AKL in NZ KBB used to have Getzen intermediate horns for rental – these were good instruments and are a bargain at around NZ$100 or so to rent for an entire school year
  2. Good Used instruments – on those same online sites keep your eyes open and let your fingers do the walking to research some potential gems. Some examples of excellent horns that can be picked up for under $500 – Old’s Ambassador, Yamaha Student models & Martin Imperials & Conn’s to name but a few.

So please think twice before you buy that shiny new purple horn with the silver caps and go for the horn with character – after all it’s about lasting the distance and good sound. A nice vintage horn will give you both.


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