How to buy a used trumpet

By Larry Mazza •  Updated: 04/22/22 •  16 min read

Buying a used instrument can save you a lot of money, but make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.

The first thing you need to do is carefully check the condition of the trumpet. There are several things you should look at before deciding whether to purchase it. First, consider how much the trumpet costs and whether it’s worth it. Ask if there is a money-back guarantee if it doesn’t work out for you. Second, ask if there are any repairs that will need to be done on the instrument–this can cause major headaches down the line that you want to avoid in advance. Third, consider whether there is a warranty on the instrument in case something goes wrong after your purchase; this can also save you money later. Fourth, make sure there aren’t any dents or other damage on the body of the trumpet that could affect its pitch or sound quality. Fifth, check for any corrosion inside or outside of the trumpet–if there is corrosion then it has probably been stored in an area with high humidity and may be difficult to repair.”

What do I want to do with my new trumpet?

When you’re deciding what kind of trumpet to buy, there are a few key questions:

Should I buy a new trumpet or a used one?

Should you buy a new trumpet or a used one? New trumpets are shiny and have a great sound, but they can also be expensive. Used instruments are usually cheaper, but may be scratched, dented or damaged. They may also not be in tune, may need to be repaired, and may even be missing parts.

Do I need a new trumpet?

If you are a beginner or intermediate player, your needs likely aren’t the same as the professional player or collector. Someone who is just starting out won’t necessarily need the best quality of instrument. However, if you have been playing trumpet for years, or have aspirations of being a professional musician or music teacher, a good quality instrument would be beneficial to your playing. If you are seriously considering a career in music, an expertly crafted and well-made trumpet may help to further develop your musical skills.

A serious student may also benefit from owning a high quality trumpet. It is nearly impossible to play at an advanced level on an inferior instrument unless it has been modified by adding slides and valves that improve intonation and response. The fastest way to learn how to play the trumpet is with an instrument that already makes it easy for you to get great sound from the beginning. Inexpensive trumpets are not designed to be easy-blowing with good intonation; they require some modification in order for them to perform up to par for advanced musicianship.

How much money should I spend?

How much you spend on a used trumpet is up to you and your budget. You can get a decent used trumpet for as little as $200-$300, and if that fits your wallet, go for it! If you have more disposable income to devote to a trumpet, though, we recommend getting one in the $500-$600 range. Trumpets in this price point are generally of good quality—not necessarily professional level, but good enough that they’ll last you years and yield reliable performance.If you want a truly superb instrument that will rival almost anything else out there (in terms of sound quality and durability), we recommend spending at least $1000 on a used horn—though even then you’re likely to find gems at less than this price point. Remember: instruments are like cars: some people take really good care of them while others use them more casually. A trumpet with only moderate signs of wear and tear could be just fine if it’s been well-maintained by the previous owner and has been looked over by an expert prior to purchase.

Set a budget.

This step is crucial and shouldn’t be overlooked. How much can you afford to spend? Decide on a price range and stick to it. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, some sellers have a higher asking price because they know that buyers will try to talk them down. Try not to go too low, but don’t be afraid of haggling for the best deal possible!

Where to buy a used trumpet

When you’re ready to make a purchase, we’ve got two primary suggestions. First, try to find a local music store that sells used instruments. You can ask the salesperson for advice and inspect the trumpet in person before making your decision. Second, if there isn’t a local music shop selling used trumpets that’s convenient for you, consider buying online. Here are a few online stores where you can purchase used trumpets:

Where can I get the best deal?

There are a number of places to look for used trumpets.

Consider what types of trumpets are available.

Trumpets come in a wide variety of price points, so consider your budget before you start shopping. Most casual players make do with a student trumpet that costs between $200 and $400 new. However, if you’re serious about playing or plan to play in an ensemble regularly, upgrading to a professional-grade trumpet is essential.

Professional trumpets cost between $500 and $2000 new but are significantly more expensive than their student counterparts due to their improved construction. These trumpets have larger bore sizes than student trumpets, which allows for a wider range of notes and better resonance. They also typically have one-piece bells that improve the tone of the instrument by providing more control over sound production. If you buy used, however, it’s possible to find a professional-grade trumpet for less money than it would cost new.

In most cases, prices for used trumpets will be comparable to those for new instruments in the same class. For example, models from popular manufacturers like Yamaha or Jupiter typically sell used at prices close to what they would cost new; however, some brands offer better value on the used market.

Which trumpet manufacturers are the best?

If you plan to play in band, I recommend purchasing an instrument from one of the manufacturers that specializes in band instruments rather than orchestral instruments; these include Yamaha, Getzen, Jupiter and Blessing among others.

Which model should I try?

So you’ve decided that instead of buying a new trumpet, you want to see if the used market has something you’re looking for. Excellent! You’re in luck because there are many options out there that could be exactly what you need. Since every person is different and has their own unique playing style and sound, this guide won’t attempt to tell you which brand or model is right for you—but it will give some tips on how to decide for yourself.

First and foremost, keep your needs in mind when trying out different trumpets. Do you want the horn for jazz solos? Classical ensembles? For marching band? For each of these scenarios, the ideal trumpet will have its own unique features that facilitate making music in that setting. Make sure each potential horn matches up with your intended use.

What options should I consider?

Now that you know what you should keep in mind while choosing a used trumpet, you can move on to the actual decision-making process. There are four options to consider: price, type of trumpet, finish, and material. In general it’s best to shop around before making a decision because there will be differences in price. If you’re looking for vintage trumpets then they’ll cost more money, but consider how much they’re worth and how much their value will increase over time. When deciding what type of trumpet is right for you make sure to do research on it so you don’t end up regretting your purchase later! Another option is buying one with a durable finish so that it will last longer. Finally decide if a brass or silver trumpet is right for you!

Test driving a new trumpet

When it comes to buying a trumpet, you’ll want to consider your budget, how much the instrument will grow with you, and how long you plan to keep the trumpet. The better the trumpet is made, the less likely it will be that repairs will be needed in the future. If a used trumpet has been repaired more than once in its lifetime, it may be time to look at another instrument.

A good way to determine whether or not repairs have been done on an older trumpet is by looking at how worn out the valves are. If they aren’t worn out too badly, there’s a good chance it’s never been overhauled (taken apart and cleaned) before – which means that if you buy this trumpet today and sell it tomorrow, you should get about what you paid for it. When shopping for any type of musical instrument – including a used trumpet – we recommend looking for one with a good tone and then test driving (or playing) each one before making your final decision.

Check out the trumpet’s valves, valve casings and slides.

Look at the horn’s bell.

Next up, turn the horn over and remove the mouthpiece. The alignment of the leadpipe should look straight with no dents or signs of corrosion. For trumpets that aren’t lacquered, look down into the bell to check if there are any cracks, wear and tear, or signs of corrosion. If there are, this can be an indicator that the trumpet has been abused by its previous owner(s). The valve casing is another important thing to check. Look for signs that it’s loose or has come apart from the trumpet body. This is a common repair which you should keep in mind when negotiating your final price._

Blow on the horn and make sure it works.

The first thing you should do is play some notes on the instrument. Make sure that it has a good sound and that all of the notes are in tune. If it sounds “off”, then something may be wrong with the instrument and you should move on to another one.

Check for pitch stability.

You want to make sure that each note plays at a consistent pitch, as well as making sure that every note is in tune with itself from low to high pitches. If any of the notes fluctuate too much in pitch, then you will find it difficult to play with others or solo along using sheet music. It’s also important because other people listening might not get what they want out of your playing if there isn’t a sense of consistency behind it all!

Test out each valve individually by playing some scales or arpeggios while keeping one hand still (the left hand). For example, when testing out valve three (the third valve), place your right thumb on top of this valve without pressing down any others at all–then start playing some different notes by moving just your fingers around without activating any other valves whatsoever!

Do you like the way it sounds?

The first thing you’re going to want to do is make sure the trumpet sounds good. It’s hard for a non-professional musician to judge this, but it’s not impossible. I would recommend getting a second opinion from someone who plays the trumpet. Have that person listen and then use an app like Tunable, which puts an FFT analyzer in your pocket. Check the tuning of all three valves and double-check by playing some scales with the tuner on so you can know how in tune it is when it’s being played.

If you’re satisfied with how it sounds, the next step is to pick out one that visually appeals to you, or at least doesn’t have any glaringly obvious defects such as dents or scratches that are deep enough to penetrate through the lacquer surface coating that comes on most trumpets (if you’re not familiar with lacquer and don’t know what it looks like, here’s a little primer). This might seem like common sense but sometimes people just get caught up in wanting something so badly they’ll ignore certain aspects of quality just because they feel desperate enough about owning one at all!

Is the case in good shape?

Now that you’ve looked at the instrument itself, it’s time to inspect its case. Don’t underestimate the importance of a good case! A poorly-made or poorly-maintained case is no help to your trumpet—it can actually damage it over time. Here are some things to look for in a good case:

Should I trade in my old horn or keep it?

The process of selling a used trumpet is a little different than how you would go about selling a used car. While both are antiquated and obsolete, you can still get some pretty good sales from them. For the price of virtually nothing, you can be the proud owner of an old horn that sounds like it was made with bubblegum and popsicles, which makes it perfect for backyard barbecues or tailgate parties.

Selling your old horn does have its quirks and pitfalls, however, so here’s what to look out for:

How much is a used trumpet worth?

Here’s a quick and dirty guide to figuring out how much your old trumpet will be worth when you’re ready to sell it. We’ll assume that you’ve got an old trumpet (preferably one that doesn’t have any dents or rust on its bell) of either 14 or 16 inches in length, and it’s not engraved. Take the horn outside at night, put it under a bright light source like the moon or a street lamp, and take a look at the numbers stenciled on its bell.

If you see six numbers, your horn is made before 1950, meaning you shouldn’t pay more than $25 for it. If there are seven numbers stenciled on the bell, your horn is made after 1950, in which case you may be able to expect as much as $50 if it’s in good condition—that’s still quite affordable! I’d say if there are eight digits printed on the bell of your instrument, then you’re dealing with an antique model with a price tag higher than $75.

Where to sell a used trumpet

There are tons of options for getting rid of your used trumpet. It’s entirely possible to sell it yourself on sites like eBay, Amazon, or Craigslist. Be sure to ask a fair price and include plenty of photos in your listing description. This isn’t a bad option if you want the most money for it, but be aware that you’ll have to do all the work involved with selling it yourself: taking photos, creating and posting a listing, answering questions about the instrument from potential buyers, and shipping the item when it sells.

If you’re not up for handling all those tasks by yourself, you can also try selling your used trumpet at a local music store that buys and sells instruments. Keep in mind they might not give you as much money as selling it privately would get you–but they’ll take care of every step involved in selling your horn!

Larry Mazza

Hi I'm Larry Mazza, and I'm the guy who started it all at Backstreet Music!