While “intermediate” level instruments are available, in most cases they are not a good value because most students who buy an intermediate instrument need a higher quality instrument within a year or two. Instead you should look for entry level professional instruments which will allow a student to consistently develop until a strong professional standard is reached. This is enough for lifetime hobbyists or budding professional players. There are exceptions to this rule however, and a few “intermediate” horns are real gems. These “intermediate gems” are listed specifically below. Budding professional players should look at high quality or top of the line professional horns to ensure the longest lifespan for their instrument. World class professionals usually play a top of the line instrument that has been tailored to them personally or a completely custom instrument.
At an intermediate or higher level of ability it is important that a player tries the instrument they are looking to purchase. This is because everyone is physically different which means they will prefer a different instrument. In addition, many of these instruments are designed to specialize in one type of music rather than be a general instrument. It is important to make sure the instrument plays comfortably and can make the quality of sound that you are looking for. I highly recommend taking your instructor with you when you try these types of instruments to make sure you are finding the “fit” for you. If you do need to order an instrument online, make sure to look at the return policy and be prepared to send horns back to try others.
One final note, this is not an exhaustive list of every single trumpet that is available that falls within this category. These are the instruments that I personally have the most experience with and can recommend (based on needs) without reservation.
Instruments on the top of this list are more highly recommended.
Recommended Brands and Instruments
Yamaha – One of the first choices for professional players Yamaha makes outstanding instruments that are impeccably designed, consistent from horn to horn, and sound fantastic. They have three different model lines of trumpets that I can recommend.
1) Custom Xeno Artist Series – These horns are the absolute top of the line for professional classical players. I do hesitate recommending these horns to non-professional players because they are prohibitively expensive. However, if you are a classical music performer I believe that these are the best horns on the market and I personally play a third generation Chicago Model for my Classical Bb and C trumpet.
2) Custom Series – These horns are the absolute top of the line however, they were designed with a particular artist in mind and you will see a name in the description for each of these instruments. As a result these instruments are fairly specialized to a specific kind of playing with three of the four being more commercially minded instruments. If these horns work well for you and match the sound you are looking for they are fantastic instruments that will last a lifetime. I do hesitate recommending these horns to non-professional players because some of them are prohibitively expensive. However, these do vary in price considerably so they are worth a look. I personally play a 8335LA for my commercial playing.
3) Xeno Series – If you are a student player, hobbyist player, or budding professional I can easily recommend looking at the Xeno series from Yamaha. This series offers a multitude of well designed, consistent, and well playing horns. The various options in this series allow a player to find the blow resistance, sound, and projection that they are looking for. With proper care these horns will last a lifetime. Of the different series that Yamaha makes these are also generally the most available at music stores to try in person.
Bach Stradivarius – One of the first choices for professional players Bach makes fantastic instruments. Historically the brand has had consistency issues so make sure to play test the EXACT instrument you are purchasing. These horns are top of the line and are played by professionals all around the world. Bach offers many variations of their products which are fairly available in music stores to try.
Jupiter – JTR 1100 – This horn is one of the intermediate gems. If you are looking for a solid all around trumpet at a good price point you should absolutely consider this instrument. I have several students (past and present) who use this instrument and I have never been able to find fault with them. While this isn’t a fully professional level instrument it is a solid horn that will last a player a lifetime if taken care of.
Carol Brass – Carol Brass is a newer company based out of Taiwan. They make excellent all around instruments that are fantastic for a student or hobbyist player. In addition, they are available at a great price. They have several horn models designed for varying player needs so be sure to try several horns. These can be a bit tricky to find in a store however, they are available on Amazon.