Conn Director

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Frequently Asked Questions...

What is the difference between a Bb student trumpet and a Bb advanced trumpet?

I used to play the trumpet but then stopped for about 5 years and I want to start playing again. I am trying to look into buying a trumpet from Tristar but I want to know what trumpet to buy. Also, if anyone has any suggestions on what company and or trumpet to buy, please say below please. Thank you.

Best Answer...


Tristar (and other Indian manufacturers) produces what most trumpet players call Trumpet Shaped Objects (TSO for short). While they may look nice and may even play decently--for a while, but the inherently poor quality of materials and workmanship usually become apparent in 6 to 12 months, rendering the horn unplayable. The same is true of most mainland Chinese built horns. In fairness there are good Chinese manufacturers who produce student horns for various Conn-Selmer Company divisions (including Bach); Yamaha (I've been told); and even sold under their own brand (Eastman). Taiwan built horns (CarolBrass and Jupiter) are good to excellent. Additionally many repair shops will not attempt to repair any horns built in India or mainland China. I strongly urge you to not buy one of these horns.

Horns I would recommend: As far as new horns--check the Conn-Selmer website for the various trumpet brands they produce. There are many low cost options and any of them would be an acceptable choice. Student horns built by CarolBrass or Jupiter are fine. If you're looking at Tristar I assume you have a limited budget so I can't suggest a new 2XXX series Yamaha, though they are a great horn. You might look for a used one, even the earlier 2XX series horns are excellent and used ones in good condition can be found at very attractive prices. Many experienced trumpet players swear buy Olds Ambassadors and Conn Directors built during the 50s and 60s--and no one cand legitimately argue that they are not fine student horns.

Now as to the difference between student and advanced horns. Student horns are typically built with heavier construction and looser fit to better tolerate the rough handling student horns typically receive. Advanced or Step-Up or Intermediate horns are usually student level horns with some added "pro style" features. These added features do little or nothing to add to the playability of the horn. Pro trumpets are generally built in such a way to enhance particular desirable playing charactaristics. They tend to be a bit more fragile than student or intermediate horns