Buy or Rent Your First Trumpet?

If you want to learn the trumpet, then you’ll need to find a great music teacher and sign up for some trumpet lessons. (At Sage Music, we have that covered with amazing, dedicated teachers who can teach you how to become a great musician.) But you’ll also need a trumpet.

When you’re looking for a trumpet, you have two main choices: Buy or rent an instrument. Both options can work, but here are a few things to consider as you decide how to get your first trumpet.

What You Need in Your First Trumpet

Whether you buy or rent a trumpet, you’ll need an instrument that is easily playable and tuneable. Your first trumpet doesn’t need to be professional quality, but instruments that are easy to play often cost more than some of the cheaper, poorer quality options. Don’t buy a cheap trumpet just because it’s affordable. You’ll probably struggle to play it, and you’ll definitely have to put money into repairs. Plus, if you can’t play the instrument in tune and the instrument itself is holding you back, you’ll find that choosing that cheaper instrument really wasn’t worth the money you saved.

A better quality trumpet will retain more of its value. When you decide to sell it so you can upgrade, you’ll get more of your money back than you would if you had bought a cheaper, lower quality instrument.  

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Affording Your First Trumpet

A quality first trumpet isn’t cheap, but it’s also an investment that can pay off in terms of resale value, ease of playing, and how well the instrument naturally stays in tune. You may be able to save some money by buying a used trumpet, though be sure to have your teacher thoroughly evaluate the instrument (more on that below).

Still, if you can’t come up with a large amount of money to purchase your first trumpet, then an instrument rental may be right for you.

With a rental, you’ll usually pay a monthly rental fee for the instrument. Some stores even offer rent to own programs, in which, after a few years of renting, you own your instrument outright.

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Paying for Repairs

Any instrument will eventually need repairs and maintenance; the same is true of your first trumpet. You should budget for the occasional repair, which can happen if a valve sticks or you drop or damage the trumpet.

When you own your trumpet outright, you are responsible for the full cost of these repairs. When you rent your trumpet, you may or may not be responsible for the repairs, depending on your rental agreement. Some rental companies offer damage waivers and include the repairs in your rental agreement.

The one issue you may encounter with a damage waiver, though, is that you must use the specified instrument technician or shop that the rental company chooses. This means that you may be dealing with wait times that would be longer than you’d encounter if you were able to choose your own repair technician or shop. However, some rental companies will also provide you with a loaner trumpet until your own instrument is repaired. Be sure to thoroughly read the rental agreement so that you understand what is and what is not included.

trumpet new yorkChoosing the Right Instrument

Whether you decide that renting or buying a trumpet is right for you, it’s important that you choose an instrument that is right for your experience level, your goals, and your needs.

Start your search for a trumpet by talking with your music teacher about your goals. Do you want to play in a marching band? Want to learn jazz? Do you need an instrument that you can learn a classical repertoire on with the goals of auditioning into an ensemble? Each of these music styles benefits from a different type of sound, but a versatile instrument can allow you to explore different styles and opportunities without having to invest in multiple instruments.

Your teacher will be able to advise you about particular trumpet brands they recommend, and can also tell you about brands and models to avoid. Some brands are known for producing a great tone, staying in tune well through different octaves, and for being durable. These are all great benefits to look for in a quality first instrument. Your teacher can also help you to choose a suitable mouthpiece that can help you to achieve an ideal tone.

Before you decide on any instrument, have your teacher play it and test it out for you. An experienced trumpet player can find potential issues, damage, or other nuances that you might not notice, and can also save you from a purchase or decision you might regret.

Choosing your first trumpet is a big decision, and you should take your time in finding the instrument that’s right for you.