In this article, we have drummed up some of the best pocket trumpets for a hobby horn-player. Though many consider them a bit of a gimmick. There are a few models from reputable instrument manufacturers that have a remarkable tone and make for a decent compact solution.
Indeed, there are also a few toy-like versions dominating the lower-priced regions of the market but we have done our best to separate the top from the trash in today's pocket trumpet reviews.
With their smaller dimensions, they are a cool travel option, perfect for marching bands and also ideal for younger players.
They have their own sound that will physically never match their larger counterparts so really shouldn't be compared directly but we have done our best to point out the good and the bad in our buyers' guide, but first let's check-out at our choices.
In our opening spot, we have a good example from Stagg Music. It is beautifully made with a nice polished look achieved by a clear-lacquer finish. The bell has a nice curve to it and though it is smaller (less profound) than a regular trumpet can still accommodate a smaller mute.
The valves are made from stainless steel and operate with ease, though we would say it needs a good few oiling sessions to lick it into shape. Some people report them as being a little short-lived but it is a durable core-piece we suggest perhaps having it serviced with a heavier set of springs.
The slides also function well, it has accurate tuning and great intonation which some low-budget models do not have. It is tuned to the key of Bb, a standard trumpet key, and so you can transition between the two very easily the only real difference is its smaller size.
It is fitted with two water keys and a decent mouthpiece which is marked as 7c modeled on a Bach 7c mouthpiece. It has a surprising tone, similar to a cornet with good depth and presence.
+ Good valve and slide action.
+ Surprising tone.
+ Decent mouthpiece.
Why We Liked It - It is a nice model that is priced comfortably, nothing feels cheap on it. It has a nice weight and finish, the tone is warm and bright and it comes with its own trumpet case perfect for its smaller dimensions.
This second model is a premium model manufactured by a family run company with a smaller-scale fabrication set-up that still hand-crafts the majority of parts for better quality control.
It is an eye-catching piece with its darkened hues that give it its Black Hawk sobriquet. The blackened nickel is complimented by its genuine 24k gold trim and it presents a slick and durable option but comes with a heftier price-tag.
The tubes have a 460 bore in the traditional key of Bb, though the coils are more tightly wound to give it its pocket-sized appeal. It features 2 water keys to help keep it hygienically clean. They have weighted bottoms.
The valves have very close tolerance and are stainless steel to give them an anti-oxidant edge. They operate smoothly and give the horn great playability.
It has a sound of its own that will compliment a horn-section with powerful projection but not over-powering. It has a 3c mouthpiece and comes with its own hard case, polish cloth, and lubrication oil.
+ Nickel and 24k gold composition.
+ Weighted water keys.
+ Powerful projection.
Why We Liked It - It is a stunning example of a high-end piece, well crafted with impeccable function and a beautiful tone of its own. The accessories are also a welcome bonus that gives it a little extra value.
Seizing our third spot is a well-engineered horn from Easter that features beautifully precision-machined valves to a degree of 1/100 mm mechanical accuracy to provide a top-quality solution.
It is has a nicely welded durable body, the buttons depress smoothly and it holds great tuning with a powerful sound and a rich tonality.
The bore is 457, the bell is much larger at 3.98 inches giving it impressive projection. It is fitted with a good-quality 7c mouthpiece that is phosphor coated.
It plays easily in the key of Bb and comes with a soft storage case that keeps it well-cushioned and has a hard exterior. Other accessories include a trumpet cleaning suit pipe, cloth, gloves, and lubrication oil.
+ Precision machined.
+ Durable low—priced model.
+ Large Bell.
+ Full range of essential accessories.
Why We Liked It - It is a best-seller worldwide, it is well-built and has a fantastic tone and won't set you back.
Next up a tiny 9.1-inch trumpet with a larger than average bell measuring 4.9-inches that delivers a triumphant, clarion-like projection with rich character.
It features a gold brass lead-pipe which is accurately bored. The valves have good resistance but are smoothed to make it effortless to play. They harbor two-point nylon formed guides for a better glide and are fitted with stainless steel pistons that are good quality and have top-loaded spring action.
The 3rd valve slide has a thumb ring, the whole thing is made from top-quality brass and it has nickel-plated silver outer slides and a lacquered finish. It sports 2 individual water keys for efficient upkeep.
It has a premium-quality mouthpiece with an anti-rust finish and comes with a light-weight case to keep it in.
Now for a cheap and cheerful option that won't disappoint. The PoTr-05 from Nasir Ali is a budget-friendly solution ideal for a budding beginner who wants to branch out.
The valves are well-made and feature heavy springs, which make them a little harder to play but ensure a closer tolerance and all-round better sound. They are comfy on the fingers with their faux mother of pearl insets.
It is nickel-plated rather than nickel formed, but we will let that slide given it is a low-budget model. Speaking of slides, it has accurate forming and presents a well-tuned model (key of Bb) perfect for practice.
It comes nicely presented in a soft padded carry-case that has a protective hardened outer-shell and the mouthpiece has a phosphorus copper covering. It plays with a sweet tone with good volume levels.
+ Accurate tuning.
Why We Liked It - It needs a liberal amount of lubrication but it is a good starter option to try before you commit to buying a higher-priced model. It would make a nice gift purchase for a younger instrument learner to help kindle their interest without a large investment.
Next up a model from a leading brass and woodwind instrument manufacturer which makes for another premium piece priced at a similar level as one of their full-sized student trumpets.
It is beautifully-manufactured with high-quality durability. It is made from a mixture of rose brass, yellow brass, and stainless steel and it comes in a black/red lacquer or silver-plated finishes.
The yellow brass bell is about 3.66 inches in central diameter, the lead pipes are rose brass and have a 459 bore. The bell gives glorious projection and it almost sounds the same as the real deal, to be honest.
It is again Bb tuning and it comes with a real Bach 7C mouthpiece to help produce a wholesome tone. The valves have an enclosed design with top-action springs. The durable stainless steel pistons give it easy action which is nice and quiet too.
It comes with a well-made soft carry case that gives it some protection.
+ Rugged tightly wound accurate forms.
+ Great valves, adjustable third-slide.
+ Genuine Vincent back mouthpiece.
Why We Liked It - It is an ideal candidate for our top-ten with its high-quality manufacturing, premium design designs, and impeccable valve action.
The Mendini MPT-N is a model with an appealing entry-level price-tag with some nice design and accessory inclusions that add extra value.
It features a durable build with a good weight to it and it is nickel plated. It is tuned to the key of Bb and features a 7C mouthpiece, which isn't a genuine Bach, but it does have a high-end phosphorus copper finish and is very similar to the real McCoy to play.
The boreholes are 0.46 inches and the bell is a little larger than some on the market at 3.75 inches in diameter. This gives it a pleasant projection and a slightly deeper harmonic nature.
The valves are stainless steel and have seamless operation once they are sufficiently lubed up and ready to play. They are comfortably finished with faux mother of pearl button inlays.
It comes with a bundle of goodies that include a Cecilio 92-D chromatic tuner, a decent case, valve oil, and a polishing cloth. Also included is a beginner pocket book, a pair of white gloves, and pocket trumpet stand that folds away to cleverly stash inside the bell.
Why We Liked It - It is slightly lower quality than some of the models we have looked at but makes for a far more realistic option. It plays with ease, has a sweet tone, and we love the accessory bundle provided.
This next pocket trumpet is remarkably loud for its 10.5-inch stature. It seems strongly made which is a nice surprise given it has a low price and a lighter weight to it.
It is genuine brass with a silver-plated finish though we guess it must be a lower density as it is so much lighter to lug around. This makes it an awesome choice for younger players to develop their arm posture.
The bell measures 3.25 inches a little smaller than some this gives it a treble tone that is a little more piercing but we like the character it adds dynamically to a horn section.
It is accurately bored with decent intonation in the key of Bb. The valves are easy to operate and have good springy action. It has a water key, you can remove a slide for cleaning although it isn't as efficient as a double water key model.
It comes with its protective storage case and also has a tiny mute.
Our next selection is a ruggedly-built model that is robust and roadworthy. It is titled as Sky Band approved because they helped design and market the horn and use it live.
It features a one-time drawn body which means it has no seams and gives it unbeatable durability against its competitors.
It has a beautiful sound with remarkable depth, it is in the key of Bb and engineered with precise valve fittings.
The entire body has a phosphor copper finish, not just the mouthpiece. This adds to the overall level of quality. The valves slide with ease and deliver an impressive, professional dual-tone.
It has a gorgeous black finish with a design that leaves some of the curved tubing completely exposed with a golden brass shining through. The mouth-piece and keys are silver, it really is a head-turner.
It comes presented in a quality carry case that is lined with velvet cushioning with a cloth, a pair of gloves, and a complimentary bottle of valve oil.
We are finishing things off with another little cheap and cheerful horn to help keep you well practiced on the go.
It is again tuned to a traditional B Flat Key. It is pretty well machined, for good intonation, sounds degrades a little below the B but this is rarely sheet written so you don't need it.
It has pleasing aesthetics with its black lacquered finish and features 2 water keys for adequate draining.
It comes with a nickel-plated mouthpiece that is fairly decent and is presented in a good quality zip-up case that is velvet lined and protective. It has good valve action and is easy to play with a nice low register for a pocket-sized trumpet.
It sells with a broad range of accessories which include a pair of gloves, a soft cleaning cloth, some valve oil, and a stand that fits inside the bell.
+ Affordably priced.
+ Good range of accessories included.
Why We Liked It - It is a good option for those with a lower budget to consider, it has a few flaws but is much better than the majority of similarly priced models.
Pocket Trumpet Buyers Guide
What Is A Pocket Trumpet?
A pocket trumpet is a miniature trumpet which features a tighter wound coiling of slides like a cornet but even smaller. They are sometimes referred to as a piccolo trumpet or piccolo cornet although a real-piccolo trumpet has a completely different form to the pocket trumpets we have shown here.
They have a higher timbre comparatively because of their smaller tubing and bell dimensions. They were not taken very seriously when they first came onto the market and to be fair, many were poorly constructed and not very pleasant in tone.
Their tiny statures did have a lot of appeal, especially with younger players and hobbyists and so, despite their novelty edge, a niche in the market was noticed and some of the leading brands in brass instrument manufacturing turned their hands to production.
Whilst many higher-end models can set you back as much as a thousand bucks, some cheaper alternatives can compete with the big dogs.
What Are The Top Pocket Trumpet Brands?
We have tried to include some of the best brands in today's shortlist but with high demand, there are a few that are currently unavailable online.
The more notorious of our selections today are the Carol Brass premium pocket trumpet, the Prelude by Conn-Selmer, The Roy Benson model, and the Stagg Music brand.
It is also fair to note that, although it is lower-quality, the Mendini is a world-wide best-seller despite brass not being their brand's biggest instrument forte. The Sky Band approved proprietary model is another very popular choice which is a gig-worthy model used in their infamous jazz-infused sets.
Some of those that we simply couldn't get our hands before they were sold-out were the Odyssey OCR100P Premiere, the Cecilio model, and the Jupiter JTR710L.
Pocket Trumpet VS Trumpet
As we stated in our intro it is a little unfair to compare them side by side but to give you a thorough idea here are some of the pros and cons in a comparative sense.
A pocket trumpet has the same register as a trumpet, the same traditional tuning and range of notes, but it has a brighter tonality because the overtones produce are harmonically higher. It has the same 3 valves and finger positioning, it can be a little fiddlier to play so it may not suit people with big hands.
It is a little quieter because of the bell-size reduction, the bell is what projects the sound waves from the instrument but the majority are shocked at how loud they are.
The tubes are more tightly coiled in a rounder manner than a trumpet and much more like a cornet or flugelhorn in appearance.
The valves take a little more work to play because they are smaller and a little tighter.
How Big Is A Pocket Trumpet?
They vary a little from model to model but the over-all length varies from 9.5-13 inches in length including the mouthpiece and bell. They are much smaller than a trumpet (around a 3rd of the length) and the bells are usually around 2-inches smaller in diameter as well.
How To Hold A Pocket Trumpet
A pocket trumpet takes a little getting used to, especially if you have played a larger brass instrument in the past. They are held in essentially the same manner and it is held the same way whether you are left or right-handed.
The mouthpiece pressed against your lips the left hand is positioned around the center of the vertical valves. The right hand sits rested above the 3 buttons with your index middle and ring finger used to play.
Pocket trumpets are a fun addition to a horn-section or marching band they have a unique sound that does make them a different instrument altogether.
While there are many priced below the hundred dollar mark which need scrolling past there are several affordable alternatives available online.
They may not have the best reputation in town but in recent times the standard has been raised, and the bar resets. If you have enough cash stashed away to part with you can expect a beautiful professional instrument with a one-of-a-kind timbre.
They are a little different to play, so a seasoned brass player may feel a little heavy-handed at first but they are genuinely sweet and have a good projection to hold their own and complement other instruments harmonically.
We hope our reviews along with our buyers' guide will have piqued your interest in this lesser-known horn and maybe even inspired you to buy.
If you are buying for a younger learner it is wise to try a cheaper model first, many band instruments get pretty weathered by younger users and some give up their instruments pretty early on which can be frustrating as a parent.
Did you Know
Although their popularity has risen in the last decade or so, pocket trumpets have been in existence in one form or another since the late 1800s. Brass instrument craftsman have been toying around with reducing instrument sizes but keeping the tubing length and musical range for centuries.
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