These 10 Trumpet Facts You Must Know

When you want to learn to play a musical instrument, what are the things you should know first?

Obviously, the basic and primary information of those define that thing. Well, if you want to know about a trumpet, again there is a lot to know.

It’s an age old instrument, so you’ll find it in the ancient history. Its practice has been around since 1500 BC.

How it looks and works today weren’t the same as it was thousand years ago. It transformed from hollowed sticks to metal sheets.

And now it's a bent brass instrument with valves.

However, you can still learn to play trumpet without knowing its background. But here are the certain things you must know about a trumpet.

Trumpet Facts


Today almost all the trumpets are of brass- an alloy of zinc and copper.

But the screws, water key and the rubbing surface of the valves are of different materials.

But dating back to 1500 BC stick, people used horn, and tusks of animal, wood or even conch shells. They were just an elongated bugle with no piston or rotary valve.


Compared to other brass instruments like trombone, the trumpet is shorter and compact.

But do you know, this small instrument contains six and a half feet of tubing?

This is taller even than an average human being! You can comfortably hold it in your hand yet.

Bore Shape

The bore of a trumpet is cylindrical. This means it has a consistent diameter throughout its length which is about 1.48 meter.

Except for the bell flare where the diameter shrinks.

But this consistency in diameter is the reason why it sounds so focused and vibrant.


The first trumpets didn’t have valves. Charles Claggett first attempted a valve mechanism.

However, Stoelzel and Bluhmel first successfully used valves with trumpets.

Most of the trumpets have three valves responsible for changing the tubing length.

That is, pressing the valves, you can reach the various notes of harmonic series.


Different types of trumpets are available you can play in different musical keys.

Such as A, B-flat, C, D, E, E-flat low F, G, etc. But among all, B-flat is the most common type.

Alongside B-flat trumpet, C trumpet is also equally popular in American orchestral playing.


In fact, you can play 45 distinct notes by manipulating these three valves. Quad C is the highest note played on a trumpet since now.

It's five octaves above the “middle” C, three above “top,” and two above the “super” C.

Michael Schmidt and Mark Van Cleve are the two persons who hold the record.

Monel Valves

As I mentioned above the valves are of a different element which is a special alloy named as "Monel." we use the same alloy in marine and aerospace applications.

It’s extremely resistant to corrosion and acids. Robert crooks Stanley invented it in 1901 and later in 1906; it was patented.

It was named after the company president Ambrose Monell. In 1962 it was first used in musical instruments.

Bell Variations

“Bach Stradivarius” trumpets vary in bell sizes. 37, 43 and 72 are the most popular bells.

But these three numbers don’t exactly express the bells size or any other kind of measurement.

Well, there are 71 different bell flair design numbering from 1 to 72 omitting 15 in the middle. These three numbers refer to three of those 71 different templates.

In 1950, Vincent Bach first experienced them but 37, 43 and 72 became standards. 180ML 37 is still the most popular model.

Trumpet Family

There are other variations of the trumpet. For example, Flugelhorn, Cornet, Bugle, Natura Trumpet, Post Horn, Roma Tuba, Buccina, etc.

The flugelhorn and cornet have conical bore instead of cylindrical.

Also, the tubing diameter gradually enlarges towards the end. That’s why these instruments are mellower than other trumpets.

​Baroque Trumpet

It’s known as the ancestor of the modern trumpet where people changed the keys by “pigtail” crooks.

By changing them, the trumpeter could play the harmonic series.

But to achieve semitones, he had to change the embouchure and air pressure. Modern baroque players put holes replacing the visible valves.

Facts For Kids

  • ​Trumpets are mainly for orchestral, classical and jazz music. Sometimes they are also played in rock songs to emphasize short sections.
  • ​A trumpeter plays it by making a buzzing sound through the mouthpiece. You have to press the three keys, also known as valves, simultaneously for changing the pitch.
  • ​Bb trumpet is the most common type. It means that if you play a C note, it’ll sound like Bb.
  • ​Many years ago trumpets were without valves. So one had to control the pitch only with his mouth. That was very difficult to do. Valves made it easier for more people to do so.

Below are the names of some famous classical and jazz trumpet players.

  • ​Adolph Herseth
  • ​Sergei Nakariakov
  • ​Maurice Andre
  • ​Miles Davis
  • ​Louis Armstrong
  • ​Arturo Sandoval
  • ​Wynton Marsalis
  • ​Dizzy Gillespie
  • ​Maynard Ferguson

​Final Words

Whether you are a trumpet enthusiast or a keen learner, you must know the above facts about a trumpet.

Some of these may seem a little wild and weird to you, but those will surely surprise you.

I hope, my article was capable of providing the most important facts about a trumpet in a glance.

Leave a Comment:

John Tomasik says January 2, 2020

Why isn’t Rafael Mendez on your list of trumpeters? I consider him to be the very best.

    OrchestraExpert says January 4, 2020

    Hi John,
    Thank you for your valuable comment. We’ll think about it. Stay tuned with us and feel free to share your thoughts. 🙂

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