Beginner: Is a C keyed trumpet ok

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by staleyja, Oct 12, 2011.

  1. staleyja

    staleyja New Friend

    Oct 12, 2011
    I'm a newbie thinking of buying and leaning to play with a C keyed trumpet so I can play with the piano and either one not have to transpose. Can I hear some pros and cons from some veteran players? I will be playing mostly hymns with piano accompanment.
    Are those $150 eBay horns with 10 yr. Valve warranties worth fooling with?

  2. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    Beware of anything made in Asia. It may be OK, or not. If not, you'll have little recourse. I'll defer to those with teaching experience for the rest of your questions.
  3. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I am not a teacher and have not even played a C-trumpet so what I have to offer is based on reading numerous other threads here related to that question. There are several issues:
    (1) Some people who can hear pitch very well have difficulty at first because the tones do not match the ones they are used to hearing on a Bb trumpet for a particular valve combination. But, with time and practice, that issue goes away.
    (2) Due to the geometry (lengths of tuning slides, etc) of C-trumpets, they tend to have more intonation issues than Bb trumpets. So, it is important to find a good one.
    (3) The issue of inexpensive Asian models is related to the above point because they tend to have even worse intonation issues than common C-trumpets. The quality of Asian imports is highly variable depending on who imports them and there are some reviews on here for a few of the brands, but most are total guess work and you will become the tester and reviewer if you buy one. If you decide to do it, look at the return policy. I purchased an Asian Bb as a test and when I found that it was not good quality, the seller accepted a return. Another one I bought (Bb) was a useable trumpet and so far is still working OK.

    As far as the issue of the valves, that is the most common complaint about the imports. Even if they offer a 10-year warranty, that does not mean they are good - just that they MAY be willing to replace them. But, in reality, the warranty is only good as long as the seller is around and who knows how long that will be.

    So, short of buying one of the known, high-quality brands (which can be pricey), you are in uncharted waters and the outcome will be largely a matter of luck. The best approach is to try one first so you will know if it even works for you.

    Good luck.
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I use a C trumpet extensively. I think that for what you have posted, that a C trumpet could be OK, but not a $150.00 model from eBay. Even a new Bb for $150.00 is not a good idea.

    Since you are a newbie and seem only to be interested in hymns, a used high quality Bb for the same money would be a better bet. You just learn the C fingerings instead. Because there are simply more Bbs around, they are cheaper.
  5. The Weez

    The Weez Piano User

    Dec 23, 2008
    Wichita, KS
    For what it's worth, when I got into playing church tunes I decided I "needed" a C trumpet so I bought one. A pretty nice one. In the long run, I now use my Bb for 99% of my playing at church and simply transpose the music that I don't have for Bb trumpet. I prefer how the Bb feels/sounds.
  6. staleyja

    staleyja New Friend

    Oct 12, 2011
    Thanks all for your replies and good advice. I will think all these over. I'm in no real rush because I don't want to
    go wrong.
  7. staleyja

    staleyja New Friend

    Oct 12, 2011
    Re: you just learn the C fingerings

    I'm new to this, can you explain this for me.
  8. hup_d_dup

    hup_d_dup Piano User

    May 28, 2009
    Tewksbury, NJ, USA
    It's similar to how trombone players read music. Trombones are built in Bb, but the music is written in C. So trombone players read in C. In a sense, they are all transposing but because they learned the positions from the very beginning in C, they have no need to mentally transpose.

    You could do the same thing by learning to play a Bb trumpet right from the start in C. However, you are not going to be able to play Bb music without transposing (or untransposing, you could say) back to Bb.
  9. staleyja

    staleyja New Friend

    Oct 12, 2011
    Thanks! So are there practice charts for these fingerings?
    Most of my music I will be using will come from hymnals and piano music
  10. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Another thing to consider is buying a Bb and taking your hymnals and some staff paper and writing Bb trumpet parts yourself by transposing the hymnal music. That's not terribly difficult to do, and all of the beginner trumpet books are pitched in Bb anyways.

    You could also buy your own parts with piano...

    hymns trumpet piano sheet music - Sheet Music Plus

    I guess what I'm saying is that, while you COULD start with a C trumpet... you don't NEED to.


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