Whilst the pocket trumpet, with it’s squashed up shape and mini size might look like a toy, it’s use stretches far beyond the requirements of a hobby player or young child.
In this article we’ve compiled a list of some common questions about this curious instrument, as well as a list of some of the best Bb pocket trumpets today and their use in the music world.
When it comes to the different types of wind instruments, some are of course more popular than others.
The pocket trumpet certainly falls into the second category, despite the fact that it looks very similar to the standard B flat trumpet and the piccolo trumpet…
The Pocket Trumpet – FAQ
OK, as the name suggests, it’s a trumpet that can (almost) fit in your pocket.
But in addition to that, you can be forgiven for having a few beginner questions about this slightly rare instrument.
What Key Is the Pocket Trumpet In?
An important question if you plan to use sheet music to play with others…
Usefully, though, the pocket trumpet is in the same key (Bb) as a normal trumpet, which means you can play the same notes in an ensemble without any problems.
Pocket Trumpet vs Regular Trumpet?
The tubes that make up the pocket trumpet are roughly the same length as that of a traditional trumpet, except coiled much more tightly than it’s counterpart. It’s bell is often slightly smaller.
That said, it does utilise the same fingerings and play the same notes as a full-size trumpet.
The main difference it the sound which is slightly ‘thinner’ and has less projection.
Pocket Trumpet vs Cornet vs Piccolo Trumpet?
At first glance, you might assume the pocket trumpet shares more similarities to the cornet.
But whilst they may be closer in size, they use different lengths of tubes so the sound is much more different.
The piccolo trumpet, on the other hand, has a longer horn and mouthpiece than a pocket trumpet, making the two visually distinct.
Is the Pocket Trumpet a Good Beginners Instrument?
Its lightweight and compact design lead many to assume it’s a good choice for a beginner instrument. However, a pocket trumpet is not a recommended replacement for a proper trumpet.
Unlike the difference between alto and tenor saxophones for example, the regular Bb trumpet is not heavier enough, or substantially more expensive, to justify starting out on a different horn before upgrading.
What’s the point of a pocket trumpet?
Despite all that, there are good reasons to choose a pocket trumpet.
If you are travelling a lot and space is really an issue, it’s of course better than nothing when it comes to keeping your embouchure in shape.
The pocket trumpet mouthpiece is the same as that of a regular one, so you will have exactly the same experience – muscle-wise – when using one.
Similarly, if budget is very tight, you probably can save a little when it comes to buying a pocket trumpet.
But the real reason for getting yourself one of these instruments is if you are a fan of its unusual look, slightly unique sound and feel it would be an interesting addition to your set up as a musician.
It seems like that’s exactly why free jazz icon Don Cherry chose the pocket trumpet and used it on some of the most iconic jazz albums of all time!
With all that in mind, let’s get on with our top 5 selections for the best pocket trumpets available today!
Top 5 Pocket Trumpets
Bach Prelude PT711
This instrument looks terrific with its all-silver exterior.
With it, you get the same high level of quality that you expect from all Bach company products, and it sounds so much like a standard trumpet that the untrained ear will struggle to tell the difference.
It comes in three finishes; silver plating, black lacquer, and red lacquer. It looks great no matter which exterior you choose.
The three stainless steel pistons move with terrific ease for fast or slow playing and the rose brass leadpipe adds warmth to the sound.
You get a Bach 7C mouthpiece with this pocket trumpet, but you might want to consider upgrading the case that it comes with, especially if you’re planning to use it as a travel horn…
Best for: trusted manufacturing quality
Stagg WS Pocket Trumpet
This outstanding product from Stagg delivers a distinct, mellow sound and offers unbeatable value for a relatively high price.
But if you’re looking for the best, this just might be the pocket trumpet for you.
The yellow brass body and stainless steel pistons make for smooth use in even the most technical passages and, as an added bonus, standard trumpet mutes work particularly well with its bell shape and size.
The possible drawback of this item, based on user experience, is the fact that the valves will need to be broken in quite a bit before they will work smoothly.
Best for: the studio player
Allora Bb Pocket Trumpet
With a slightly darker-than-average brass exterior, the Allora pocket trumpet is immediately recognizable.
It comes in a selection of finishes including brass and black lacquer. No matter which exterior you go for, it will play like a dream and look fantastic.
And whilst it’s one of the more affordable pocket trumpets, it certainly does not play like a budget model, making it great value.
These mini trumpets are difficult to find in stock, so if you come across one, don’t hesitate!
Best for: the stylish trumpeter
Carol Brass CPT-3000 “BlackHawk”
This venerable pocket trumpet brand has been praised for delivering the closest match to the sound of a full sized trumpet of any pocket model, and it might even fool the occasional trained ear.
That means if you were in a pinch, you might be able to use it instead of a full sized trumpet, although you’re sure to draw attention if you do!
It also comes with a nice case and accessories, making it an excellent overall value.
If ease-of-traveling is your primary motivation for getting one of these horns, you should also check out Carol Brass’s mini pocket trumpet for an even more compact design…
While it is not ideal for beginners on a budget, the Jupiter JTR710 looks terrific and plays like a dream.
It features a fully lacquered body and the manufacturer uses a special proprietary process that both makes it easier to play and helps it to stay in tune.
The stainless steel piston valves help with greater ease of play and the large bell makes it easier to belt out quality sound.
The color difference between the body and contact features makes it even more visually striking.
This is a great-looking, high-quality pocket trumpet with amazing ease-of-play.
It’s one of the priciest pocket trumpets on the market, but well-worth it for the refined player.
Best for: the serious professional
Thanks for reading!
Whether you were just curious about this lesser-known brass instrument or in the market to buy one, we hope this article has helped answer some of those pressing questions!
And remember, if you take the plunge and buy one, we’d love to here from you in the comments what you went for and how it’s working out!
The label ‘Discover Jazz’ is attached to articles which have been edited and published by Jazzfuel host Matt Fripp, but have been written in collaboration with various different jazz musicians and industry contributors. When appropriate, these musicians are quoted and name-checked inside the article itself!