Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cheap Eb/D Trumpets

Is it possible to get a cheap Eb/D trumpet that works? I guess this is the same question as I posed a few years with piccolo trumpets. My answer then was “yes” but prices have risen a lot since those days. A trumpet that was selling for under £200 then can cost as much as £600 now. With the recent drop in the value of the pound all imports are going to get more expensive. Today the pound is worth 15% less than it was four months ago which means potential price increases of 15% on imported instruments.

I decided to have a look at fixed bell Eb/D trumpets to see what cheaper options there were than the market leading (for music students at least) Yamaha YTR6610S which sells for around £1800.

For comparison, the specifications of the Yamaha 6610S model are:
  • Bell: 120mm, yellow brass (4-3/4")
  • Bore: 11.3mm (0.445")
  • Finish: silver plate
  • Three slides for converting from Eb to D (i.e. no second valve slide, just the main, first and third).

Second Hand Options

Used Yamaha Eb/D models can be bought used for £900 to £1100. Cheaper second hand options around at the moment are the Yamaha 651D at £700-£800, but this is in the Key of D only. There are often older Selmer Paris Eb/D trumpets on sale, but these can have intonation issues, as do some of the older Bach’s.

Cheap Eb/D Trumpets

These second hand prices means that for a new trumpet to compete on price it needs to be £700 or less. Manufacturers seem to have recognised this. There is even a Chinese made tuning bell Eb/D available from Thomann which is in this price range.

This is a list of all the cheaper fixed bell Eb/D trumpets currently available in the UK, listed by price. These are either based on recent Yamaha models or the 70’s Yamaha models designed by Schilke which had a larger bore size but smaller bell throat. They are all made in China or Taiwan. Prices were taken from main retailers in June 2016, but they are often available in sales.

Coppergate £299

This is only supplied by Gear4Music.
Looks very similar to the now discontinued JP 175
Hexagonal valve caps
Three slides for converting to the key of D.
Adjustable first and third valve slides with fixed ring and saddle.

  • Bell Diameter: 120mm (4.72") 
  • Bore Diameter: 11.5mm (0.45")
  • Body Material: Yellow Brass
  • Leadpipe Material: Rose Brass
  • Slide Material: Cupronickel

These specifications are very close to the Yamaha 6610S so it seems to be an attempt at a direct copy although the bore is slightly larger. Surprising to see a rose brass bell on such a cheap instrument.

Rosetti Series 7 £365

I have seen this selling for as low as £295 recently from some online retailers.
Three slides for converting to key of D which fit in a special section in the case.
Fixed third valve slide ring. First valve slide is not adjustable.
Valve block is two tone and apparently an upgrade from previous versions.
Valve material: Monel
Other than that I can not find any information on bore size or bell material.

Odyssey OTR1250 Premiere D/Eb Trumpet £399

Designed by Peter Pollard.
  • Bell Diameter: 120mm 
  • Bore Diameter: 11.3mm
  • Body Material: Rose Brass
  • Leadpipe Material: Rose Brass
  • Slide Material: Brass
Again, based on the current Yamaha design but with the inclusion of rose brass. The Odyssey Bb trumpets have a good reputation for quality and value so this instrument might be worth trying.

Andreas Eastman ETR540S  £699

Hexagonal valve caps. Only available in silver plate. Reputed to be made in Taiwan. Larger bore and tighter bell than the Yamaha 6610S
  • Valve material: Monel
  • Bore: 11.88mm (0.468”)
  • Bell Material: yellow brass

Arnolds Terra £799

Available from Trevor Jones in Bristol. Seems similar to the Andreas Eastman i.e. larger bore and smaller bell than the Yamaha.
Adjustable first and third tuning slides with fixed ring and saddle.

JP257SW £829

Leadpipe designed by Richard Smith of Smith Watkins.
Adjustable first and third tuning slides with fixed ring and saddle.
Set of four slides to convert to the key of D.
  • Bore: 11.3mm (0.445")
  • Valve material: Monel
  • Bell material: Described as “80:20 brass”
Specifications are very similar to the Yamaha 6610S. The description of the bell material places it somewhere between yellow brass (70:30) and gold brass (85:15). For comparison, rose brass is 90:10.


There seem to be two trends in these cheaper Eb/D trumpets:

  1. Those who follow the current Yamaha 6610S design with its narrower bore and larger bell flare (Coppergate, JP and probably Rosetti)
  2. Those who go for a larger bore and smaller bell combination (Andreas Eastman, Arnolds Terra) which is similar to the Schilke E3 fixed bell model and the Yamaha 651/751 D only trumpet, which was also designed by Schilke.

I have not played any of these so I can’t really judge them. I have played the Yamaha and it was very good indeed. I prefered it to the Schilke E3L-4 I was playing at the time. Reports on the Eastman are good. The JP is a fairly recent replacement for an earlier model which was highly regarded for young players needing an Eb for exams. Either of these are probably fine.  I just don’t know about the very cheap ones on this list. With Eb/D trumpets intonation is the main problem. You don’t want to be forced into using alternative fingerings.

My suggestion would be to look for a second hand Yamaha. If that fails then try out the JP or the Andreas Eastman. If you are on a really tight budget look out for the Odyssey. The inclusion of rose brass may tame the tone somewhat and they do have a reasonable reputation. The others may be worth a try, especially if you can get them second hand for £150 - £200.