As one of the broadest categories of musical instruments, there’s a lot to consider when pursuing playing a wind instrument. Brass or woodwind is just one if the many questions a musician must ask themselves, then it’s on to narrowing it down to the instrument itself.
Like with any other category, there are myriad options to choose from. To help narrow down the search, here’s a guide to the some of the most popular brass instruments for all levels of skill.
Dating back to the 15th Century, the trombone is one of the oldest brass instruments there is. Its sound is solid and unmistakeable – even in a symphony orchestra, a bold blast from the trombone player is never missed. It’s a little less trendy today than it once was and is considered more of a marching band look than a rock star one with kids and teenagers. That’s not to say it isn’t a valued. In jazz circles, the trombone dominates and its masters, like J.J. Johson and Carl Fontana, are worshipped.
Beginners can’t go wrong with Mendini’s B Flat Tenor Slide Trombone for $129.99. Players love its easy slide and the white gloves that come with it.
A more experienced trombone player may want to consider a more expensive piece of kit like a King. At $2,249, the King 2166 3B Valve Trombone is a treat for professionals who want the sleek, shiny comfort of a valve section. It’s a beautiful instrument and one which will stand the test of time if cared for properly.
The trumpet offers a sharper, brighter sound than the trombone and often adds moments of levity and lightness to darker arrangements. It shines in the middle register between a G3 and G5. The earliest instruments which resembled the trumpet were used as battle horns and date back to 1500BC. Today, it remains popular in schools and normally takes a dignified backseat to glorified guitarists and vocalists in mainstream bands.
Mendini’s MTT-L Trumpet Bb is a hugely popular trumpet for $89.99. The friendly price point makes it a go-to for kids or other beginners who are eager to take up an instrument.
Pros are may want to look to a more sophisticated model like the Bach Stradavarius Series Bb Its price ($2,829) reflects its heightened quality. The trumpet comes in silver and with an elegant brown leather trunk for transporting it.
With its wrapped brass tubing and dramatic flared bell, the French horn certainly grabs the eye. Its the third highest sounding instrument in the brass category beneath the trumpet and the cornet. Its normally reserved for classical music.
Beginners can’t go wrong with Ammoon’s B/BB Flat 3 Key horn for $179.99.
For a fuller bellied sound and higher quality, Hans Hoyer makes show-stopping pieces with startling price tags including its uble French HornHeritage 6802 Bb/F Do for $5,035.
The largest and lowest pitched instrument in the brass family, the tuba is one of the most show-stopping pieces of the band. Next to the cello, there are few instruments which command so much attention because of its size. Its younger than others in the family, finding its origins in 1835.
Because of its size, it’s more expensive than other brass instruments. Again, Mendini makes a great option for beginners with its $399 Brass B Flat model
For a more modern take on the brass look, Cool Wind boasts a collection of coloured finishes on its 4-valve BBb tuba for $1,245.
The corner is similar to the trumpet but is smaller and has a conical bore. Its tone is mellower and less piercing than the trumpet and it’s not as well known by non-musicians. Still, it’s a unique instrument which can add vital undertones to any piece of music.
To hear the difference, check out this video comparing the two:
The good news about this lesser known instrument is that, like the trumpet, it’s cheaper than a lot of other members of the brass family. A decent beginner item, such as the Tristar which comes with a case and MP, will set you back just $100.
More sophisticated versions are offered by Ravel for $343.