Before we get to our reviews of the Best Pocket Trumpets, let’s consider that reducing the size of instruments is not a new idea. We have made instruments smaller for hundreds of years for a number of reasons. For young people to learn, for travel, maybe just for convenience. However, they tended to be instruments that were easily converted, such as guitars or a piano.
The idea of making brass instruments smaller may have come from different ideas. Trumpets were used on the battlefield, but they were possibly too cumbersome. They go back to biblical times, of course, but the real change may have occurred in the 19th Century with models of the cornet – a small trumpet.
They sound almost the same as the conventional trumpet. But the tubing is wound more tightly to reduce the size and is, therefore, a little harder to play. Their use is mainly in marching bands. Though there have been soloists in Jazz and Dixieland music. Don Cherry is probably the most well-known pocket trumpet player.
They have their own problems as an instrument. And commonly suffer from a limited range and dynamics, as well as often having intonation problems. They are also treated as a bit of a novelty item rather than a musical instrument. Nevertheless, they have an important role in music for brass instruments.
So, let’s look at the Best Pocket Trumpets on the market and find the perfect one for you…
Top 8 Best Pocket Trumpets In 2020 Reviews
1 Stagg WS – TR245 Bb Pocket Trumpet with Case
The first thing you notice about this pocket trumpet is its visual quality. It is impressive, to say the least, and is made from quite a heavy-duty yellow brass and given a lacquer finish. It has stainless steel valves and pistons which are durable and operate smoothly, as well as four slides that work equally as smoothly.
The key to ensuring the slides and the valves and pistons do work smoothly is maintenance. Regularly oiling will preserve the smoothness of the operation. The bell size has a standard size diameter.
It measures 8 inches by 3 by 6 inches, so it really is a compact little trumpet. In terms of weight, it is 4.2 pounds, which is quite heavy for its size but also gives an idea of the build quality. It is ideal for players of a full-size trumpet to travel with for practice.
This B flat pocket trumpet has a lot of good features; It is not only suitable for traveling but also as a starter instrument for new students. It is well-known that pocket trumpets can produce less sound than the full-size version. That is a natural consequence of its size. Nevertheless, this trumpet does produce quite a big sound.
It comes with a travel-ready case and a size 7c mouthpiece. It has a brass lead pipe. At the price, it represents decent value for money. It is certainly not a cheaply made instrument and has good materials and design features.
However, it does have a reputation for having sticky valves. We have already discussed that and how to cure it, but it can still be a nuisance. It does represent a good buy for a beginner or someone who needs a trumpet for travel.
- A great looking instrument at an affordable price.
- Made with good materials.
- It can have sticky valves.
2 Easter ETR-330N Pocket Trumpet
This is very much a budget instrument, but still, Easter knows exactly what it takes to make a good reliable instrument. This B flat pocket trumpet is made from nickel that creates a rich, full sound. And has been given an attractive golden lacquer, which makes it look all the more impressive.
It is a little larger than some pocket trumpets at 11.6 inches by 9.5 by 6.7 inches but weighs about the same at just over four pounds. And features a standard middle range bore size of 0.459 inches and a 4.84-inch bell, which creates a very nice resonant sound. It might not be as loud as the full-size versions, but it has all the tonal qualities.
It comes with some good playing features, including a sliding thumb saddle on the first valve. Also an adjustable throw ring on the 3rd valve. The valves are made to be durable and easy to play. They have no air leakage, and all the welded joints are tough and stable. In short, Easter has worked hard to create a decent instrument. To add further visual attraction, there are white imitation mother-of-pearl buttons.
As with all trumpets, maintenance of the moving parts is essential to maintain them in good order. For this, a cleaning kit is part of the package. This includes a cleaning cloth, white gloves, and valve oil. Also included is a 7c mouthpiece, and it comes with a zipper case that is quite sturdy.
This is a nice pocket trumpet with a decent sound and represents good value for money. It is not the highest quality of instrument you will find, but it is still a very good affordable option. It is ideally suited to either a complete beginner or an experienced player. It’s carrying case means it is also suited for travel and carrying with you.
- Very visually attractive and affordable.
- Well made with good materials and features.
- Some may just want higher quality.
3 Mendini MPT-N Nickel Plated Bb Pocket Trumpet
Mendini is a part of the Cecilio instrument manufacturing group, well-known for its range of affordable instruments. The instruments are made in China to a high standard, and this pocket trumpet is a good example.
It is made of good quality materials. The main metal used is a brass alloy, which is nickel-plated, which gives it its silver color. Of course, plated instruments can scratch, so care is needed to preserve this excellent looking finish.
It has a standard size bore of 0.46 inches, which makes it ideal for a beginner and a slightly reduced bell size of 3.75 inches. This does affect the sound a little in terms of its projection and volume. But not so much that it would stop you from buying the instrument.
It has smooth action valves with imitation mother-of-pearl tops to add to its good looks. The lead pipe is phosphorus copper, which is a big plus. That material is only used in more expensive instruments. It comes with a size 7c mouthpiece.
It is a regular-sized pocket trumpet and measures 12 inches by 10 by 6 inches and weighs just 4.35 pounds. The weight is an issue with a new player because it takes time to get used to the playing position. If the instrument is too heavy, then fatigue becomes an issue. It is though a nice compact design and easy to carry around.
There are some extras included in the package. A pair of white gloves and a cleaning cloth with the so important valve oil are included. But Mendini also includes a chromatic tuner so you can get the correct pitch. It also comes with a reasonably sturdy zipper carry bag.
This is a good starter pocket trumpet and, along with the extras includes, is all the new player needs. It is not the best quality starter instrument you will see, but it has a nice sound and is well made with good materials. At this price point, it is a good option for a beginner from a recognized manufacturer. This makes it one of the best Best Pocket Trumpets you will find for the money.
- Well-built with good materials at an affordable cost,
- Nice sound with some good extras included.
- Some may want a higher quality instrument.
4 Bach Prelude PT711 Pocket Trumpet (Black Lacquer)
We usually like to start a review by commenting on the look of the instrument. First impressions and all that. We’ll give that a miss with this Pocket Trumpet from Conn-Selmer.
It is a B flat instrument that is made from yellow brass. In fact, most of the instrument is made from yellow brass, though you would never know it. This includes the Bell; the Lead pipe is made from Rose brass.
It has a good bore size of 0.459, ideal for a beginner and stainless steel pistons. There is a 3rd valve fixed ring adjustment. It comes with a Bach 7c mouthpiece and comes with a nylon case that is soft and little protection. And is possibly a little larger than some other pocket trumpets at 14 inches by 7 by 10 inches. It also appears to be slightly heavier at 4.9 pounds.
Selmer, one half of the manufacturer, was at one time a well-respected manufacturer of musical instruments in Europe. So it begs the question, is the addition of whatever Conn brings to the table worth it? It doesn’t seem to be if they consider this a reasonable instrument. And, bear in mind, it is not cheap either.
Conn-Selmer is owned by Steinway, so someone in the midst of all that made the decision that this looks good. Perhaps they had the dosage on their medication wrong that day.
It plays and sounds quite nice; it must be said. But not really any better than instruments costing quite a bit less. We suppose some will like the color scheme, but for us, no thank you.
Can you imagine what that is going to look like after it gets a few scratches? And, of course, when the black lacquer starts to peel off? That’ll be nice.
- It does play quite nicely and has a decent sound.
- Quite Expensive.
- The least said about the way it looks, the better.
5 Sky Band Approved Brass Bb Pocket Trumpet
This seems to be another company that is of the opinion that painting their instruments is a good idea. It is disappointing because it seems to be based on the idea of ‘look at me, everyone.’ Maybe they need a little rethink and design an instrument that says instead ‘listen to me.’
Despite the comments by the manufacturer that it is easy to master as an instrument, no trumpet is that. Students will have the same learning curve to go through with this instrument as any other.
It has a budget feel to it, but there are pocket trumpets that are cheaper. And is made from phosphorus as against the usual yellow brass. It is actually phosphor-bronze and is actually mostly copper. This use of high copper alloys is common with lower-level brass instruments.
It produces a reasonable sound but appears to have a problem with sticky valves. This, of course, can be rectified by maintenance with valve oil. And is supplied with a zipper case, cleaning cloth and gloves along with the valve oil.
It is a fairly standard size at 12 inches by 5 by 8 inches and weighs 4 pounds, and is therefore easy to carry around. It comes with a silver-plated mouthpiece.
The build quality appears to be reasonable, and they have used good materials. We are not going to comment at all on its appearance, which gives you a clue to our opinion. But obviously, some will like, if not even LOVE it!
As we have already remarked about colored instruments – What is it going to look like with a few inevitable scratches? Or maybe when the lacquer starts to come off? The price point is pitched in the middle of the usual price range.
- Good materials used in the construction.
- The appearance. Purple? Keep taking the tablets.
6 Crystalcello WD480 B Flat Lacquer Plated Pocket Trumpet
We were about to lose the will to live with brass instruments painted colors. But then along comes Crystalcello to restore our faith in instrument manufacture.
This is a Pocket trumpet in the key of B flat that is very much a budget model. Nevertheless, it is well made with good materials and has a sound that is more than acceptable. It is a standard size for a pocket trumpet measuring 12 inches by 9.6 by 6 inches.
It weighs a little under 4 pounds, which for a student is an important issue. New players sometimes have difficulties in holding the trumpet in its playing position for any length of time. It is not surprising, as it is not the most natural of stances. Therefore the lighter, the better.
It is a lacquer-plated instrument with a nickel mouthpiece. There seem to be no problems with sticky valves with this instrument. Regular maintenance will be necessary, though, as it is with all instruments.
This is a presentable instrument at a very affordable price. Designed especially with the starter in mind, it does its job very well and is a cost-effective option. It also has a nice conventional look about it.
It comes with a very good hard case that is velvet-lined. Some maintenance equipment is included in the form of gloves, cleaning cloth, and valve oil. Not one of the Best Pocket Trumpets around, but at this price point, a good value for money buy.
- A good looking instrument at a very affordable price.
- Nicely made and sounds good as a starter instrument.
- Some will just want a higher level of quality.
7 Queen Brass Pocket Trumpet
This Pocket Trumpet from Queen brass is a nice looking instrument manufactured in a very traditional style. It is made of yellow brass and has an impressive chrome-plated finish. It has a rather small Bell size even for a pocket trumpet at three and a quarter inches.
The size of the Bell or flare can have a marked effect on the sound of the instrument. With a smaller bell, the sound tends to be a bit sharper and might even be called ‘tinny’ in extreme cases. A larger Bell will produce a richer warm sound. The nature of the pocket trumpet, though is that it is scaled down in size, and a smaller bell size is common, although this size is quite small.
This instrument has a fairly standard size at 11.2 inches by 8 by 4.6 inches. It is quite light though weighing just 3.7 pounds. This, as we have discussed elsewhere, is a good thing for a student player. Incurring less playing fatigue.
A size 7c mouthpiece is included along with a zipper case. It is set at a very affordable price point, which makes this instrument an attractive option for a complete beginner. Some corners have been cut in its production, so we are not looking at one of the Best Pocket Trumpets. But at the price, it is good value.
- Good looking instrument.
- Affordable price.
- Some may want better quality.
8 Roy Benson RBPT101G Bb Pocket Trumpet
This is a conventional pocket trumpet that has some good features. It is made from yellow brass and has a gold lacquer finish that makes it look very impressive. It produces a well-rounded tone that is maybe a little darker than usual for these smaller trumpets.
The valves and pistons are stainless steel with a top spring action. This creates a smooth and effective action that has quick responses — a very good design point for someone starting on the instrument.
The valve guides are made from hard-wearing nylon. On the third valve slide, there is a thumb ring. Some prefer a thumb saddle but is purely a personal preference. The thumb ring works fine and helps with the intonation. There are also two water keys fitted to remove the excess natural moisture from use.
This pocket trumpet has a reasonable rather than exceptional sound. The quality of the build and the materials though is quite good, which is an important matter. One of the problems with pocket trumpets is the sound. People expect them to sound like the full-size version. Some of the more expensive ones do. At the budget end, there is a difference, and that is apparent here.
It is a good pocket trumpet without being exceptional, and the price point is about right.
- Good quality build, and materials.
- Affordable cost.
Best Pocket Trumpets Buyer’s Guide
Will It Fit In Your Pocket?
No, of course, it won’t. But we wouldn’t be at all surprised if there are some that think it might. It does depend, of course, on how big your pockets are.
It can be a nice instrument but is usually not as rich and warm sounding as the full-size trumpet. However, if you accept that, it is a good sound.
What It Is & What It Isn’t
Let us clear up a myth about the pocket trumpet before we go too far. It is not a Cornet. They are different instruments. The notes are the same, and the manufacturing materials are similar. The difference is between the flare of the tubing.
The cone shape of the Cornet gives it away. There also seems to be an illusion that the pocket trumpet was used in battle. It wasn’t, and actually, neither was the full-size trumpet or, the cornet. It was a bugle. The Pocket Trumpet is not a bugle or a cornet. It is simply a scaled-down trumpet. Made smaller for a number of reasons, it is easier to play when marching, which is a common use.
Not Ideal For A Beginner
As a starter instrument, it is not that easy to play. You might, for instance, find you need a bit more puff than on a conventional trumpet. For a student that is going to make it tougher.
There can also be intonation problems because of its scaled downsize. It is viewed by some as almost like a toy trumpet. Nothing can be further from the truth. It can reproduce a tone similar to the full-size version. It plays the same notes. The tubing is just more tightly wound.
They are also cheaper, but you don’t need to spend a fortune to get a decent instrument. However, don’t go too cheap, or it will be simply unplayable.
What Should You Look For?
Good quality materials are important. For beginners, Yellow Brass and Nickel are fine and produce a good sound and are stable materials. Stainless steel on the valves and pistons also have their advantages. If you make sure the materials are good, then it is more likely to produce a good sound. Avoid plastic.
Bore size is important for a beginner – an average size of about 0.459 is about right. The size of the Bell also will affect the sound. On Pocket trumpets, they tend to be smaller, but a size of about 4 to 4 and a half inches, you will find projects the sound adequately.
In some musical circles, the Pocket trumpet is not taken particularly seriously. A bit of a novelty really. The lack of pro trumpet players playing them is one reason. But when the manufacturers start painting them black and purple and red, that doesn’t help. They reduce it to an instrument you might see Ronald McDonald play.
It can be so much more than that and deserves to be. We suppose the question is, do you want it to be a serious instrument or a novelty fun item. If it is the latter, get your paintbrush out, but if you think it is a serious instrument, then treat it like one.
So, Which Is The Very Best Of The Best Pocket Trumpets?
For us, the decision is quite easy. We would look for a conventional instrument. No fancy ‘look at me’ colors. Traditional in its design and build, a real instrument, not a novelty. We want a decent sound, of course, and it needs to be designed for a starter. We have therefore chosen the…
This, in our opinion, is the best of the Best Pocket Trumpets. Everything you could need at a very affordable price.