How To Buy Used Trumpets

Brand new instruments can be quite expensive. Prices range from a few hundred dollars for a beginner model, to tens of thousands of dollars for a professional grade instrument. While it’s certainly true that you get what you pay for, a used instrument can give you all the benefits of a new one without the hefty price tag. Getting a used trumpets in Los Angeles can be as simple as going to your friendly neighborhood music store. Here’s short guide on finding the right used trumpet for you.

How To Gauge Condition Quickly

trumpet maintenance case photo

Right off the bat, it’s important to know if the trumpet you’re looking at is in playable condition. Since you’re buying a used instrument, you should expect there to be some cosmetic damage. Small dents won’t effect the tone too much, but large dents, cracks in the bell, and rust are all signs that you should look for a different instrument. It can be hard to suss out these issues from pictures on the Internet, so we advise buying your used trumpets locally in Los Angeles. That way you can pick it up, inspect every piece, and play it a little to make sure it’s a good fit and in playable condition.

Inspecting Each Part

trumpet with each piece marked

After a cursory inspection of the instrument for major issues, it’s time to test out the trumpet’s valves, valve casings, and slides. Make sure that the valves move smoothly without sticking. Don’t be alarmed if they stick. Apply some valve grease and try again. If they still stick, the instrument will need repairs. In any case, you should remove the valve cap and inspect the valve casings. Broken springs and grooves worn into the the casing are indicators that the trumpet hasn’t been well maintained.

Make sure to test both water keys. The mechanism should be smooth and the pads should seat well. Along with that, try to move the main tuning slide. Even a small dent can lock the tuning slide in place, which would require repairs.

Things to Keep in Mind During Testing

trumpet sitting on top of trumpet case

When trying out a used trumpet, there are a few key things to watch out for. After checking for obvious damage, insert your mouthpiece and begin playing. It’s a good idea to bring a tuner with you, or have a tuning app on your phone. That way you can make sure the pitch remains stable across registers. Beyond keeping the correct pitch, the trumpet should sound good. Bring a friend with more experience along with you if you’re not sure what you’re looking for. It’s always good to have a second opinion when checking out an instrument.

Can I Find A Used Trumpet Online?

trumpet spit valve being actuated

When searching for a used trumpet, it’s always better to see the instrument in person before you purchase it. While where are online marketplaces that have an extensive selection of used instruments, it comes with a certain amount of risk. The instrument could get damaged in shipping, or you could have missed a key issue while looking at the photos. There’s less of a risk when buying from a reputable vendor on, but first time buyers should stay away from marketplaces like Ebay until they’re more familiar with the process.

Buying a trumpet on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace offers a convenient middle ground because you can browse online and check the instrument out in person. When meeting someone about an instrument, don’t feel pressured to purchase it until you ensure the instrument is good condition. Don’t buy with any seller that tries to conceal damage, or pressure you into buying without inspecting and playing. If a seller asks you to send a deposit before meeting, especially in crypto currency, they are likely trying to scam you. It’s best to avoid any private seller that isn’t polite and upfront about the instrument.

Shopping for Used Trumpets in Los Angeles?

Adam’s Music is your friendly neighborhood music shop in West Los Angeles. We have a wide variety of instruments and musical equipment for sale or rent, including new and used trumpets. If you’ve always wanted to pick up a new instrument or brush up on your technique, now’s a perfect time! Contact us today to buy or rent one of our instruments, or arrange a free introductory lesson with one of our world-class teachers.

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