I’m finally ready to share my pTrumpet review. In a previous post I introduced plastic brass instruments. More specifically I discuss the pTrumpet and pBone. At that time I had already tried the pBone but was patiently awaiting my chance to get my hands on a pTrumpet.
Please click here if you would like to read my initial review before continuing.
I am happy to say that my daughter is now the new owner of a green pTrumpet. While the sounds that currently come from its bell are not always that entertaining, I can say that we are extremely pleased with our newest addition to our musical instrument collection. It has an extraordinary sound and plays with ease. I have been a trumpet player for over 15 years so I can say that I have played a lot of bad instruments. The pTrumpet is certainly not one of them.
In today’s post I would like to share my thoughts regarding the pTrumpet. I will begin with a little background as to why we decided to get a pTrumpet followed by the answers to the most common questions that I have been asked about this instrument by fellow musicians.
Why The pTrumpet?
My previous post gives an in depth explanation as to why I choose to get a pTrumpet but for those of you who haven’t read that blog, here is the abbreviated story. If you are interested in reading more please click here. In that blog you will also find information regarding the pBone as todays post will focus on the pTrumpet.
When my daughter started to show interest in playing my trumpet at the age of 2 I started to do a little research into what would be the best instrument for her to start with as I was not comfortable with letting her play my professional model Bach Stradivarius. I wanted something that was affordable, durable and light enough for a toddler. At that time a friend told me about the pBone and that there was currently a prototype created for a completely plastic trumpet, which would later be known as the pTrumpet.
I waited patiently for this new plastic trumpet to be released and when it finally was I made a plan to purchase it for my daughter as a Christmas gift this past Christmas. I am so happy that I was able to make that happen.
A pTrumpet Review: Common Questions Answers!
After purchasing the instrument I immediately started raving about our new instrument to my musician friends. I even brought it to a few rehearsals to see how it would measure up in an ensemble setting. Everyone who seen my pTrumpet were immediately intrigued, asking many questions about its playability and maintenance. below you will find the answers to some of the most common questions asked.
How Does the sound of a pTrumpet compare to a traditional brass instrument made of metal?
I feel that the sound created by this instrument is exceptional considering it is made of all plastic, except for the springs in the valves which are metal. I will admit that the sound is not quite as full as my Stradivarius but it did compete well when played in a big band setting. Below you will find some sound samples of the sound produced by a pTrumpet and traditional trumpet (in this case a Bach Stradivarius Model 37).
Click the following link to hear a sound clip of a Traditional Trumpet playing a B flat concert arpeggio (C Arpeggio on the trumpet)
Click the following link to hear a sound clip of a pTrumpet playing a B flat concert arpeggio.
How well do the valves perform?
Once again I will remind you that I am comparing this instrument to a well established and reliable professional model instrument that has been on the market for many years, but I have also played many student model instruments over the years as a music educator. In my professional opinion the valve action is well above many of the student models I have tried. I have played many student models that have unreliable and very sluggish valve action. There is nothing more frustrating then a valve that gets stuck all the time.
I have discovered that the valves on the pTrumpet actually respond quite nicely. They may not be ideal for a running sixteenth note passage at a break neck speed, but not many beginners would be playing these types of passages anyways. An added bonus is that there is no need for continued applications of valve oil, thus eliminating the chance of the valves sticking due to too much or old valve oil. However, I have discovered that a small amount valve oil helps the valve respond quicker.
Can the pTrumpet be Tuned?
The answer to this question is absolutely! The pTrumpet has a main tuning slide that functions in the same manner as a traditional brass instrument. I actually sat down with a tuner just the other day and was quite impressed with its tuning capabilities. I was able to tune to a concert B flat with little trouble. I would suggest applying a small amount of slide grease to help the sides move a little smoother.
It also has a removable slide attached to the first and third valve. The only slide missing is the small slide typically attached to the second valve, but that slide is rarely used anyways.
You can not adjust the tuning of the third valve which is a typical feature of professional model instruments. However, this feature is rarely available on student model trumpets. I am a firm believer that the pTrumpet is intended to be placed in the student model category which makes this a very minor omission.
See Photo below to see the slides on the pTrumpet.
Can you use traditional metal mouthpieces with the pTrumpet?
Yes! The pTrumpet is compatible with all mouthpieces design for a traditional trumpet. It does come with two mouthpieces but you can purchase a metal mouthpiece instead. I think this is a great feature for those of us who don’t like to switch our mouthpieces. I play on a particular mouthpiece and do not like to switch. I was pleasantly surprised when I discovered that I could play our pTrumpet with my beloved mouthpiece. You can also purchase a plastic mouthpiece of any size for the pTrumpet. Please click here if you would like to read about my recommended plastic mouthpieces. The photo below shows our pTrumpet with my favourite mouthpiece instead of the mouthpiece provided with the instrument.
What is the range of pTrumpet?
The Range of the pTrumpet is exactly the same as a traditional trumpet. I am able to hit all the same notes as I would on my Stradivarius. It has a nice full lower and upper register. Below you will find links to a recording of the upper and lower register of the instrument.
Can you use mutes with a pTrumpet?
This was one of the many questions I had prior to purchasing our pTrumpet and the answer is yes. I have played it with a straight, cup and harmon mute. Neither of these mutes fell out.
How much maintenance is required to maintain the pTrumpet?
There is actually very little maintenance required. You can simply clean the pTrumpet with warm soapy water. While the instrument will function nicely without valve oil or slide grease the manufacturer does recommend applying a small amount of both. However, unlike a traditional brass instrument the slides and valves will not cease up if oil and grease is not applied.
I will caution you to make sure the valves are free of any debris as this will cause them to stick a little. I became very frustrated with ours when the third valve began to stick. After a quick examination of the valve I discovered that a small cat hair had gotten in there. A little rinse under running water and the valve was functioning properly once again. This is not unique to the pTrumpet. The valves of a traditional brass trumpet will also stick it there is any sort of debris within the valve casings. Actually this could be detrimental to a traditional brass trumpet as the valves are very delicate.
Would you recommend the pTrumpet for a beginner?
I would most certainly recommend this instrument for a beginner. Especially a young child or beginner band student. A big perk to the pTrumpet is its weight. It is very light. Allowing the ability to teach small children how to hold it properly with proper posture and hand position. The first thing I noticed when my daughter tried my stradivarius was that I had to support the bell for her as it was just too heavy for her little arms. I do not have to do this with the pTrumpet. She is able to hold it and press the valves with no help from me.
It is also a very affordable choice for a beginner. When we choose an instrument for our child there is no guarantee that they will stick with our choice. It is a lot more comforting to know that we did not drain the bank account on an instrument that they may not want to play in the future. I actually obtained my stradivarius at a very discounted price because it was purchased for a child who was not interested in playing the trumpet. That parent most certainly made an investment that back fired. I would not recommend purchasing a professional model instrument for any beginner unless the price is right. Click here to learn more about buying a musical instrument.
Finally, its durability gives us the comfort of knowing the instrument will not be destroyed the first time it hits the floor. We all know that children are not always the most careful individuals and while they may know to respect their instrument accidents are bound to happen. The bell of my first trumpet was damaged within a few months because it was knocked off a chair prior to a school concert. The bell was completely buckled. While the sound was not compromised in any way the appearance certainly was.
The pTrumpet: A Smart Investment!
I certainly hope my pTrumpet review has given you a better picture of the functionality, playability and durability of the pTrumpet. I truly believe it is a fantastic choice for any beginner trumpeter. I definitely give it two thumbs up. If I have peeked your interest in purchasing the pTrumpet you can follow the link below to buy one at a very affordable price.
Questions? Comments? Please feel free to leave them in the comment section below. I would love to hear from anyone who has had any experience with the pTrumpet. Please leave those in the comment section as well.