Know Your Trumpet Parts

You'll need to know the trumpet parts if you want to play. This simple glossary will help you find your way around this instrument, which is one of the oldest musical instruments in the world.

  • Trumpet Bell: The bell is the where the sound comes out of the trumpet. Usually, the bell is made of brass. Some bells are lacquered in gold, which produces a mellow sound. Other bells are silver plated, and have a much brighter sound. It is possible to get a special bell made of sterling silver, which will produce a very unique sound. Sound is not only affected by the coating on the bell, but also from the shape of the bell. The size, or flare, of the bell makes a difference in how the trumpet sounds. A small flare produces a sharp sound, while a big flare makes a mellow sound. Trumpets that are more expensive have a tuning bell that is both removable and adjustable. This allows the musician to change the trumpet's sound by adjusting the bell.
  • Finger Hook: This frees up the other hand of the musician while keeping the trumpet stable.
  • Valve Casings: These three cylinders hold the pistons that alter the trumpet's sound.
  • Piston: The pistons are also called the valve pistons. Blowing into the mouthpiece of the trumpet sends the air into the pistons, which then reroute the air into the different slides. A trumpet has three pistons, one in each trumpet valve. The first piston is closest to the musician. Each piston is different from the others, so if you need to replace one, you'll need to specify if it's a first, second or third piston.
  • Leadpipe: This tube connects the mouthpiece to the tuning slide.
  • Tuning Slide - This adjustment can be pulled or pushed to adjust the pitch of the trumpet.
  • Valve Slides: The valve slides not only produce sound, they help the trumpet adjust the pitch of the notes. There are three valve slides. The first slide lowers the highest note one whole step, the second slide lowers it a half step. When you play, valve slides adjust the pitch of a particular note, which can be helpful with some of the higher sharp notes.
  • Mouthpiece: This is the part you blow into to make the sound. Mouthpieces can be made of brass or other materials, and they vary in size. 
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