Trumpet players really have it good when it comes to professional instruments. A professional trumpet is cheaper than most other professional instruments. Also, every year you wait to buy one, the prices rise. A professional trumpet is truly an investment, and your student will benefit greatly from the purchase of one.
A professional level instrument will last many years with proper care. That means, you need to clean it every month or two and you keep it lubricated with high-quality valve oil. I highly recommend a synthetic valve oil such as Hetman Light Piston on the valves and 1st and 3rd valve slides. A high-quality slide grease such as Selmer Tuning Slide and Cork Grease will prevent wear in the main tuning slide and second valve slide. A high-quality valve guard will protect the finish. Leather Specialties, Inc. makes the best one I’ve used.
Also, remember that one of the things that makes a professional instrument better is the level of hand-fitting and the quality of the materials. The metal is softer which means it dents more easily, and the slides are hand-lapped which makes them move faster. It also means that it’s more delicate, but by the time a student is ready to purchase a professional horn, he/she should have learned to take care of it. These qualities also make them play better. I frequently have students ask me if I think they are ready for a pro horn. The answer is usually “yes” if they know how to take care of the instrument they have.
When it comes to pro horns, there are many specialized trumpets out there(ie. Jazz trumpets). A page on Jazz Trumpets will be posted soon. It is usually not in a student’s best interest to pick a speciality trumpet in high school. That should wait at least until college. The trumpets I recommend here are what would be considered “all-around” trumpets. They work well for jazz band, marching band, orchestra, and concert band. This is the horn high school students and most college students need.
The Bach Stradivarius 180-37S has been the standard for many years, and it’s still a great horn. In fact, it’s what I currently play as do most professional trumpet players today. The Yamaha YTR-8335S is also a favourite of mine. These are the two main professional trumpets I recommend. They are the most popular in many areas for good reason.
Getzen also makes a good horn in the Eterna 900s. The Getzen Custom Series 3050, 3051, and 3052 are even better. The Getzen Custom Series is comparable to the Bach Stradivarius and the Yamaha Xeno. Plus, Getzen Valves are known for being very fast. The B&S Challenger Trumpet is basically a copy of the Bach Stradivarius and is of very high quality as well. The Conn 1B Vintage One also has quite a few fans. Schilke trumpets have many fans in certain areas, but most classically trained players consider them to be too “bright” sounding for classical applications. Still, if your trumpet teacher or band director recommends a Schilke, they are very well-made.
If you truly want to purchase an exceptional instrument, Yamaha has recently started producing the best trumpets they’ve ever produced…the Artist Series. The YTR-9335NYS, the YTR-9335CHS, and the YTR-9335vs are some of the best production trumpets ever made, and while they are expensive compared to the rest of the trumpets on this page, they are very near what a saxophone player would pay for a professional instrument. One of these trumpets will probably my next purchase when my Bach wears out.