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What Is a Mini Trumpet?

Erik J.J. Goserud
Erik J.J. Goserud

A mini trumpet is a high-register brass instrument reduced in length and size when compared to a traditional trumpet. It is considered a specialty or pocket trumpet, and musicians use it for many of the same situations as a normal trumpet. It is, however, much more portable and often cheaper to buy. A professional trumpet player commonly owns one as a backup or travel instrument. A few major differences between the mini trumpet and standard trumpet are the size, cost, and tonalities.

Usually about one quarter the size of a regular trumpet and about one quarter the weight, this instrument has been coined as a pocket trumpet in more recent years. While it cannot officially fit in most pockets, its cute, truncated shape fits the name. They come in the colors of standard gold brass and silver in addition to custom colors like black. A common size is a four-inch (ten-centimeter) bell with a half-inch (11-millimeter) bore.

Man playing a guitar
Man playing a guitar

While there are high-end models of the mini trumpet at similar costs to traditional trumpets, the mini models often run much cheaper. Some starter models can run at unbelievably affordable rates and include protective cases. These hard-shell protective cases can be purchased new and used at outlet stores.

The tones of a mini trumpet vary from traditionally sized trumpets. While a mini trumpet's tones resemble the regular version's, they can be more muffled due to its truncated shape. The sound is similar to a musician playing a standard trumpet with a mute put on the end. A normal toilet plunger with the handle removed can also work as a trumpet mute and provide new tones to the instrument. This would work on a mini trumpet or a regular trumpet.

There are an assortment of trumpet mutes that musicians can apply to a mini trumpet as well. This will dampen the sound and give the instrument a more vintage feel as mutes were commonly used in 1940s and 1950s jazz. Some would consider it more of a circus sound. The mute offers a thinner tone, yet it is vibrant and cutting. Many trumpeters gig with both types of trumpets to add depth to their arsenals of tones and styles. A mini trumpet often comes in the B-flat register, but musicians can also find them in other tunings if they so choose.

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