The trumpet is perhaps the most familiar brass instrument worldwide and one of the most common with newbie musicians. Almost every student starts by learning the “Bb trumpet” but there are also other options like specialist and piccolo trumpets. The usual Bb trumpet has a lead pipe, waterkeys, a bell, 3 pistons valves, and alterable slides used for tuning. This cylindrically bore brass instrument also has 4’ 6” of brass tubing firmly wrapped in order to be comfortable for the player’s hands.
The cornet is a member of the flugel horn and trumpet family which produces a gentler sound because of its conical bore and firmly wrapped tubing. Although it’s the highest pitched instrument among the British brass bands, some use it in concerts and wind bands. The cornet is for all ages since it is lightweight, easy to grasp and maintain.
A trombone has a lengthy ‘slide’ that serves as a controller to change the distance of the tubing where the air is being blown through that changes the pitch. The tenor trombone can be considered the most common variation compared to the bass and alto configurations.
A French horn is ideal for beginner musicians to learn playing. Among its wide array of configurations, the double French horn is the best but small students may find it difficult to play it because of its size. Due to this, the single Bb and French horns are good alternatives and designed in smaller sizes. It is important to seek advise from your teacher before buying.
Besides the cornet and trumpet, the Flugel horn is a part of the trumpet family having similar finger configuration. Pitched the same way as the Bb, it is usually included in jazz groups, big and brass bands and can also be an unaccompanied instrument. Because it has a huge conical bore, it has the most melodious sound of all in the trumpet family. Some of the well-known expert level brands of flugels are Bach Strad, Courtois models, and Yamaha Maestro. Jazz players will likely select other brands preferred by the brass band players.
The tenor horn is typically played only by the brass bands and looks quite similar to a baritone hone, but a bit smaller. Although tenor horns have different models, they all have similar tubing structure with the same tubing pattern. The only difference is the quality of materials they are made of. Expensive variants used yellow brass or high grade 8-20 and have the lead pipe design.
A little smaller than the euphonium, the Baritone Horn is an essential instrument of the British brass band. It is pitched in Bb with the cylindrical bore whose diameter is extended up to the flared bell. Many new brass musicians prefer this because it’s easier to hold and sustain a tone.
The second biggest brass instrument after the tuba, Euphoniums is famous for its stunning dark tone. This brass instrument has a range of various configurations, including a 3 or 4 valve instrument with or without a compensating system. It uses a mouthpiece similar to large bore baritone horn and trombone.
Appearing first in the mid 19th century, it is one of the newer brass instruments that substituted the Ophicleide. The tuba is played at the lowest register in the orchestras, bass and concert bands. In the UK, most configurations of the Tuba have 3 or 4 piston valves and a huge bore aiming to the bell. While in other parts of the world, they favour different versions.
Having no valves or other pitch-adjusting mechanisms, the bugle is regarded as one of the easiest brass instruments to play. The pitch control is made through changing the player’s embouchure.