My first trumpet was a used monstrosity my dad and I found at the swap meet. It cost $10.00, was dented and tarnished beyond repair and the mouthpiece had been stuck in the leadpipe for so long that the previous owner had just cut a hole in the case for it to stick out of. But it was mine! As I began to take the horn more seriously, my parents upgraded me to a higher quality trumpet and my life long journey towards world-wide fame and vast wealth was set (insert rim-shot here).
Student level instruments are essential in the market. Parents who have a child starting out (or even adults who are starting out) should never invest thousands in an instrument until they know the student is going to take it seriously and continue to work on their skill and craft.
As a professional player, I was a little nervous about how to review the student-model Etude ETR-100 trumpet for what it is (or is supposed to be) rather than in comparison to professional trumpets. After all, you'd expect that a student trumpet wouldn't play as freely or stay in tune as well as a professional trumpet, right? A horn that costs a few hundred dollars is supposed to be, well, less-good, than a horn costing thousands, right? So, the real question isn't "is this a great trumpet" but rather "is this a quality student trumpet"?
I was pleasantly surprised by the Etude ETR-100. At under $200.00, this student trumpet is certainly not designed to compete with the expensive pro models, but any trumpet teacher or school band director wants his students to be learning to play on a quality instrument that plays in tune (if the player does!) and allows free airflow. And, of course, it needs to be solidly built to withstand the beatings it can take from some student players! In all these areas, the Etude ETR-100 Student Trumpet delivers well.
The Etude ETR-100 is just what you'd hope it would be – a quality student trumpet. I was instantly surprised the clear tone and ease of airflow. The horn feels sturdy and the valves feel better than I'd expected (many student trumpet valves feel like they were aligned by the students themselves!).
The real test, for me, would be ETR-100 trumpet's intonation. It won't matter at all if the horn plays well and feels good if it ultimately can't be played in tune. I sat down with a tuner in front of me and ran the Etude trumpet through some long tones. I was pleasantly surprised at the result, because the pitch stayed fairly consistent (my own abilities notwithstanding!).
I'm not a lead player, so I can't say I explored much of the upper range, but where I did take it, the Etude ETR-100 played well – I didn't feel the restrictions one might expect from a student trumpet as I went higher up the scale.
The mouthpiece that came with the Etude trumpet is a 7C, a little bit bigger than my own. Every player, even students, needs to explore different mouthpiece sizes under the supervision of a good teacher in order to find the one that works best for their skill level. But this one is fine for getting started.
The case is made of a strong plastic shell with adequate padding inside. One of the first things I noticed was how light it was – which is actually quite smart for student horns. Many students tire of carrying around heavy horn cases designed for adults, so the lighter the case the easier it is on their often-smaller size bodies.
All in all, the Etude ETR-100 is a trumpet I'd easily recommend to any student or parent of students. I just might keep it since my 3-year old son is starting to show an interest in music and I won't let him touch my horn (I've seen what damage he can do)!