There are a lot of low-priced student trumpets on the market.
But most are no good.
There are also some expensive and high-quality beginning instruments, but most beginners don’t want to spend a huge amount for something they will soon outgrow as they advance in skill.
Is there a middle ground?
Yes, but it turns out you don’t need it, thanks to the Eastar ETR-380 Beginner Trumpet.
It sells for a very low price, but delivers sound performance far above that. It also comes with a bunch of free accessories, all of which are things a beginning trumpeter would need to purchase anyway.
In short: it is the best value on the market for beginning to low-intermediate players. Let’s take a closer look.
Eastar ETR-380N Trumpet: Overview And Features
Eastar is a major name in the music industry, and a company that knows all too well how difficult it can be to market a trumpet that’s designed for beginners.
But just because the ETR 380 is designed for beginners doesn’t mean that you should expect terrible sound quality.
Eastar has done a great job of designing an affordable horn that features stable welding joints and high-quality valves. This trumpet is very inexpensive and sounds great, considering the low price. This is one of the best trumpets for beginners.
If you’re buying this model for your child, you’ll be impressed with how solid it feels, the high-quality welds, and the beautiful finish. You’ll also appreciate the many free extras included in the set. All are useful and help protect and care for your instrument.
- Very affordable price
- Stable welds
- High-quality valves
- Carrying case
- Cleaning kit
- Excellent sound quality for a budget beginner’s instrument
Weighing a little over six and a half pounds, this model has a nice heft to it. However, the weight may make it a poor choice for younger children.
Right off the bat, the weight surprised and impressed me. Typically, horns designed for beginners have a lot of plastic parts or cheap components. As soon as you hold this one and get a feel for it, you realize it is quality all the way.
It’s not just the materials The overall build quality is excellent and shows me this is an instrument a beginner will not quickly outgrow. You’ll be able to use it as you advance beyond the beginner level, though you’ll probably want to replace it once you hit the intermediate stages.
The pistons are surprisingly smooth and easy to press. The tuning scale is also incredibly easy to move up and down. The eye-catching, bright nickel exterior really stands out, but care was taken with the interior as well. During production, all of the internal pipes were cleaned three times using ultrasonic waves.
The buttons feature a faux mother-of-pearl inlay. Some will love this, but it does make the buttons feel somewhat flimsy and not as solid as the rest of the components. This isn’t exactly a deal-breaker, but in our opinion, the horn would look better and feel better without them.
The horn features:
- 11.65 mm / 0.459 inch bore
- 123 mm / 4.84 inch bell
- First valve slide thumb saddle
- Third valve slide complete with an adjustable throw ring
- Faux mother-of-pearl inlaid buttons
You get a wiping cloth, which you can use after each practice session to remove any sweat or dirt from the horn’s exterior. This keeps your instrument looking shiny and new.
You also get a cleaning kit and cleaning brushes that you’ll want to use to clean your trumpet at least once a week. Other extras include a hard case, a 7C mouthpiece, valve oil, and white gloves.
This Bb trumpet delivers impressive sound quality, considering the low price. It is powerful, bright and penetrating, with excellent vibration.
This model features with the patented Eastar valve system. The valves are designed to accurately link with each piping. You also won’t have to worry about stiff valves or air leakage.
The package also includes valve oil, which you should apply to the valves before playing it the first time. If you play daily, more oil should be applied each time. If you fail to keep the valves well-oiled, you’ll find it difficult to play.
This model is covered by a one year warranty.
The internal pipes must be covered with valve oil at all times since they do not have a lacquer coating. You should also avoid exposing the trumpet to humid conditions.
If you don’t know how to clean a trumpet, you’re not alone. It’s a more complicated process than most beginners anticipate. You’ll want to perform basic maintenance weekly.
Use the included cloth to wipe down the trumpet after each use. This microfiber cloth works to soak up grease and oils.
If you use your horn frequently, it will need a deep clean once a month. This job will only take about half an hour, but it’s necessary to remove any deep-down dirt and keep your instrument sounding great.
To perform a deep clean, begin by pulling the main tuning slide and valve slides out carefully. Use a paper towel to wipe any grease or grime off the slides. The bottom valve caps should also be removed and wiped down with a paper towel.
Next, soak the trumpet in the sink in warm water and a mild cleanser, for approximately ten to fifteen minutes. Then use the included cleaning brush kit to clean all of the components.
Again, this type of deep clean is only required about once a month, but you should perform light maintenance weekly at least, in order to prevent a dip in sound quality.
Oiling The Valves
To oil the valves, hold one over the sink and use a cloth to coat it with the included valve oil. The valve should then be carefully placed back into its casing. Make sure it’s facing the right direction and that you hear it click in place.
Avoid rotating the valve when you put it back in the casing because this can lead to excessive wear. Blow some air through the lead pipe after the valves are in and try moving the pistons. If you notice that the air stops then you have placed a valve in backwards.
Once the valve is in correctly, make sure you drip a generous amount of valve oil onto the surface, in order to lubricate it. The oil should be reapplied every one to two days. I recommend keeping the oil in the carrying case, so you’ll always have it on hand.
This is a full brass horn. Other models in this price range tend to have some plastic components, but this one is the real deal.
The nickel is bright and eye-catching, with a high polished finish. The tuning slides move smoothly, but fit snugly enough that they won’t move freely and accidentally put your instrument out of tune.
The spit valves have an excellent spring and a good seal. The pistons are easy to press and also have a great seal.
The fact that this package includes a cloth and a full set of brushes is a huge plus. All of the included extras fit neatly in the included zippered hard case. The case has a thick nylon cover that you can use to protect it from rain, dirt, and debris.
The included 7C mouthpiece is also good, though most adult trumpeters prefer a 5C mouthpiece. The 7C is generally used by younger players, but the mouthpiece is a matter of personal preference, so it really depends on you. Fortunately, buying a new mouthpiece is an easy upgrade.
ETR-380N Advantages And Disadvantages
- Lightweight design
- Smooth tuning slide
- Free extras
- Beautiful nickel finish
- Comes with a 7C mouthpiece (not a con for everyone)
- The faux mother-of-pearl gives the buttons a cheap feel
Eastar ETR-380 Versus Mendini By Cecilio
The Cecilio Mendini is another Bb model, that features a durable, highly polished body. Like the Eastar, it also comes with plenty of extras, including gloves, a polishing cloth, and a durable nylon covered hard case, complete with backpack straps.
The Mendini set doesn’t include a set of cleaning brushes or valve oil, which is a drawback for buyers looking for the complete package for beginners.
The Mendini features a first valve slide thumb saddle, a five-inch bell, a medium-large bore, and an adjustable third slide lock. It also comes with the 7C mouthpiece, which is typically meant for children.
It offers very smooth airflow, with great, heavy-duty valves. The instrument itself has a nice solid feel and a copper lead pipe. Basically, it’s one beautiful trumpet.
In terms of sound quality, both deliver a comparable performance. In short, both are great choices for the beginning trumpeter. The primary difference is in the extras. The prices are similar, but you get more free accessories with the Eastar, so we recommend that model over this one. But it’s very close.
To learn more about the leading trumpets on the market and how they compare, check out our buyer’s guide.
Eastar ETR-380 Trumpet Review: Conclusion And Rating
The Eastar ETR-380 Beginner Trumpet is designed with the student in the mind, as are the free accessories you get with it.
While the Bach TR300H2 is a better student trumpet, it is also far more expensive. This package set offers a much better value for money and comes with everything the beginner needs to start playing right away.
The trumpet itself sounds solid, features a full-brass design and offers the type of playability and quality we have come to expect from Eastar’s budget instruments. For the type of quality it offers and the free extras, this model is a steal for the price.
This horn is highly recommended for beginners, in need of a reliable, durable, instrument that’s designed to last for years, though you will need to upgrade before then, as you advance in skill level.
This is not the right choice for advanced players, but it is the best value on the market for beginners, though not the highest quality beginner model (that’s the Bach). For that reason, we give it a Musicaroo rating of 4.2 out of 5.