A musical instrument is only as good as the artist who uses it, so it's no wonder that one of the most expensive trumpets ever sold is the one that once belonged to the legendary Dizzy Gillespie.
Dizzy was known for his unique bent trumpets. And before you ask, no, that isn't really a thing. It was a lucky accident.
Dizzy used to play with conventional straight trumpets. But he had his trumpet out at a party for his wife Lorraine's birthday, and wouldn't ya know it, things got out of hand and the dancers Stump and Stumpy fell right on his instrument, bending the horn at a forty five degree angle. What could have been a minor tragedy turned out for the better when Dizzy found that he actually preferred the sound of the bent trumpet. Since then, he'd make a habit of having all of his horns bent so that he could get that unique quality out of the horn.
The trumpet fetched over fifty grand at an auction in the mid-nineties. But, this isn't the most expensive trumpet ever sold.
The most expensive trumpet ever produced was the Yamaha solid platinum trumpet. Here's what you need to know about these horns:
- The platinum makes them incredibly lightweight in comparison to conventional trumpets
- The trumpet costs $125,000
- Yamaha did not continue making them because there just isn't a huge demand for $125,000 trumpets
Why Not Buy It?
The Yamaha trumpet does have a great sound to it, but the problem is that for costing over a hundred times the price of a standard trumpet, it doesn't sound a hundred times as good. You have to spend a little extra if you want your horn to sound a little better than a high school band practice trumpet, sure, but you can find some great off-the-rack trumpets in the one to two grand range, or even less. And if you're willing to spend a little more, you can have your trumpets custom made, or even have them bent, like Dizzy asked of Martin, Renold Schilke, and King Musical Instruments.
Another problem may be the simple fact that you wouldn't really feel safe dragging a trumpet that cost as much as your house around with you to shows. You don't want to wind up like Yo Yo Ma and leave it in the back of a taxi cab, or have it stolen from backstage. It'd be fun to have one of these around the house, but you'd be sweating bullets taking it on a tour bus.
Of course, if you want a Yamaha trumpet just as a status symbol, there are probably a few players out there experiencing buyer's remorse and looking to offload the horn. You don't have to tell anyone you didn't pay full price for it.
If you don't want to pay $125K for a trumpet, might we suggest something outrageous like spending $10K in music lessons? Your band, your roommates and your mom will thank you. Until next time jazz cats!