2018 Martin Bb Trumpet ‘Sleepers’

In my opinion here are some of the top 3 picks that you can be looking at for 2018 which not only represent great value but are excellent players too. Now this list comes from instruments that I have personally tested and played – I am not pulling off some internet list anywhere. So with that being said here are my top 3 Martin Sleeper Bb Trumpets for 2018:

Martin Imperial (Double reversed tuning slide) Bb Trumpet

Absolutely the best value for money in a horn if you are looking for that Committee feel and tone. I cannot keep these in stock and anyone who tries these keeps buying them.

Now, not all are created equal – look for the earliest serial number you can find. I think these eventually became the base for the Magna model after the 1960’s. These are little the Committee’s little sister at half to 1/3rd the price (Yes, it’s a commonly used cliché that everything sounds like a Committee – but I do collect Committee’s, as well as other Martins and can tell you with confidence that you will be happy you picked up one of these while they are still good value at under $600. I think retail on these guys will easily hit somewhere near $900 when word gets out and people start trying them. Still a better option that $2K on a Committee from a few years earlier.

IBICO (Indiana Band Instrument Company) Bb: Wow, this one easily earns a top placing for me. Here are just a few of the reasons why:

  • Made by the same workers who made the Martin Handcraft Instruments during the 1930’s (Good quality)
  • Are still available today in good condition
  • Are inexpensive currently and can be bought for hundreds, not thousands
  • The sound. The sound is big and rich and stacks up against the large bores rather well. (I recommend a Heim style deep cup mouthpiece to achieve this tone)

If you can get a nice one under $500 you’re in for a treat. I expect retail on these to be $700 – $900 when people find out about them.

Martin Handcraft Standard Bb:  These are becoming more well known as people are digging back further into the archives of the Martin line (and perhaps my own older blogs might have influenced these a little also) but they still represent great value when they do become available. They share the same design influences from the Martin Handcraft Imperial line – but do not have the nickel elements. I have found these horns personally to be some of the darkest sounding horns in the entire line. (Low on overtones and very flat sounding – which is what a lot of people are preferring for small group work and intimate settings)

Expect to pay up a bit one one of these – but anything under $700 is a good buy. They retail around the $900 to $1300 range.

There’s my 3 picks for 2018. Do you agree, have you tried them yet?