Schilke Small Trumpets


Aside from the piccolo trumpets, Schilke makes five smaller trumpets variously designed to play in the keys of D, E natural, E flat, F and G. These horns are the standard in the industry and are responsible, in many ways, for the high reputation of Schilke trumpets in the United States and throughout the world. No smaller trumpets have better intonation and response than those made by Schilke.

Over the years, the Schilke company has made many prototype and custom D, E natural, E flat, F and G trumpets with various model numbers (such as E1, E3, D1 (pictured), D2, D3, D4, D5, F1, F2). These were made primarily during the 60s and 70's in very small numbers (usually under five each). For a photo of an early Schilke fixed bell F trumpet, click here. These older horns turn up for sale on eBay and elsewhere periodically.

Since the introduction of the tuning bell, however, the fixed bell horns have slowly disappeared from the catalog.The improved intonation and response resulting from being able to change the key of the trumpet by adding a different bell as well as slides has slowly made the fixed bell horns less practical or attractive, though they still play very well in their original key. In addition the performance of the horn can be altered for solo, chamber and orchestral work by substituting a bell more suited to the task.

The E2 below is the last remaining fixed bell small trumpet and it is found only in the price list, not the catalog. This contrasts with a catalog, provided me by another Schilke Loyalist, from the late 60's, prior to the introduction of the tuning bell horns, which lists the following small trumpet models for sale (at $435), all with fixed bells: D2, D3, E1, E2, E3, F1 and F2. The F2 came with an extra bell for G which screwed on the bell tail at the valve casing.

  • E2

This horn is not listed in the catalog but it is included in the current price list. It is most often made in the key of E flat. It has a medium large (0.460) bore and comes with Schilke's D (a size designation, not a key; a number of different sizes can be cut to fit the required key, depending on the sound quality desired) bell, which is slightly smaller than the medium (C) bells found on B flat and C trumpets. It was introduced in 1968 and the E2 can be built in the key of D upon request. The 2004 list price is $2800, which includes slides for the key of D.

  • E3L

This is a very popular model introduced in 1968, and the standard by which other E flat trumpets are judged. It has a medium (0.450) bore (smaller than that of the E2 above), with a tuning bell, and is available in E flat with the D (size, not key) bell, though the larger C bell or smaller E bell may be requested. It is usually purchased with an addition bell and slides to play in D (total list price $3425 in 2004). These horns are not discounted by retailers as much as the higher volume B flat horns.

  • E3L-4

This horn has also been very popular since its introduction in 1974. It is the same horn as the E3L, but with the addition of a fourth valve for adding a lower fourth to the horn's range. It is usually built with the slightly larger C bell and usually built in E flat alone. This is an extremely versatile horn popular among symphonic players and more so today among studio players given the security with which it plays in the upper register and the ability to play, with the fourth valve, lower notes usually not available when playing E flat trumpet. The horn was ordered first, with the larger C bell, by Howard Snell of the London Philharmonic and the majority of the first ones were used in England and in Europe. The conductors noticed the sound quality and requested those trumpets for Wagner and other works of that era because they had a darker sound than the C or B flat instruments common at the time.

The Schilke catalog states "that the added fourth valve and the slightly larger bell makes this instrument ideally suited to the large ensemble playing for which it was intended. This model is also available with the same size bell as the E3L and, at an additional charge, with D bell and slides." The list price of the four valve model is $100 more than the three valve model, but doesn't include the additional bell and slides for the additional key.

  • G1L

The Schilke catalog accurately describes this horn as follows: "The model G1L is the most versatile instrument that we make. Standard, the instrument comes in the key of G with a bell and slides to change to the key of F. However there is a choice of sizes for the bell in the key of G. Three distinctively different bells in the key of G are available. The standard is our medium G bell. Also available are bells one size smaller and one size larger. In addition to the above, a bell in the key of E may be purchased. This bell, in conjunction with the slides in F allow the trumpet to be played in the key of E natural." It has a medium (0.450 inch) bore and was introduced in 1973. It is usually purchased with an addition bell and slides to play in F (total list price $3425 in 2004, same as the E3L).

The three bells available in the key of G and the #5, #7, and #8 bells. The #5 is the biggest bell offered and is approximately 4 3/8" in diameter from outside bead to bead. The #7 is larger than the #8 bell in the throat and both are approximately 4" in diameter bead to bead. These bells are hand made and there may be a slight variation in these measurements. The number #8 bell is the same bell as that used on the P5-4 piccolo trumpet, which would result in a very piccolo trumpet like sound. These choices were not random and are the result of years of testing'.


  • G1L-4

It is the same horn as the G1L, but with the addition of a fourth valve for adding a lower fourth. It is can be built with any of the three smallest Schilke bells, including the piccolo trumpet bell. It is usually built in G alone, though it is as flexible as the G1L. It has a medium (0.450 inch) bore and was introduced in 1976. The list price for the addition of the fourth valve is $100, but doesn't include the additional bell and slides for the additional key, same as with the E3L-4.


The Schilke Loyalist


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