One of the best known instruments of our time, and certainly a favourite with schools and brass bands, the popular Cornet comes in 2 types which - particularly for those who are just beginning, often poses the question: what Cornet should I buy?

The 2 types of Cornet

The Bb Cornet: consider the ‘standard’ Cornet, the Bb version is best suited, and most well-known, for brass beginners. This Cornet is also most appropriate for concert bands, fanfares, and jazz ensembles.

The Eb Soprano Cornet: a much more specialist instrument, the smaller Eb Soprano Cornet is rare, and mostly heard in brass bands; considered a slightly more complex version of the ‘standard’ Cornet.

The Cornet’s relationship to the Trumpet

Often confused with the Trumpet, the Cornet’s differences are very minor; both instruments play the same notes, and use the same fingering.

However, they are different! And here’s how:

  • The Trumpet is physically larger than the Cornet
  • The Trumpet is more slender than the Cornet
  • The tubing is different in each which affects the way the instruments flare
  • The cornet uses a different mouthpiece

The ‘forgotten’ Cornet

Although there are considered to be only 2 types of Cornet in the modern brass family, a ‘forgotten’ or hidden 3rd type still exists today in the form of an Echo Cornet - sometimes also referred to as the Echo Bell Cornet.

Made from the late 19th Century until the immediate post-World War 1 era, the Echo Cornet was unique in its physique; including a fourth piston valve, and a second bell, which tapered in the opposite direction to the main bell.

Although many popular and well-known brass instrument makers of the time did make the Echo Cornet, very few were ever made.

What Cornet should I buy?

A difficult question to answer, when considering what Cornet should I buy? it really comes down to what you want to use your Cornet for; what you want to play, and the level of difficulty you’re ready for.

For those who are just beginning, a Bb Cornet is an ideal starter instrument and the one most used, and for those that aspire to be Soloist, the Eb Soprano Cornet may also be considered.

To browse our Cornets, please visit our online shop.

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