The JP159 Pocket Trumpet is an attractive option for beginners, especially younger learners. This instrument is a popular choice in schools across the country, whilst also popular as a novelty instrument or a travel companion for more advanced players.
The smaller size (only 23cm long) and good balance of the JP159 Pocket Trumpet make it very easy to play and carry for young beginners. Small enough to fit comfortably inside a suitcase, the JP159 is also ideal for keeping your practice up whilst away from home. The JP159 features monel piston valves and a bell the same size as a full sized trumpet, ensuring the sound and playability is as similar to standard trumpets as possible. This instrument is available in a variety of colourful finishes.
Having tried 3 different models of pocket trumpet I found that the JP159 was by far the best instrument on the market. The instruments are nice sounding and easy to blow. The sound is nice and bright with the slides moving free and easily. The valves work smoothly after oiling them once out of the packaging. I ordered 15 pocket trumpets in different colours (blue, black, green and red) and demonstrated it at a full Junior school assembly. After the assembly, 30 pupils signed up to having half a term’s worth of free taster sessions.
There was such excitement from the pupils at being able to learn the JP159 pocket trumpet that the pupils paid to get their own mouthpieces so that they could share the JP159 pocket trumpets. I have purchased many JP159 pocket trumpets over the last 2 years and the pupil numbers have soared and the current number of pupils having lessons at the Junior school stands at 51.
Okay, so I ordered this pocket trumpet for a bit of fun. Clearly, at this price point and by its very nature, the instrument was never going to match up to a Vincent Bach Stradivarius!
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality and free blowing nature of the instrument. Pitching was pretty good throughout the range and the bell size is generous for a pocket trumpet, with the resultant sound and projection being reasonably good. The valves were pretty slick after a good clean and generous oiling of the pistons and casings (you MUST do this straight out of the box!). I'm sure the valves will be more responsive after a bit of wearing in. The tuning slides are well positioned and operate smoothly after applying a dab of grease. Whilst the bell size is good, don't expect any existing mutes to fit well.
The mouthpiece was a bit disappointing; a low quality generic copy of a 7C, with the interior of the cup being roughly machined and not well polished. The inner edge of the rim was sharper than I'd expect (although some players may like that). For me, though, the mouthpiece won't be getting used!
The case is lightweight and seems to offer reasonable protection, although the external accessory pocket isn't very generously sized. A minor design rethink might allow some space for a bottle of valve oil to fit inside the case, but I've no real complaints about it.
Holding the instrument for a long time might become uncomfortable, especially if you're used to a standard trumpet, but that's not a deal breaker.
It's fun, and exceeded my expectations for an instrument of this ilk, so it gets 4 stars from me.
I bought the pocket trumpet to practice abroad and felt a little unease when showing it to my teacher who said that it would be hopeless at that price. But he was evidently surprised at the quality and when using his own mouthpiece produced a lovely low F sharp and right up to top F the tone was lovely, G and above it struggled a bit. So it was a thumbs up and well worth the out lay plus it easily fits in the hand luggage. All in all a lovely little thing.
The JP159 is supplied in a protective case with shoulder straps, and comes with a bottle of valve oil and maintenance guide to help you keep your instrument in top playing order.
Los Angeles local multi-talented musician Tim Battig stopped by MVP Music and tried out the John Packer Pocket Trumpet. He likes it!
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