Best UK Bugle
Latest Update: December 2020
Here are our top ranked picks in the category of best bugle to buy in the UK.
#1 Pick: Rating = 91%
#2: Top Ranked Runner-Up
#3: Another Great Pick
Bugles: A Buyer’s Guide
Brass instruments come in all shapes and sizes! What’s more, brass is often one of the more popular families of instruments in the orchestra. While some people prefer to learn the trumpet, the trombone or the French horn, many people go for something a little simpler. For younger players, as well as for those who are just getting acquainted with brass as a whole, a bugle can make a fantastic first purchase.
A bugle is a small brass instrument which produces similar tones to that which you may expect from trumpets and other similar members of the family. However, unlike trumpets and other instruments in the family, bugles are much less complicated. They offer no pitch or tone control, which means it is, crucially, a brass tube that you control through how hard you blow into it!
Therefore, it should be one of the simplest instruments to learn. It is perhaps a little more ‘percussive’ than other brass instruments, in the sense that you can’t diversify much on a bugle. They can, however, add to a soundscape and help to provide a fantastic atmosphere. They are also a crucial facet of most school and local brass bands, meaning that there will always be a place for a bugle in an orchestra. You can play some notes on these instruments, though they are not as diverse as others in the same family. That’s what can help to make them a great starter option, on the whole.
But where do you start when it comes to looking for a bugle? If you’ve already started searching the web, you may not find many buying guides. However, that doesn’t mean all bugles are going to be ideal for you. We’ve set up this buying guide to help give you additional support in what to expect when you start shopping around. Whether you are buying for yourself, or for your son or daughter, there are still a few features and factors you will need to consider.
Read on to learn more and do take a look at our frequently asked questions at the end of the guide for a closer look at what other buyers like you are asking.
Why Buy a Bugle?
Bugles are some of the simplest instruments you can play. All you need to do is hold a bugle up to your mouth and blow! That’s all there is to it. However, playing the bugle long-term means learning when and where to play it as part of an ensemble. If you’re not already playing the bugle yourself, you may see it used in military displays, as well as scout displays and exhibitions. As mentioned, it also has a firm place in the school orchestra, as well as wider bands.
It is perhaps a little unfair to suggest that bugles are quite this simple. Nowadays, you can customize your bugle-playing experience! For example, you can fit a bugle with a mouthpiece, or attach accessories such as pitch and tonal controls. Therefore, while it may seem tricky at first to know where a bugle fits into an overall band or soundscape, it’s easier to find your way with a few tweaks.
A bugle is also a great investment if, for example, you have a child who wants to get into playing brass instruments long-term. While many children move onto playing smaller trumpets and may drift into playing clarinets and flutes, a bugle is a fantastic beginner’s horn. As mentioned, all you have to do is pick up and blow!
It’s a great training tool for brass instruments as it can help you measure how much breath you put into playing. Brass instruments – as well as woodwind – can take a fair gasp here and there. Therefore, starting out with a bugle should give you enough of a starting point to leap into more complex instruments. That, however, is entirely your choice.
Things to Consider
As the bugle is such a relatively straightforward instrument, there may actually only be a handful of things you need to compare when looking for the perfect fit. However, as always, we are here to break it all down for you. After all, it is still going to be quite rare that you find the perfect bugle on your first time of adding one to your basket!
Yes, believe it or not, bugles do come in different sizes. Of course, smaller models are ideal for smaller hands. Therefore, if you are an adult playing the instrument, or if you are buying a bugle for an older child, you may wish to look at something along the lines of a mid-size option. Full size bugles are commonly available, however, and shouldn’t be too tricky to get to grips with. However, everyone’s learning speeds are likely to be slightly different.
Do make sure to consider size as a priority over other factors at first, at least because if a bugle is too big, it may feel unwieldy and uncomfortable to play. Therefore, make sure to pick something that’s going to be a breeze to work with on a long-term basis.
This is something that can be hard to judge. What’s more, we certainly don’t advise you try blowing into any public bugles in music shops unless you have your own mouthpiece – it’s a matter of hygiene! However, you should be able to get some feedback on bugle tones from reading what others have to say, as well as through watching video tutorials. If you do choose to buy a bugle from a high street shop, someone may be able to give you a demonstration.
Otherwise, the product descriptions on some bugles may actually go into more detail. This isn’t something you can always count on, but it’s worth keeping in mind.
There are different types of bugle available, too, which will dictate the tones and key you’ll play in. For example, a common bugle is the B Flat type which will allow you to play C4 and 5, G4 and 5, and E5. There are also plenty of different variations on B Flat bugles, though these will vary depending on finish and manufacture.
You might also want to think about a G bugle. Bugles in G offer six different notes in B3 and 4, D4 and 5, and G4 and 5. An F bugle will play A4 and 5, C4 and 5, and F4 and 5. Therefore, the type of bugle you choose may be dictated by the tunes you wish to play, and the role you have in an ensemble.
There are plenty of different accessories you can buy to fit to your bugle. Some will let you alter tonality, which is something that is sorely missing from the instrument in the first place. However, not everyone will be so keen to make these changes.
Some people prefer to keep bugle sounds as they are. As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke – why fix it? Your own experience and tastes may vary, of course, as will your intentions for use.
Frequently Asked Questions
While the bugle is very simple on the whole, there are still likely to be a few questions you might want to ask. Here are some of the more common queries people ask online.
How Much Do Bugles Cost?
There is a huge variation in the costs of a bugle. The simplest models will likely only cost you 320 – £30. However, professional models used in marching bands will likely cost more than £100. If you are just starting out, it is a good idea to choose a bugle that is on the lower end of this scale. Otherwise, you may find more professional models a little too tricky to adapt to! However, in time, do make sure to make the investment – especially if you are serious about playing the bugle a lot.
Why Should I Play the Bugle?
The bugle may not be the most attractive or dynamic instrument in the brass family, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth avoiding. Bugles can create some fantastic sounds. Many people really make wonderful music with bugles – and as mentioned, they offer a crucial part in many bands, from marching and army bands to school orchestras.
Is the Bugle Really That Easy to Learn?
It’s certainly very easy to start playing. However, despite its seeming lack of features, you will need to learn how to control your breathing. This is something which is crucial to playing any kind of brass or woodwind instrument. For example, make sure to learn how much air you need to use – you shouldn’t ever play a brass instrument if you already have breathing difficulties, however. Make sure to consult a doctor before you start, if this is the case!
The bugle is a brass instrument that is often overlooked. However, it is a symbol of marching bands and brass families everywhere. It’s a fantastic starter instrument in the brass line, and for that reason, it will likely make a perfect addition to any child’s repertoire.