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[Solved] Which Instrument for Taps

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Topic starter

Hello I am going to have the honor of sounding Taps at a veterans function and I just wanted to get your opinion on what instrument would be best to use. When playing Taps how everything looks is also important. All the options I am going to list are American made instruments that are appropriate and approved by all Taps regulations. The military does not actually require US built instruments but they definitely have a preference for them. Option one Kanstul G bugle with copper bell beautiful instrument that you don’t see much possibly owned by the Naval Academy before I got it but can’t prove it. In my opinion there is something special about sounding Taps in G. Also because you are in G it is actually easier. Downside you have to make sure your brain is thinking in G or you will miss the first note. Option 2 just use my normal B flat trumpet I am use to playing it the military uses this option most often. If you are using a trumpet people assume you are actually playing it for real where if you use a bugle sometimes people think it is one of the fake bugles with a speaker. Option 3 use a cornet that was purchased by the United States Army in 1916 and has markings stamped on the bell proving it. Advantage has a great story and is a great piece of history disadvantage weird shape and very few people will actually understand that it is a cornet. Anyways let me know what your thoughts are.

1 Answer

Hi Roger,

First of all, congratulations. It is always an honor to play taps. 

I think my response may be late, but it will hopefully still be useful in the future. 

Play the horn you sound best on. That is the best advice I can give. 

Having said that, I would play the cornet. Bb trumpet looks weird to me for taps and the bugle although fitting does require a very solid ear to land the notes just right.


Hope that helps!


Roger Rheault Topic starter 10/07/2022 3:21 am

@trumpetheadquarters your response was just in time I did end up using the cornet it went extremely well I had many comments on how good I sounded and the veteran’s group I played for definitely wants me at future events. The problem with Taps jobs are the warm up and when you actually play are hours a part. And you have to just walk up there and just get it right.

TrumpetHeadquarters 13/07/2022 8:25 pm

Yes! That is what makes taps jobs tricky and a bit nerve wracking. I would practice this by mimicking the experience at home. I would warm-up, wait 2 hours and play it. wait 2 hours and play it. etc. Eventually I got it to be perfect each and every time the 4-5 days leading up to my first taps gig. This was when I was 18 yrs old. I've used the same practice technique ever since and it hasn't failed me yet!


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