Why is the pBugle in Bb?

We have received quite a few enquiries about our choice of key for the pBugle so I thought I’d sit down and write a few words to share my thoughts on the subject.

I think that the first point we need to cover is not what is pBugle but why is pBugle? What was the journey we took to making this instrument?

Well, one of our central drivers as a company is that “we believe everyone should have the opportunity to make music”…and we’re brass players so we are constantly thinking about ways to remove barriers to brass learning, especially for parents and children.

Research shows us that cost and fear of making a purchasing mistake along with difficulty in finding a teacher are all barriers to parents starting a brass instrument learning journey for their children, especially here in the UK.

We wanted to find a way for children to start their journey towards playing the trumpet easier and more accessible…this would need a product that is simple, great value for money, low cost and authentic… a Bb trumpet with no valves that blows and sounds great: pBugle!


Our practical drivers around the key of pBugle: 

  • Best access point to learning the trumpet…I think we can all agree that the Bb trumpet (or cornet) is the most usual starting point on trumpet, worldwide.
  • Really affordable…to keep costs down we needed to raid our existing parts bin to build an instrument.
  • A product that can also help recruit and grow interest in existing bugling pathways. In the UK (our home market) the bugle is universally in Bb.
  • A product that is suitable for “bugling” on…i.e. playing calls and tunes based on the harmonic series.

Now, just like the tuba, the bugle exists in many forms around the world. Some are conical in bore, some parallel. Keys vary, in the USA traditionally the bugle is a cylindrical bore instrument in G with a pull to F, although Bb bugles have been used in the past by the US Army. In the UK and Europe conical, Bb is common for the bugle proper but this instrument was often in C or maybe D or even B, (although cylindrical cavalry trumpets and non-valve fanfare trumpets come in a variety of matching key sets).

 As we see, just like tubas, there is no international standard key or bore shape for a no-valve brass instrument used for military signalling and ceremonial duties.

 In terms of physical design and the “double wrap” style of construction I’m afraid that manufacturing constraints ruled this out early in the development process as it would have required a new suite of injection tools, with a huge impact on cost.

 So…the pBugle is in Bb!

 Because we believe that that is the best way to begin your trumpet journey!