There are many distinct types of trumpet, with the most common being pitched in B♭ (a transposing instrument), having a tubing length of about 1.48 m (4 ft 10 in). Early trumpets did not provide means to change the length of tubing, whereas modern instruments generally have three (or sometimes four) valves in order to change their pitch. Most trumpets have valves of the piston type, while some have the rotary type. The use of rotary-valved trumpets is more common in orchestral settings, although this practice varies by country. Each valve, when engaged, increases the length of tubing, lowering the pitch of the instrument. A musician who plays the trumpet is called a trumpet player or trumpeter.
In early jazz, Louis Armstrong was well known for his virtuosity and his improvisations on the Hot Five and Hot Seven recordings. Miles Davis is widely considered one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century—his style was distinctive and widely imitated.
Some other notable jazz/commercial trumpet players include James Morrison, Roy Eldridge, Nat Adderley, Bud Brisbois, Randy Brecker, Chet Baker, Clifford Brown, Chris Botti, Allan Botschinsky, Donald Byrd, Bill Chase, Doc Cheatham, Don Cherry, Kenny Dorham, Dave Douglas, Don Ellis, Ziggy Elman, Jon Faddis, Thomas Gansch, Tim Hagans, Roy Hargrove, Tom Harrell, Erskine Hawkins, Al Hirt, Freddie Hubbard, Roger Ingram, Harry James, Ibrahim Maalouf, Chuck Mangione, Wynton Marsalis, Billy May, Blue Mitchell, Lee Morgan, Fats Navarro, Nicholas Payton, Louis Prima, Uan Rasey, Claudio Roditi, Wallace Roney, Arturo Sandoval, Manfred Schoof, Bobby Shew, Dale Turner, Doc Severinsen, Woody Shaw, Tomasz Stańko, Markus Stockhausen, Clark Terry, Wayne Bergeron, Allen Vizzutti, Cootie Williams, and Snooky Young.
Notable classical trumpeters include Maurice André, Armando Ghitalla, Alison Balsom, Hakan Hardenberger, Tine Thing Helseth, Adolph "Bud" Herseth, Malcolm McNab, Rafael Méndez, Maurice Murphy, Sergei Nakariakov, Uan Rasey, Charles Schlueter, Philip Smith, William Vacchiano, Allen Vizzutti, and Roger Voisin.
Notable natural trumpet players include Valentine Snow, for whom Handel wrote several pieces, and Gottfried Reiche, who was Bach's chief trumpeter.