FAQs / Are civilians allowed to play Taps at military funerals?
Yes. In fact, the Department of Defense says a live bugler (military or civilian) should be sought before the use of a recording is authorized.
DoDI 1300.15, October 22, 2007 states: 5.3.7. Provide a bugler, either military or civilian, for the sounding of Taps. Bugler support may be contracted or voluntary. The Military Service responsible for providing military funeral honors shall ensure that there is an active search for a bugler. If none is available, the Service representative may authorize the playing of a high quality recording of Taps on a stereo player or ceremonial bugle and shall ensure that it is available. In general, whereas a bugler sounds Taps in a prominent position, to include a member using the ceremonial bugle, sound systems should be out of sight of the funeral party.