Hand position

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by tpter1, May 25, 2006.

  1. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

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    This was inspired by Wilmer's Vibrato discussion.

    How would you describe your hand position on the horn? My left hand varies. sometimes I dig in and shove all my fingers in, pinky on top of the 3rd slide and ring finger in the ring (if I really have to get on the horn for the stronger side of f to fff) or I back out to just the tips if I have to play something really technical or light, and then the pinky goes under the 3rd slide, thumb just barely in the ring on the 1st slide. Right hand is curved like the letter C or gently holding a tennis ball, thumb between 1st and 2nd valve casings under the leadpipe, pinky floating above the ring.
     
  2. Eclipsehornplayer

    Eclipsehornplayer Forte User

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    Sep 14, 2005
    Metro Detroit
    Hey Glenn,

    Well, let's see.

    Left hand: I always hold the horn the same regardless of the dynamics of the music I'm playing. Pinky finger on top of third valve slide, ring finger in third valve slide other fingers wrapped around the valve body. Thumb resting comfortable on the 1st valve slide trigger.

    Right hand: In a "C" also index middle and ring fingers resting on top of the 1st 2nd and 3thd valve buttons respectively. Pinky placed "inside" the pinky hook. And thumb between the 1st and 2nd valves.

    Early on my music teachers who were sticklers for that pinky hook made sure our pinky's never came out of it! I got my knuckles cracked with a ruler early on when that could still happen in public school for taking my pinky out of that hook! Needless to say it never leaves.
     
  3. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Yee HAW!
    John , try the pinky out of the hook. Honest. There are tendons in the hand that seem to be common to the 3rd finger and pinky. Locking the pinky down slows down your 3rd valve finger action. Just let the blamed thing (pinky) wave around like a granny drinking tea out of a porcelain cup. The only reasons for having the pinky in the hook (besides habit) are when playing with one hand (as in using a plunger mute or picking up/removing a mute with the other hand) or turning pages with the left hand. I'll also "carry" the horn this way since it's more secure and prevents the horn from "slipping out of my fingers".

    When I started teaching myself to play trumpet I had a sticky 3rd slide. Moving the slide tended to "upset" my "set" due to unnecessary hand movement. Eventually I go the 3rd slide adjusted and aligned so I could move it fairly easily (sometimes too easily!) with my 2nd finger so I have gravitated towards the "Vulcan" grip.... first finger lightly holding the 3rd valve casing, 2nd finger in the 3rd valve ring, ring finger lightly holding the 3rd valve casing below the 3rd slide, and 4th finger either just below the 3rd finger or sometimes "under" the bottom cap of the 3rd valve. I find it makes it harder to "apply pressure" and the 3rd valve is still easy to move. It helps to have a horn (s) that is properly balanced "fore and aft".
     
  4. connloyalist

    connloyalist Pianissimo User

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    May 1, 2006
    Netherlands
    Left hand: index and middle fingers all the way around 3rd valve casing, ring finger in the 3rd slide ring and pinky on top of the 3rd slide behind the ring. UNLESS I need to do a lot of 3rd slide work (which happens quite often since I usually play 3rd trumpet), then I will put my pinky in the 3rd slide ring and add the ring finger to the index and middle finger. I find it easier to get the proper reach on the 3rd slide that way (I guess my hands aren;t that large?). Thumb always around the 1st valve casing (no trigger or saddle). Yes, when the playing gets "hot" I sometimes grip the thing as if my life depends on it (yes, bad habit which I am trying to break, without actually changing my grip).

    Right hand: pinky in the hook (always), usual fingers on the usual valves, thumb resting against the leadpipe. So, my right hand is more or less "flat". I used to clutch my right thumb around the 1st valve so the fingernail of my right thumb would sit against the bell, but my teacher told me it is better to have the thumb against the leadpipe. It has now become a habit. (Also means that additional flap on my leather specialties valve protector is an unnecessary annoyance, since the only thing touching the leadpipe is my right hand thumb. I am contemplating asking them to make one that does have the bell flap and 3rd slide protector flap, but without the flap on the leadpipe side.)

    Regards, Christine
     
  5. NickD

    NickD Forte User

    OK, for me the hand positon has been surprisingly important.

    For the first few years of my professionbal carrer, including my road time with Maynard, I held the left hand with thumb in the 1st valve saddle and my fingers split around the third slide - two above and two below - with my middle (the bird) finger in the third slide ring. My motiviation was to be able to handily control the tuning slides on squirrelly notes.

    My right hand had the pink firmly embbedded in the finger hook on the lead pipe.

    Problem: I was able to press the mouthpiece REALLY hard into my chops this way.

    Now, I stive for as relaxed of a hand grip as I can muster - all as a means to minimize pressure.

    I hold the horn with my left hand on the finger tips - no split fingers. I do most of the tujing with the first valve saddle. If I'm doing a lot of low playing with 123's I ocassionally go back to the split finger grip, but rarely. I keep my left hand and forearm as loose as possible.

    My right hand still has the pinky finger in the ring, but I keep it very relaxed - channeling all force into puching the valves down - striving NOT to pull the horn with the pinky finger. Sometimes I take the pinky finger out, just to keep things loose.

    My $.02 worth!

    Nick
     
  6. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

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    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    :twisted: Hence the origins of the phrase "Get yer finger OUT!" :D
     
  7. Trumpeters_Lullaby

    Trumpeters_Lullaby New Friend

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    Apr 10, 2006
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    Interestingly enough, it was the exact opposite for my music teachers. I got scolded for ever putting the pinky in the hook.
     
  8. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    Mar 21, 2006
    Toronto
    I have been getting really cramped hands lately when practicing. I have been experimenting with different hand positions. Especially for my right hand. With the pinky in the ring, I find that I am slowed down when I do fast things, but it gets tired sitting outside the ring.
     
  9. Solar Bell

    Solar Bell Moderator Staff Member

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    Metro Detroit
    This is my normal position for the left hand. Two fingers above and two below the third valve slide.

    My right hand is shown with the little finger floating, however, I play a LOT of plunger work in the band and it is more normal for me to have the pinky in the finger hook.

    My right thumb, like Christine's sometimes rests right under the leadpipe, at other times I have it around the valve casing.

    2nd picture is the pinky in the hook.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    -cw-
     
  10. tpter1

    tpter1 Forte User

    Age:
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    Northern New York
    Ahh. Great photos, Chuck. BTW...that Lawler sure is purrrty!

    Interesting mix of approaches, folks!
     

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