Holding the horn

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by GijsVis, Jan 6, 2013.

  1. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

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    'Evening TM,

    This day, I saw a couple of posts on what's good and what's bad at holding the horn, and people asking how to do it properly. So I thought, let's make some pictures how I hold my horn, to show what works best for me, and to get remarks on how I hold it. Also, I'ld love to see how other people hold their horns so somebody watching here would have multiple options on how hold theirs.

    But remember: As with a lot of trumpet-related things: There is no single way of holding it correctly, it can be done a lot of different ways. Try to figure out what works for you, and don't let people tell you what to do if it doesn't feel right. Try to follow your own thoughts as much as possible.

    This is how I hold my horns, this doesn't have to be your way, or the best way, but I like how it feels:

    Left Hand:
    My left-thumb is just resting in the first slide saddle, if you don't have a saddle, the same place will do as well, try not to put too much vertical pressure on your thumb, towards the valve place, because it's not necessary, since your thumb should be relaxed in order to move your saddle or trigger fast for tuning adjustments. My index is normally resting between the third slide ring and the valve block, ready to shoot out my third slide together with my middle finger, which is in the third slide ring. Again, don't put too many pressure on these fingers because they need to be able to move like lightning. My ring finger and pinky are below the third slide and the trumpet is 'supported' on these fingers.
    [​IMG]

    Right Hand
    My right-thumb is place or before the first valve, under the leadpipe, or between the first and second valve, under the leadpipe (you can't really see that on the pictures), and my index, my middle finger and my ring finger are put like an 'n' shape onto the valves, it's hard to explain, that's why there are pictures included, on the second picture you might notice that my fingers aren't on top of the valves, but they should be (it's hard taking pictures of your trumpet while holding it), in order to minimize wear-out and to play as fast as possible, this is also the reason why I put the first bit of my finger (don't know the English term for it, Dutchie) perpendicular to the valves, to move as freely as possible. My pinky is actually above the pinky ring, because when I put it in the pinky ring, I find that my ring finger movements are limited. When I play with a lot of valve changes really fast, my pinky goes anywhere, but I wouldn't say that's an issue, because it will positively influence the movement of the rest of your fingers. You shouldn't try to hold or support your trumpet with your right hand, except maybe your thumb, since this is where your right hand is for.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    When I play slow stuff, and I don't need the valves a lot, I often get back to 'flat fingers', this is more of an old habit of me, because I used to do this all the time when I was young, but it's not really a problem when you don't play fast, however, don't do it all the time, because then it will sneak into your system very fast, and it will be harder to play, since then you need to actually move your whole finger as a whole, rather than moving your finger as small particles. This can be explained by an experiment: Try to to flap just your hand as fast as possible. That will probably go pretty fast. Now, flap from your shoulder, while keeping all of your arm straight. This will be a lot harder. This is more or less the same with your fingers, so don't develop it into a bad habit. This is how it will look like:
    [​IMG]

    One Handed:
    You might need to play with one hand only sometimes, for example when you nee to turn pages while playing or get a mute, or with mute playing. The pictures below show how I do that, I grip the trumpet with my right hand some more, putting my palm against the leadpipe, which I don't do when playing with two hands, for maximum support, since now, this is your support hand as well. When playing, I'ld recommend to get your left hand pack to your trumpet as fast as possible, because it requires quite a lot of strength to keep it up only right handed, and it will make playing with your valves a lot harder. If you're having mute trouble, you can already put the mute in your left hand, while still holding the trumpet, just make like a pit in between your hand and the valve block or hold it between the index + middle finger and the ring finger + pinky.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Conclusion:
    To be short (Look here if you don't want to read the whole text :lol:), these are some point to consider:
    - It doesn't matter exactly how you grip it, but be sure that you don't have a lot, or any stress on your fingers or some specific fingers. You're only holding a trumpet of a few pounds, not a stack of bricks, you don't need a lot of force to keep it up. Hold it as relaxed as possible.
    - Try to put your 'valve fingers' perpendicular to your valves
    - Try to develop something that works for you, and try to get bad habits out.

    You might not do it like this, or it might be similar to my grip, but let me know how you do it, since this is just an outline, and I'ld like to make it into a PDF sheet, like my Fingering Chart (check my page), and later, put more of these PDF's into a booklet to inform and help (trumpeteers) musicians. Any information on other topics are welcome as well, just contact me :)

    Again, if you do it differently, please post it here, because there is not just one way of how to do it. I'ld love to see (a lot) of pictures on how you do it.

    Thanks,
    Gijs Vis
     
    Last edited: Jan 6, 2013
    Dupac likes this.
  2. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

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    I've found ONE picture about how I hold the horn :
    [​IMG]
    Don't know if it is interesting :dontknow:
     
  3. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

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    Thanks for the picture (Now I have a picture that goes with your name as wel :lol:), you can see he uses his left hand the same way I do and that his fingers are a little flat, though sloping up, which doesn't have to be a problem. Did you come across any difficulties playing like that? Probably not, but just curious. Can you remember if you've always played like this?

    (Feeling like an investegator :lol:)
     
  4. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

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    Bordeaux, France.
    Not the best picture of me, you know :-(
    Oh ! Yes, I had, have, and probably will have difficulties playing the trumpet, for many years to come ...(I hope), but not specifically because of this grip or position of the fingers.
    Notice that I play more often the Blues in Bb at 60 than Cherokee at 360…
    :duh:
     
  5. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

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    Bordeaux, France.
    And it seems I have always played this way, but maybe I did not sufficiently analyze what I do ...
     
  6. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

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    Sometimes just doing what comes in natural will work best, as long as it feels good. I've heard from quite a lot of players though that that play with the same right hand placement, more of a flat placement, who didn't have ant difficulties at all with playing (well, with using their valves), but to me, when I started playing with perpendicular finger positions, things went so much smoother. Which is interesting, because I asked them to try out the perpendicular position and they didn't really feel a significant different. This shows again how much we differ and how much possibilities their are within trumpet playing. It's like mouthpiece placement, it can be high, low, whatever suits to you, as long as it works and is in the 'area' that is right.
     
  7. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

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    The Buescher horns (and some others) that have all of the valves on the right side of the horn make for an easier split-finger (aka Vulcan) grip. Quite comfortable. I don't know why more makers didn't do that. Probably because the Besson wasn't made that way. :-)

    Tom
     
  8. Branson

    Branson Piano User

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    Jan 16, 2011
  9. GijsVis

    GijsVis Piano User

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    Jul 23, 2012
    My Yamaha 631 flugelhorn also has the valve on the right side, and I've always liked the feeling of it, maybe even more than on my regular Yamaha trumpet.

    Oh, thanks! That's a great source of information as well for people that are looking for extended information.
     

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