left hand position while holding your trumpet

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by mctrumpet, Apr 15, 2008.

  1. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    You need to be a little careful backing yourself into a particular "corner". I learnt with three fingers up because it was very comfortable - and that was the advice I received from the 1st Trumpet player from the Sydney Symphony Orchestra - my first tutor. It suited my trumpet, but more especially fitted my embouchure. As I have aged (notice I don't admit to growing up) my fingers have "filled out" because I have worked hard with my hands. Now I have changed trumpets a couple of times and the latest - a Getzen Eterna 900 - and my changing face and hands have determined that I need 2 up and 2 down, I can't actually fit any more fingers above the 3rd valve slide. This transition hurt the base of my fingers a lot, and for many months. This is normal transition from "best position" to "best position" for me - I didn't learn any oddball grips to 'spite' an old guy, or to prove anthing - so I didn't have to unlearn stuff per se. But I still had to change - and I suffered pain. Best of luck, be careful though - as you grow older you'll be amazed how much the old guys have learnt in the same time. I discovered how clever my Dad became - as I grew up, I don't know how he managed that little trick.
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  2. flugelgirl

    flugelgirl Forte User

    Jan 20, 2008
    Seattle, WA
    I also play 2 fingers up 2 down, with middle finger in the ring. I switched to this grip in college - because my hands are small, my teacher thought it would be the best way for me to move my 3rd valve slide, since your second finger has more power than your third. It has worked very well for me, and is a nice stable way to hold the horn. The important thing to remember, though, is that I made this change for a specific purpose and under the supervision of a trusted teacher, not a photo I thought was cool! There is nothing wrong with changeing your grip, but do it for the right reasons, with the help of a teacher. If your band director is a clarinet player that doesn't know any better, find a private teacher - you'll be better off in the long run!
  3. Driplip

    Driplip New Friend

    Jun 15, 2007
    Texas Gulf Coast
    From the Harrelson Wesite... I adopted this hand position and it makes the horn more stable when adjusting the tuning. See below:

    Trumpet Holding Ergonomics
    1. The weight of the trumpet should be held in your left hand only.
    2. Holding your trumpet with 2 or more fingers under 3rd slide is more stable & reduces fatigue. I recommend putting index/middle finger through the 3rd slide ring. Your trumpet bell should NEVER rest on your index finger. This is sometimes not possible if your trumpet has been designed to place all fingers above the 3rd slide. In this case, the 3rd slide finger ring may need to be re-positioned closer to the 3rd valve casing.
    3. Brace your left elbow against the side of your rib cage. This position improves resonance and helps prevent back fatigue.
    4. Use the right hand pinky hook/ring only when playing with a plunger mute or when your left hand must be removed from the trumpet. ​
  4. jdostie

    jdostie Piano User

    Feb 20, 2008
    I was taught specifically not to do this, it's poor posture, and restricts breath. Even if you discount the abdominal breathing (which seems to have been contested since I learned this), and consider the chest cavity, it would seem that you are shrinking the possible area for the chest cavity, by necessity, your left shoulder would not be back, but hunched forward slightly.
  5. Driplip

    Driplip New Friend

    Jun 15, 2007
    Texas Gulf Coast
    My focus was on hand position not elbow. The hand position change after forty years of playing was a positive thing for me.
  6. trumpetplayer1989

    trumpetplayer1989 New Friend

    Feb 24, 2008
    Coopersburg, PA
    When I'm playing I have just my pinky underneath the horn and use my ring finger to move the 3rd valve. My professor tried to get me to switch but gave up when it did nothing for my sound. It all has to do with what is comfortable. If you are uncomfortable with a hand position is will create tension in your playing. The key is to be relaxed and hand position can play a part in that.
  7. brem

    brem Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 13, 2007
    Quebec City, QC, Canada
    Uh Oh.

    I go all 4 above. As this pictures suggests.


    Although sometimes I just hold the horn with the bottom part of the valve section...

    Someone crucify me. :p

    NB.: I was probably playing a middle C#.
  8. mctrumpet

    mctrumpet Pianissimo User

    Apr 5, 2008
    I apologize for my "semi OCD" comment about my director. The reason i asked this question was because this way of holding my trumpet was most comfortable for me and my director said it was wrong because he didnt like the way it looked not how it sounded I asked him and he said "you sound good when you hold your horn like that but i only pointed it out because it was different and no one else ive ever seen does that". I DONT DO IT because its "like Maynard," or because I THINK IT LOOKS COOL im not sure where any you got that idea and the picture was just a reference to someone holding the trumpet that way[I didnt even get the idea from maynard i just used it one day and like it]. i only do it because it is most comfortable for me reduces tension and it helps me with intonation and improves tone quality and because i have kind of small hands and the ring on my trumpet is farther up on the 3rd valve slide than on other trumpets and when playing with the 2-2(with middle finger in ring) it was very uncomfortable.Also I am a freshman in HS. And I do spend lots of time in the middle and low register during my time spent practicing .Im not that knowledgeable about all of the information regarding the trumpet since ive only been playing for 4 years. So i kind of thought that if something that helps me was a good idea. Since Ive read your comment (Rowuk) Im not sure what im going to do I guess i will reevaluate my situation regarding Holding my trumpet.
    I will go back and look at all the aspects of my trumpet playing regarding the hold i currently use (1-3) Than i will look at the aspects of my playing using the other hold (2-2 middle finger in the ring)
    Than would that be the best way to go about deciding which works best?

    Thanks for all your knowledgeable tips and info your a big help(everyone that replied) Thanks once again

    -colin (Mctrumpet)
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2008
  9. Jurandr

    Jurandr Pianissimo User

    Feb 23, 2008
    I'm all four above, middle finger in the ring. My 'pointer' finger is sorta squahed on top of it, and that resulted in quite a bit of wear around the 3rd valve casing. My other two fingers are sort of spread down the slide.

    It used to work, but lately it has actually been starting to hurt me! I've tried putting a few fingers below the 3rd valve, to make some extra space on top, but those really stretch out my hand. What's the healthy way to switch your grip?
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I posted my reply based on the info in your post. I see no advantage to holding a trumpet like Maynard unless your chops get an advantage. I don't see how that way could be objectively "more comfortable" unless you have HUGE hands that don't fit where most people play. The disadvantage of not using the tuning rings is also a sacrifice too great to consider.

    The ONLY reason to change anything in your playing is to play better. Getting pressure off of the top lip is critical to playing well in the upper register. That grip will normally add pressure and that is bad! As far as lowering tension, I think you have talked yourself into something. If you hold a trumpet "the normal way", it is balanced and the horn can pivot on your left pointing finger. The center of gravity is low and the horn is "stable". If you hold the trumpet on the bottom, the center of gravity is very high and you need MORE energy to balance and stabilize the instrument.

    I know I post pretty tough sometimes, I just see incredible amounts of wasted time, effort and building bad habits here and am not afraid to point out the disadvantages when I see them. I often read things that I know are just plain untrue and politically incorrectly label those things as I see them. Why let people deceive themselves? It just slows them down.

    You are free to do whatever you wish and as long as you are not one of my students, I only have the power of remote suggestion. Friends do not let friends hurt themselves. I am just trying to be friendly.

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