Pinky ring question?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by trumpeterjake, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. mgcoleman

    mgcoleman Mezzo Forte User

    Jun 22, 2010
    Unless your band director is doubling as your private teacher, a mouthpiece change or whether to use the pinky ring or not is out of their swim lane. Check with your private teacher, get his/her input and be prepared to politely pass along that information should your director bring it up again. If it doesn't satisfy him, I would suggest asking your private teacher to intervene.
  2. trumpeterjake

    trumpeterjake Pianissimo User

    Aug 5, 2012
    Connersville, Indiana
    I don't have a private teacher but former teachers and friends in college to talk to. I use my 5a4 for marching band and when a mouthpiece that size is not needed, I switch back to my 5C megatone. Which he has also ranted over, but i've taken a liking to it so I don't plan on changing it. He is new to my band program but has taught 8 years prior at a different school. He dapples in trumpet so he feels like he has the knowledge to tell people in my section how to do things. They know now that at this point if they have a question about something to not ask them, but to ask me. Just today he gave us a 10 minute warm up including low register scales (c and d major chromatics), then couldn't understand why I was having such a time playing a high C. I told him "it will just take my a minute to warm up". His response was a smile that came across as "you don't know what you're doing" and he told me "well just be sure to play louder and hit don't take things down, you can't be tired yet". I just said ok and later on he was surprised when I suddenly started playing better. (we arn't supposed to play at all before he starts the warm up, so i'm stuck.)

    But thank you for clearing things up for me! It really helps hearing all of this from actualy TRUMPET players.
  3. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    A year or two ago I'd have been a little suspicious about a young person's usage of a shallow one like the 5a4a but not any more.

    In a way my concern should seem hypocritical as for decades I've used pieces similar or even shallower to 5a4a. But again up until recently I'd have been more likely to encourage something like the 12a4a or 12b etc. Not now.


    Because as i get older and learn more I realize that the BIG ENEMY is over training! Causes more forms of playing difficulties not to mention metal depression.

    The person most skilled on using the shallowest/smallest equipment is more likely to succeed. He wouldn't want to use this for music outside commercial/big band/marching or similar etc.

    But he has a HUGE advantage if he plays his cards right. Always with notable exceptions. There are people with good projection, high range and incredible endurance who use the Bach 1. They're just more naturally endowed trumpet players.
  4. Trumpetmasta

    Trumpetmasta Pianissimo User

    Mar 31, 2012
    I had an old band director who played sax and thought he knew every thing ROFL
  5. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Let's get back to the original question. SHould you learn to play the trumpet with your pinky out of the pinky ring. The classicial or standard instruction on trumpet says yes, keep your finger out of the ring. Many suggest putting it on top of the ring. Why? Several reasons. As Ivan an others have clearly pointed out, physiologically, there are connections between the third and fourth finger. Having the fourth finger out of the ring gives you more flexibility and speed. Why would you not want to do something that gives you such an advantage? Also, keeping your pinky out of the ring encourages a better curl of the fingers over valve stems. This also helps with speed and pushing the valve directly down.

    Can pushing a valve at an angle cause valve problems? Well, while I am not aware of any research studies that actually provide an answer, I have heard many, many directors and private teachers say do not push the vlaves at an angle or you may cause them to stick. In fact, walk into a repair tech and say you are having trouble with the valves occasionally sticking and one of the questions you will likely be asked is if you are pushing the valves at an angle or straight down. The fact that this is a commonly asked question suggests there may be something to it. I have heard a trumpet designer (of the Bach TR200 and others) who is also an engineer state not to push valves at an angle.

    So, whether or not the band director knows what he is doing, I cannot answer. However, the advice about the pinky ring is fairly standard advice from teachers.

    If this were not a band, but a football team, I wonder how many players would end up questioning what the coach told them to do -especially when it would be a common practice among coaches.

    And yes, I realize that there are great players that use the pinky ring, and play with their fingers not curled over the valves, and push the valves at an angle. Still, for students at the beginner through HS level, why would you NOT want to do everything possible that could give you even a slight advantage?
  6. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Just show your Band Director a small experiment - tell him that "The Very Famous Ted" asked you to do it. Ask him to lay his palm flat on a table - get him to lift his thumb independently of all his other digits, while continuing to hold his palm flat on the table. Repeat this with every finger EXCEPT the third valve finger - it helps if you touch the finger you want him to move. NOW, ask him to lift his third valve finger independently of the rest - he won't be able to move it much - just as Ivan says. Now say to him - THIS IS WHY MY PINKY SITS FREE ON TOP OF THE PINKY RING - Oh, you don't have to shout at him or be impolite. The tendon demonstration speaks for itself. (Try it yourself first - just for fun).
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2012
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Just show him the extended tendon function of the thrid finger (all other fingers flexed, thumb flexed opposed) with the wrist now raise 90 degrees from the arm still lying on the table. This will give him the message.


    And tell him it come from that "The Very Famous Ted" fella. G'day Mate.
  8. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    We used to do something similar in grade school only we would fold the middle finger under our palm. With the hand in that position, it is near impossible to move the 4th finger at all, let alone lift it. Having said that, ALL the pics I could find of Maynard have his 4th finger DEEP into the ring (where it can be seen).
  9. J. Jericho

    J. Jericho Fortissimo User

    Mar 16, 2011
    Tried it. No difference among my fingers. Then I measured the distance from my third fingertip to the third valve button on my trumpet with my finger lifted all the way. With my pinkie in the ring, the distance was 3"; with my pinkie out of the ring, the distance was 5-1/2". Which raises the question - how far above the valve button do you need to lift your finger in order to properly activate the valve? 5-1/2"? 3"? Zero seems to work just fine for me. Am I the only one? Am I missing something here?
  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    If it's tea time, very high!! :-)

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