Playing trumpet left-handed

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by ComeBackKid, Jan 11, 2010.

  1. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    I did a quick search and did not turn up a post related to deliberately playing left-handed. I found references to some with disabled right hands playing left-handed and even left-handed people who play right-handed but yearn for a left-handed trumpet. My question is, why is it not acceptable to just play left handed? After all, most Flugelhorns have the bell pipe on the right and the right-handed players must put their hand over the pipe. So, why could a left-handed person not learn to play left-handed on a trumpet/cornet the same way?

    I have a grandson who is left-handed. He continues to try and play left-handed. I have not discouraged him because I can still remember when left-handed people were almost forced to write with their right-hands to "break" them of left-handedness. So, I have just let him go (he is only 6 and just goofs around so he has not developed any real pattern yet). I see other instruments - such as guitars - designed for left-handers. Why not play a trumpet that way?
  2. Pete

    Pete Piano User

    Nov 17, 2007
    I'm left-handed. I never had a problem with the right-handed trumpet technique. After a while you get used to it. With fingers, it is fine motor coordination, and you can develop this with either hand. Pianists have to do this. Also, I think that being left-handed makes it more comfortable to hold the horn while fingering with the right hand. I write left-handed, throw a ball left-handed, hit a golf ball right-handed. I wouldn't make a big deal about it.
  3. Bob Grier

    Bob Grier Forte User

    May 4, 2007
    Greensboro, NC
    Google James Burke trumpet. A great cornet soloist. Played left handed.
  4. RAK

    RAK Piano User

    Jul 23, 2009
    Kettle Falls, Washington
  5. Pedal C

    Pedal C Mezzo Forte User

    Jan 24, 2005
    The biggest obstacle to playing lefty is that it's hard to move the valve slides with the right hand. A real left handed trumpet would have the second valve side on the left. Monette made one a while back. I think there are pictures somewhere on the site, but I don't remember where.
  6. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
  7. Markie

    Markie Forte User

    Jan 4, 2009
    Clarksburg, WV
    I play left handed quite often. It helps increase the dexterity when I switch back to my right hand. However, I already know how to work the valves right-handed. If your grandson is just starting out then he should be learning the correct way,right-handed.
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2010
  8. ComeBackKid

    ComeBackKid Fortissimo User

    May 11, 2009
    Yorba Linda, CA
    Thanks for the comments. I guess I was trying to decide whether to let my grandson continue to play left-handed or nudge him to switch. I'll just watch and see what happens. The issue of working the tuning slides would come up at some point, I guess.
    As I look at it, it does seem to address the tuning slide issue since the 3rd valve slide is on the right of the main tuning slide pipe. But, at the same time, it suggests that if a right-handed player can work this slide with the left-hand, someone playing the valves of a standard trumpet with their left hand could likely work the 3rd valve slide with their right hand. I guess it could really work either way.
  9. simonstl

    simonstl Pianissimo User

    Nov 25, 2008
    Dryden/Ithaca, NY
    I'm left-handed, but learned trumpet right-handed because so far as I can remember no one suggested there was another option.

    When I came back to playing trumpet, I bought a right-handed trumpet (they're what's available) and tried a few times to see if I could play with my left fingers. I can do it, but it requires thinking with every key press - the muscle memory for this is all in my right hand.

    I'm not exceptionally left-handed, though. I can do most tasks, except writing, with either hand. I suspect someone who was as severely left-handed as a lot of right-handers I know are right-handed would have a harder time getting started.

    (The world forces lefties to be more adaptable, in my experience.)
  10. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

    Mar 21, 2006
    The main tuning slide isn't the issue. It is the 2nd valve tuning slide. It sticks out too far to make using the 1st and 3rd slides comfortable.

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