The RIGHT grip

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by SteveRicks, May 15, 2011.

  1. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    From a kid, my trumpet teachers always stressed putting your right thumb between 1st and second valve. That always seemed awkward to me -just didn't feel correct. I always had a tendency to slide the right thumb to the front of the 1st valve. Bet some of you do too! And, if it was such an incorrect grip, then how are you supposed to operate a first valve trigger or thumb saddle, rig without holding it this way? (Just an interesting tid bit -walked into a shop of an 80+ year old fairly well known pro about a year ago and he immediately told me to hold the horn the right (classical grip) way.

    Today, I was trying out my 1924 Holton -which is a longer horn that all my others and the distance from the leadpipe to to the other slides is also much more narrow or tighter. My guess is this is what some of you call a peashooter (not sure). At any rate, because of the narrow amount of room between the leadpipe and lower slide, there is no room for a thumb in front of the ist valve. Your thumb is forced between the first and second valve -as I was told to do during my early years of training. And, the longer bell etc. seems to positively effect the grip so the horn is balanced.

    So is this the reason for the classical grip -peashooters? With today's horns offering much more room, many players seem to be moving to the thumb around the first valve.
  2. veery715

    veery715 Utimate User

    Mar 6, 2007
    Ithaca NY
    The 1st valve slide saddle or trigger or ring is for the LEFT thumb. For me putting my right thumb on the side of the 1st valve towards me means it gets in the way of the other thumb in whatever adjustment the trumpet has for 1.

    That said, lots of folks shove the right thumb up between the leadpipe and bell in front of the 1st valve. Others rest the right thumb on the leadpipe.
    Last edited: May 15, 2011
  3. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009

    Well, now I really do feel stupid. Only have been playing 48 years. To be honest, I have NEVER used a first valve saddle. Grew up on an Olds Specials and Supers, and then in college used a Strad that also didn't have one. Always used the lip (except for a throw on the 3rd slide).

    Now here is a question for you. I have a Kanstul 1500 and a 991 (the semiclone of the Conn Connstellation). Both have a throw ring on the third slide and a trigger on the first slide. How do you shove the third slide out with your little finger on the left hand while operating a trigger with your right hand's thumb? Haven't figured that one out. Guess that is why I have adopted using my right hand for the trigger (if I ever do use it -maybe on a super long first line E).

    I can see how opening your left hand can throw both 3rd and first at the same time.
  4. keehun

    keehun Piano User

    Feb 4, 2010
    The RIGHT horn grip is one that relieves ALL tension from the hand, therefore releasing tension from the arm muscles as well as the shoulders.

    The teacher should focus on RELAXED hand, not some sort of cookie-cutter grip. If you have BIG hands, a standard grip might not be comfortable. It is whatever makes you feel the most comfortable and relaxed. That's all that matters in the end.
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    SteveRicks, I see you also play an Olds Recording. I play this as my main horn. I notice that when my thumb is between the 1st and 2nd valve casing, my fingers are more poised to fall over the valves, particularly the Olds second valve offset valve. With my thumb around he first valve casing, the positioning over the second valve is skewed a bit.
  6. wiseone2

    wiseone2 Artitst in Residence Staff Member

    Nov 19, 2003
    Right thumb under leadpipe, between the 1st and 2nd valves. Think of making the okay sign. The left thumb operates the trigger/finger hook on the 1st slide. I have used this grip since I was 8 years old.
  7. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    Agree with you all. The classic grip with right thumb between 1 and 2 valve casing does line up your fingers better, and by bending the thumb it automatically sets up a curl in the fingers so you press straight down. Also agree with Keehun who says find something comfortable and relaxed -which is what I have done (and no, hands aren't large), hence not using the classic grip. Years ago when I was teaching trumpet I always made the kids use the classic grip (as my teachers had done with me). Then, as they develop, let them find what works best for them. I've noticed in our HS band, few kids use the classic anymore. Even my own son has migrated to a different grip.

    Guess the true intent of the first post was to point out that the classic grip works great (and is almost demanded) on some of the very early horns. Yet, as the trumpet has evolved, a lot more players are going for a different grip wllowed by the shape change -the right thumb on the first valve casing aiming toward the bell.

    Speaking of the classic grip getting your fingers lined up over the valves -the early Holton didn't have a pinky ring or hook on the leadpipe. Guess the idea was hold horn with left, right hand relaxed and well positioned over valves. Drove me crazy -I had a pinky ring added.
  8. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Listen to Wiseone he is spot on right.
  9. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    I was never told this when starting out over 30 years ago, and only a few years ago was told about putting my thumb under the leadpipe between the 1st and 2nd valves. I would sometimes hold the trumpet in one hand while playing - when turning music pages, or holding up music when I didn't have a lyre handy. My first horn has a thumb-print on the 1st valve as a result.

    Now when I play I find it awkward to put my thumb in the "right" place - it feels too far forward. I do try to let it "float" more rather than form part of the grip.

    My little finger ('pinky') I tend to keep in the hook on the leadpipe (as I always did) rather than on top of it as I have read. This confuses me -- if the little finger is supposed to be on top of the ring/hook, why does it look as though the finger should be in it?

  10. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    I do both so everyone is happy!;-)

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