The right thumb

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. Forte User

    Jan 27, 2008
    Brisbane, Australia
    I keep reading advice to put the right thumb between the first and second valve casing. I have never done this and it feels really weird to me. I have always tucked it just in front of the first valve under the lead pipe. Is my way wrong? If so, why? Is it because my right thumb is taking some of the weight of the trumpet? The other way feels so awkward and cramped to me. :dontknow: Does it make a difference that I'm really small with almost kid-sized hands? I can't even reach the mute to do quick mute changes while playing unless I'm on a cornet.
  2. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
    My two cents, Misty, is that it makes no difference unless your hand position is encouraging something negative, like excessive pressure. I have average size man-hands. My right thumb normally sticks in between the first and second valve cases. If for some reason or other I am playing one-handed, my right thumb is in the same place you put yours.
  3. Dupac

    Dupac Fortissimo User

    Aug 19, 2008
    Bordeaux, France.
    A lot of us do like you, some are among the best trumpet players ever : ME ROFL, Ted the Aussie (if I remember correctly another thread), and others … Here a photo of Ambrose Akinmusire, who is not that bad too (bad picture but you can clearly see his right thumb) :

  4. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    I use to tuck my thumb in between for 40+ years. Then I sent my main playing horn at that time (Olds Recording) off to Tom Green especially for the lacquer wear at that site. When the horn was returned, I decided to try it in the position as the picture above to save on wear. WOW, what a feeling, as not only is my hand acid no longer trapped in a single location, but I have more flexibility and dexterity in my bebop runs.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013
  5. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Aw, isn't this romantic? However, I don't recommend having Jim's thumb on yours, this could really hold you back. And Jim... What would your wife say!!!
  6. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    My first trumpet (used for 25+ years before I changed) has lost its lacquer where my thumb wrapped around the 1st valve casing, and the little-finger (pinky) hook broke off once from the hard grip I used while mashing the trumpet as hard as I could against my face. Not very good... Now I use my left hand to support the horn, and float the right thumb as you described between the 1st and 2nd valve casings, tucked slightly under my index finger; this now works better for me and helps me resist mashing my lips as I get tired after a few hours of playing (which would then kill my range, endurance and tone quality cold).

    From time to time I need to use 1 hand only (such as when turning pages on the music stand), but I try to keep things under control.

  7. amzi

    amzi Forte User

    Feb 18, 2010
    Northern California
    I will start out with my right thumb tuck between the 1st and 2nd valves because that's the way I was taught, but where it goes after I start playing is anyone's guess. The only thing I consciously avoid is is sticking my thumb completely through the gap between the bell and the leadpipe. These days I find my thumb under the leadpipe pointing back toward my face with the 2nd valve slide resting on the heel of my hand. A very inefficient position for me, but it works for much of the stuff I'm playing these days. So is there a right way and a wrong way? I suppose that technically the right way is to put the tip of your thumb between the first and second valves, but practically the right way is whatever is working for you.
  8. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN
  9. SteveRicks

    SteveRicks Fortissimo User

    Aug 15, 2009
    You arer describing the classical hold position, which is taught by many of the more formally schooled musicians. It helps you curve your fingers over the valves so you push directly down, instead of more flat fingered. Also, helps reduce pressure. There are probably some merits to it; however, many of us have moved to wrapping our thumb around the first valve, or other positions. Personally, I think you get less surface wear with the thumb between the valves (classical position) as there is less contact made. It is really what works best for you...I say tomato, you say tomaato, etc. At one point I had the habit of wrapping my first finger onver the leadpipe of my strad and thumb around first valve (obviously when not pushing valves down). Silver has a worn streak across top of leadpipe from it. Now, if you want to hear about a lot a different grips, just ask what ios the right way to hold using the left hand.
  10. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    It all depends on which horn I'm playing. It gets tough to operate a first valve trigger or saddle with my left thumb if my big right thumb is in the way wrapped around the first valve (yes, I wear size 10 large gloves, when playing or only when sounding Taps or it is frigid outside ). The perfect solution is the the thumb ring like I have on my "huggable" euphonium.
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2013

Share This Page