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Thread: Left-handed trombone players...

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    tMP Prime Friend andyp's Avatar
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    Left-handed trombone players...

    My wife has just started teaching a kid of about 8 to play the trombone. As he's left-handed he assembled the trombone "back to front" ie bell piece over right shoulder, slide in left hand. On the face of it this seems fine, but as I'm only a cornet player (and my wife euph) I thought I'd ask if there are likely to be any problems doing this?
    If not, should we perhaps encourage left-handed people to play the trombone, as it must be the only brass instrument that can be set up for both right and left-hand use without major plumbing alterations! I know left handed people "manage" to play right-handed instruments, but maybe an instrument that can easily be made left-handed properly is better?
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    tMP Prime Friend stevetrom's Avatar
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    We did have a guy play with us on a trip to Germany a couple of years ago who played trom left handed - he was a part-time fireman and was alaawys referred to as the fart-time pieman - sorry


    Seriously though, if he learns left handed he will not be able to play a triggered trombone in the future when he realizes that bass trom is the best part in a band
    Bass Trom, Brackley & District Band, http://www.brackleyband.org.uk/

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    tMP Senior Friend Tromgod's Avatar
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    He may also have to turn the trom upside down to blow water out too!

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    tMP Master Friend davidquinlan's Avatar
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    Slide Hampton has done ok playing the trombone "backwards" !!

    http://dizzyalumni.com/artistpages/hamptonframe.htm

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    tMP Prime Friend ScrapingtheBottom's Avatar
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    He will have a problem if he ever wants to use triggers or a bass trombone. I suggest he learns to play the instrument with his right hand as the slide hand in order to avoid expensive custom instruments later on.
    Chris Satterley
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    When I first picked up and assembled a trombone I set it up and played it "left-handed"... I'm a right handed person... but I liked playing it left handed....

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    tMP Posting Freak!!! lynchie's Avatar
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    I think it would be best to start him off the right-handed way round, because it's more than likely that if he sticks with the instrument, he'll have to change round at some point...
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    Super Moderator brasscrest's Avatar
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    Better to have him switch to right-handed sooner rather than later. I've known a couple of left-handed trombonists, but they have all had the means to afford custom-built instruments.
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    tMP Senior Friend Sharpy's Avatar
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    As a Trombone player I agree with the comments about triggers and Bass Trombones, however....

    If he's comfortable playing left handed why not leave him be? He may find that if he changes to right handed it might be more comfortable but if he gets on ok playing left handed then it may put him off if you ask him to change. It didn't do Jimi Hendrix any harm playing his guitar the wrong way up and left handed!! The only other time he would have problems playing left handed would be if he wanted a career in Military music and then he would have to play right handed.
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    tMP Prime Friend ScrapingtheBottom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpy
    The only other time he would have problems playing left handed would be if he wanted a career in Military music and then he would have to play right handed.
    Well, outside of jazz most modern pieces for trombone often require the extended lower range afforded by a trigger. I don't think you'd get far as a budding pro without being able to use one because you were taught how to hold the instrument incorrectly!
    Chris Satterley
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  11. #11
    Super Moderator brasscrest's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScrapingtheBottom
    Well, outside of jazz most modern pieces for trombone often require the extended lower range afforded by a trigger. I don't think you'd get far as a budding pro without being able to use one because you were taught how to hold the instrument incorrectly!
    This is kind of surprising to me, because I know many professional orchestral (tenor) trombonists who consider use of a trigger "cheating" and bad for the sound. Are you talking about solo work?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sharpy
    The only other time he would have problems playing left handed would be if he wanted a career in Military music and then he would have to play right handed.
    Unrelated military band trombone anecdote: Back in the 1970s, there was a US Air Force general who saw the US Air Force Band play. A couple of weeks later the conductor received an angry letter from said general complaining about the "unmilitary" trombone section which could not seem to move their slides at the same time. It took some time to convince the general that trombones playing the different parts might have slides in different positions, be playing a different rhythm, etc.
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  12. #12
    tMP Prime Friend ScrapingtheBottom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by brasscrest
    This is kind of surprising to me, because I know many professional orchestral (tenor) trombonists who consider use of a trigger "cheating" and bad for the sound. Are you talking about solo work?
    Not really, I haven't met an orchestral trombonist (in the UK) who doesn't have an F trigger trombone in their collection. Modern tenor trombone writing (in the orchestra) can include low Eb, D, Db and C, which are unobtainable on a straight trombone. If players like Lindberg and Alessi and UK trombonists like Chris Houlding use triggers there must be a reason!

    And as for a "bad sound" I have heard this from quite a few older trombonists, but I have yet to hear any evidence for this either from the concerts / recitals I have attended or the recordings I have listened to.
    Chris Satterley
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  13. #13
    tMP Prime Friend stevetrom's Avatar
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    As an aside, Rugby Salvation Army band used to have a left-handed Eb Bass.

    It was made for a player who lost the use of his right arm, all a long time before I can remember but has anyone come accross any other left handed instruments?
    Bass Trom, Brackley & District Band, http://www.brackleyband.org.uk/

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    tMP Master Friend davidquinlan's Avatar
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    aye, I've seen a French Horn or two on my travels.....
    ..oh, and other european rotary valve instruments are sometimes have valves on the left!!


    .. also I've seen a set of left hand timp sticks once... they were made specially for the player I believe...
    David Quinlan
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  15. #15
    tMP Master Friend davidquinlan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ScrapingtheBottom
    "bad sound"
    I've only ever heard bad sounds from bad trombone players.....
    David Quinlan
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