Playing the trumpet left-handed (EVERYTHING you need to know)

If you’re left-handed, it can be difficult to know whether something can be used left-handed or if a specific left-handed version is required. This can make it very confusing for left-handed musicians wanting to play an instrument such as the trumpet. In this article, we will go over all the things you need to know for playing the trumpet when you are left-handed.

Can you play the trumpet when you’re left-handed?

Yes, you can play the trumpet when you are left-handed. The standard grip is the same whether you are left or right-handed. You use the left hand to hold the instrument while using the right hand to press the keys. This may feel odd or unnatural at first to a left-handed player, but you can adapt quite quickly to it. This grip can even benefit the stability of the trumpet as your left hand would be stronger. Though you will have to get used to pressing the keys with your non-dominant hand

Are there left-handed trumpets?

There are left-handed trumpets that have been made although they are not very common. Generally, these left-handed trumpets are more specialized and not a general production model. They are very hard to come by these days as most left-handed players use a normal trumpet instead of a left-handed trumpet.

Does it make sense to get a left-handed trumpet?

No, it does not make much sense to get a left-handed trumpet. Unless you have tried a standard trumpet for a good number of hours and can’t adapt to the standard grip, then yes it may make sense, but otherwise, you should try a normal trumpet. Most left-handed players should not have a problem adapting to the standard grip of a standard ‘right handed’ trumpet.

Lee Morgan
Lee Morgan

How do you hold a left-handed trumpet?

Hold the trumpet with a firm grip with your right hand. This is so that the trumpet stays steady, but make sure not to grip too tight. The key is a firm yet relaxed grip that will help stabilize the trumpet while you play it with your left hand. Also, make sure that your right palm is not resting against the casings of the valves. Otherwise, the trumpet can sound muted and the valve slides will be harder to use. 

Looking for a teacher?

Want to get lessons at the comfort of your own home? Check out the course Learn to Play the Trumpet: Beginner to Pro Made the Easy Way* on Udemy! (See their full trumpet course line-up here*!)

Famous left-handed trumpet players

There are many famous left-handed trumpet players including Sharkey Bonano who was a New Orleans jazz trumpeter who was active from the 1920s to the 1960s. There is also Freedy ‘Posey’ Jenkins, a New York trumpeter who took a position in Duke Ellington’s Orchestra in 1928. Another is Joseph Matthews “Wingy” Manone who was an American jazz trumpeter, composer, singer, and bandleader. He was featured in the 2001 documentary Jazz by Ken Burns. Someone who you would be more familiar with is Paul McCartney from The Beatles who is surprisingly a left-handed trumpet player.

Companies that make left-handed trumpets

Companies that make left-handed trumpets include Stomvi, Thomann*, and Bach though they can be very hard to come by. A lot of left-handed models have been discontinued so you may have to look on used item websites such as eBay or Facebook marketplace if you want one. Many companies are no longer interested in making them as most left-handed trumpeters use the standard trumpet so there is not a massive amount of demand for them.

Hopefully, this article gave you a more thorough understanding of playing the trumpet when you are left-handed. While there are left-handed trumpets out there, for most people it makes more sense to simply use a normal trumpet and adapt to that. Good luck on your trumpet journey!

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