"Given the monumental task we assign our lips, the trumpet player’s fingers are often given short shrift. But as I frequently tell students, we need as much dexterity with three fingers as a pianist needs with ten. Here’s an effective new device that helps us achieve that goal.
The Horn Grip is a support and positioning guide for the right hand. With the Horn Grip in place, the fingertips curl naturally onto the valve caps and the hand adopts a relaxed position. The inclination to grip the horn with the right hand is eliminated and overall tension is reduced, leading to faster and more precise valve action.
The Horn Grip attaches to the leadpipe with a pair of velcro straps and soft pads. Adjustable legs rest just above the valve casing braces, creating a stable platform. It can be used with the tip of the thumb contacting the leadpipe, as many players prefer (one leg can be removed). But to me the real advantage of the Horn Grip comes when the palm of the hand provides the point of contact, and the thumb and little finger are allowed to float free in the air. You can get an idea of the feeling by resting the lower palm of your hand (near your wrist) against the edge of a table while placing your valve fingertips on a paperback book on the tabletop, simulating the height of the valves. Notice how relaxed your hand feels, and how much tension is introduced when the thumb and/or little finger are held down towards the table.
I don’t sell anything on this site that I don’t actually use. Truthfully, I was a little skeptical of this product at first. The Horn Grip is one of those things where the value is not so obvious until you have the opportunity to work with it for a while. Any change in the physical operation of the instrument takes some getting used to. But having had it on my horn for some time now, if I pick up another horn I miss it. It just feels right.
Some people wonder whether a tool like this is designed primarily for the practice room, or whether it would be used in performance. I’ve found that I leave it on the horn all the time, but you’ll reap benefit from its use either way. The feeling is not so radically different that you will be unable play without it, but you might notice the increased tension that results from a more conventional hand position.
Expert repair technician Ron Partch once described trumpet players thusly: “They are the best market for gadgets. If its under $50 they’ll buy it.” Well, here’s a gadget that’s under $50 (just) and offers real opportunity for improvement. It’s well designed and hand crafted, and it works. I’d say that’s a bargain!"