You may think you can’t play instruments like the trumpet if you’re a leftie, but don’t let that stop you from learning music!
There are options out there for left-handed musicians:
Here’s How you can Play Trumpet Left-Handed:
To play trumpet left-handed, you can buy a custom left-handed model or one used. Another option is to learn to play right-handed, which will be easier on your wallet and give you more model options.
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Do the Bigger Brands Produce Left-Hand Trumpets?
Many of the bigger brands do make left-handed trumpets. However, they don’t make them nearly as often as they make the standard right-hand trumpets.
Almost all of the left-hand models they make are for custom orders. That means you must order directly from the brand rather than from a music store.
You also can’t expect to get your trumpet as quickly since the company has to make it. When you buy a right-handed trumpet, it may be ready to ship.
Can You Find Left-Hand Trumpets at Reasonable Prices?
Since you have to custom order a left-handed trumpet, you’ll most likely have to pay more for it than a similar right-handed model. That price increase can be well worth it if you can’t get comfortable playing a right-handed trumpet.
However, you might not want to spend that much, especially if you’re starting to play the trumpet. Fortunately, not all left-handed trumpets are incredibly expensive.
Consider the following things when shopping for a left-handed model.
You may want to look on the used market to see if anyone is selling a left-handed trumpet. These models will be harder to find compared to standard trumpets.
However, if you find one, you may be able to get it for much cheaper than a custom order. Since left-hand trumpets aren’t that common, they probably don’t have the best resale value.
I couldn’t find any left-handed models for sale, so you may need to wait around. But if someone does want to sell theirs, they may lower the price to get someone to buy since there are fewer buyers out there.
Reasonable Is Subjective
Whether you’re buying a new or used trumpet, consider that “reasonable” is somewhat subjective. A beginner may think anything over $1,000 is unreasonable since they want to ensure they enjoy the trumpet first.
However, if you’re serious about the trumpet, you may be willing to spend much more. You might determine that spending $3,000 or more is reasonable to get you the instrument you need.
It can also depend on how much money you make and how much you have in the bank. Consider your situation to determine what is a realistic amount for you to spend.
As you look at the used market, consider the Thomann TR5000 GLLH. Sadly, the company no longer makes it, so your only option is to buy one second-hand.
However, the price of a new one was allegedly much cheaper than many custom left-handed trumpets. One third-party website claims the model cost 615 Euros (about $600 US).
If you can find a used Thomann, the price will probably be even lower than that. It’s also a good option for beginners who want to learn while playing left-handed since it’s much more economical than other trumpets.
Can Left-Handed People Play a Normal Right-Hand Trumpet?
Left-handed people can play a typical right-hand trumpet, and many of them do. Normal trumpets are much easier to find, both new and used, and they come at all price points.
Also, arguably, you could play a regular trumpet but use your left hand to press on the valves. The only thing would be the awkward placement of the second valve since it juts out to the right.
If you hold the trumpet with your right hand, that could be uncomfortable. So most players will play right-handed, regardless of their usual dominant hand.
Can Left-Handed Learn to Play With their Right Hand?
Left-handed players can learn to play with their right hand. It may be a bit more difficult, but many left-handed musicians play the right-handed way, no matter what instrument they play.
Consider the following tips if you’re a left-handed player and want to learn to play like a right-handed person.
Take It Slow
When you first pick up the trumpet, take things slowly. Don’t try to play super fast scales, which can be tricky even for right-handed beginners.
Instead, learn one note at a time, play that note and hold it. As you learn more notes, you can move between the notes slowly so that you can get used to using your right hand to press the different valves.
Over time, you can start to play faster, and playing with your right hand should become more natural. You may learn a bit more slowly than a right-handed beginner, but you can still learn the trumpet.
Next, you need to practice consistently, so take out your trumpet and play for a few minutes each day. Work on your right-hand fingers to help build the strength you need to play better.
It would help if you didn’t practice for hours a day, especially as a beginner. However, practicing for a few minutes can be enough to help train your muscles and retain what you’ve learned.
After a few months, you may be able to play a basic scale more easily. Then, you can continue to get better and better at the trumpet, even if you’re a leftie playing a right-handed instrument.
Try the Horn
Maybe you practice consistently but can’t get your fingers to work well. If you want to play a brass instrument, you can look for a left-handed trumpet.
Another potentially easier option is to learn the horn (or French horn) instead. The horn requires players to use their left hand to press the valves, which might be more comfortable for you.
Now, that’s still the right-handed position, but if you can’t get your right-hand fingers to work, it’s a good choice. Then, you can still play an instrument, but you may have an easier time learning the various techniques.
Are There Any Famous Left-Handed Trumpet Players?
There are a few famous trumpet players from the past and present.
First, there was Sharkey Bonano, and he played all over the US and the world, though pictures make it look like he played a standard right-handed trumpet.
Freddie ‘Posey’ Jenkins was another left-handed trumpeter who played in Duke Ellington’s Jazz Orchestra. Pictures show him playing a left-handed trumpet.
Another left-handed player was Wingy Manone, and he had no choice but to play trumpet left-handed since he lost his right arm when he was 10. From what I can tell, it looks like he still played on a standard right-handed trumpet.
Most people know Paul McCartney as a member of The Beatles, but he also plays the trumpet. Specifically, he does play the trumpet left-handed.
Does It Really Matter If the Trumpet Is Left-Handed?
It doesn’t really matter if a trumpet is left-handed. You could play a right-handed trumpet using your left hand, but it could be a bit more awkward than necessary.
First, the extra tubing with the second valve juts out to the instrument’s right. If you’re playing with your left hand, you must hold the trumpet with your right hand so that that valve may put pressure on your hand.