The Warburton Horn Grip Tool

Bad hand position is the bane of most beginning band teacher’s trumpet sections.  We may start each student with the admonition that an open, C-shaped right hand is necessary for proper trumpet technique but despite those reminders many of our students will allow their hands to collapse down against the valves leading to lazy finger technique and minor valve problems.  So what is the best way to fix this problem?  For many kids it’s not enough to repeatedly admonish them to hold the trumpet correctly.  Instead for some kids we need to offer a more tactile reinforcement until the good hand position habits are firmly rooted.  Read on to find out how to do this with this cool new tool.

What Does The Horn Grip Do?

The Horn Grip from Warburton USA is intended to gently force the right hand into the proper playing position.  Applying the Horn Grip to your trumpet is fairly straight forward.  Hook and loop fasteners attach it to the lead pipe, while two plastic posts angle down from the hand rest and settle between the valve casings, ideally resting on the solder joints that connect between the valves.  See the photo below for a more visual explanation.

The posts are adjustable within a certain limit, and allow you to adjust the Horn Grip to fit your hand.  However, in my experiences using the Grip with some of my very small handed beginners I noticed that even when set at its shortest length the posts may push the hand too far away to comfortably rest the thumb on the side of the valves.  For most players this is not an issue, but if you are buying the Horn Grip for a 5th grader just starting out it may be something to consider.

Is The Horn Grip Worth It?

Once in place the Horn Grip does its job without any additional instruction.  The grip itself is comfortable, molded plastic and it allows the user to correctly place the fingers on the valves without any further thought.  Until trying the Grip I had always used a simple wadded up piece of paper shoved in the student’s hand to do the same thing.  That works, but it’s not ideal, not very comfortable, and honestly not very practical.  Having the Horn Grip physically attached to the instrument makes things a lot easier when you are constantly picking up and putting down the trumpet.

That having been said, getting the Horn Grip firmly attached can be a bit awkward as the straps have to slip under and around the lead pipe.  If they were a bit longer  or if they had a grab tab on the end of them to help get it around the pipe at first I’d like it a lot more.  As such, that was the only part of using the Horn Grip that bugged me.  Since most trumpets will not fit into their cases with it attached the time spent attaching and removing it got to be a bit annoying.

In general though, the Horn Grip does what it says it will do and is far superior to my old paper wad trick.  For students or adults with chronic hand position issues it can certainly be of benefit both as a gentle reinforcement tool or as a long term performance accessory for the experienced musician.  

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