Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed Bookmark and Share

Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:26 am

I am imagining that the offset of the entry and exit ports of the valves will make this into a rather strangely shaped instrument once everything has been flipped. I might make a new MTS crook to get the leadpipe up high enough, but the bell will still be pretty low.

Anyone here ever done this and have some photos to share so I can see if this is going to serve this kid's needs?

Probably using a Holton student trumpet from the 1990s for this project. The valves are excellent and the horn is ugly, so it won't be missed but has potential to be a decent player. Alternatively I have a 1960s "DOC" that would be great, but it is a large bore horn with a large bell, and this will be going to a kid in the 6th grade, so I think the Holton would work better for him and probably get him through all seven years of band.

I am donating my work. I really like this kid. He has some nerve damage. It is not degenerative, I think, so he should not be getting any worse over time. However, nerve issues are not going to get any better, either. He can hold stuff in his right hand but has nearly no use of his fingers beyond that ability. He has walking issues, too. But he has a great ear, normal left hand, and a lot of natural talent for brass instruments in general. He is from a *very* poor family that cannot really cope with his medical issues on their own. I thought I could give him something he could play for a class he is intensely interested in.

I need to see a flipped trumpet to work out whether I want to tackle needed adjustments or just let the parts fit where they want to and solder it together. He needs a certain minimal space under the bell to hold the valves, and I am afraid he won't get that if I do not do some bending and some cutting. I am afraid of doing these modifications and then have the trumpet become a bowser.

So - any photos of an unmodified set of parts flipped for a left-handed player?

Thanks!
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby windshieldbug » Sat Aug 17, 2019 11:58 am

Not knowing much, but why not just move the pinky rest to the bell ala flugelhorn, and then see what needs to be bent (like 3rd ring/first saddle)?
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby bloke » Sat Aug 17, 2019 3:37 pm

It occurs to me that - with many makes/models - turning the valveset around (123 = 321) might (??) possibly help put the #1 saddle and #3 ring in a slightly-closer to reachable condition for a l.h. player - without having to fabricate graceless/awkward (and time-consuming to braze together) foundations for them.

yeah...I might have my thinking messed up on this (no trumpet by the computer as a visual aid), but look and see if I'm right or wrong. Most trumpets' 1-2-3 crooks (as you know - with an exception being King) are the same.

Thanks for doing this! 8) If you need an easier-to-deal with donor trumpet with decent "bones", lemme know. I've got a two-mouthpieces order for the Pacific Northwest and a junk cluster (with the one good casing someone needs) heading to the Atlantic Northeast, too...I could easily (also) mail off a trumpet.

I dunno about you, but - when working on trumpets - I put away the regular torches and get out the cheap-crap $8 butane-powered things I bought off those racks found up near the front at Tractor Supply...' saves a lot of finish touch-up.
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:19 pm

windshieldbug wrote:Not knowing much, but why not just move the pinky rest to the bell ala flugelhorn, and then see what needs to be bent (like 3rd ring/first saddle)?


His hand is too small to reach over the bell' we tried that first. I think something custom adjusted for his hand will have to be the ticket. It is okay, I have everything I need. I just have to make measurements to see where things need to be shortened to accommodate the wider MTS crook. I will probably take a disassembled trumpet up there to his school and measure and hand-fit stuff, and take a lot of photos. It should be easy enough, but I wanted to see whether anyone already had pics of what an UNALTERED set of parts would look like with the offset of the entry and exit ports of the piston set being the way they are. Also, I think I will flip the piston set to put 2nd where it would need to go. That would make more room for his right hand, which can hold it, but might need a special glove that can be tied to it. I think he will end up on a chair in the pit. I am not really sure if he will even end up on trumpet.

Just whistling in the wind right now, trying to get ready to move quickly if he ends up wanting the horn. I can do this in one afternoon if I already know what my working measurements are.
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby windshieldbug » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:32 pm

I hear ya.
BTW, that Mirafone H1 mp works a treat in my little horn, very much the way I remember it. Thanks! :D
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 4:40 pm

windshieldbug wrote:I hear ya.
BTW, that Mirafone H1 mp works a treat in my little horn, very much the way I remember it. Thanks! :D


Lke.
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby Ace » Sat Aug 17, 2019 5:27 pm

I rarely play Bb trumpet, so I had to dig through the closet to find my B&S Bb. I have rather large hands so what I experienced in holding the horn probably doesn't apply to your young man. I wrapped my right hand fingers around the valve casing underneath the lead pipe and found that my right thumb slips right into the first valve saddle hook, and my right third finger slips right into the circle on the third valve slide. The second valve tubing pushes on the palm of my right hand. The left hand floats freely to operate the pistons and possibly could benefit from the finger hook being relocated from the leadpipe directly across to the bell. Good luck to you in helping this youngster. Tis a very nice thing you are doing.

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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby Minkrott » Sat Aug 17, 2019 6:32 pm

Googled it and found this. Interesting there is no good picture of the left side.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_tr_50 ... _lefth.htm
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:13 pm

Ace wrote:I rarely play Bb trumpet, so I had to dig through the closet to find my B&S Bb. I have rather large hands so what I experienced in holding the horn probably doesn't apply to your young man. I wrapped my right hand fingers around the valve casing underneath the lead pipe and found that my right thumb slips right into the first valve saddle hook, and my right third finger slips right into the circle on the third valve slide. The second valve tubing pushes on the palm of my right hand. The left hand floats freely to operate the pistons and possibly could benefit from the finger hook being relocated from the leadpipe directly across to the bell. Good luck to you in helping this youngster. Tis a very nice thing you are doing.

Ace


He probably will never be able to operate the triggers, unfortunately. Thanks for the information, though…
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 7:17 pm

Minkrott wrote:Googled it and found this. Interesting there is no good picture of the left side.

https://www.thomann.de/gb/thomann_tr_5000_gllh_bb_trumpet_lefth.htm


It uses a left handed valve set. I have to make do with a right handed one, which will move the leadpipe and bell a good bit farther away from the finger buttons, which won't work with his hands. There is a Bach Model 37 Bb here in my area that is left handed, but again, it gives me no information on the distances he wil have to reach using a LH horn using RH valves. Thanks, though…
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby The Big Ben » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:10 pm

Have you considered having the boy learn French horn? He could rest the bell on his right thigh and put his right hand in the bell. The horn could be stabilized and valves worked with the left hand. He would not have to hold up a trumpet. "Traditionally" kids were started out on a smaller, lighter Bb horn. The conical mouthpiece would be harder to learn than a bowl-shaped trumpet/cornet mouthpiece but maybe there is something in the way of a French horn MP which would be easier for a beginner.

Just an idea. It certainly would be easier to make a French horn playable than recraft a trumpet. A single F or Bb horn is probably sitting unused somewhere.
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:33 pm

Yes. He had his try-outs yesterday. He did not really like the horn, and was outstanding on the tuba. He really liked the trumpet, though he tested a bit less well on it compared to the tuba. I thought the left-handed trumpet would be something his family could afford (my price would be super cheap, like maybe a hundred bucks, or free if they will accept that). A tuba would cost a lot and would be quite hard to build with top pistons. He is not big enough for a 186 and might not ever be. The section uses 2341s, so that would be a problematic building adventure for me.

He seems to like the trumpet. He also tested well on woodwinds when the band director held if for him and fingered some simple songs while he blew. He is a talented kid with many of hurdles, but a wonderful attitude and interest and a fun personality.

His director will find something for him to play and I will try to make whatever that is something he *can* play. The trumpet is just idea numero uno.
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby the elephant » Sat Aug 17, 2019 9:35 pm

Hey, I have a very old C rotary trumpet here. I could purchase parts and convert some stuff I have here to make him a Bb rotary trumpet for the left hand using measurements from my horn.

Time for some head scratching…
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Re: Making an Old Trumpet Left-Handed

Postby The Big Ben » Sun Aug 18, 2019 1:03 am

the elephant wrote:Hey, I have a very old C rotary trumpet here. I could purchase parts and convert some stuff I have here to make him a Bb rotary trumpet for the left hand using measurements from my horn.


OK, if trumpet is what the boy wants, the trumpet is what it shall be.

I was thinking of a rotary trumpet conversion before I suggested the French horn. If you already have some idea how it can be done, that a is good, Personally, I think that is a good direction. Hope it works out and the boy has a good time. Beginning musicians need to have a good time making music.
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