Slide grip/technique

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PaulT
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Slide grip/technique

Post by PaulT » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:46 pm

In my last lessons before taking a Covid break, my instructor mentioned I was starting to throw my slide back and forth between my thumb and my fingers and that I might want to work on tightening things down a bit or it could get a bit sloppy. I kind of forgot about the advice until the other day when I came within a hair's breath of sending my slide sailing across the room.

I hold the slide with my thumb on one side of the brace with two fingers on top and two fingers below the bottom tube on the other side. I no longer play "slide badminton" by tossing it back and forth between my thumb and fingers, but if I'm shifting quickly between middle positions I do allow my thumb to release from the brace and I move the slide by straightening and closing my fingers alone. I suppose my fingers are flipping, but the slide is secured by pressure from my fingers (so it is no longer the "pitch and catch" between the thumb and fingers move my instructor cautioned me about).

I'm comfortable with what I'm doing, but thoughts of "have I developed a bad habit" have entered my head. When I watch Youtubes of various players, it seems like they never allow their thumb to lose contact with the brace, keeping the pinch between thumb and fingers in place at all times (and not allowing the fingers to go off on their own). But, I am not sure of this because the movements are fast and the focus of the camera never seems to be where I want it to be.

Should I work on maintaining the "pinch" between thumb and fingers in all situations or is it fine to leave the thumb behind in some situations and just let the fingers alone control the slide. I can keep the thumb on the brace at all times, if that is the best way to go, it just feels natural sometimes to leave the thumb out of it and let the fingers flip back and forth.
Bach5G
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by Bach5G » Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:56 pm

During a lesson, Mr R Sauer had me put a dime between my right thumb and the slide brace. “Don’t drop it,” he said, referring to the dime.
Doug Elliott
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by Doug Elliott » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:19 pm

What you're describing sounds a lot like the way I hold the slide. I grip the bottom tube between fingers above and below, far more than I grip the brace. From 4th on out my hand is pretty much open with no thumb contact. I think it provides a MUCH more relaxed, quick, smooth, and accurate slide action, and I do it by choice, not by chance.
hyperbolica
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by hyperbolica » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:54 pm

Yeah, I'm with Doug. I keep a loose grip on the slide brace, and probably hold more with the bottom tube between middle and ring fingers than the brace. For fast grace notes there might be a little bit of a flip. I was just noticing last week on YouTube that some players use that open hand approach. Plus for players with short arms, you can just about reach 7th position with the slide between your fingers and your hand extended.

I've seen people grip with the fingertips almost like a dainty fragile English tea cup, complete with the flyout pinky. That seems very precarious, and a little funny looking. I wouldn't want to criticize anyone for whatever grip they use, particularly if they've been successful with what they're doing, but I think this loose grip is a more natural way that allows you to make the most of your wrist and extend the fingers in the outer positions.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/htjo3ttj5lwn1 ... 5.mp4?dl=0
Last edited by hyperbolica on Tue Nov 24, 2020 7:22 am, edited 2 times in total.
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harrisonreed
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by harrisonreed » Mon Nov 23, 2020 7:57 pm

You just need to only use thumb and index finger. It's better for you wrist and slide accuracy
FOSSIL
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by FOSSIL » Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:12 am

Look on YouTube at good pros in all genres. Most hold the slide in a similar way....and not the way that often is recommended....It's a funny facet of trombone instruction that players seem coy about. Perhaps players find that they cannot find a good justification for their holding technique, so teach a kind of idealised method....but then who would have the cross brace held between the thumb and the middle of the index finger ??🙄😈

Chris
timothy42b
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by timothy42b » Tue Nov 24, 2020 5:53 am

FOSSIL wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 2:12 am
Look on YouTube at good pros in all genres. Most hold the slide in a similar way....and not the way that often is recommended....It's a funny facet of trombone instruction that players seem coy about. Perhaps players find that they cannot find a good justification for their holding technique, so teach a kind of idealised method....but then who would have the cross brace held between the thumb and the middle of the index finger ??🙄😈

Chris
I have noticed this as well. The palm facing wristy motion recommended by most teachers is not what they do themselves, to my eyes. The first time I realized this was at an ETW years ago. I was a few feet from Jim Pugh as he played at blazing speed, and I saw arm motion very different from what I'd been told to do.

There is an exception. Sam Burtis actually does hold the slide the way recommended when playing in the middle around the bell, and I think he chooses positions to stay there as much as he can, but when he is at the extremes he is closer to what others do. In my view of course, our eyes can see what we want to sometimes.

I really like what James Markey said in that ATW video, and that seems to echo what Doug and Harrison said above.

There is a forearm rotation component that I see in the top players that many do not acknowledge. Looking at my own playing in a mirror, I realize that if I let my wrist dorsiflex, it adds tension and inhibits that relaxed forearm. It's a bad habit that I've worked to break lately. If I hold the slide tube like Doug says, and ensure that I have a slight plantar flex in the wrist, I seem to be able to get a straight line slide motion without bouncing it.
baileyman
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by baileyman » Tue Nov 24, 2020 6:27 am

PaulT wrote:
Mon Nov 23, 2020 6:46 pm
...
I hold the slide with my thumb on one side of the brace with two fingers on top and two fingers below the bottom tube on the other side. I no longer play "slide badminton" by tossing it back and forth between my thumb and fingers, but if I'm shifting quickly between middle positions I do allow my thumb to release from the brace and I move the slide by straightening and closing my fingers alone. I suppose my fingers are flipping, but the slide is secured by pressure from my fingers (so it is no longer the "pitch and catch" between the thumb and fingers move my instructor cautioned me about).
...
I clearly remember a video of JJ Johnson bouncing the slide back and forth for one of his doodled half-step trills in-partial. (Wish I could find that again.)

This slide stuff gets ridiculously serious, apparently, for pros. Kenny Shroyer complained he was kinda banned from the studios because he played with a floppy wrist and everyone else was stiff.

An interesting experiment is to do fairly rapid alternations between notes, like maybe from position 2 to 4, but do it sitting on the edge of a bed. The oscillation can be tectonic! Technique to reduce that is a good idea.
PaulT
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by PaulT » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:09 pm

Thanks for replies.

I had started thinking about something I hadn't thought about for many, many years... which prompted me to poke around Youtube without much satisfaction, then I remembered, "say, I have access to a group of trombone pros, could-be-pros, and near-pros; a seasoned group that includes some of the top players in the world and others so good I could never tell the difference. I'll ask them.

Thanks. I appreciate this forum.
PaulT
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by PaulT » Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:31 pm

The concerns that had popped up are gone. There are different ways to hold the slide. What works works. Over the years, my hand has settled into a certain way of holding the slide. It's my hand's decision and it has decided. It is comfortable and relaxed and, as far as I can tell, everything is working well.

So now I'll go back to worrying about the Viking's defensive line issues. And offensive line issues. And cornerback issues.
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BGuttman
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by BGuttman » Tue Nov 24, 2020 11:04 pm

PaulT wrote:
Tue Nov 24, 2020 10:31 pm
The concerns that had popped up are gone. There are different ways to hold the slide. What works works. Over the years, my hand has settled into a certain way of holding the slide. It's my hand's decision and it has decided. It is comfortable and relaxed and, as far as I can tell, everything is working well.

So now I'll go back to worrying about the Viking's defensive line issues. And offensive line issues. And cornerback issues.
Given what's going on with COVID in your area, you ought to worry about keeping clear of it! :amazed:

(North Dakota has the highest rate of infection in the US: 9,000 cases per 100,000.)
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LeTromboniste
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by LeTromboniste » Wed Nov 25, 2020 12:49 am

I used to have too tense a grip and got tendonitis because of overpracticing excerpts with lots of slide movement with that tight grip. Learned to relax the grip, but ended up with the same issue as you of throwing the slide back and forth, and it does seem to want to creep back into my playing every once in a while. You have to stay on the lookout for it if you have that tendency. My grip is otherwise very much like you and Doug describe. I have my thumb against the brace mostly but structurally my grip is really on the lower tube between my middle and ring fingers. The side and top of the middle part of my ring finger actually developed extra padding from the constant contact with the slide over the years.

Some of the French players (Daniel Lasalle and Fabrice Millischer for example) use a very different grip than the "standard". They hook their index finger completely around the bottom tube, holding it only with that index and the top of the middle finger, with often no involvement of the thumb at all and no contact with the crossbrace whatsoever.

I think any grip that allows you to have precise slide technique and intonation while keeping everything relaxed is good, and any grip that makes you overthink or makes you tense up part of your arm is bad.
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JohnD
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by JohnD » Wed Nov 25, 2020 4:40 pm

Recently, I found out about Peter Steiner. He's a fond of accuracy. Here's a picture of his, showing the slide grip he seems to use more often than not. I'm trying to accommodate this grip.

Image

And a video:

https://scontent-yyz1-1.cdninstagram.co ... 1a0f4f687
Hear, Ear !
PaulT
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by PaulT » Wed Nov 25, 2020 6:51 pm

I am a huge fan of his accompanist!
dbwhitaker
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by dbwhitaker » Wed Dec 02, 2020 10:36 pm

I don't think I'd be able to reach 7th position with Peter Steiner's grip which appears to me as index finger and thumb on the brace. Lower brace between middle and ring finger seems to give me the longest reach and I need it all for 7th position.

If anyone wants to take video to analyze slide movement then I would recommend an app called "Coach's Eye". I used it a few years ago when I coached my daughter's softball team. It's a fantastic tool to view and analyze fast motion.
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LeoInFL
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by LeoInFL » Thu Dec 03, 2020 2:30 pm

I guess I'm one of the weird ones. The 'crook' of the 1st knuckle of my index finger rests where the slide brace and lower slide tube meet. My middle finger is below the tube and provides the slightest of upward pressure. I've never really thought about it, but I'm pretty sure I don't use my thumb at all. You can see how I hold the slide in my profile pic.
LeoInFL
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PaulT
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Re: Slide grip/technique

Post by PaulT » Thu Dec 03, 2020 3:49 pm

Man, you need to get help quick, dude!










(that's a joke ;) )
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