I’ve always been the worst musician in any incarnation of the various and sundry bands that I’ve been a member of over the past 20 years. But I’m generally an organized, fun kinda guy to hang out with and I’m willing to schlep the PA equipment, and hell it’s just rhythm guitar and back-up vocals, so everybody has tolerated my awkward fingers.
But I also knew that this situation probably wouldn’t last forever. As I got older and practiced less and less (limit goes to zero), bands that actually had gigs not only wouldn’t want me around anymore but also wouldn’t play any songs that I knew anymore. It’s depressing when you used to be a top 40 band and you have become an oldies band by default.
So anticipating the end of my career as a guitar hero, I began to look for a fallback position. Maybe someone would let me play in a horn section of a kickin’ dance band and I could still get free drinks at the weddings of total strangers. I used to play trumpet, oh 30 years ago, so how hard could it be to pick it up again and recondition the old embouchure?
$100 and a used eBay trumpet later, I was back in business. I remembered all my scales, thanks to my extraordinary finger memory, and while I was no Al Hirt, at least I wasn’t “Ear Hurt” either. Unfortunately, after playing trumpet in the middle school band, I switched to baritone and then tuba. (Once again, I was the only one willing to lug the heavy crap around so I got the biggest instruments. And that’s why my right arm is six inches longer than my left one.) The bad news is that I had forgotten how to read treble clef in favor of the bass clef notation of the b-flat instruments.
“No worries,” I thought. There was always the internet. You can find anything on the world wide web. All I need is a treble clef fingering chart for the trumpet. So I did a Google search for the word “fingering.” And let me tell you, the stuff that came up on that search! It took me literally hours before I found anything to do with the trumpet…