Beginner mouthpiece question

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Lormacon, Feb 13, 2007.

  1. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Actually, I do not like to go into great detail because it can often do more harm than good when we do not have a professional at our side guiding us through such changes. There is a lot more than I will describe here! These points are my observations of AMATEURS. The discussion for advanced playing is much different!

    The reality of amateur players is the limited amount of practice time, but the need to "get through" rehearsals and concerts. Good band leaders rehearse more when it gets close to the concert to build chops and consistency of playing, but many will moan about the first rehearsal after Christmas vacation! My observation here apply to these players!

    1) more lip in the mouthpiece = greater vibrating area = less critical placement
    2) when the chops are tired, more room for swelling = you can play longer
    3) better sound when you don't practice as much as you should
    4) tonguing is less critical because the large vibrating area is easier to set in motion. The sound "speaks" easier
    5) the "bigger" "darker" sound helps a section of amateurs to blend better. Smaller, brighter sounding mouthpieces stick out easier
    6) The bigger mouthpiece is a constant reminder to take a big breath and it helps you get rid of that air, preventing it from backing up

    One possible disadvantage of a big mouthpiece is quoted as less range. I have NEVER had a student that has lost range because of a bigger mouthpiece. Sometimes the switch from a 7C size to a 3C or 1 1/4 took a couple of weeks to get used to. After that - no losses.

    The advantages of a smaller mouthpiece for a more advanced embouchure are also clear. Here we do not have problems with notes not speaking, size and "color" of the sound, range or flexibility. For an advanced embouchure, a smaller mouthpiece means less work when playing as a SOLOIST. A section has different requirements. That is why the symphonic players generally use bigger mouthpieces - the section sound benefits. If they all would switch to smaller mouthpieces, that would work, but it would probably be harder to transfer what is in their head to the real world. I have had students with more mature embouchures that have switched to smaller mouthpieces to play lead. In the beginning the range was (much)worse, but after several weeks improved dramatically - accompanied with a much brighter sound, less suitable for symphonic playing.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2007
  2. Lormacon

    Lormacon New Friend

    Jan 24, 2007
    Hello again,

    Sorry to bail on this post for a day, but I was working a crazy shift at work. Thank you all for your thoughts and suggestions.

    She does indeed have a private instructor along with her daily band class and practice sessions with me. Her instructor was the one who suggested she my be ready to move up to a larger mouthpiece as she is consistently hitting G's with the 3C. She inherited my full lip structure (think Liv Tyler), and like me plays with the edges of the rim in the pink part of the upper lip. I have read this can cause problems but haven't experienced any personally that I am aware of but I don't want her to be handicapped by it as we are all unique. My big concern is some sort of muscle strain or other negative physical affects and problems to watch out for.

    As for the smaller mouthpiece theory, I had a professor in college encourage me to to try that to the extent of rolling my lips inward against my teeth. Trust me, it was not a pleasant experience. I do know there are trumpet players out there with large lips buzzing small mouthpieces but I have not been successful with it. Larger seems to be what I need unless I am doing something incorrectly.

    Thanks again for all the help, you guys are wonderful! :-)

  3. michael shanks

    michael shanks New Friend

    Jan 12, 2007
    I'm a sophmore in highschool and have been playing for the last seven years I started on a yamaha student trumpet and still own it but if I were you I would start her on a professinal B-flat it cost alittle more but it will be wirth it in the longrun. Ireally dont know what mouthpiece to start her on see what she feels comfortable on I would see what she thinks of a warburton 4d and go from there it all comes down to what she likes.
  4. Richard Oliver

    Richard Oliver Forte User

    Jul 18, 2006
    Casper, WY

    Have fun teaching your daughter. What fun. Duets!!

  5. BudBix

    BudBix Pianissimo User

    Sep 25, 2005
    Atlanta, GA
    A 3C is about as middle of the road as it gets. As long as she is progressing I wouldn't mess with it.
  6. stchasking

    stchasking Forte User

    Jun 11, 2006
    Live Tyler lips should easily be a 3C or 3D. I don't think you should do much more until she is out of high school.

    She will learn enough on her own about mouth pieces if you can take her to some conferences where mouth piece manufactureres are available.
  7. Jslice

    Jslice New Friend

    Aug 7, 2015
    I have a question for Rowuk. I just got some new students who I saw were playing on Besson mouthpieces which were unmarked. The cups were cavernous...and rim diameter wide. One of my students could not support a low E...was sounding a couple tones to low. I switched him to Yamaha 14B4 since it was the only other available mouthpiece...his sound became more focused and supported immediately. Another girl was also on the Besson unmarked so I switched her as well to a Bach 7c...she was having difficulty producing tone...seemed like she didn't have enough support either. Just wanted to check my reasoning though...I always thought the 7c was a standard for kids because the size fit their faces better...but I was reading your comment on deeper mouthpieces being better for beginners...
  8. Ed Kennedy

    Ed Kennedy Forte User

    Nov 18, 2006
    There are many great professional players of all styles who have played on 3C or 3C size pieces for their entire career.

    Think of it as shoe size. Who graduates to a larger shoe?
  9. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I'd like to post in with my 2ยข on a few things that I believe to misguided ideas/fallacies when it comes to mouthpieces, and mouthpieces for beginning and aspiring players. I'll create kind of a small list.

    1. A 7C is a beginners mouthpiece - it's what a kid should start on, but they need to move from it as they advance.
    2. A 7C mouthpiece is somehow inherently bad.
    3. As an aspiring player progresses on the trumpet, they need to move to a bigger mouthpiece.
    I don't know where those ideas have come from. I think that horn makers got in the practice of putting a 7C mouthpiece in with their student level horns because considering the size and age of a lot of kids when they start playing, it's a decent choice - it's not overly large, but it's not overly small, the rim is big enough for a comfortable fit, but small enough that a beginners embouchure can be supported, and the cup is deep enough to support a good sound.

    The 7C isn't good, bad, or necessarily for a beginner - it's just a size.

    Regarding that 3C, I know several professional players who use a 3C exclusively and have for decades. Again, it's just a size, and if it fits well, it fits.

    With the idea of moving your daughter to a bigger mouthpiece, I'd recommend against it. She probably likes it because it gives her a big open sound, but with her being in beginning stages and with somewhat underdeveloped chops, unless she has particularly fleshy lips that would require the larger size, it could cause her to form some bad habits to try to compensate for playing a mouthpiece bigger than she's currently able to handle.

    While I'm not an embouchure guru, nor am I necessarily an equipment hound, I try to stick to a couple of principles when it comes to gear.

    1. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    2. Rather than throwing money at gear for a perceived deficiency, spend some additional insightful time in the practice room instead.
    3. Only look at gear if all other avenues in the practice room have been exhausted.

    In your daughter's case, especially since she's still a beginner, leave her on the 3C - at this stage of the game, there's absolutely no reason to switch it IMO. She won't make 1st chair by changing a mouthpiece - she'll make 1st chair with focused practice.

    On a side note, I'm currently using a 3C for my non-lead playing, and I've been playing trumpet for 34 years. I've used bigger mouthpieces in the past, but ultimately it's too much work for negligible benefit IMO.
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I quoted my experience and Bach mouthpieces. I still stand behind my post from back then.

    Mouthpieces can't be viewed just from a size standpoint. Rim shape is also significant depending on what and how much the amateur practices.

    As far as unmarked Besson mouthpieces go, I can't comment at all.

    I do consider viewing a 7c as a beginners mouthpiece to be very naive. There is no beginners mouthpiece, just mouthpieces delivered with student trumpets and used by beginners.

    As far as switching to a 14b4 and everything focussing -sounds like crappy breathing to me. Of course the 14b will have a brighter sound and be easier to support. There is nothing wrong with that. Most important is that the kids keep playing and mouthpieces not become dogma!


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