Clearing up muddy tone caused by excessive pucker or too much lip in mouthpiece

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Local 357, Apr 18, 2012.

  1. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011
    Clearing up muddy tone caused by excessive pucker or too much lip in mouthpiece.

    This may seem a foreign concept to some and remain so afterwards. if so? My words may not be meant for you. Everyone plays differently. While there can be similarities of muscle usage not all trumpet players utilize the same flesh/muscle lip/motion/positioning. In my own case this lesson took a while to learn.

    Throughout all my early lessons I was told to "always pucker" my lips into the mouthpiece. In some ways I feel fortunate to have been taught this as I could easily have fallen into some bad habits. The "smile" system was much more prevalent in my younger days. So because I puckered more I developed a respectable upper register fairly young while others did not.

    Then came the time back in '76 or so when a noted mouthpiece maker advised me to "clear the piece". Meaning: To clear excessive lip flesh OUT of the mouthpiece in order to open up the tone and get a BIG sound. His words were applied to to the use of shallow mouthpieces. In these shallower pieces excessive lip flesh can mussy the tone, reduce volume, worsen endurance particularly in the lower register.

    Lower register endurance and tone problems are common to those new to shallow mouthpieces. However once you've "cleared the piece" the tone can be fuller than your that of peers who use larger mouthpieces. reason: mouthpiece and chops working more efficiently.

    It is my belief that most all beginning, intermediate trumpet players are using mouthpieces that are far too large for them to support. Either due to lack of chops or undeveloped/discipline air support.

    So give them something easy to blow. Schilke "B" and "A" cups a good idea. Nothing really small (NOT like the 6a4a) until they develop more. But just something to assist tone production, lessen "clams" and make the music less of an effort. More fun in other words.

    And this is where "Clearing the piece" can be helpful exercise. A simple task, it can be learned in about a week and the student (if he learns to support his sound with lots of air) will sound far better. I've seen mere middle school bands adopt this idea and (other than their usual weak intonation) start to sound almost professional.

    But "clearing the piece" exercises are likely controversial. At first glance those unfamiliar might regard them as encouraging a "smile" or lip stretching concept. However this is untrue. Just the usual knee-jerk reaction.

    More later for those who want to hear about it. This is also a great way to blow a better sound on the low brass instruments. Especially for trumpet players who double.
  2. ultratrumpet

    ultratrumpet Piano User

    Jul 10, 2009
    Old Lyme, Connecticut
    A good place to start with a young developing player with mouthpiece selection is a Schilke 7B4 with a 24 drill. It's been my experience that all the feed back have been positive about this piece, which excellent results.
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    Local 357 and others, IMO whenever any lip enters the cup of the mpc, it alters its design. It's obvious that when the convex curve of the lips meets the concave cup of mpc there will be some entry, but I've seen too many, especially among marchers and other blasters who are exerting arm pressure that forces their lips deeper into the mpc cup very often losing accurate intonation. Too, I've observed many using shallow cups to bottom out and shut down completely. What do I suggest? My answer is a tender sweet kiss of the lips to the mpc. This may not be the appropriate explanation to a child just beginning the trumpet, but I'm sure most adult players know what I mean.
  4. Local 357

    Local 357 Banned

    Jul 1, 2011

    Yeah this is a nice mouthpiece. In some ways possibly the best beginner mouthpiece if not mistook for the similarly named but too deep, sharp and savage Bach piece.

    That's "Schilke 7B" folks NOT the blasted, infernal Bach 7C. Huge difference.

    The Schilke 7B has a nice tone and a flat, comfortable extra wide rim. Bordering on being too wide actually which is why it might make a good candidate for a young/smaller trumpet player.

    I did some recording on the Schilke 7B and was amazed at the lower register sonority. Everything sounded pretty. I couldn't stay with it however as i wanted other pieces in different depths but none of them had the same rim contour. Also the flat rim reduces my flexibility and makes it hard to "steer" in the upper register.

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