Commercial Mouthpiece/Trumpet Combinations

Discussion in 'Jazz / Commercial' started by Larry Gianni, Dec 21, 2003.

  1. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi all,

    The realization that a certain line of mouthpieces seems to work best with certain brands trumpets actually, before the advent of national dealers and internet sales, was a recognized conclusion.

    Before the proliferation of so many mouthpiece makers, in stores and thru the internet, giving everyone many choices from a now crowded field was, in the recent past, fairly limited to parts of the country so you only had certain choices that you could make.

    For the players in the legitimate field, Bach mouthpieces and Bach trumpets were the hands down “tools of choice “for many decades. Schilke made some strides into the legitimate mouthpiece/ trumpet field, but Bach was the dominate player and probably still is. But what about Stork, Giadinelli , Black, etc.

    For commercial players, the choices seemed much more numerous and varying. Because of the different demands and choices jazz/commercial players make and have, it’s only reasonable that their equipment also be more numerous and diverse.

    Question: If a trumpet manufacturer also manufactures mouthpieces is that always the best combination to eventually settle on?

    Do you play a Schilke piece with a Schilke trumpet? Does that seem to work the best?

    I have one conclusion that does seem to be a very good match for a certain mouthpiece brand and a certain trumpet line, but first a little history lesson:

    On the east coast in the 60’s and 70’s , Bob Giardinelli made great strides helping commercials players have a choice in a mouthpiece to use that played and performed much better than that old “ Bach “. Plus, Bob Giardinelli and trumpet player Joe Shepley pioneered the concept of the screw rim mouthpiece and actually patented the first "rim, cup, and backbore - 3 piece design†type of mouthpiece set-up. Also, I have to mention Bill Ratzenberger and the orgianl " Jet Tone " line ( They were originaly in Conn. ) that revolutionized the use of the convex cup design , comfortable rim and skelitalized outer mouthpiece design ( which used and held less energy to vibrate) helped commercial players again have a greater choice.

    Out here on the West Coast the ‘tools of choice “in the commercial world were, and I believe still are, Calicchio trumpets and Reeves mouthpieces.

    I have been told many times over the years that after long “ safari’s “ , the player really does find that this combo seems to bring out the best in their playing and sound.

    One reason for this is that both makers had there facilities in Hollywood, Calif for over 30 years , just blocks from each other, the musicians union and CBS , 20th century Fox and Paramount studio’s.

    At one time, everyone in LA’s commercial trumpet field either owned a Calicchio at one time or was in Bob’s shop for mouthpieces. Was that the sound that eventually was dubbed “ The West Coast Sound “ and if a player playing a Calicchio in the roaring recording days of Southern California , after countless trials and alterations, found a Reeves combo that seemed to work, couldn’t that easily be copied and used by others?

    Here are 2 examples (and there are many more)

    Chuck Findley : Bought his one and only Calicchio in 1968 and eventually settled on a Bob Reeves mouthpiece consisting of a 43 rim, es/s cup ( right between a es and s cup ) and a 69 backbore ( named 69 because that was the year it was invented ) in early ’69.
    The Bob Reeves line came about by using what worked best for the Hollywood players and eventually settling on a production line rim, cup, backbore, that was previously a custom cut.

    Johnny Audino:

    The now Reeves 43n rim, es cup and 2 backbore are the same one used by Johhny Audino, when he settled on a Purviuance mouthpiece (made by Bob Reeves when he worked for Don Purviance) with these, then custom features. Purveyance put the model out as the 6*3 when he started to have a line of standard mouthpieces.

    These are just 2 examples out of many that seem to suggest a certain mouthpiece line works better with a certain brand of trumpets.

    At a certain time, all the custom Schilke mouthpieces were that some are now standard were fro players that played Schilke trumpets. Bill Chase, Mike Vax, Forrest Buchtell, Jon Faddis (Schilke mouthpiece combinations), Lyn Biviano, Joe Mosello, etc.

    Why do Monette players say a Monette mouthpiece works better than another brand on there Monette?

    I’m just giving the tip of the iceberg as far as this theory goes, but I’ve witnesses the Reeves/ Calicchio combo win out countless times. The “ Who’s Who “ of commercial players on the West Coast ( and around the country ) have known this for a long time, but now, with both of these companies now using dealers more and more, instead of the “ walk-in “ clientele of the past, it has somewhat been lost in the shuffle.

    Let me hear what you think on the subject especially if you found one line working best with a certain trumpet.
    Plus, how about mouthpiece makers with out a line of trumpets what do they work best in?
    Which ones in your experience seem to make a certain brand of trumpet play to it utmost no matter which mouthpiece in the same line you use.

  2. rhdroc

    rhdroc Pianissimo User

    Nov 17, 2003
    Central Pennsylvania
    The Calicchio - Reeves Combination

    Larry is definitely right about the Calicchio - Reeves connection. There's a certain MAGIC you get with these two!! I have no idea or explanation why they work so well together but I sure would be interested in a possible working theory if anyone has the time and/or inclination to do the brainstorming. :idea:

    One of my favorite pastimes is trying out new mouthpieces using my Calicchio 1sZ/3RL. Just as a brief aside, my wife hates this hobby and frequently threatens to eBay my collection when I'm not around!! Anyways, I've tried almost all the commercial models available (still looking for a used Fokus Lead 10.5). For me, nothing works better than the Reeves lineup!! As a matter of fact, when trying out something new, I ALWAYS compare it to my Reeves mouthpieces. Just as soon as things get serious (regardless of what piece I've been currently auditioning) and a gig's on the line, there's always a Reeves in the business end of my horn!!!


    P.S. By the way, I'm still looking for a good, used Reeves 40FE or 40DF for flugel :wink:
  3. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    I think that the success of the "Calicchio - Reeves" with commercial players in California has much to do with location. Players could go into each shop, consult, try various horns and mouthpieces until they found just the right combination for them. The products were good, but the ability to provide personal attention put them "over the top."

    With Calicchio now in Tulsa, some of that "advantage" may be lost.

    On the East Coast, in a different time, others like Stork/Bach/Giardinelli may have enjoyed similar advantages.

    Now, with the internet, such advantages have diminished. Look at GR, out there in "no man's land" geographically, "consulting" with would be mpc purchasers and growing at a rapid pace. While it's still a plus to walk in and try a number of pieces, the information age has reduced the importance. Players are now more likely to seek a particular horn from a distant source and match it with a mpc from an equally distant source.

    Thank you, internet. Curse you, internet. ;-)

  4. dcstep

    dcstep Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 27, 2003
    Oh, I believe that you need to match a mouthpiece to a trumpet, but if you understand things like gap (in particular), mass, backbore, cup, throat, etc., with expert help, almost any brand mpc can work with almost any brand trumpet.

  5. 2LIP

    2LIP New Friend

    Nov 28, 2003
    MP/Horn Match

    As a trumpet player for a couple of years, I was forced to start with a Bach 7C in 1975. As I progressed, I went to the 5C, then 3C, then 1.5 C, back to the 3C, the 5C and when I started playing semi-pro in 1980 and doing a lot of big band/commercial work I went to a Giardinelli, and a different trumpet. I realized then that the trumpet and MP had to work well together, and with the player. Guys I knew were all over the place with MP's. If it was good for 1 guy and he had students, they all started playing whatever the teacher was using.

    FF 20 years. I went from a Getzen trumpet to a Schilke and tried to fight it with the same Warburton MP that I had been using for the last 10 years. Tried multiple MP's in the Warburton line to match my Schilke and was never satisfied (I think it was a gap issue). Finally went to Schilke, worked with Karl Hammond, and found the right MP for that horn. I firmly believe that Schilke trumpets work great with Schilke MP's if you can find one that works for you.

    6 months ago, I purchased a Kanstul. I didn't like the match between the Schilke MP and the Kanstul so I went on a hunt. I spoke with many people including the folks at Kanstul about MP's. Finally after speaking with many people (Flip Oakes, Mark Curry, Pops McLaughlin), I decided to try the Curry line. Through much trial and auditioning of MP's, I found a combo that works very well with my Kanstul trumpet and Curry MP.

    I am sure that some would not like this, and others would be like "wow", but it has to work for me, and it does.

    So to make a long answer longer, I think there are magical match ups, and some that would not seem to work well that do. The player, MP, horn have to match or you fight to get what you want out of them. (GR)
  6. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Wow, this is a really old thread.

    Made for an entertaining read, though.
  7. motteatoj

    motteatoj Mezzo Forte User

    Feb 23, 2013
    Tuckahoe, NY
    Old, but worthy of revitalizing....

    As a fairly new, adult learner/player, this conundrum confounds my engineering brain.
    I love choices, but the mpc/trumpet combinations are essentially unlimited.

    Here is what my limited experience tells me.
    My Blessing works MUCH better (even I can tell) with a vintage blessing mpc from that period.
    My Conn 40b works MUCH better (even I can tell) with the original mpc it came with.

    My instructor has me on a Yamaha14b4, which works great with my Yamaha, not so good with my Conn, and even worse with my Blessing.
    My Selmer seems to like the Yamaha just fine, but I am curious to find a period Selmer mouthpiece and see what happens.
    My instructor borrowed my Yamaha and put a Marcinkiewicz in it as he perffered it to his or my Yamaha AND his Monettes.

    I know it all comes down to (person+mpc+horn)*overall effect * a little bit of preference = the right one.

    The thing that is sad is that there are few (however, some are excellent) shops to try a variety of mpcs with your horns (past the standard Sam Ash fare).

    Perhaps another idea for IGT, a mpc hang....with plenty of disinfectant of course! :-o
  8. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    I'm surprised this thread was started 11 years ago and got so little response.

    Here's my take - I do believe that certain mouthpieces and horns are better combinations than others. 2LIP above mentioned (10 years ago) that they felt that Schilke mouthpieces were good matches for Schilke trumpets, and to that idea, I have to respectfully disagree. My current setup is a Schilke 14A4 mouthpiece on a Schilke B6 trumpet, but I have modified the gap using clear packing tape. While I've probably gone a bit too far the other way, I find that the larger gap is considerably better than the original gap. I just ordered a Warburton mouthpiece setup - I sincerely hope I don't have the issues with it that 2LIP did, although if I do, I'll likely just exchange the stock backbore for their B backbore setup - a bit thicker for a bit larger gap. Time will tell because I don't have it yet - I should get it today or tomorrow.

    It's a good subject and one that I think is worthy of further exploration.
  9. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    While I don't disagree with the variable gap requirements for different mouthpieces, I ponder the rationale why there is any gap at all is the complete instrument design now that technology has advanced into the precision age.
  10. neal085

    neal085 Mezzo Forte User

    Sep 6, 2012
    Ft. Worth, TX
    Go back and look at the threads from that time. NOTHING got a response.

Share This Page