Does a mouthpiece need to "fit" a trumpet?

Discussion in 'Mouthpieces / Mutes / Other' started by Harald, Feb 8, 2010.

  1. Harald

    Harald New Friend

    Sep 11, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    This may be a silly question. I am wondering if a trumpet mouthpiece need to be selected based on the type of trumpet it is used on. I am not talking about trumpets of different pitches (like Bb, C, D, e-flat etc.). I am talking about regular b-flat trumpets.

    I play a Bach 5B mouthpiece on a 180ML Bach Strad (Model 37) and with this combination I get pretty much the sound quality that I am after (warm and soft sound not to brilliant). I have 2 other b-flat trumpets. One is a "Silvertone made in France" (I have no idea of the brand or maker). With this trumpet the 5B gives me almost the same sound as the Bach Strad. My third b-flat trumpet is a vintage "American Standard" trumpet from 1935. I had this trumpet "reconditioned" by a highly qualified brass instrument technician and it is in very good conditions. However, the Bach 5B just does not seem to work on this trumpet. I get relatively good results with a Bach 1/4C or with a standard Bach 7C on this vintage trumpet.

    Thus my question is: How does the type of trumpet affect the type of mouthpiece that gives the best result. Does the bore of the instrument determine what type of mouthpiece should be used? Are there any other trumpet parameters (specifications) that should be considered in selecting a mouthpiece?

    Thank you,

  2. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown
    There is no cut and dried answer to your question; the player's preference is the most important factor. While some players do use the same mouthpiece on all pitched instruments, it is common to find players using a shallower and/or smaller mouthpiece for the higher pitched instruments.

    Hope this helps!
  3. DrDave

    DrDave Piano User

    Nov 26, 2004
    Vancouver, BC
    I agree. There are some players who play one piece on all horns, and many who use different mouthpieces for different horns. In my experience the latter situation is more common. Most of my customers who play horns in different keys will play different sizes, either in terms of rim diameter, depth, throat, or backbore. Some players will use the same top and upper backbore section on Bb and C and just switch to the short shank intended for the C trumpet. It shortens the mouthpiece by about 1/4 inch. There is no right answer as every horn and player combination is different.

  4. Harald

    Harald New Friend

    Sep 11, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Thank you for your helpful insights. However, I was not refering to switching between instruments with different pitches. My question is: does different type of b-flat trumpets require different mouthpieces. For example, does a small bore b-flat trumpet require a different mouthpiece than a large bore b-flat trumpet (always under the assumption that it is played by the same person). Or are there other characteristics of b-flat trumpets (e.g., bell size and shape or taper of the leadpipe, etc.) that would affect the type of mouthpiece that is best suited for a particular b-flat trumpet (played by the same person)?

    As stated in my original message: I found my "personal sound" with a Bach 5B mouthpiece on my 180ML Model 37 Strad. However the same 5B mouthpiece on my vintage "American Standard" trumpet (also b-flat) does not give me the sound I am looking for. If I use a Bach 7C on that vintage trumpet the sound of the trumpet is more pleasant (to me) than with the 5B. On the other hand, I like the sound of the 5B better on my Bach Strad than the sound that I get with the 7C.

    So based on this experience, I assume that the mouthpiece should be selected (in part) based on the trumpet characteristics (such as leadpipe, bore size, bell shape, etc) it is played on.

    Does this make sense or am I completely off here.

  5. Dale Proctor

    Dale Proctor Utimate User

    Jul 20, 2006
    Heart of Dixie
    In my experience, it depends on the horn. Some trumpets seem to respond predictably to almost any mouthpiece you try in it. Others are really "mouthpiece sensitive", and play much better with certain mouthpieces, and terrible with others. It may be the gap, backbore shape, cup shape, etc. that makes the difference on the sensitive horns, but I don't know which characteristics of an instrument cause it to be sensitive or not. When I get a new (to me) horn, I always try my preferred mouthpiece in it first. If that doesn't work too well, I'll try other sizes and manufacturers I have in my mouthpiece box. Usually, I'll find a piece that makes the horn sound and respond like I want it to. If I just can't get happy with it, the horn goes back on eBay...:cool:

    Some horns are naturally brighter/darker, richer/thinner sounding, so you can color the sound of a trumpet somewhat with your mouthpiece selection. Getting the tone you want with good response, range, and intonation is the trick.
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2010
  6. hose

    hose Pianissimo User

    Oct 31, 2003
    Orlando FL
    I think the gap makes more of a difference than most of us give it credit. There's a sweet spot and not all mpcs are the same shank taper. Also, the much maligned "clocking" of mouthpieces could make a difference. Some equipment responds more to clocking than others.
  7. ChopsGone

    ChopsGone Forte User

    Jan 26, 2009
    Northern California
    Dale pretty well covered it, in my opinion. One thing I've found that makes a big difference in how well a trumpet/mouthpiece combination works is the resistance built into each. For example, a small-bore peashooter I have responds much better to a small, shallow, tight backbore, high-resistance mouthpiece (Stork LTV10) than to anything else I've tried. It just balances well and feels and plays like they were made for each other.

    On most Bb trumpets, I usually play a deep, fairly large mouthpiece, such as a Curry 1.5TC or TF, or a Flip Oakes version of the TC. Or a couple of different Monette mouthpieces (BL4S6 Prana and B1.5M), which seem to work very well on most horns for me. Yet on the same horns, depending on what I'm playing and especially how I'm playing that day, a CG Personal or a Superchops 3 might be what suits me at the moment. Which one seems to work best on which horn on which occasion is very much a personal thing. I actually do most of my horn testing with an old Calicchio mouthpiece with no size markings, as even though it's slightly more small and shallow than I normally play, it's always on the desk and usually gives me a quick read on which direction to go with a horn. With me, it's more a question of finding the right resistance and cup volume combination for a horn than it is of which rim diameter to use. I could probably save a bunch of money if I'd just sell all those mouthpieces and use a Schilke 14 on everything, though.
  8. Harald

    Harald New Friend

    Sep 11, 2008
    Iowa City, IA
    Thank you Dale:

    This pretty much confirms my own experience. I can get brighter sounds out of my Bach Strad with a more shallow mouthpiece (e.g., 7C or 7D) and I can get a darker sound out of my Bach Strad with a deeper mouthpiece (e.g., 5B). I think I can even change the sound color (brigther/darker) subconsciously without changing the mouthpiece on my Bach Strad just by having the desired sound quality in my mind.

    In contrast, on this old vintage "American Standard" trumpet this is not possible. I can get an ok sound with the 7C mouthpiece that is more on the brilliant (bright) side. But I cannot (easily) get a dark or mellow sound out of this horn no matter what mouthpiece I use.

    Maybe this is what separates a well build instrument from a less well-build instrument. A well build instument may allow to produce whatever sound quality you are looking for, while a less well-build trumpet limits the sound quality that you can get out of it.

    I am not sure if this makes any sense. Just a few thoughts. Maybe I should sell all my other b-flat trumpets and only keep the Bach Strad. I am sure my wife would appreciate it ...

  9. Keith Fiala

    Keith Fiala Pianissimo User

    Feb 21, 2007
    Austin, Texas
    There is something to be said about the "gap" between the mouthpiece and the lead pipe for sure. If there is too large a gap, you'll end up with turbulence in the airstream.

    I believe that anything can be overcome, but why fight harder than you have to?

    Keith Fiala
  10. Resurrection

    Resurrection New Friend

    For Harald:

    I have a similar situation (with a solution). I have a 1924 King Liberty and a later King (1960's). I also use a 5B (on the later horn), but it physically does not fit properly in the vintage Liberty because the receiver taper on the Liberty is non-standard. Check the fit of your mouthpiece in the receiver of the American Std and see if it isn't a little loose at the end of the receiver, but tends to seal at the bottom of the receiver. It may be bottoming so that there is little or no gap. See if you can find a Del Staigers 42 mouthpiece on the net. It is about the same vintage as your American Standard and my Liberty, is close to the same diameter as the 5B, but the inside rim will be much sharper unless it has been modified . American Standard was bought by H.N. White (makers of King horns) approximately in the 50's, so the early American Standard might be the same as the HN White taper.

    Just a thought.

    Best of Luck.

    Bill B

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