Embouchure / Mouthpiece Placement

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Ric232, Nov 23, 2012.

  1. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    246
    8
    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    Hello. I've been "on comeback" for 3.5 yrs now after a 25-year layoff. I have a teacher but I want your opinions on this. I've found that two slightly different mouthpiece placements work reasonably well for me but for different reasons. I'd like to settle on the best placement for me and move on with practicing. Using an early-1980's era Bach 3C; the very same mpc I used 25+ years ago.

    Placement #1: Nearly equal upper and lower lip. Feels like both lips are taking equal pressure. I play fairly well this way but it requires more warmup time to get a good tone. This is the placement I've used during my comeback.

    Placement #2: Slightly more lower lip than upper. Still more than 1/3rd upper lip but not quite 1/2. My teacher can barely tell the difference visually between #1 and #2. With this placement my tone is good even without warmup but I still warm up carefully and patiently. Range is easier. Face is more relaxed. Feels more efficient and focused. But I wear out faster (lower lip) with placement #2. The sound starts to shut down above the staff. Feels like the lower lip is swelling more or perhaps there isn't as much room in the mpc to accommodate the swelling since the mpc is sitting slightly lower. I think this is the placement I used 25+ years ago. I was the best player in the county but endurance was my weak point. This was at least partially due to the fact that I never practiced outside of school.

    For what it is worth, I get a ring on my lower lip (no cutting, bruising, etc.) with either placement but I never get any ring or mark whatsoever on my upper lip. Most players I see get an an upper ring and sometimes a ring on both lips. Need your thoughts. My teacher cannot tell the difference but the feel and performance is significantly different. I probably need a new teacher but I'd like your input. I promise I won't sue anyone for bad advice. :D

    Thanks.
     
  2. mctrumpet98

    mctrumpet98 Pianissimo User

    242
    89
    Sep 29, 2011
    Down Under
    We can't tell you anything because mouthpiece placement is different for everyone. If your teacher can't tell the difference... well then it's all up to you to decide. Go with whatever is better for you and would enhance your overall playing.
     
  3. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    8,040
    2,035
    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    I'll only go so far as to look at endurance and the ring. First, it may take years to establish fantastic endurance but improvement will come with diligent practice. Second, most will address the ring problem as causal from excess elbow pressure which is quite right, but I've noticed some picking up the lower lip ring only because they mostly play with the bell towards the floor ... sight line about a foot beyond the legs of their music stand or closer. Some may resolve this with vision exam while others raise their music stand, the latter my own dissatisfaction with Big Band type orchestra stands.
     
  4. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    246
    8
    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    This is why I mentioned the performance I experience with each approach. I thought it would be helpful to readers in helping me identify which approach is better for me and is most likely to enhance my overall playing in the long run.
     
  5. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    5,242
    1,791
    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    just my gut thought on this..
    It seems odd that you don't get a ring on the upper lip. I am guessing it is because your lower jaw is out a bit further. Someone on this site posted something about the upper egister the the upper lip being further out.
    The horn angle can effect this sort of thing as well.
    It sounds like your teacher can't tell the difference because you are good at adapting. When I wonder about placement I see how my dexterity is across octaves, slurring, and does it effect my attack of the note in all ranges. The winner is the one that produces the best tone and dexterity.
     
  6. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    246
    8
    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    No, my lower jaw is definitely not out further than my upper. My natural horn angle is slightly below horizontal. Sometimes, I consciously try to push my lower jaw out a little to make my teeth even (just experimenting a little with that). Then the horn is horizontal. The physical appearance of my trumpet playing is boringly orthodox.
     
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    18,108
    9,262
    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    Go with what is most comfortable and gives you the best sound.
     
  8. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    246
    8
    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    I wish it was that simple. When I'm cold, #2 sounds better. Once I'm warmed up, #1 sounds just as good but slightly darker. Both are equally comfortable until I start to wear down, then #1 becomes more comfortable and more functional. But as I said, #2 seems more efficient and requires less effort until I start to wear down.
     
  9. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    18,108
    9,262
    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    So neither #1 or #2 is optimal, because you have not found the one that is most comfortable AND gives you the best sound. So just don't sit there, go out and look. You can do it the hard way, but buying one before trying, and try to convince yourself it will work, and waist months or years in the process.. OR go into a music store, ask the clerk to take a series of mouthpieces to a sound proof booth, and have at it. I have found most wonderful mouthpieces for each of my horns using this method. Do this and it will be easier.
     
  10. Ric232

    Ric232 Pianissimo User

    246
    8
    Apr 30, 2009
    Coastal GA
    My question is about mouthpiece placement. No plans to change my mpc.
     

Share This Page