mouthpiece, backbore and leadpipe combinations?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Shoreham, Dec 29, 2009.

  1. Shoreham

    Shoreham New Friend

    Dec 28, 2009
    Tonbridge. Kent UK
    Are there any good tips for getting a really satisfactory mouthpiece/backbore combinations?

    Whilst acknowledging that every trumpet player has different requirements, different chops, embouchure, plays differently etc etc., are there any useful general guidelines regarding finding a balance between (say) having a combination of a large mp backbore and a tight leadpipe; or a small mouthpiece, small backbore and large leadpipe?

    The potential combinations are obviously almost endless, but which one of the trio of mouthpiece, backbore and leadpipe is said to have the greatest overall dominance in determining whether a horn is free blowing or quite resistant?

    Grateful for all your views.


    Kent UK
  2. s.coomer

    s.coomer Forte User

    Mar 25, 2005
    Indianapolis, In
    Use your regular mouthpiece and see if the horn fits you. Changing equipment is certainly not always and hardly ever the answer to success.
  3. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I agree with the advice to use the regular mouthpiece for comparison when looking for a different instrument or if you're trying out new leadpipes. But I disagree with the statement about changing equipment -- it can often make the difference between hitting one's head against a brick wall and having a breakthrough which allows a person to move up to the next level of playing.

    Concerning cup/backbore/leadpipe combinations, a person needs to find a music store where they allow you to spend a lot of time in the practice room trying out various combinations until you find something which you feel allows you to play better or easier or with a broader range. But never accept as "written in stone" that what you're using is the only equipment for you.

    I lost quite a few years of my trumpet playing because I kept using the same mouthpiece which many years ago had been a great mouthpiece for me. I just gradually stopped working at playing the trumpet as the years went by but never understood why. Then my son and I attended the ITG convention in Harrisburg and I tried mouthpieces just as he was doing and discovered a new mouthpiece which felt better to me, improved my sound to my ears, improved my sound to my son's ears and to those who were in the room listening to me. We all agreed that the new mouthpiece enabled me to get a much better sound, and I have been reinvigorated in my love of trumpet playing and I am playing higher, better, easier than I have ever played before in my life!

    So to those who say that an equipment change is "hardly ever" the answer to success, I say "if that were the case then nobody would ever buy a new trumpet or a new mouthpiece and we wouldn't be blessed with all the choices we now have that weren't available 40 years ago."

    The marketplace is full of trumpet makers and mouthpiece makers and backbore makers and leadpipe makers and people who specialize in altering equipment for the very reason that changing equipment very much can be the answer to success when a person is confronted with a problem in their playing that they can't seem to overcome any other way.
  4. Shoreham

    Shoreham New Friend

    Dec 28, 2009
    Tonbridge. Kent UK
    Many thanks for your replies - especial dbailey for such detail. I note what you say.

    I am obviously still seeking the 'Holy Grail' of the 'magic mouthpiece' and the accompanying horn and life is too short to spend endless amounts of time experimenting and searching. However, on the 'player/horn combinations' chart on one of the trumpet player websites it is reassuring to see that many great players, both past and current, have nearly all played many different makes and types of horn in their careers. It is also interesting to note that they changed mouthpieces either very little, or not at all!
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    We all need a certain amount of resistance in our equipment, some like it up close by using tight back bores, and open lead pipes , or further away with open back bores and tighter lead pipes, some like both open or both tight , you have to decide which is for you.
  6. chet fan

    chet fan Piano User

    Jul 3, 2009
    Once I thought that differen MP will solve my problems, but actually a teacher solved my problem when he changed my embouchure. At first it was hell, because I needed time to adjust, but now it is fine.

    BTW I have 4 MPs and I can play all of them, difference is only a slight colour in sound, and thats it. Embuchure is the same, playing is the same, limits are the same.

    I tell from experience
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    if we could solve any of this by specifications, there would only be one mouthpiece and horn manufacturer.

    You can't pick a wife by the numbers with any reasonable hope for success. The trumpet and mouthpiece are every bit as intimate. YOU need to make a project of playing everything that you can get your hands on - and take notes. After a year or two, you will have enough first hand info to make an intelligent decision of your own. Believe me, it is worth it.
  8. larry tscharner

    larry tscharner Forte User

    Apr 30, 2010
    dubuque iowa
    You will never know if you are using the exact best set up for you, its so highly subjective. Manufacturers depend on this continual search for the Holy Grail. dhbailey hit it right on the head. You cant say that improved performance is only gained by practice only or by equipment only. Everyone could benefit with practice AND better fitting equipment. Its ok to wonder if larger, smaller, tighter, freer, etc. will help you. I see a lot of players who dont want to be confused by trying another mpc or trumpet but they are missing a chance to see how their existing set up feels in comparison...maybe that mpc that came with the horn in 4th grade isnt the only one they are destined to use. My personal experience found me having my trusty Bach 5C cut off and threaded by Warburton MPC to accept a larger, heavier backbore. That has made all the difference in the world. My point my mind I am comfortable with my equipment choices and they work for me. Best wishes.
  9. Shoreham

    Shoreham New Friend

    Dec 28, 2009
    Tonbridge. Kent UK
    To Larry Tscharner,
    Many thanks for your reply and I note what you say. I have since found a great improvement by widening the mouthpiece throat from 27 to 26. A small change, but it has helped a lot.

    Best wishes and happy blowing.


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