Mouthpiece Design Effeciency - all by itself

Discussion in 'Horns' started by Larry Gianni, Feb 17, 2004.

  1. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles

    Here and extension of the “Free Blowing “thread (that turned out to be a very interesting ride) adding the mouthpiece element. So does a mouthpiece have a obtain a cup / backbore equation of resistance to achieve an efficient design all by itself, away from the trumpet?

    Will a mouthpiece with a very shallow cup and a large backbore or vise versa ( large cup / tight backbore ) make the player manipulate the way they play to overcome an inherent problem?

    Here's what Karl Hammond of Schilke had to say on the subject (thanks to Marc Melton for this)

    Custom Mouthpiece Design
    By Karl Hammond

    Balance vs. Resistance “The Fine Lineâ€
    Every mouthpiece should be a balanced combination of blowing freedom with equalized resistance. These features come together to create the ideal mouthpiece and are critical to the efficiency of a player’s set up. Every set up has this “fine line†of freedom and resistance. This occurs when the player finds the center of the pitch along with the desired sound and controlled flexibility. Each player’s “fine line†is different. At Schilke Music, we do not make the assumption this “fine line†is the same for all players or musical situations. Through consultation, our Custom Shop will help assist a player to determine what sound they want and why their current set up doesn’t accomplish this balance.

    When a mouthpiece is to “open and freeâ€, the net musical result is usually a loss of control with poor attacks and “cracked†notes. When there is too much resistance in the mouthpiece, the center of the note may be hard to find resulting in an unstable feel. The components of the mouthpiece that help create this balance are the rim, cup, throat, and backbore.

    One critical performance variable to address regarding custom mouthpiece work, before discussing the various mouthpiece components, is the “gap†size. The gap refers to the distance created within the trumpet mouthpipe receiver occurring between the end of the mouthpiece and the beginning of the lead pipe. A smaller gap can raise the pitch of the trumpet compromising a player’s accuracy and control. I n instrument is playing flat consistently; the gap could be too large resulting in poor attacks and a lack of focus to the sound. The trumpet shank or stem can be altered to penetrate further into the mouth pipe receiver to raise the pitch rather then alter the inner characteristics of the mouthpiece.

    Now here's another variable not mentioned alot. How about the length or the mouthpiece when a certain cup/backbore combo seems to work the best for you.? Why are Callet mouthpieces longer than the norm or was Bud Brisbois Reeves ( copy of Bert Herrick ) or the Stork “ Studio Master Series “ shorter than the norm. Note – this is a rhetorical question and not the point of this discussion to dicuss any one individual line of mouthpieces vs. another– pro or con.

    Listen to this,

    Here in Los Angeles, some much respected players actually were tuning their mouthpieces by shaving the mouthpiece length. This was started a couple years ago by a man named Ollie Mitchell, who now resides ( retired to ) in Hawaii, and was a premier studio player for 30 years on the West Coast and was the son of Harold “Pappy " Mitchell, who was one of the West Coast pioneers of the trumpet and recording industry.

    Here what is done:

    You buzz the mouthpiece on a concert Bb (tuning note) or concert Eb ( which ever is more comfortable to you )

    You play it as relaxed as possible until the pitch centers were the mouthpiece length and design dictates with the biggest core ( it' usally flat )

    You actually very, very slowly, file the end of the moupiece, until the natural and fullest , dense pitch is obtained and is in tune.

    When you now play this mouthpiece in conjunction with your trumpet , you tend to relax the aperture because you are not fighting an – out of tune “ portion of your set-up.

    I certainly makes sense in Theory and having found my worst in-tune mouthpiece to experiment on , it seems to work very well depending on how sensitive a player you are to all this fine tuning.

    Having tried it, ( not on every piece ) along with some trumpet players that are household names to everybody, it does help to slot pitches when played on the trumpet. When played in the trumpet, notes play slightly easeier and the slots feels more locked and efficient . When doing the tests, I ded find out the mouthpiece I like the best, buzzed perfectly in tune all by itself without alteration.

    Now, do I advocate that everyone stop everything and do this , unequivocally NO – NO , NO , NO

    I understand the obsessive nature of trumpet players in general so I've never mentioned this before in public because I don't want cards and letters coming my way about how " I ruined my best mouthpiece with that cr** you advised me to do “

    If you have an old mouthpiece that you want to experiment with, then try it if you‘d like and but use a tuner to help with the pitch so the subjective element of “in-tune “is taken out of the equation. But do it at you own risk and it doesn’t take much filing to change the pitch.

    Yes, the gap will change because you are shorting the mouthpiece, but again, you will take off very little.

    OK, now everyone reading this raise your right hand and repeat after me -

    I am a human being and I possess free will and I do not hold Larry responsible for my actions regarding shaving the end of a mouthpiece especially if I try this and ruin my best mouthpiece that I mowed lawns all summer to buy “

    If your mouthpiece centers sharp (to short) then all this is a mute point because you would have to have your mouthpiece lengthened. See the dilemma

    For right now, let's talk about what Karl had to say and the Ollie Mitchell action in theory only – does it make sense?

  2. eclipse trumpets

    eclipse trumpets Piano User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Damn Larry

    You shoulda put that disclaimer/warning at the start of your post!

    Id already shaved 12 Mouthpieces incorrectly before i read that bit :lol:, and they were all my favourite ones that ive had since last month!!!

    Im furious


  3. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hey Leigh,

    Those 12 " door stops " you now own - can you grind off the original maker and gold plate them, stamp " Eclipse - LM1 thru LM12 " on the side and give me a letter of authenticity on some fancy stationary and I'll put them on E-bay as " Original 12 "Eclipse" proto-type mouthpieces - hand " tweaked " by Leigh McKinney " ( ala Bob Malone and his C trumpets ) limited one time offer.

    Think about it, These will bring more money than any old Pranas ever would and I'll split the take with you. Lets keep this little enterprise between you and me , OK

    Hey, you can stamp a couple" NL - custom model " if you'd like be he's not in on the loot end of it.

  4. DrunkIQ

    DrunkIQ Pianissimo User

    Nov 21, 2003
    Austin, Texas
    well, I wanted to thread that top anyways for a new backbore....


    It does seem to me that many moupieces are different lengths... I think most are trying to land them somewhere besides the normal spots that the popular Bach and Schilkes hit... maybe they are hopeing the part they hit is not streached out, in turn making the horn have better intonation??

  5. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hey all,

    A short version ( question ) of that long post is - Does a mouthpiece have a " sweet spot " and if so, is that so-called " very efficient slot" always in-tune , ( answer no ) , and would it really help your playing efficiency if it was in-tune?

    Mind you, you have to be a player of a certain level and sensitivity to make this assessment to begin with. For me, the mouthpiece I play the most and like the best, when I buzz it to try to find the best sound and fattest pitch, once it locks in to the ' Sweet Spot" that's inherent to it's design , it's right on the money in-tune.

    With all that said, I just realized that if the mouthpiece buzzes in tune then it's my trumpet that built out of tune because it certainly can't be the only other variable in the mix, me, right?

  6. Thevor

    Thevor Pianissimo User

    Oct 24, 2003
    Next to the Volcano
    Not to worry Larry or Leigh, I have the perfect solution, the new Johnson MP Stretcher - it will take any over shaved MP and stretch it to new............ see my Buy It Now Ad on Ebay for $29.95 + shipping :wink:
  7. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Man, you had me worried there Thev. I get back from vacation and what do I see? A post that is apparently advertising the "New Johnson Stretcher". And I thought I'd finally figured out a way to stop the spammers!!
  8. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles

    I just got back - my internet server was offline since Tuesday night - and the first thing I read about was the new " JOHNSON " strecher and both I and my wife were truly excited at the prospect of owning one, but then I figured out you were talking about it in connection to a trumpet mouthpiece - Oh Well :( - Hey, any other uses?


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