Mouthpiece Gap ... seems important but seldomed discussed

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by coolerdave, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. gdong

    gdong Piano User

    321
    3
    Jun 7, 2008
    LA/Lake Tahoe/NYC
    In regards to monette mouthpieces and gap:

    I found that their standard mouthpieces (the ones made for non-monette horns) are deliberately made to have an enormous gap. I think this in order to compensate for how open the mouthpieces are, and to balance those characteristics out with respect to a trumpet that is built for mouthpieces that have pretty extreme geometrical differences from a monette. I found some horns that work great and some that don't.

    Abstract:
    The gap matters, but is only part of the package. Things like throat, cup-volume, backbore, and horn attributes also contribute. I would say that based on my mixed results in a variety of horns with monette and non monette mouthpieces (see below), that the gap play the smallest part in overall balance. I would strive to gain balance with the other mouthpiece/trumpet attributes as I think they will change the feel the most. Then, when I have all that in a good place, the gap might be the final thing to adjust. Otherwise I'll keep second guessing the gap when other parts are more of an issue.

    On my Kanstul 1600:
    The B4S and BL worked great. I had no issues and loved the match up. It was when I had this horn that I has first hipped to adjustable gap receivers by Ken Larson (who was my teacher at Interlochen at the time). I can't really comment on this match-up. I can only really say that it worked and my teacher thought it worked well enough to let me keep the setup.

    On my Austinwinds LT:
    The B2S3 and B2L that I had switched to also seemed to work very well. Granted, I had to have them take off their special lead-pipe and put a more standard one on the horn in order for the standard weight monette mouthpiece to fit in the horn. Also granted that this is still a Kanstul horn. I think the larger bore of this horn complemented the monette mouthpieces better, made it more balanced. However, I did notice that the horn really only wanted to play lead or jazz. Getting a focused and compact classical sound was way too much work. I eventually switched to a GR 67 series mouthpiece on this horn. It zipped around much better. I think the gap may have played a part in this.

    On my Larson GFTLX:
    This horn was build with a Laskey mouthpiece shank in mind. Therefore it was no surprise that the B2S3 was not optimal. I think this is a classic example of a horn that does not gel with a monette mouthpiece. Be it the gap or something else. This was the best playing horn I ever owned. However, the investment it represented had to be evened out in order for me to get all the trumpets I would need for school :( I'll get a whole set when I make it big time!

    On my Yamaha Vizzutti horn:
    It worked fine with this horn. This was a very tight horn to begin with and so the open mouthpiece helped make it more suitable for non-classical settings. A horn that is this well made and consistent with the level of efficiency that comes from the tightness is pretty much guaranteed to play even and great with any mouthpiece. My only qualm with this horn is how stiff it felt when improvising, and how piccolo-like (read: ultra bright and piercing) the upper register got when playing lead. I needed a fatter lead sound and was willing to give up some efficiency for that sound.

    On my Taylor:
    Had to have the mouthpiece receiver opened up to make the gap smaller. Major endurance/efficiency issues with monettes on this horn. I think the design philosophy between Taylor and Monette are two ends of the spectrum. I could not make it through one set of casual jazz without being destroyed from trying to play with this setup. To be fair, nothing really worked that well on this horn other than a Taylor mouthpiece and a Giddings and Webster mouthpiece I tried. This was a great horn though. It was agile like a cornet, could sound like a flugelhorn, and could scream on westside story or in big band.

    On my Yamaha 8340EM:
    Same as the other yamaha, but this horn had a giant bell and was a little more balanced. This horns issue was how light it was. The monette mouthpiece is basically 1/3 the weight of the horn! I would need an XLT weight blank to make it work. Also, this horn has so little resistance that I ran into efficiency issues with a monette. With a non-monette this horn is great if you like ultra-lightweight horns.

    On my Flip Oakes Wild thing (current Bb):
    The monette workes great on this horn. I suspect that the design philosiphy of this horn is closer to a Dave Monette's than anyone will admit. (and that's not a bad thing by any measure). The WT horns may be the non-monette-priced monette-like horns out there. I do notice that with a regular mouthpiece the horn plays a little lower on the pitch. With a monette its pretty high on the pitch. I don't know why that is. Probably operator error.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
  2. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    5,065
    1,005
    Jun 6, 2010
    Oregon

    Do you think that adjustments to a horn's mp receiver can hurt the trumpet? And, is that a pretty easy thing for any tech to do???

    Turtle
     
  3. gdong

    gdong Piano User

    321
    3
    Jun 7, 2008
    LA/Lake Tahoe/NYC
    A tech will either take some material off of the shank of your mouthpiece or take some material out of the mouthpiece receiver. If you have an expensive or proprietary mouthpiece, then you probably don't want to do the former options. Taking material out of the receiver is simple, and since most trumpets have an easily replaced receiver, the operation carries pretty low risk.

    What I tell my students to do is put a strip of paper (or tape as another member mentioned) and put various layers on the mouthpiece. This will raise the gap a little. If response gets worse, then you can safely try going to a smaller gap (a more permanent operation). If the difference is negligible, I know with pretty good certainty that the student should contemplate a backbore modification or change in cup style or depth. In circumstances where I know the horn is at fault (a student level horn or something that is out of balance), I try to focus on fundamentals and getting away from the technical constraints. Letting them know up front that their trumpet is bad is never a good thing for moral. In this instance I will loan out standard bach mouthpieces that I have and that I know are more middle of the road than anything out there. Then, when the issue is not on hand (ie: the student is not bringing up equipment issues) I will let them or their parents know and suggest a different horn or some work on a current horn.

    :)

    good luck!

    PS: since flugelhorn lead-pipes have no "receiver", they therefore have no "gap". If you want to get a good feel for how a horn should respond and blow when its gap is optimal, play your flugelhorn a bit. Having a mouthpiece that is too open or too deep or too shallow or too tight is very apparent in a flugelhorn since the variable of "gap" is taken out of the equation.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2011
    tobylou8 likes this.
  4. turtlejimmy

    turtlejimmy Utimate User

    5,065
    1,005
    Jun 6, 2010
    Oregon

    I've been eyeing and trying out flugelhorns lately and regularly wondering why my trumpets don't play as easily. Thanks for that bit.

    Turtle
     
  5. gdong

    gdong Piano User

    321
    3
    Jun 7, 2008
    LA/Lake Tahoe/NYC
    Yeah. The kicker with flugelhorns, at least for me, is that how the horn feels/sounds to the player is much farther removed from how it actually sounds to the listener. I put on my ultra-deep wick or curry FL-D, or Flip-Oakes extreme mouthpiece and I get the impression that I have the biggest, fattest, most buttery sound of all time. Then I put on a more standard depth or shallow depth flugelhorn mouthpiece and it seems as if all that goodness goes away. (and interesting aside is that the same process happens monthly when I try my Monette mouthpiece again)

    However, according to a trusted musician (and non-trumpeter and also my better half), there is really no difference in actual sound between all the styles of flugelhorn mouthpiece I have. (or trumpet mouthpieces) This was a striking epiphany for me.

    It's all about the sound. Thats what I keep telling myself.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,947
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    You have the wrong trumpets............:evil:

    My Prana3, modified Bach C, Heckel rotary Bb, Enders rotary G and self designed picc all play as easy as any flugel I have ever tried.:-P
     
  7. ccNochops

    ccNochops Piano User

    260
    8
    Sep 30, 2006
    White Marsh, VA
    This is gonna hurt, but okay.....y'all will just have to beat me. I learned something on this thread and it explained an issue I was having with playing.
    I play in a Bach 3c mouthpiece, even though I think a Bach 7c is the perfect beginning....never mind. Anyhow, in recent months I've notice it more difficult to play my Capri. It was getting "tighter", wore me out after thirty minutes of practice, intonation was crazy, the list was going on and on. I was blaming it on too much practice, not enough practice, wrong stuff practice, goofing off practice, on and on. To put a fine point on this, I measured the gap on the mouthpiece/leadpipe and it was out there around 5/16ths or so (pencil method) and here's where the beating begins. BECAUSE I am a lazy worthless abuser of trumpet mouthpieces, my 3c had a bad case of "ring around the collar" and silver corrosion/crud on the part that goes in the receiver. Yes, I did it.....took fine grit emory cloth to it, removing the crud....and the silver. I even went once around the inside of the receiver. Wait....not yet......don't beat me yet.....bottom line is the gap is now around 3/16ths or so and the horn is like a different beast. In my head, maybe.....should you do this to your horns.....NO!!!!!!, BUT gap is important and so is keeping your mouthpieces clean. My guess is the corrosion/crud on the mouth piece and receiver was building up ever so slowly as to slowly stretch out the gap and I was just slowly adjusting with it. That's my story and I'm sticking to it......okay, I'm ready for my beating:oops:
     
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Age:
    61
    16,611
    7,947
    Jun 18, 2006
    Germany
    No beating! Crud means no stable connection between the mouthpiece and horn=bad news.

    Humor me, pull your tuning slide out 1/8" and see if you have the same problem as before. See if the horn is tighter, endurance down, .......


     
  9. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    5,242
    1,791
    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    I just got what you were saying Robin ... I am going to play around with that. I noticed a Holton I had sounded okay but not quite a brilliant as I thought it could. I measure the gap, roughly, and my GR mouthpiece was close to a half an inch compare to the Bach 7c it came with.
    okay here is the next question ... suppose the sweet spot puts the horn a few cents flat.. you would think that something has to be shortened upstream to get it closer...yes? no?
     
  10. tedh1951

    tedh1951 Utimate User

    7,797
    2,356
    Oct 18, 2007
    The Wide Brown Land
    Now I'm going to stick my neck out here a little but hold in your forebrain the concept - just for moment - that my memory may be fallible. I'm not saying it is but - theoretically.

    I seem to remember a discussion with one of the bespoke trumpet manufacturers, and here's the fallible bit, it may have been Dave Monette or Jason Harrelson, where a suggestion was made that a split spacer might be made up to fit between the small end of the mouthpiece and the backend of the leadpipe - but inside the receiver, to adjust the gap.

    Obviously this would only work to reduce the gap - unless your receiver already has one fitted? From an engineering perspective it would be blindingly simple to make a split gap adjusting sleeve if your gap was determined to be too big, and to create it in such a way that it could quite simply be extracted :oops:.

    Such is my memory that as I get older, more and more unassailable FACTs are harder to retrieve from the filing system with appropriate links attached - sorry. I hope this adds to the discussion :cool:.
     

Share This Page