Mouthpiece Prices

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Zeus, Mar 4, 2012.

  1. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    As Trent has stated, the cost of the machinery is extremely expensive. I am a GR dealer and GR has told me what his costs were to start up and what his machines cost - and he designs and makes most of his equipment. Brass went up as well and everyone knows what gold costs now, but few realize silver went up as well - although not to the staggering cost of gold. Lets not forget the skill in the designs of the mouthpieces, either. Some schlepp off the street isn't going to design a mouthpiece.
    As a business, these folks have taxes to pay and still make enough to to live on. The Bach Company sells thousands upon thousands upon thousands every year. That is why they can be so inexpensive.
    Take $1000.00 and you can buy 3 Monette Pranas of your choice with a few bucks left for lunch. Go try to buy a new head joint for a flute with that $1000.00. You will be hard pressed to find a decent one, let alone a great one.
  2. patkins

    patkins Forte User

    Nov 22, 2010
    Tuscaloosa, AL.
    Simply put a professional mouthpiece is what a trumpet player would grace with his professional trumpet.
    I would qualify a professional mouthpiece as one that is made by a reputable company with superior quality control.
    An unmarked mouthpiece or one made by someone unestablished as seen on eBay or other internet copies by unknowns would not qualify. There are many companies that have lost reputation as a result of out resourcing their manufacturing to China. None of these would IMHO qualify. Even mass produced mouthpieces may not have adequate quality controls.
    I think certain companies have better quality control, ex.: Monette, Taylor, Schilke, GR, Bob Reeves, Curry, Wedge, Asymetrics, ACB, and Warburton.
    Vintage mouthpieces made by professional mouthpiece makers include, but are not limited to: Al Cass, Charlie Allen, Bach New York and Mt Vernon, Purviance, Parduba, Rudy Muck, and Holton Heim 2,Olds 3, and some vintage Giardinelli New York all of which command a premium.
    Some PreWarII Selmers, Besson may qualify.
    Newer Yamaha especially built to a trumpeter's spec may also qualify.
    I don't like newer Bach, Blessing, nor Besson mouthpieces.
    In short a trumpeter will determine what is his "go to or professional mouthpiece."
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2012
    codyb226 likes this.
  3. codyb226

    codyb226 Banned

    Mar 9, 2011
    Florida, US
    Good answer Patkins.
  4. BustedChops

    BustedChops Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 1, 2011
    CNC machines/skilled labor, raw materials all make the production of such a small niche product cost money. Kudos to Trent Austin for his nice mouthpieces. I had the 3C slug in my collection and it compared favorable to a much more expensive Monette.

    Price does not always indicate quality. The subjectivity of tone to the invidual can come at a premium price or a bargain basement price. Vintage mouthpieces can be had for a lot less than 200$.
  5. bumblebee

    bumblebee Fortissimo User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Great Southern Land
    True - check eBay and similar places, and even here. For example, I sold a Jet-tone T3-D to a fellow TM-er for a reasonable price.

  6. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    "Professional" is a catch-phrase to imply higher standards, both in equipment and performers. The odds are that a "pro" horn or mouthpiece will be better designed and built than a student or intermediate product, but it doesn't mean that a stock 7C on a stock Yamaha or Besson would never be found with a full-time player behind it. I loved my old Couesnon flugel with the original WTF mouthpiece, and eventually I will get another one, but I am thrilled with my Lawler flugel, and there is no comparison between my previous trumpet mouthpieces (stock models) and the GR i purchased several years ago (thanks, Bruce Lee). Small manufacturers have to charge considerably more for their products, due to several facts known to all of us who have tried operating as a small manufacturer, and if the quality of their products doesn't justify this price they will not stay in business very long. If price is your main attraction "pro" trumpet products would seem to be the last place you would want to target.
  7. Mark_Kindy

    Mark_Kindy Mezzo Forte User

    Jul 11, 2010
    Gainesville, FL
    I think it just makes sense that some mouthpieces cost more to make, based on the machining methods and the design process. I don't quite follow why this is odd, it's just like investing in a pro level trumpet. Of course, just because a mouthpiece is expensive doesn't make it better or more right for you, but the same applies to trumpets, and yet the price goes up based on expense to make, rarity, and other factors. If you can find a mouthpiece that works for you that costs $25, great, it shouldn't be a problem. However, I think there's a point for some pro players where the more minute details are noticeable, and so they pay more to have a precise, well made mouthpiece.

    Also, a lot of companies make mouthpieces that are similar or are copies (signature series) of what great trumpet players played on that are less than $100 (Take Marcinkiewicz, or Warburton, for example). And lastly, just because some famous player played a specific mouthpiece doesn't mean it's all that great for you, so why fret over it anyways? To me this is a big concern over something not so important in the grand scheme of playing
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    I think this thread is heading in an unhealthy direction (not a shot at you Cody).

    The costs of making something cannot be reduced to the pure material and machining costs. If there is R&D, artisans also have those additional costs. If the company is more than a 1 man show, there are heat, light, building, tax and salary issues.

    Some that have some business sense have addressed this before. In the case of a Monette, there are 10 employees, they only build 6 trumpets a month and sell some mouthpieces but do all of their own R&D. Even if a horn does cost 16 grand, the total money made from that perspective is just enough to be called a good business plan - not robbing their customers.

    For a company that only "steals" (that means makes copies), there are still "costs" albeit fewer.

    There is no such thing as a "professional" mouthpiece. There are however, mouthpieces that are best suited for advanced players only. Those are the extremely shallow or extremely deep models or those that play really "open". During the formative years, I feel that mouthpieces that let the player get away with less "physicality" are better choices to learn with.

    The OP makes an interesting point about price limiting the choices for younger players. He is right. I don't think that that is necessarily a bad thing for the player though. There are "enough" high quality, comfortable lower cost mouthpieces available. What does hurt is exactly what Trent describes: the costs associated with the business case. You either export jobs or charge a price.

    Still, how much is an idea worth? How much security for a business is accepted as "tolerable"? How much quality control is critical? How long is a customer willing to wait? These are all issues that one has to ask first because the banks aren't lending money like they used to.

    Some bad postings - even from people that have NEVER PLAYED SPECIFIC EQUIPMENT is often enough to wipe out months of profit needed to keep the business moving forward.
    Last edited: Mar 5, 2012
  9. duanemassey

    duanemassey Piano User

    Jul 14, 2009
    Rowuk is correct, and trumpet players are no exception. This forum should be a great place to discuss experiences (good and bad) about all things trumpet, not a place to spout harmful rhetoric without any real experience to back it up. There are already enough political forums out there that live off of this practice, let's keep this one real.
  10. coolerdave

    coolerdave Utimate User

    Nov 7, 2009
    San Pedro
    First I am with Bumblebee here as in WT_
    but I sort of get it ... minimum wage was $1.55 (USD) back then and now what is it ~$7.00 which puts a $25 piece at $175 nowdays
    that being said you can buy a new Bach or Shilke piece for somewhere around $45 .. pro pieces .... plenty of mp for a younger player
    codyb226 likes this.

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