Mouthpiece size, is there a right one?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Gxman, Jun 14, 2014.

  1. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010

    Just wanting to understand about mouthpiece size. I have heard/read a lot of "professionals" say that the majority of trumpet players are actually playing on a mouthpiece that is too large. The idea I received is that most trumpet players are therefor playing in non-ideal conditions as they would be better off with a smaller piece.

    Going on this thinking, how does one actually measure out the "perfect" size?

    Some examples (general, not absolute):

    Wynton Marsalis B2 (1 1/4 equivalent).
    Andrea Giuffredi B3 (equivalent?)
    Scotty Barnhart B1 (largest monette make, I assume larger than Bach 1 since a B2 is 1 1/4)
    Chris Botti 3(x?)

    Looking at the players, Wynton and Scotty have typical black lips, which are thick. Botti and Andrea have thinner lips.

    Looking at the mouthpiece sizes, Wynton and Scotty use larger ones than Andrea and Chris.

    Is there therefor an actual way to measure it, or is it just a coincidence in this case that the thicker lip players use larger pieces?

    If it is a coincidence, going by the thought that most trumpet players use mouthpieces too big, is it possible that these players are not using the ideal size for there face either?

    Thanks in advance
  2. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    I think before any serious discussion can take place, you're going to have to qualify your premise. Just who are these professionals and who are the other players?
  3. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    Who cares? Is your piece the right size for you?

  4. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    That's my point though, if 'majority of players play on mouthpieces too large' it would mean that what 'we think' is the right size, is actually too large for our actual structure. Thus I wondered if it is something measurable or every mouthpiece is right, it is just a matter of getting used to it. I know I can use a size 5 or a size 1. After a week of using it, it feels normal. So what 'is' the right size then? The 5 or the 1? This is why I ask.


    I dont remember, but a lot of teaching material, youtube, and I believe I read something on here as well relating to the issue, can not say exactly who, as I don't remember, but, I remembered enough it was a figure of some importance, not randoms that are unknown to the public.
  5. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    There is no formula. There are hundreds of posts here about this and they all end up the same way - for the same reasons.

    Reason 1) the data that is out there is at best a list of hardware without respect to the playing venue
    Reason 2) even if the data were more in depth, the knowledge required to interpret it is far beyond what we have
    Reason 3) even if we had a list of what everyone uses, what they play, how do we rank their success?
    Reason 4) how do we interpret correct mouthpiece without interpreting correct body first?

    To get started on grasping the futility of even posing such a question, there is some required reading:

    Louis Davidson: Trumpet Profiles (Trumpet Profiles - Louis Davidson - Google Books)
    John Stork: Understanding the Mouthpiece (Editions Bim | John Stork, Understanding the Mouthpiece - The first step towards understanding mouthpieces is to be clear about the role they play)
    Edward Tarr: The Trumpet (The Trumpet by Edward Tarr – The Baroque Trumpet Shop, Inc.)

    My personal feeling is that this would be a theme for a Phys. Ed doctorate (no joke) as only completely separating the mechanics and the creative process can get us provable numbers, regardless how insignificant for real musicians!
  6. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    "Most players play on a mouthpiece that is too big".
    "Most players play on a mouthpiece that is too small".

    I have heard both theories espoused, where the truth lies I think is somewhere in between, extreme mouthpieces are the realm of specialists.

    One must consider what is the purpose of the mouthpiece, my take is that it is a matching transformer to match the complex impedance of the player to the complex impedance of the instrument, both can be measured. The problems occur when taking the players concept of sound and ability into account, it becomes a trial and error search, as far as I know no one can predict what mouthpiece will suit a particular player and horn combination to give a specific result with accuracy.

    Rowuk is perfectly correct, there are just too many variables, the biggest perhaps being the player. As a former principal trumpet of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra once said "the difference between one mouthpiece and another is about 3 weeks".

    Find a mouthpiece that is comfortable on the face and work with it, if after a year or two and it is not doing what you want then it is time for a change, I have two friends that have played professionly for 50+ years on the one mouthpiece.

    Regards, Stuart.
  7. zerbinatti

    zerbinatti Pianissimo User

    Mar 26, 2012
    John Stork: understanding the mouthpiece recomended by Rowuk has answerred a lot of my questions about How to understand and select a mouthpiece that matches your face. You should take a look at Gr parameters on his website. There are good info there too.
  8. gbdeamer

    gbdeamer Forte User

    Oct 16, 2008
    Stupid premise IMO.

    I don't think you got this from a "lot" of "professionals". Most likely from random internet experts.
  9. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Who is the "Who" ? Lets don't forget the marketing angle in this "equation". I always refer to Arturo's story of growing up in communist Cuba. All he had was a Bach 3c. That's it. It was use it or do something else. Maybe one of the reasons he is so good is he couldn't do anything about it and just had to practice instead. What's the saying "Paralysis through Analysis". Just sayin....
  10. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

    Mar 23, 2006
    Parts Unknown

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