Problems with lips "collapsing" into mouthpiece

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by occidental, Feb 7, 2009.

  1. occidental

    occidental New Friend

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    Jan 16, 2009
    Hello everyone. I've had a problem that has been developing for a number of weeks now that I have had to find an answer to as it has been affecting my performance and morale quite a bit. I will backtrack first:

    I have been playing on a Parduba 6 mouthpiece for about 10 years now with a bored-out 2nd cup (making it a single cup Parduba). It was starting to get old and I decided to replace with a new Parduba 6 around September of 2008. Now when I first started playing on that new 6, my playing was outstanding. My endurance was way way up, higher register, tone, everything changed almost automatically. Even the other musicians mentioned a huge change in my playing. Anyway, as the weeks went by I started to notice something very very strange: It seemed as if my upper lip would be "interrupted" from vibrating inside the new Parduba 6 (un-bored). This happened especially when I would play mid-range notes (1st line E up to about middle C or 4th line D) and in a louder volume. When I would play softly, the notes would come out. As soon as I raised the volume (to how I used to be able to do for years on the bored-out Parduba 6) I would start to hear the note, along with ANOTHER type of overtone/fuzzy note in there as well. It felt as if I was playing 2 notes at once! Extremely annoying.
    I decided to switch from parduba and so I purchased a 5C Best Brass mouthpiece. The 5C was very close to the Parduba 6 in rim diameter so I felt it was the best choice without having to shock my system with a radical change in mouthpiece. Anyway, I felt that the 2nd cup in the parduba was getting in the way of my upper lip and creating this type of secondary "fuzzy" note that would occur with mid-range notes and only at FF to FFF in volume. With this new 5C my lips are much more sensitive to buzzing (which is great news of course), my tone is better and my endurance is starting to climb (I've been using it only for a month so far). Now what is happening is what happened on my new Parduba 6! If I play a G in the staff over a certain volume that secondary type of note comes out as well! I can feel the center of my lips somewhat "collapsing" into the mouthpiece while the muscles around my aperture and out around the mouthpiece are strong! I never remember having this squishy/soft aperture feeling with my old bored-out Parduba 6. I know I have Maggio type of embouchure where my lips kind of pucker into the mouthpiece slightly. My questions here are: Is my new 5C mouthpiece too shallow of a cup and the reason for me feeling/hearing these strange fuzzy notes come out in the mid-range? Will placing the mouthpiece lower on my mouth help?
    I've evaluated my mouthpiece placement and I've noticed that I have about 2/3rds of my upper lip inside the cup and very very little of my lower lip in. I've tried putting 1/3 to about 1/4 of my upper lip in the cup (whereas moving the mouthpiece down on my lips and causing my lower lip to fall into the mouthpiece more) and although it feels strange and uncomfortable I don't have that "fuzzy note" problem even when I play FFF in the middle register. The only problem with leaving 1/3 - 1/4 of my upper lip in the cup is that it feels like the mouthpiece is cutting into the tip of where my upper lip buzzes. Is that a normal feeling? Ever since I bought the 5C I've felt that it was bigger than my Parduba 6 and had more of my upper lip in the cup than I did in the Parduba. Will a 7C/D or a 9C/D help or make any difference?
    I'm sorry about the novel I wrote here but I wanted to be as descriptive as possible with anyone that has ever gone through something like this. This is a very new occurence with me and I wonder if the switch to the unbored Parduba 6 last September or BestBrass 5C in early January caused me to develop bad playing habits. Thanks very much for all of your help! :play:
     
  2. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Apr 9, 2008
    New Zealand
    I think a lesson with a good teacher could be your best bet. But my two cents worth is that you are going to have to play through this problem. Your chops got very used to that old mouthpiece and are going to have to adjust. It could take a few months. If I were you I wouldn't change the mthpc position, that just creates another variable. There's not much difference in rim diameter between a 5C and a 7C. Back to basic drills for a few months.
     
  3. lovevixen555

    lovevixen555 Banned

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    Since you are a long term musician and not a newbie I think you need to find a highly competent person to check you out! I found that their was almost no one from band teacher's to sales staff at music stores that really had more then a basic understanding of how the embouchure works and is developed from an anotomical sense. I would contact the owner of Stork mouthpieces and descripe your problem and be ready to send him photo's of you playing and your lips and mouth etc..... This guy is really sharp and he taught me a lot from corespondence and talking on the phone and emails.

    To be honest since you have been playing solong with the mouthpiece I suspect your problem is not related to the mouthpiece at all. Have you gained a lot of weight or lost a lot of weight? Takeing any new medications? Have you had you thyroid,testosterone,Estrogen and HGH levels tested and maybe blood sugar and insulin tested as well.

    What you describe is not consistent with someone that has been playing for along time! If you where a nebie I could see it at a embourchure issue but you should be well beyound that point.
     
  4. Vulgano Brother

    Vulgano Brother Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to TM, occidental!

    This kind of stuff is difficult to diagnose on the Internet, and it is also almost impossible to tell the wacky from the wise advice at first. See if you can find a good teacher to play for-they might have some great ideas, and the cost of a lesson is pretty cheap compared to buying a bunch of new mouthpieces.

    Good luck!
     
  5. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Levittown , NY
    I had the same problem years ago, for me it was caused by my lower jaw not being pushed forward enough.
     
  6. Bloomin Untidy Musician

    Bloomin Untidy Musician Piano User

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    Jan 14, 2008
    Staffordshire
    occidental

    My feeling is that it is time to get back to the basics, and forget about mouthpieces.
    I have seen many people in bands over the years wasting time and money switching and swapping mouthpieces, and trumpets, in a bid to improve their playing. If your mpc feels comfortable stick with it. Like people say above, use the cash to pay for a good lesson.

    The feeling i have from what you have written, is that you are looking for a more consistent and sculpted embouchure which produces a better noise. Whether you seek professional help or not P long tones and slow p lips slurs within the low- middle register will help settle and define your embouchure. Plenty of slow, patient, and disciplined practice will at the basics will provide the answer. Forget about high notes and FFFs for a month, they mean nothing if you can't produce a single beautiful sound. PRACTICING HIGH AND LOUD WILL NOT HELP! If you are playing lead in a band you could reinforce your practice by playing a solid 3rd trumpet part steeped in the fundamentals of good sound and intonation (easier said than done)!

    Hope this is of help

    Cheers


    B.U.M.
     
  7. occidental

    occidental New Friend

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    Jan 16, 2009
    Thanks to everyone for the replies! I work Fri-Sun in a Mariachi group and if anyone is familiar with that style of playing there is sometimes a call for loud focused playing. It was SOMEWHAT happening last night but I tried to keep the volume low. I've been playing the cat anderson notes for about a month and it's TOUGH to build up to 20 minutes. I can play very ppp with the harmon mute on. One good thing I can report no that is that my soft playing has improved 200%!! It's amazing how much those cat anderson long tones help. What I haven't been doing are lip slurs in the lower register. I'm going to try that and I'll report back in about a month. I've only had this mouthpiece for about a month so I think I'm acting a bit prematurely in thinking that it's a bad mouthpiece. It's actually VERY comfortable on my lips. Now that I try to place the parduba on my lips it feels like a cheap mouthpiece that someone made with their elbows. So I hope getting back to basics will help. Thanks again!
     
  8. occidental

    occidental New Friend

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    Jan 16, 2009
    Hello to everyone again. I've recently been pushing and being very persistent with my practice in order to get used to this new mouthpiece. I'm STILL having that big problem with the notes coming out very distorted in the middle range. No problem in the upper or lower register, only in the middle range when I play Forte or louder. The thing is, I've been doing some research and it seems like I ordered a 5C mouthpiece which is actually like a Parduba 6.5 and I've been playing on a Parduba 6 for years and can't remember when I've ever had that problem with distortion with my notes. Also, it feels as if the new 5C mouthpiece is very large in diameter and I can't seem to find the sweet spot I could always find on my parduba. Feels like an ocean in there.
    Ever since I switched mouthpieces I did feel the new one much more comfortable (and my endurance has gone WAAAAY up) yet I've been having more and more trouble with the distorted middle-range notes. I can't seem to be able to play it unless I have like 10% of my lower lip in and about 85% of my upper lip in the cup. If I try to do a 50/50 split with my upper/lower lip into the mouthpiece then my lower lip caves in and I cannot play a single note at all without it sounding like something from 3rd grade band class.
    Since my switch to this 5C has caused this problem I'm wondering if anyone has been through this? I notice that a 7C and even a 9C mouthpiece DOESN'T distort. Also, I have a large bore trumpet and the throat on my new 5c is a 25 whereas my old Parduba has a throat of 27. I do notice that a little bit of resistance almost completely eliminates my distortion problem. When I use a harmon mute there is ZERO distortion on all registers. I found that very interesting but I'm no expert in mouthpieces or the physics of the instrument either.
    I'm trying to describe the differences so that maybe someone can notice something familiar with what's happening to me. More resistance=less to no distortion at all. Large diameter mouthpiece (5C) with a 25 throat and little resistance=more distorted (false) notes in the middle register. Any ideas? I really don't want my career to be over because of a bad choice of mouthpiece so I hope someone has some insight into my problem. Thanks so much everyone!
     
  9. tunefultrumpet

    tunefultrumpet Pianissimo User

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    Apr 9, 2008
    New Zealand
    Could it be that a 7C will work better for you than the 5C? Even a 9C. I think the adjustment for you would be very minimal. You could be struggling with a match between not just your embouchure but your embouchure + your trumpet. Have you ever tried a 7E? nice bright and easy to play...could suit your Mariachi gig.
     
  10. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

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    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    I think your problem is not enough resistance in your equipment , a shallower cup such as a Bach "D" or a Schilke "B" cup should help, these are the least expensive and easiest mouthpieces to find, there are other brands but could cost $100 to$200 dollars more.
     

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