Question everything

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by VetPsychWars, Oct 23, 2012.

  1. VetPsychWars

    VetPsychWars Fortissimo User

    Nov 8, 2006
    Greenfield WI
    First, I want you to look really really hard at this picture. See if you can figure out what it's all about.


    I never really had any formal instruction when I was young. It wasn't until I was 40 years old, after trying to pick up the horn again, when I sought instruction. A local dude, Mr "Lawler Bb" on this forum, did his best with a difficult student.

    So much of what I read on here was, if you can't play a middle of the road mouthpiece, then there is clearly something wrong with you. I tried and tried and tried with normal mouthpieces, including the perfectly-fine Schilke 14, some others in between, a custom set of pieces made by Doug Meeuwsen, a custom set of pieces made by Mark Curry, and the latest old-but-new pieces offered by Steve Cass.

    After half a decade, none of it worked for me. I struggled to get A above the staff or play more than an hour. Everything I read on here said it was clearly my fault... I wasn't practicing right. I wasn't practicing enough. I was practicing the wrong thing. My horns were the problem.

    None of it was true.

    In desperation, I grabbed one of those pieces, a Buescher Duo-Cup 88-E. They're not all the same. Variation is the name of the game. But I had three of them with the same characteristics. Small diameter cup at .630 inch. Throat around 27ish. Moderately tight backbore.

    Sharp as all get out bite, and flattish rim.

    According to most people on here? Unplayable. Too extreme. Buy a 5C and just practice. If it feels better? HAH! Honeymoon! Just wait a couple weeks, you'll suck just as much as you ever have.

    All you classless morons can just shut it.

    Not only did my endurance double, so did my range. Where before I only had shame in the community band, I was able to finish a 2-hour rehearsal. Where before I could maybe play an A above the staff, I was cracking off high C, D, E for grins on the last note of a piece.

    I've been playing this piece (my "backup" while Charlie Melk has the primary one gold plated) for a couple months now. I think the honeymoon is over.

    My purpose in this message is only partially genital waving. The other is... when conventional wisdom tells you something and it doesn't work... try something different! If you're struggling and feeling pain and heartbreak because you can't do what these others say you should do, easily... try something else!

    I've met some nice people on this board, some in real life, and some virtually. But it does amuse me when people who have been in the industry for decades tell me to ignore the advice I see, I'm doing fine finding my own way.

    You should find your own way too.

    DaTrump likes this.
  2. nieuwguyski

    nieuwguyski Forte User

    Aug 9, 2004
    Santa Cruz County, CA

    It's easy to get a distorted view of the vast, unplugged-in world through the lens of Internet forums. IMO the "flat rims with sharp bites are evil" lobby is a vocal minority, verging on a lunatic fringe. The venerable Bach 7C is frequently held up as a small, razor-rimmed monster by those folks, but how many beginners have survived on one over the last, say, 65 years?

    I'm currently using a very early Olds Special flugelhorn for big band playing (not nearly as cool as your Buescher) that takes a cornet mouthpiece. The mouthpiece in my collection that works best is a circa-1920's Conn Wonder "cookie cutter." It's much smaller than my trumpet mouthpieces, and the rim is vastly different (thin and sharp -- sound familiar?). But it works on the Olds.
  3. Recursion

    Recursion Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 22, 2012
    Cape Coral, FL

    I commend you for stating your perspective; and, I highly respect your guts for putting it in writing.

    311 had a tune regarding "naysayers."

    Orthodox modalities do not work for everyone. Damn good job for figuring out what works for your trumpet playing! I'm still working on my trumpet epiphanies. Arturo's dropping by for lunch tomorrow, and I'll ask him how many people he's flipped off for telling him his MP wasn't shallow enough! Oh, and good on ya for having the sack to put it out there.

  4. Recursion

    Recursion Mezzo Piano User

    Jun 22, 2012
    Cape Coral, FL
  5. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia

    reading your post earlier today prompted me to get out a Buescher 88-D I have and try it in several horns. The cup dia is around 0.63" depending where you measure it and has a throat #22 drill, the exit wall thickness of the shank is around 0.01" with a little damage. I would not call it an excessive shallow MP.

    It is extremely comfortable to play, I will play it in our Big Band rehearsal tomorrow night and report.

    The horns that it seemed to play best in were a Benge 3 MLP and Buescher 400, I was able to get a good strong note to the top of my range F and G above high C and still have a rich sound below the stave. Both these horns do not have a step change in diameter at the junction of the receiver and leadpipe.

    Together with the thin exit wall of the mp I believe this provides a better match of the Mp to the horn. R Schilke advocated no gap between mp and leadpipe, V Bach reccomended 1/8", the GR website had the mathematics to calculate optimum gap based on hole diameters and wall thickness of mouthpiece and leadpipe.

    I have a lot more investigation to do.

    Regards, Stuart.
  6. tobylou8

    tobylou8 Utimate User

    Dec 22, 2008
    Congrats Tom! I started my comeback on an uncomfortable mpc and switched to something I liked and sounded good on it. The only "problem" was it was a shallow piece and it would ruin my chops!! I didn't know this until much progress had been made and by then it was too late. That mpc rim flair reminds me of the 400 casing flair! :thumbsup:
  7. Needs Practice

    Needs Practice New Friend

    Oct 14, 2012
    San Jose CA.
    As a beginner, what this teaches me is that all the hard work put in over time will pay off, even if an one element (in your case, the right mouthpiece for you) is missing for a long time. When it all comes together, eventually - magic. I will look forward to that.

    (In the meantime I will stick stubbornly to my Bach 7C and ignore it as a factor in my practice and performance while I focus on basic skills).
  8. BachStrad1

    BachStrad1 Pianissimo User

    Apr 9, 2012
    Kalamazoo MI
    Agreed. Some of us were just discussing this at our dance band gig on Friday night. Mouthpieces and embrouchures are such an individual thing. That would be why there are such a plethora of different cup sizes, rims, etc. Everyone is different. Do what works for you and don't worry about anyone else. Personally, I can't get a sound out of the really small, shallow mouthpieces favored by a lot of people I know. They take me to task for playing deep pieces with wide flat rims and a sharp bite...but they work for me and that's what matters.
  9. Comeback

    Comeback Forte User

    Jun 22, 2011
    Fort Wayne, IN

    Wasn't sure I wanted to stick my toe in this pool, but I will simply note that my 1952 Super Artist did not begin to sing for me until I started using Blessing mouthpieces from roughly the same period as the horn. Certainly, for me, the cup characteristics are favorable, but I think the real performance advantages lay in the taper, back-bore and orifice size. My belief is that these mouthpieces were simply made for these horns, during an era where widespread uniformity concerning certain mouthpiece characteristics among mouthpieces produced by many manufacturers was not a driving concern.

    Last edited: Oct 25, 2012
  10. Phil986

    Phil986 Forte User

    Nov 16, 2009
    Near Portland, OR.
    That's a really interesting post, except for the name calling (you could have done without that).

    Yesterday I was having a really good day after what seemed to be weeks of struggling. Could go up to high D with little effort, had a great time at community band rehearsal, breezing through the 2nd trumpet parts (3rd on Bugler's Holiday trio). Even sight reading new pieces felt easier. Toward the end, one of our 1st part players, who is quite good, handed me over his part to play, which went fairly well. Then afterward I tried his newly acquired Eb Getzen, easily going up and down the scales with a nice full sound. All this was on my usual Monette B4S (even the Eb messing around) that I've been using for 2 years. I am no MP expert but I know it's not shallow and the rim is comfortable.

    Before rehearsal, a new player, also quite good, who is going to college, let me try his lead Marcinckiewitz and I was struggling to push a G on top of the staff. I found it very shallow and simply "shaped wrong" for lack of a better description. That's not to say Icould not have done better with it if I could have kept it for a week or so. I believe that I have not yet found the ideal piece for me for all around use, i.e. I am not convinced that the B4S I'm using is the best. Plus, that "ideal" piece might not be the same after a couple of years of dedicated practice. However, so far I had no luck with shallow pieces. I once tried a double cup Parduba that I could hardly play at all. I have an Olds Mendez #2 that is more of a curiosity item (came with an e-Bay horn) because I can hardly pull a sound from it.

    I think what Tom demonstrates is that, while our chops are developing and changing relatively fast, a certain piece will pose the least obstacles in our way. Once the chops are well developed, we can probably use pieces appropriate for a certain type of playing that would have been less appropriate for learning. The key is to find the right piece for learning I guess. Yet I have stayed away from MP safari. The closest I've come to that was the trip to the Monette shop, where I tried a good number of pieces with Dave Monette listening to me from the end of the shop and then giving me advice. I wish I could have had my teacher there but I don't think the advice was bad. Perhaps some day I'll go on a safari but I definitely would prefer to go with a "guide" like my teacher.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2012

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