Some Stupid Mouthpiece Questions from an Ignorant Teen

Discussion in 'Mouthpieces / Mutes / Other' started by RoccoNut16v, Oct 16, 2005.

  1. RoccoNut16v

    RoccoNut16v New Friend

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Texas
    First of all, I've been playing on a Bach 7C until just this month, when I switched to a 3C. I switched by accident really! Marching practice, I was running late, and reached for the wrong mouthpiece (it came with the horn for free). I noticed it seemed to give me a better sound, so I'm sticking with it for now. My range seems to have dropped off a note or two, and my endurance has taken a slight hit, so that begs a question.

    How big of a role is mouthpiece selection in endurance, range, tone, ect? I'm a 1st part player, and tend to take things up an octave regularly, (middle C is typically at the lower end of my part, though all players should know that). Should I even allow myself to consider a different piece to increase my range specifically? I feel guilty looking to switching mouthpieces to ease (NOT FIX) some of my, for lack of a better word, weaknesses (range specifically).

    So what I'm asking is, can I increase my range with a new mouthpiece? Should I do it? I'm willing to sacrifice a bit of my lower range for upper, again because thats where I spend my time. What else will I lose if I switch for range? Will my tone/intonation suffer?

    BTW, I'm quite naive in this subject, specifically because I refused to let myself explore mouthpieces until now. I noticed a lot of my peers getting caught up in selecting horns and mouthpieces, instead of attacking the problems themselves, which completely scared me away from changing anything, resulting in my relying completely on practice and development. I feel safe enough to explore a bit now though, and frankly curiousity is getting the best of me!

    Thanks a ton, hope I'm not being too ambiguous in my questions.
     
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    For me, I have never really gained any range with a mouthpiece, although the mouthpiece certainly has an effect on the sound and ease of my upper register.

    From my observations over the years, there have been a few distinctive philosophies regarding mouthpiece selection:

    1.) Play on the biggest mouthpiece you can control because although it might hinder your upper register, it will give you a better sound.

    2.) Play on the smallest mouthpiece you can get a decent sound with because it will make your upper register easier

    3.) Play one middle of the road mouthpiece for everything - you may take a hit on range, but your sound will still be good, and you might take a hit on sound, but your range will still be easier.

    4.) Switch accordingly depending on current needs of the situation i.e. lead playing use a shallow piece, legit playing, use something bigger.

    I currently subscribe to #4 more than the others, however, in your situation, since you are still in the process of developing your chops, this is not something I recommend.

    The 3C is not a radical change from the 7C and for many, it winds up being the middle of the road mouthpiece they use for everything. Do you like it? Is it comfortable? Has it hindered any aspect of your playing other than range? If you continue to use it, your range will come around, but unless there is something wrong with the way you sound on the 7C, maybe you should stick with what you know. Either way, neither one of those mouthpieces are particularly large or small so whatever one you choose, if you stick with it, you will probably be back to "normal" in a week or so.

    By the way, you are smart not to get too caught up in equipment at this stage of the game. Most "problems" at your stage are, in my opinion, better handled in the practice room rather than handled with an equipment change. In my experience, equipment changes usually produce a one or two day "honeymoon" phase, follow closely by a 3-4 week acclimation phase where nothing seems to work quite right.
     
  3. Bear

    Bear Forte User

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    Apr 30, 2004
    USA
    to add on what trickg said (great stuff btw): Changing mpcs just to get more range is the wrong way to go about things. Range will come with dedication and practice, however, you must be a total player and not just range specific. The way I see things is that I switch mpcs depending on the SOUND I want, not range... hope this helps. Just my 2 cents.
     
  4. RoccoNut16v

    RoccoNut16v New Friend

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Texas
    I do like the 3C a bit more, even after the week I've been playing on it. It's opened my tone up slightly, and for some reason seems to allow me to use air more comfortably. My endurance took a hit though, or atleast thats what I feel.

    "Gaining range" is likely the wrong term. I've hit high G's sustained and in pitch, but I'm not comfortable up there and find myself searching a bit. I'm satisfied with my current range, but would like a little more confidence in it. "Ease of the upper register" is likely more of what I'm looking for.

    I'm simply curious what would be a good mouthpiece to devote to the upper register, not to rely on. I'll be on the 3C unless it's a completely high piece, period. In other words I'm looking to pursue method #4.

    So what is a good piece range to look at? Should I just hit the local music store and run through the selection? Can I accuratly gauge how right a mpc is going to be for me in the store, or does it require a month or so of acclimation to truly tell?
     
  5. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

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    Oct 26, 2003
    Baltimore/DC
    All good questions...and none which I can really answer. When I was your age, my chops weren't developed enough to use a shallow mouthpiece. My chops would collapse into the cup, completely cutting off air flow with a nasty fffffffwwwwp! sound.

    I stumbled into the Schilke 14A4a that I used so long by accident. I purchased a pic trumpet and didn't have a mouthpiece for it, and I borrowed a 14A4a from friend to try out. He later gave me the mouthpiece, (he told me that I could keep it since it wasn't something he would ever use) and although I sold the pic, I kept the mouthpiece. Later, when I started gigging Latin band, I was busting my chops trying to use a #2 Marcinkiewicz - my one mouthpiece for everything - so I thought I would try the 14A4a on tunes where I wanted a bit of a boost for range. That didn't work too well, but I continued to do it until I found myself at a gig without the Marcinkiewicz in my case and I only had the Schilke. I struggled a bit for the gig, but by the end, I had found a way to make it work for me, and I never looked back.

    That was my lead mouthpiece from 1997 until about 6 months ago when I decided to try the more open backbore of a 14A4. Other mouthpieces have not worked well for me, so I can't really give you any good advice about how to go about trying them other than to try not to go too small too fast.
     
  6. RoccoNut16v

    RoccoNut16v New Friend

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Texas
    ...So it's wrong to switch mouthpieces for a more confident upper register?
     
  7. brassmouth

    brassmouth New Friend

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    Jul 10, 2005
    New Jersey
    I wouldn't say that. It's wrong to switch mouthpieces for a more confident upper register at the expense of your other playing characteristics! If you use a shallow mouthpiece for a jazz piece or something with a lot of scream moments, that's fine because most likely you will be spending most of your time in that register. But if you use a shallow mouthpiece for an orchestral piece where you'll be spending time evenly in all registers, the middle and lower registers may sound squirrelly, or stuffy. This is why many trumpeters use mutiple mouthpieces depending on what literature they will be performing. You need to test many mouthpieces to discern which ones will match up with your playing strengths and weaknesses in different musical settings.
     
  8. RoccoNut16v

    RoccoNut16v New Friend

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Texas
    I'm going to be playing solo lead in the jazz band very shortly, so thats exactly what I'm after. I'm not going to ditch my 3C, I love that thing!

    Wheres a good place to start my search? Or do I just need to spend a day at the music shop?
     
  9. RoccoNut16v

    RoccoNut16v New Friend

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    Oct 11, 2005
    Texas
    Bump! Still looking for an answer to above post.

    Is this something I should go to a teacher for? As far as mouthpiece selection is concerned, or can I decide for myself
     
  10. Rick Chartrand

    Rick Chartrand Piano User

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    Nov 22, 2004
    Toronto Canada
    Perhaps this may help. I normally play a Bach 1c and get about 2 1/2 hours of endurance. When I play a shallow Holton Heim #2 (10c) small cup mouthpiece I get a whopping 5 hours of endurance. Additionally this mouthpiece adds about 4 or 5 notes to my range, and physically is 10 times easier to play. I can go forever on my Heim.

    The larger the cup, more of your lip is exposed and thus your lip tires much faster.

    Think of it in these terms. If a body builder does only a few reps with heavy weights he will tire his muscles out much faster than if he uses lighter weights with a lot of reps. In this analogy the heavy weights are the large cup mouthpiece and the light weights is the small cup mouthpiece. Muscles are muscles and the same principles apply to embouchure or biceps.

    ___________________
    Work hard for what you want, and you’ll get it

    Equipment
    Martin Committee Trumpet, T3467RE
    Holton Heim # 2 Mouthpiece
    Bach 1c Mouthpiece

    Rick AKA Trumpet Man
     

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