The right mouthpiece?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by crowmadic, Nov 13, 2006.

  1. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    Is there such a thing as a PERFECT MOUTHPIECE? Is it just a matter of a lengthy period of trial and error at great expense, or should I go to a mouthpiece maker and depend on him to make the perfect mouthpiece for me? I'm confused because I've been experimenting with 6 different mouthpieces and find that I can execute equally well on each once my lip adapts. I guess I'm concerned about performance endurance, and long range effects.........HELP!
     
  2. Deecy

    Deecy Pianissimo User

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    Aug 8, 2005
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    You're started on a never-ending, fruitless quest. It's a common disease among trumpeters and an utter waste of time and money, and will delay your progress. Unless you're an accomplished artist you can't help your tone or range by switching mouthpieces again and again. You must realize that it will only set back development of your embouchure.
    Read Reynold Schilke's little treatise on it - it's in their little mouthpiece booklet, available everywhere.
    What's the answer? Select one of your normally-dimensioned mouthpieces and lock away all the others in another location. Dig out the Bellison and and the Arbans and go for it. And don't think that you have to continue to select larger and larger rim dimensions as in - is a Bach 3 or a 1and a half better than a Bach 7?, that's nonsense!
    Here's an inspirational link - an Italian friend who recorded every study in Arban and made it available online. He did them all on a standard mouthpiece.

    http://www.webalice.it/anrapa/index.html
     
  3. cornetguy

    cornetguy Mezzo Forte User

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    Sep 12, 2005
    Saint Paul, MN
    best thing to do is find a rim size that works and then experiment with cups, backbores etc. this can be an expensive proposition. a screw-rim works well for this. make sure whatever mouthpiece you use lets you get the sounds you want easily, has decent intonation, feels comfortable etc. i find messing with rim sizes screws me up royally, so i use the Laskey 75 rim on everything, even piccolo trumpet. check out his website Scott has some really good advise on selecting a rim and cup size. (laskey.com)
     
  4. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Go into a big room - auditorium or something that size, take a decent recorder and some microphones and all of your mouthpieces. Set the recording stuff up so it is about 50 feet away from you.
    Play a bunch of stuff that you are comfortable with on all the mouthpieces, taking notes as to which one that you are playing. Say for instance "Clarke, take one" out loud so it is recorded. You make a written note that #1 is a Bach 3C, #2 a Schilke 18 and so forth. After you are done, let a couple days go by and then listen to the recording without looking at your written notes. Take notice what sounds dark, brilliant, stuffy, bright. Take notes again about your opinions - then compare both sets. Pick your favorite mouthpiece and don't mess around for another couple of years!
    The sound that you percieve when playing has NOTHING to do with what the audience hears. That is why external help is needed when making mouthpiece decisions.
    I assume that the rim on all of your mouthpieces is "comfortable" to you. It is important that you get a functioning set up and then stay with it. That builds reliability and consistency. There is only fractions of an inch difference in horns and mouthpiece - you are a creature of habit. Pick something and develop those habits. When you are consistent, you will know exactly what if anything needs to be changed and can go after that then.
     
  5. Deecy

    Deecy Pianissimo User

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    This only works with a very solid and well-established embouchure.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Nope, it works for everybody.
    What you hear on the recording is what the audience would normally hear. Granted, for a beginner barely getting through their weekly lesson, it has limited value. For anyone considering a mouthpiece change, objective information is essential.

    Generally, we have an opinion about our own sound, but only know what what we are told by others. What we "hear" is a combination of vibration in our face structure, what comes directly off the horn and much later, the reflections from the room. What happens at 10 - 20 feet or more is completely different.

    As crowmadic says that he is not having any problem "adjusting", he needs to consider what is actually getting out into the room. It could be a very big surprise! And what the audience hears is often what really counts!
     
  7. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    Wow!I guess I opened up the biggest can of worms for trumpet players..THE MOUTHPIECE. First, thanks for the link to Tony in Milan Italy. I'm of Italian decent and will enjoy his site. You're comment about setting back development of the embouchure by switching mouthpieces raises a debate for TM participants. As long as your practicing daily, isn't the embouchure developing no matter what mouthpiece you're playing? It's a relatively short time that i've returned to playing trumpet, but i've been trying many horns (mostly old "student" models, some intermediate) as well as an assortment of mouthpieces, and find that it's a matter of comfort and tone. Some make execution easier, but all seem adaptable. Is there really a mouthpiece that will destroy the embouchure if played too much? I will read Schilkes treatise, and for now I have switched from a Rudy Muck Cushion Rim 17C to a Martin 7; quite a difference but it seems to be working well. Any further comments are welcomed..........thanks
     
  8. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    This sounds like a good way to go. I assume that your locked into a Laskey mouthpiece once you use his screw-rim, which is ok if it offers what you need and want.........thanks
     
  9. crowmadic

    crowmadic Mezzo Piano User

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    Oct 3, 2006
    You've suggested the large hall and recorder before, and I will do that. Can you get "comfort" on the rim and still get flexibility and full range? I've enjoyed my Rudy Muck Cushion Rim, it's like laying my lips on a couch, but I'm finding more flexibility on the smaller rimmed Martin 7 that I'm now playing. But it doesn't have the "plush comfort" of the Rudy Muck. I guess I'm worried about going down the wrong road. Is there a WRONG road?
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    I see no contradiction between "comfortable" and "flexible". Depending what you have to play, more of this or that may not be pertinent.
    If you can play the stuff that you want to AND it sounds good to people listening, you are not doing badly. If not, you need to figure out what doesn't sound right and the most efficient way to solve that. For my Bb playing I have switched three times in 40 years of playing (twice in the first 8 -the last time in 1997). I had set goals before I thought about hardware and achieved those goals each time.

    I keep getting back to this creature of habit thing, the sooner your goal is consistency, the sooner you will get there. There will always be a better horn or mouthpiece or bottle of whiskey or whatever. If you can play the stuff that you want to AND it sounds good to people listening, you are not doing badly. That might not be good enough for the people playing for a living, but they have other challenges to deal with!
    Your original question was if there is a PERFECT mouthpiece. My answer is no - but eternally one imagined to be better than the one you have now!
     

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