Thinking About Drilling? - Read This

Discussion in 'Mouthpieces / Mutes / Other' started by Larry Gianni, Dec 19, 2003.

  1. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles

    I got a e-mail from trickg about something I posted in another thread that seemed to " strick a cord " so he wrote me this e-mail.

    I asked permission to re-print it becasue I think it's important subject for every trumpet player.


    "From: trickg
    To: Larry Gianni
    Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:09 pm
    Subject: Your quote about drilling mouthpieces
    Have you ever thought a mouthpiece was stuffy and thought you had to drill the throat out to make it play better? After you opened the throat, you realized that you actually ruined the mouthpiece because what you needed was a smaller throat, or a tighter backbore, shallower cup to get the balance you wanted. We've all been there. ( Bob Reeves has told me he goes thru this sonario at least once a week with a client , where he advises him not to do it , to try another route, but after they insist and the throat is opened, he usually ends up making them a new piece )


    I have been reading this thread about the Calicchios and this quote of yours really struck me because I did that very thing once, only it wasn't a mouthpiece that I thought was stuffy, although I can't clearly recall now just why I thought that I needed to open it up.

    I had an "optimized" Marcinkiewicz #2 (back when it was ONLY a #2) that I bought when I was at the Armed Forces School of Music in Littlecreek, VA in 1990. The mouthpiece that I had been playing, a gold plated #3 got stolen and the the little music store within walking distance didn't have a #3 in stock, so I went with the #2 figuring that going a bit bigger was better than going a bit smaller. Remember that I was only 19 at the time so I really didn't know much about anything when it came to equipment. I still don't!

    I say that the mouthpiece was optimized because one day a couple of years ago when I was consulting with Scotty Holbert out here in Maryland to have a mouthpiece made, he checked the gap in my LB Bach Strad and commented that the gap was too big and asked if I would like for him to turn it down on his lathe so that the gap was correct, although he warned me that once metal is off, it can't be put back on. I figured that since he's the mouthpiece maker, he's the expert, right? So I agreed and he did it.

    Immediately, my "horn" played better. It required much less effort, my intonation was better, I had better, easier range on it and I was a happy camper. Then I got involved in a Salsa band and I guess that I was looking for a bigger sound, easier blow, not sure, so I drilled it to a 25 (from the stock 27) and completely ruined it. I still have it, but I haven't played it with any seriousness since the day that I screwed it up. I was pretty upset because I figured that opening the mouthpiece by drilling it out would make it better, not worse. Luckily I had another one of the same size, but truthfully, it never did play quite like the one that I ruined. I've since changed the mouthpiece that I play, but I'm still not quite finding what I'm looking for.

    This thread about Calicchios is an interesting read. I'm going to have to go back and re-read it carefully because I'm to a point where I have decided that my LB Bach Strad with the 25 bell is probably not the optimal horn for the kind of music I'm playing these days which is all big band and Rock band.

    Take care!


    From: Larry Gianni
    To: trickg
    Posted: Thu Dec 18, 2003 9:43 pm
    Subject: Re: Your quote about drilling mouthpieces
    Hi TrickG

    We've all been there. The word “counter-intuitive " should be used more often when we start to self-analyze what makes things "click " in our playing and what makes thing hard.

    Alot of the rhetoric used by manufacturers, describing their instruments, tends to make you think that resistance is a bad thing and should be avoided as you progress as a player. Words like,†free-blowingâ€,†open, big sound “,â€large volumeâ€, “ easy high register “ makes you think less resistance, more open, bigger is always the way to go. Trumpet playing is not like weight training where the more in shape you are the more you should be able to lift. Well, trumpet playing is physical endeavor to be sure, but an approach like premier Ballet Performer is more suitable, physically than an approach a football lineman would use. Finesse, muscle synchronization, seeing what you want to accomplish works much better than hitting a tackling dummy over and over.

    Actually the better you get, the more you realize what your trying to achieve is how to use resistance ( what I like to call efficiency ) whether in the mouthpiece or trumpet to your advantage and not have to blow the house down to get what sound you want.

    Case in point:

    Roger Ingram – Giard 10s ( Marc. Piece copied from this ) / 27 to 29 throats / Giard #1 backbore ( Schilke AA )– Schilke S 42 med bore trumpet
    Jon Faddis – Schilke 13 rim / 6a4a cup / 26 throat / Schilke B bb –( when he started he used a Schilke 6a4a ) Schilke s 42 med bore trumpet
    Scott Englebright – Bobby shew Marc. Pieces ( based on B.S. Giard. 12s ) ,28 throat, Bach 37
    Dave Trigg – Marc. Trigg piece, 28 throat ( Pete Candoli underpart / DT rim ) Calicchio 1s/3 med bore trumpet
    Bobby Shew – Yamaha “ BS “ mouthpiece ( based on 12s giard ), 27 throat, and Yamaha 6310z trumpet
    Bill Chase – Schilke 6a4a piece – 28 throat , ( Jet-tone also had a 28 throat ) Schilke B6l-b med bore trumpet
    Jim Manely , Reeves es cup / 30 throat / 692s bb – liteweight V-Raptor ( based on Schilke B6 and Yamaha Z )
    Doc – Reeves 42s/ 28 throat / 692s or Z backbaore (all his pieces after the Jet tone era were based on this design) NY Bach 6 pipe, 37 bell
    Lyn Biviano – Stork copy of Schilke 6a4a – 28 throat – Schilke B1
    Chuck Findley – Reeves 43 / ESs cup / 26 throat / 69 backbore – Calicchio 1s/2 ml
    Lew Soloff – Giard. Copy of Schilke 14a4a ( aa backbore ) / 28 throat / NY Bach med. and small bore trumpet.
    Pete Candoli – Marc. Copy of Giar. 12es / 28 throat / king silver flair - ml

    I could go on and on. All these guys can blow the house down because they have learned to play relaxed and use efficiency (the good resistance) to their advantage.

    I put the concept of the inherent resistance purposely built into a trumpet, not matter what brand, and is akin to the understanding of cholesterol and its role in good health.
    As you know, there is the good choresteral and the bad cholesterol, same with trumpet resistance, there’s the good resistance and the bad resistance (usually created by the player themselves). You need to optimize the useful resistance and cut down on the negative resistance. Sound easy ha, …… NOT

    Could I get your permission to post your e-mail to me on the TM site? This happens to too many players that make the wrong decision on what to do and pay a price for it for a long time to come.

    All the best,


    PS – By the way, a mouthpiece can have the shank enlarged to normal once the piece has been shaved down. At Bob Reeves, he can turn down a mouthpiece on his lather to accept on of his sleeves and then solder on the sleeve into the piece. He then turns down the “hex nut “at the top of the sleeve and you now have what would have been the original manufacturers design. For my money, Bob is one of the last true mouthpiece craftsmen left. Others make very fine pieces, but Bob’s had the experience of having a shop in Hollywood (now Santa Clarita, 10 miles from his original location), right down the street from Paramount and other studio’s and had the most famous trumpet players in the world (a lot now deceased) play right in front of him, telling him what his happening with his piece or alteration. With the internet age, that kind of feed-back isn’t possible to anyone anymore. "

    Well, that's it - SOUND FAMILIAR?

    Let me know your comments - thanks

  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    One day I came across something on one of these forums (was it posted by you, TM?) that said to effect, "When in doubt, drill it out!" and something else to the effect of "Too much resistance? Time to introduce Mr. Mouthpiece to Mr. Drill." I chuckled a bit at these because having been down that road, simply drilling out the mouthpiece sure as heck didn't do much for me!

    I'm not saying here that I know the answers to how a horn blows the way that it does and what relationship the different aspects on a mouthpiece and it's marriage to the horn affects the blow, but suffice it to say that I'm of the belief that drilling out a mouthpiece is not really the answer.

    I have never had a better all around mouthpiece than the one that I screwed up, so for those of you contemplating drilling your mouthpiece, think twice and even three times before you "introduce Mr. Mouthpiece to Mr. Drill". :D
  3. Nonsense Eliminator

    Nonsense Eliminator New Friend

    Nov 2, 2003
    One thing that I think is often misunderstood on the subject of enlarging throat sizes are the issues of sound and intonation. I play on a 1.25C with a 22 throat. The main reason I enlarged the throat was to help achieve a broader sound, not simply to make it blow easier. I used to play a Stork 2C with a 25 throat, not to make it blow easier, but to solve a problem I had with flatness in the upper register.
  4. Larry Gianni

    Larry Gianni Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Los Angeles
    Hi N/E

    You didn't say if this was on a C trumpet or a Bb trumpet?


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