Trumpet or Mouthpiece, which is easier?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by Gxman, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. stumac

    stumac Fortissimo User

    Oct 19, 2008
    Flinders Vic Australia
    I like the sound of a Selmer balanced as played by Harry James, I have a Selmer Balanced but do not sound like him, but wait, I do not have a Parduba mouthpiece, If I did I would still not sound like him and no amount of mouthpiece trials would make me.

    Searching for a mouthpiece to find the "Sweet Spot" is largely futile, the mouthpiece is primarily an impedance transformer, matching the players impedance to the horns, the cup design being responsible for the harmonic contents and strengths. There are just too many variables.

    Regards, Stuart.
  2. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010

    I think I know where I am at. Buy a mouthpiece you like = cheap. Then walk into all the stores, try all the trumpets with your mouthpiece until you find something that fits for you.

    Same could be said the other way, Buy a trumpet, then go into all the stores and look at all different mouthpieces until you find something that works. Financially, this keeps the costs down of random guessing as you dont buy until you find. I just think there is less to choose from had you got the mouthpiece first, thus ends up easier to find.

    One thing I did notice... I love the dark (yet not stuffy) sound Chris Botti get's in Paradisimo with YoYo Ma. He uses a Martin Committee. So I find youtube videos of Martin Committee's played by others, large bore versions, and they sound no better than a Yamaha. I'm like 'what happened to that warm sound???'

    I find from everything I have listened to, that trumpet does have a lot less to do with sound than mouthpiece. Having said that, it could be seen that mouthpiece hasn't got much to do with it either because 2 people can use the same gear/mouthpiece and sound totally different (like the martin committee stuff I have heard)

    Guess in the end it is a very personal thing. One finds a mouthpiece that is 'just the right sound' for them, someone else plays it and the mouthpiece sounds completelly different (did not work for them), and they need something else to produce a similar sound.

    I like the idea of Monette Mouthpieces, true. I like how they feel as well.

    Guess im going to look for a Horn instead.

    One thing I can say is...

    I have had a Stomvi Mambo 5, and now I am on the 'upgraded' model called Classica.

    They both came with the same 3C mouthpiece. I bought my first B2-S3 Monette, plugged it into the Mambo 5, and WOW how that thing totaly opened up in sound for me. There was a 'significant' change. I dropped playing trumpet for a year or so, had my equipment sold, and 1 week after selling it all, I ended up buying a trumpet again, this time the Classica. I ordered another B2-S3 (since it was so awesome). I got used to the 3C again the CLassica came with, (same as with old gear) then my B2-S3 arrived. Plugged it in... nice... wasn't as much 'wow' as it was with the Mambo.

    From this experience, I can see how certain horns favor certain mouthpieces more.

    I guess I'm stuck on Monette simply because my first experience with it (on the mambo) was so awesome I could not visualize anything better than it. My sound completely changed. At the time of the Mambo I even had a Bach 1, but the B2-S3 (equivalent to Bach 1 1/4) just sounded 100% better, more free, more resonating, richer, more colorful, had zing to it when pushed, more warmth to it when backed off, it was just beautiful in every way.

    Now I got a different horn and I am not so impressed... change the mouthpiece? Cant - I fell inlove with what the mouthpiece did for me on the Mambo (first impressions are lasting ones).

    So I will go look for another Horn that gives me that satisfaction I remember once having.

    I have just listened to Chris Botti's interview. Went for 27min on youtube. He made an interesting statement in regards to why he chose the Martin Committee. His answer was (not exact quote but the idea is the same) "Well I loved Miles Davis, the sound Miles got so I went and bought a Martin Committee, now I have no excuse to not sound like him, so keep practicing"

    Basically made it out, he bought what he liked the sound of, the sound he heard someone else make with that gear. Now it was up to him to practice, practice, practice until he sounded good because he can not blame the gear (otherwise Miles wouldn't sound good if the gear was to blame). That was how he started, the point is, 'gear' wont make you sound, you will make you sound. Gear just aids and never the excuse as to 'but why'.
  3. richtom

    richtom Forte User

    Dec 7, 2003
    Three things must match - you, the mouthpiece, and the trumpet. A really good player can make anything work, but the really good and wise player finds the combination(s) that work the best. A tiny fraction of change in a mouthpiece can make something that doesn't quite work to something it does. However, if your lip is not free to vibrate properly - for whatever reason - nothing you try will work.
    NEVER work harder than necessary to provide the sound you want and you stop "chasing" sound. You will sound like you no matter what you plug in.
  4. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Well, having done more reading, I can understand why these are 'never ending' discussions, with nothing quantifiable (as the best) relating to either trumpet or mouthpiece.

    Another Member of a different forum:

    When I asked Chris Botti...

    "What Trumpet player influenced you the most?"

    His response to me was..."Miles"

    I then asked him..."Why are you playing on an old 1940 Martin Handcraft Committee Trumpet when "people" now-a-days have done so many different things with Trumpets due to different testing methods, technology etc?"

    His response to me was..."If this (same vintage, model etc. not the same exact horn) horn was good enough for is good enough for me."

    Tom Harrell, John Swana and Joe Magnarelli are all currently playing old Connstellation 38-b' can get one on ebay for like 500 bucks. I'm sure they'd all have a similar response to Botti's...

    Guess the bottom line to it all is, "find what suits you, what makes you happy" it may be an Olds (Mendez) might be a Monette (Marsalis) may be a Schargerl (Morrison) might be a Committee (Botti).

    In the end they use what they get enjoyment out of as it works for them and feels right to them. There is no 'formula' except Trial and Error until something grabs you as 'the one' and that is the one you stick to.

    Years later, if you become famous, there will be conversations on the forum why you used what you did. Little realized that you also were perhaps on a forum asking the same thing about the person before you with the inevitable answer "It worked for me so i stuck to it and did something with it"... I can see how this is one circle with no end.
  5. Ed Lee

    Ed Lee Utimate User

    Aug 16, 2009
    Jackson NC
    If you could find an original size 5 Parduba mpc. and not one as currently made by Akright, and could learn to make it work with your Selmer balanced, I believe you'd like it. I once had a 4 1/2 HJ original, but alas, now only have an Akright copy and although good, it does not seem the same.

    Too, later on Harry switched to custom made King trumpets.

    Otherwise, I know of no one capable of reproducing Harry's sound.
  6. kehaulani

    kehaulani Fortissimo User

    May 14, 2011
    Hawaian homey
    If you have a mpc that you really like but are curious about the core sounds and responses of other trumpets, you'll try out some other trumpets.
    If you have a trumpet that you really like but are curious about the core sounds and responses of other mouthpieces, you'll try out some other mouthpieces.
    You can't really effectively do both at the same time. You need a constant in your relative testing.
    Seems pretty simple to me.
  7. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    3. Solving the d orbital quantum chemistry equation for electron tunneling!
  8. gmonady

    gmonady Utimate User

    Jan 28, 2011
    Dayton, Ohio
    True enough. I was innocently sitting in a room minding my own business when James Knabe came wheeling in on a motor home, shoved an SWE Summit in my hand and said give this a try. Fell in love with it, and I wasn't even looking for it. It found me.
  9. Gxman

    Gxman Piano User

    Jan 21, 2010
    Quite literally. lol

    Well having one constant does make sense. I already got a Mouthpiece I do love. So time to find the trumpet. Trumpet wise I have no loyalty to, don't care if its Yamaha, Stomvi, Schilke, Bach or anything really. End of the day its a piece of wrapped brass tubing with a name printed on it. So long as it 'sounds' how I want, is all that is important. I do sometimes feel "i want to be different though", and Bach etc = being like everyone else.
  10. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    Nothing wrong with that. :-) I think we all want at least a little "coolness" factor with the equipment we use.

    After starting my comeback, I spent more than a year looking for a new horn. In the end, I stuck with my original horn after having it overhauled by Kanstul, my lightweight Bach 43.


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