What point do you switch mouthpieces?

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by john7401, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. john7401

    john7401 Pianissimo User

    Jul 3, 2009
    I'm just curious, I've used a bach 7c since 6th grade and am now in 10th and wondering when it would be good for me to switch to like 5c or 3c? I just got a new trumpet about 3 weeks ago and practice at home on it, but just leave my 6th grade one at school to use then.

    *Also I was told that the lower the numbers go the better it is for range building or is this just because those mouthpieces work better up there?
  2. Tmoney

    Tmoney New Friend

    Nov 6, 2009
    hi john,

    im in 8th grade, i play on a 3c...
    but in the process of switching from my 7c to my 3c i used a 5c...
    i thought that a 7c would be fine but i went on a little journey through
    mouthpieces...and for me the 5c improved my range a little...but switching mouthpieces is different with each person...i can't tell you if it's the right thing to do but...ask around...:play:

  3. ewetho

    ewetho Piano User

    Jun 24, 2007
    Kankakee, IL
    Get with a private instructor and go over your issues and see if he or she would recommend one.

    If you cannot get one then see if you can borrow a 3C and give it two weeks is it better? If so then OK. If not then there is no reason you have to change?

    A mouthpiece will not get you range!!!
  4. TrumpetMD

    TrumpetMD Fortissimo User

    Oct 22, 2008
    I played on a 6C (essentially a 7C with a slightly different rim) from the 8th grade through college. If it works for you, then it's a great mouthpiece. It would probably help to have an idea of why you want to switch. Is there something you don't like about the 7C?
  5. mlagatic

    mlagatic New Friend

    Mar 24, 2007
    Northern NJ

    I second what ewetho says...find a private instructor to help guide you in your switch. I would say to you that a mouthpiece is something that may change as you get older. Think of them as shoes. If you were to wear the same pair of shoes that you wore in third grade, you may have some difficulty moving around and walking comfortably. Obviously as you have gotten older you have grown and have adjusted accordingly. The same goes with trumpet playing. As you get older, and the more that you play, certain factors may signal that it is time for a change in mouthpiece. However, as stated before, it is always best to do this with an experience teacher who can help guide you.

    Since you just got a horn a few weeks ago, don't try to change mouthpieces yet. Take a few more weeks to really get to know your horn. Practice long tones, scales, and technique. Get to know what how to play the horn in tune. Once you have a good handle on how the horn is and find a teacher and have him or her check your playing out. If they switch you to a new mouthpiece, switch and don't play with any other piece for a couple weeks even if it sounds terrible. You have to give your chops some time to adjust to the new piece and learn to play it. After a while you can really get a feel for whether the new mouthpiece is better or worse for you.

    Mouthpiece selection also depends on your facial structure, ie. overbite/underbite, lip size, etc. A 3C is the middle of the road where most players are successful. It does well as a very versatile mouthpiece for jazz and classical playing.

    Best of luck. I hope you find something that works for you.
  6. Tmoney

    Tmoney New Friend

    Nov 6, 2009
    mlagatic hit it right on the dot..a very well thought out similar situation...
  7. Al Innella

    Al Innella Forte User

    Aug 9, 2007
    Levittown , NY
    The only reason to switch your mouthpiece would be for comfort or change in tonal quality, you don't out grow a mouthpiece, some players have used the same size their whole trumpet life with good results, with Bach mouthpieces the smaller the number, the larger the mouthpiece , the harder you work for the upper register. Too many teachers were told by their teachers that they should go to a bigger piece, and they then tell their students to do the same.then these students go on these web sites complaining I'm in jazz band and am having trouble with my high notes and endurance ,I'm playing on 1 1/2C with a good tone but can't play the high notes in the charts. Don't change because your playing X amount years or are in such and such a grade, change for a real reason.
  8. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

    Jun 18, 2006
    Almost NEVER

    The first question is NEVER what mouthpiece, it is what is missing in my playing. If the first answer is RANGE, then you do not need a mouthpiece, you need a decent teacher and a size 9 shoe planted where the sun doesn't shine.

    The only reason that I switch is because of SOUND. Sometimes I need that bright cutting scream sound and sometimes I need to knock walls down in the orchestra.

    Mouthpieces will NOT fix playing problems. They just create new ones.
  9. frankmike

    frankmike Piano User

    Dec 5, 2008
    I found 7c too small, because I have fleshy lips, 3c is perfect for me. I use it since lately, and it helped my endurance a lot

    although I use amati 3c and it is somewhat different from bach 3c
  10. dhbailey

    dhbailey Piano User

    Jul 28, 2009
    New Hampshire
    I'll throw in my 2-cents'-worth to say that in general what Rowuk says about mouthpieces not fixing problems but instead creating new ones is true, but in many specific situations, changing mouthpieces can solve problems. If a person's lip structure is such that using a smaller mouthpiece restricts the lips too much to get much flexibility or tone, then a larger mouthpiece is going to help. Or, if a person is using a mouthpiece which is too large and can't get good slotting on pitches, then a smaller mouthpiece is better.

    Then there is the question of rim design -- for some people Schilke-type rims are better and for others Bach-type rims are better.

    The problem is that only working in person with someone who is knowledgeable about trumpet playing and mouthpieces and also having a large number of mouthpieces to try can really yield a successful mouthpiece change. What we hear on the mouthpiece side of the trumpet is quite different from what people on the bell side of the trumpet hear, and often when we think we hear an improvement, the audience hears something worse.

    So don't just randomly go out and buy another mouthpiece based on any specific recommendations you get from a list such as this -- find a music store which will let you try mouthpieces, then take your instrument and your current mouthpiece and a couple of musical selections (1 slow and lyrical, 1 fast and technical) and your scales, and plan on spending a morning or an afternoon at a music store with someone who can help you make an informed choice, and then live with that mouthpiece for a month or two before making a final decision as to whether it's "your" mouthpiece. Then be willing to admit that you made a mistake, if you are still having the same problems and the same sound you had before the change.

    Rowuk is definitely correct when he says that a new mouthpiece will create new problems -- using a larger cup for a different tone can result in reduced range. Using a smaller cup to get easier range can result in poorer tone. Changing rim design to help with comfort and endurance can result in poorer pitch slotting. Changing backbores can similarly create new problems while solving old problems.

    The main issue most of the time with mouthpieces is that we get into the mind set that our problems are equipment-caused, when in fact what we need isn't a new piece of equipment but rather new exercises and a different practice routine to help us solve our problems.

    And that's where having a local teacher who can listen critically and make the proper suggestions as to changes in your playing habits/posture/whatever is the best thing you can do. And don't just ask your band director -- he/she may be the ideal person to help you, but you can't automatically assume that. Many are people whose main instrument is from a different family and their knowledge of your instrument is limited to what they learned in "methods class" back in college, which I can guarantee doesn't go into any of the finer points of teaching advanced students in a private lesson situation.

    So good luck with your mouthpiece quest -- there is no automatic reason to assume that you need a new mouthpiece. For many of us, if we just would spend all the time we do obsessing over different equipment and researching this stuff instead in the practice room, we'd be much better players with the equipment we currently own. :-)

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