I had 5 days off the horn over the previous holiday weekend so I thought I would try an experiment to see what happened. Instead of my Curry 3 pieces, I slotted in a Buescher 88-E, which is 0.630" diameter, with a fairly sharp rim.
Holy F#, Batman!
So far, everything is more better... flexibility, range, sound... I had to seriously back off because I was playing too loud and overshooting notes too high.
I'm optimistic that this change will be a permanent one. Sunday is the first rehearsal of the community band this season, so we'll see how the endurance goes.
It's an additional bonus of being a Buescher Duo-Cup mouthpiece in a Buescher horn, too.
For those who don't know what this Duo-Cup thing is... back in the mid-30s when these pieces were introduced, the entrance to the throat in many pieces was pretty tight, with a sharp transition from the cup to the throat. These pieces have a wide throat entrance, which is actually quite common today. They called it a "second cup" (hence the name) but it was just what we call a wide throat entrance.