Effect of new instrument on mouthpiece preference?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by chrisgs, Aug 16, 2011.

  1. chrisgs

    chrisgs Member

    Just wondering whether anyone else finds that the instrument being used affects the mouthpiece preference? Or am I just imagining the difference because I'm still getting used to the instrument?

    I've recently got a new soprano cornet and have stuck with the same mouthpiece I had been using before (DW S). I used to really like it, but it just doesn't feel quite right now. I had considered trying out some different ones when I bought my new soprano, but figured it would be best to get used to it first so that I could tell whether it was the instrument or mouthpiece making the difference. Bizarrely I tried out a 7C mouthpiece yesterday that I used to hate, and now quite liked the feel of it - although not the sound.

    Any advice?
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2011
  2. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    It is definitely true that a different instrument won't match to your old mouthpiece in quite the way that you are used to, and it may be true that a change of mouthpiece will make things work better for you.

    A new trombone purchase a few years sent me on something of a mouthpiece safari, in search of a piece that made the same sound as my regular mouthpiece, but felt more stable with the new instrument. My ultimate conclusion was that I just needed to learn to blow my old mouthpiece in a slightly more flexible way. Ymmv.
  3. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    The shape of the backbore of a mouthpiece varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, and also within a companies range of 'pieces. Also the internal profile of the leadpipe will be different with different makes of instrument. The way the backbore interacts with the leadpipe has many different effects on how the instrument plays, for instance affecting the response ("feel"), sound and even intonation.

    In the past, I used to use almost exclusively Bach mouthpieces for the different cornets/trumpets/flugels that I played, but when I started using Schilke instruments primarily, I found that in general the Bach 'pieces didn't work well with them. In particular I found the combination produced a sort of "kickback" effect with the initial attack on the note. So now I use mostly Schilke mouthpieces. But this is not to say the Schilke mouthpieces are necessarily "better" for Schilke instruments (although there is an argument says that the backbore of a particular maker's 'piece is likely to have been designed to inteface well with their own leadpipe designs); I know of several players who successfully use Bach/Schilke combinations - it just doesn't work for me.

    So, yes, to answer your original question there is no reason why you should be surprised that you may need to experiment with a few different mouthpieces to find the one that works best in combination with your new instrument.
  4. chrisgs

    chrisgs Member

    That's interesting to know. I had heard elsewhere that Schilke instruments are best with Schilke mouthpieces, but wasn't sure how much truth there was in that. I would quite like to try some to see what they're like and compare with other makes, but unfortunately my nearest music shop has very few Schilke mouthpieces in stock. I'm a bit reluctant to order one over the internet without trying it first. I'm also hesitating because I'm not really sure it's wise to be messing about with different mouthpieces until after the Nationals...
  5. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    Have you played a Schilke before? It's a lot more responsive than most other sops.
  6. chrisgs

    chrisgs Member

    I've had a Schilke sop for 3 weeks now - was very surprised how different it was to start with, but absolutely love it! :D Just got to find a mouthpiece I'm happy with now.
  7. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    Change only one variable at a time. The instrument change is enough to deal with for now. Persevere with the old mouthpiece until you're sure you're used to the instrument.
  8. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    Disagree; if the mouthpiece (as the "interface" between the player and instrument) isn't working in combination, then you're never going to know when you're "used" to the instrument.
  9. Alyn James

    Alyn James Member

    The OP asks, "....am I just imagining the difference because I'm still getting used to the instrument?"
    Then, "....it just doesn't feel quite right now."

    That's not exactly hard evidence of a mismatch. All I'm proposing is patience. If you want to send the OP on a possible wild goose chase that's your prerogative, but it wouldn't be an option I would necessarily agree with.
  10. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    ... but then goes on to say:

    ... certainly suggests to me that there is a possible mismatch, and that another 'piece may well work better.
  11. chrisgs

    chrisgs Member

    That's just what I had fully intended to do...

    I know 3 weeks isn't enough to get properly used to a new instrument, but I'm definitely not as happy with my DW S as I was before. It sounds great in the lower register combined with a Schilke soprano, but really doesn't feel right on the high stuff now. Against my better judgement, I've decided to try something else and I'm now experimenting with a Schilke 10B4 mouthpiece. It definitely feels much better and playing high is so much nicer, although I can't deny there's a bit of a compromise on sound quality when playing low and quiet. I'm going to have to work on getting a richer sound, but I'm hoping it will improve with practice and as I get more used to it. If not, then I'll have to have a rethink.
  12. GJG

    GJG Well-Known Member

    If you can get hold of one (and it's a big "if") something like a Yamaha 9 mouthpiece would be worth a try. The backbore is very similar to that of the Schilke, but the cup is deeper.

    On the odd occasion I dep on sop I use a 12B4, but keep the 9 in my pocket for when a mellower sound is needed ...
  13. chrisgs

    chrisgs Member

    I'll keep an eye on Ebay and bear that in mind! I going to stick with the 10B4 for the time being though to give it a fair trial :)