Euph Mouthpiece

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by sionrhysjones, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. sionrhysjones

    sionrhysjones Member

    I currently play on an E2 Euph mouthpiece, I know its not one that a lot of people use but been on it since my 3rd year of playing! and i don't see how changing would make a considerable change to my playing.

    BUT.. (as there is always, a but..) I had a new Euph about a year back and ever since I've had people nagging me to switch mouthpiece's, and other people telling me defiantly not to switch because it would be bad for my embouchure.

    Can anybody give me a more refined answer on the topic of changing mouthpieces and how it effects your playing ? and if you think i should change, what mouthpiece would you recommend for me to try ?

    Thanks :)
  2. Blagger

    Blagger Member

    What euph do you play on?
  3. sionrhysjones

    sionrhysjones Member

    Sterling Virtuoso
  4. Accidental

    Accidental Supporting Member

    Mouthpieces are a massively personally thing, and they can make a big difference to sound/range/production. Rim size, cup diameter, cup depth/shape/weight and material can all affect what comes out of the end of your bell. I was always taught to play on the biggest mouthpiece I could (on any instrument) without losing the top of my range.

    To the people who are nagging you to change, I would simply ask WHY? And are you happy with your sound etc? If there is an issue or room for improvement there, don't just assume its the mouthpiece - you'd also get a different sound out of a bigger/smaller/lighter/heavier model!

    To the people who told you changing mouthpiece will be bad for your embouchure I would, with the greatest respect, say they're talking rubbish! Lots of people change mouthpieces and even instruments fairly regularly and their embouchures are fine - eg. switching between cornet/trumpet/flugel/sop, tenor/bass trombone, tenor horn/baritone etc etc. I also know several players (mostly cornets for some reason!) who use 2 or more mouthpieces, switching depending on the demands of a particular piece - eg. one for a fatter sound, one to get higher etc.

    If you think a change of mouthpiece might make a positive difference or you just want to experiment and find out for yourself then I'd suggest you take your euph to a shop that will let you try out lots of different ones. It may also be worth getting a few lessons and/or some expert advice on it.
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2011
  5. sionrhysjones

    sionrhysjones Member

    Thanks for that comment really really helped :D and i understand completely with the material part.. have a plastic mouthpiece (a bit of a laugh really) but its the worst thing ever to play on in my opinion ! I'm happy with my sound but I'm happy with my sound to some extent, would never turn down the opportunity to make it more full :)

    As far as expert advice I have asked some MD's and pro Euph players and non of them agree either! I think I will look in to it now though :) thank you so much for the advice, and thoughts :)
  6. Eddy1234567

    Eddy1234567 Member

    i also play euph, and about 4-5 years ago i changed mouthpiece from a 4al to a 0al which is (i think) the biggest bass trombone mouthpiece you can get, from then on people have always nagged me to go back smaller saying i could get higher blah blah blah etc, and recently i did go back down, although only to a 2al - to put it clearly i was playing c*** on it and have since changed back to the 0. if you feel comfortable on it why switch unless you think it really is affecting your playing?
  7. agentorange

    agentorange Member

    For what It's worth, I often chop and change between 3 'favourite' mouthpieces depending on what solo or test piece I'm playing. People often tell me I shouldn't do this, but it works for me. Ignore everyone is my advice! If you want to experiment then fine, it won't do you any harm at all. If however you're happy on your current MP then stick with it, don't let anyone pressure you into changing.
  8. nethers

    nethers Active Member

    There are people who will happily swap instruments and mouthpieces to suit the job in front of them (I have my favourite trombone, but will play others when appropriate and even cornet when I am helping out at the kids band) and those who will not even consider any change at all, however tiny, unless they have a few weeks to come to terms with it. I know an ex-Dyke player that this applies to!

    It's like anything else in my opinion, if you regularly change equipment you will be used to it and able to find the positives, if you don't do it much it may be a handicap if you change at short notice.

    I agree with the comments above... form your own opinion about the sound you have and the suitability of your gob-iron, do lots of listening to other players and do not change because someone else wants you to.
  9. sionrhysjones

    sionrhysjones Member

    It's nice to see a good variety in answers, and I am taking everyone's answers in to consideration, I think I probably won’t change for the time being, I am happy with my tone and range so why change I guess? 'agentorange''s method is one I haven’t heard of before, but sounds interesting!

    Thanks for all the advice :)
  10. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    What is an E2? Is that the Alliance 2? If so, that seems like a serious professional-quality mouthpiece. Or is it one of the old Besson designations?

    The material doesn't affect what comes out of the bell, but it does affect the feedback you get through your lips. Emma Farrow is an example of a euphonium player with a great sound who plays on a plastic mouthpiece (allergy problem, I think).

    Just an aside here, prompted by a possible reading of what you've written as "I'll always want to make my euph sound more full" (which might not be exactly what you meant, granted) - it's worth considering what is actually the most valuable sound you could be making for your playing purposes. You can keep making a euph sound wider and wider by plugging in ever-larger mouthpieces - but there are limits beyond which things go wrong... Putting a tuba mouthpiece in a euph makes it sound like a constipated tuba, and makes clean articulation and not drifting flat in the high register very hard work... Bear in mind also that euphs are bigger in bore now than they used to be, and so the emphasis in playing has shifted from working to enrich the sound to working to liven up the sound. Personally, I rather prefer the sound of a large-ish mouthpiece (say 3AL deep) in a small instrument to the instrumental options available new today - it's more vibrant and makes the music more interesting.

    I remember you asking about this some while back... If I recall correctly, I responded (on the basis that you were by your own admission young and inexperienced) that it didn't seem likely to me that the 0AL was the right mouthpiece for you. It seems from your signature that you have made significant progress since then, and I wouldn't issue the same advice now without a chance to listen to you in person.
    On the other hand, if people who have heard you and are worth listening to think it is holding back your high range (as you say that they are), it's worth asking yourself seriously whether such an extreme euph mouthpiece choice might be hindering you more than it is helping you. Certainly, when I have tried a 0AL on euph, I have found that it is very difficult to prevent the high register drifting flat; the breadth of sound is rather pleasing (though verging on inappropriate when I try it), but the downsides to going too big that I listed above in reply to Sion's post are too present for me to find the results worth pursuing.

    By the way, the 0AL is not the biggest available specialist bass trombone mouthpiece, or anywhere near it, in fact. Even within the Wick range, the recently-introduced 00AL is some way larger. Other pieces, like the Greg Black 0G or Schilke 61 Custom, are even greater in cup volume.
    The 0AL is a strange mouthpiece design - the inner diameter of the rim is only a little greater than that of medium-sized bass trombone pieces such as the Bach 1-1/2G, but the depth of the cup is very large, more like a Bach 1G. This makes it a piece which doesn't naturally resonate well with most bass trombone designs - smaller designs don't need the deep cup, while larger designs need a wider rim. It would make an interesting mouthpiece for a small F tuba - but how many of those are made with bass trombone shanks? It's tempting to think that its depth makes it an interesting choice for euph, but, for almost everybody, it's a size or two too big all over, and hence gives unwieldy and cumbersome results.

    Comparing it with a 2AL, you will find that the volume of air required will go down a lot, as the 2AL is much less deep, with a tighter throat, although it isn't a massive amount narrower. I think that if you tried comparing it with an SM2 instead (which is like an opened-out and deeper version of a 2AL), you might enjoy the results more. It might also be worth your while speaking to Doug Elliott at, who could create you an interchangeable rim/cup/shank combination to your specifications. Something like an LB108K9 might suit you, at a guess.

    Incidentally, beware the trap of only moving up and down the Wick range of mouthpieces. The Wick bass trombone models don't match up with each other nearly as well as the tenor trombone models do.

    I've heard this from many people, and it's obviously served a lot of people well as a maxim. However, it always strikes me as a bit simplistic - if you develop your lip muscles enough, you can make truly gigantic mouthpieces serve in an instrument without losing your top end, but the results are almost always not as pleasing as if you'd stuck with something smaller. Once you've progressed to the point where you can successfully use a mouthpiece designed for a lower instrument in yours, then I think it's time to think again about your mouthpiece choosing philosophy. Seems to me that the optimum mouthpiece is one that lets you play in the high register with reliable accuracy and stamina but also allows you to make an appropriate sound all over the register. Just saying that there's a bit more to it than this maxim lets on.

    True... But changing the mouthpiece has a much larger effect than changing between broadly similar models of your instrument, and also costs much less!

    Good plan. It's generally good advice to only look to change mouthpiece when you are finding that it is limiting your playing.
  11. sionrhysjones

    sionrhysjones Member

    Hi thanks for the comment :) An E2 Mouthpiece is something I got from band, haven't seen anyone else use them! Very similar to the Alliance 2, but made by courtois. ( Was thinking of an Alliance if I changed due to the similarity )

    Ye I know, reading back I didn’t describe probably, basically I don’t like the plastic mouthpieces. I know pro's do use them, also have Mike Dodd ( Grimey ) and Dewi Griffiths ( Tredegar ) who are prime examples.

    I hear what you say and again I was not to clear, by full, I meant round. eg, My other half ( who plays Euph as well ) has a huge round, warm sound, that’s what I meant by always to make it more full.

    Thanks for the comment, much appreciated :)

  12. agentorange

    agentorange Member

    Just to expand a little on why I do this.....

    For years I played on a Wick 3 or 4 AL (the standard model 20years ago when there was much less choice available). I was happy with this and never considered changing until my MD at the time suggested that i used a bigger mp for a bigger sound. I'm glad i did, as this has led me on a quest to find the perfect mouthpiece!

    What i have discovered though is that there is no such thing! I found that there are pros and cons to every mouthpiece i tried. For example, when i switched from the Wick AL series to the SM range i found that my sound improved but lip flexibility was harder, and that the bigger sound made quiet playing more difficult.

    My current choices are the Alliance DC3, the Wick SM3 Ultra and a Mike Finn PS Solo.

    The Alliance has great clarity of production, superb range (pedals to super high) and is great for quiet playing. However, I find this MP only goes up to number 9 volume wise, where i can get 10 or even 11 with my others.

    The Mike Finn produces the fattest, roundest, loveliest sound i've ever been able to produce. It's production isn't quite as crisp as the Alliance, and i struggle with certain pedals (pedal E down to Db) and would be my weapon of choice but for one fatal flaw. It is very fatiguing. If i use this mp all the time, I struggle for stamina towards the end of a heavy concert. It's great for contest work though where sound is a priority (and there are no dodgy pedals!).

    The Wick Ultra is Similar to the Finn, not quite as fat sound wise, but not so tiring either. It has a good dynamic range but again those pedals are more difficult.

    So, the reason I chop and change is because I've only ever been 90% happy with any mp I've tried. Every model has it's own plus and minus points (or perhaps it's me that has different strengths and weaknesses and i'm looking for the mouthpiece to compensate?). To that achieve 100% satisfaction i need to use 2 or 3 different models.

    Incidently, I don't swap and change for every piece! I'll usually pick one and use it for several weeks before having a play around again. For a contest, i'll try the testpiece on all 3, make my choice 2-3 weeks beforehand and then stick with it. For none contest/concert work i'll avoid the Finn and choose between the Alliance (for range and flexibily) and the Wick (for sound) depending on what solo i'm playing.

    For now I'm happy with this set up, although whenever a new MP appears on the scene i'll always be tempted to try it. Perhaps the holy
    grail does exist..............?

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