mouthpiece parts

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by super_sop, Feb 9, 2005.

  1. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    can any body tell me what difference the different parts to a mouth piece can make?

    for instance, does the backbore actually do any thing to alter the sound? i can imagine that the bore itself does. why is the back bore tapered?

    just a few of the many questions about mouthpieces that are floating around my head at the mo!
  2. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I've posted many links before regarding mouthpiece design and performance considerations. A quick guide is again linked below ...

    ... one thing I have not seen mentioned in any thread is how adaptive we are to accomodate variations in both mouthpiece and instrument design. Given any half-decent mouthpiece or instrument, we can change our physical support to still attain the same sound and capabilities by natural accomodation. We constantly lip for fine intonation adjustment, and I feel that it is the same for sound, range and endurance. If you sound dull on an instrument, you are likely to subconsciously adapt to create your ideal sound. Any thoughts on this concept?
  3. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    I have always found that not matter what mp I use (within reason) I always get a very similar sound. My range also ends up about the same too.
  4. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I have always found this interesting as I have found that very few players blow 'straight' through their choice of instrument. If a player is used to, for example, playing a medium bore cornet and enjoys the sound produced, if given a large bore instrument ... would he/she restrict the air-flow to maintain that sound? Same with mouthpieces with large or small throats, would the player change the basics of the airflow to get that sound?
  5. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    I think it all comes back to the individuals concept of sound and their physical properties. I am by no means an expert on this subject as I usually just pick up my instrument and blow the ****** thing!
  6. Highams

    Highams Member

    The slightest alteration to cup, throat, backbore or shank makes a huge difference. The Doug Elliott set up I have means you can change all these by unscrewing them and compare results.

    The best thing is that it has almost cured the upper range sharp notes that seems to be custom with all Wick euphonium mouthpieces. Worth the experimenting time alone!
  7. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I don't believe this at all. I believe that it might make a difference, but not a "huge" one. Of course, it all depends on how you define "huge". :wink: Some players are more sensitive to the changes than others. I've known professional players (US military bands) that spent hundreds of dollars on custom mouthpieces made to exact specs and others in the same groups that just used the stock mouthpiece that came with the instrument, with no noticeable difference in sound or ability.

    I also believe that it makes a difference if the mouthpiece is not properly matched to the instrument it's being used with. For example, the same mouthpiece played with a Besson and then played with a Yamaha might have different properties and problems, because much of the physics of sound depend on ratios and rates of change in the tubing.
  8. Highams

    Highams Member

    The 'rates and ratios of changes in the tubing' that have an effect, start at the mouthpiece, the very reason why shanks and backbores vary.

    The 'use the mouthpiece that came with the instrument' theory is ok for a basic start, but goes out of the window with the endless different embouchures that will end up using it, young, old, professional etc.

  9. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I didn't say to "use the mouthpiece that came with the instrument". I said that the combination of the instrument and the mouthpiece is a consideration. I don't use the stock Yamaha mouthpiece that came with my baritone - I tried several different ones before I found the one that I thought was the best. And it's not the same mouthpiece that I would have used with my old Sovereign baritone, because the Yamaha and Besson designs have different charateristics.

    However, if, for some reason, I do use the stock Yamaha mouthpiece, I don't find a "huge" difference, even though the cup size is considerably smaller and the throat of the bore is smaller. The sound and tuning are virtually indistinguishable. I do have to push a little harder to get the same volume. The biggest difference is that the rim on the stock Yamaha mouthpiece seems to make my lip sore after a long session when compared to the one I use most of the time.

    But that might just be me. For some players, the mouthpiece may indeed make a "huge" difference, particularly if the player believes that it will. Some people play better on a Besson than they would on a Courtois, some might go the other way. Just as with choosing an instrument, the only way to properly fit a mouthpiece is to try as many as you can (using a variable-geometry system as Highams mentioned earlier can be an effective way to do this).
  10. Highams

    Highams Member

    Yes, that's right. But in trying endless selections of mouthpieces, you must be confident that you know in which direction you are going and what various changes in rim, cup & throat etc. will do for you, and against.

  11. kiwiposaune

    kiwiposaune New Member

    I tend to agree with brasscrest. But how could I not - his old man was a really fine euphonium player. I spent much of my life (trombone / euphonium) on a Bach 5G. Most of my musical associates thought that was too small, but it worked for me. Then after I moved to NZ I took a few years away from playing. When I returned to it I realised that my 25 year old 5G was so sharp aroung the edges that it was killing me. So I started on the great replaement quest. I now own about 50 mouthpieces. Every new one was 'the one' - for a few days. Then one day my wife told me that I sounded exactly the same on all of them (Bach, Wick, Schilke, Greg Black, Doug Elliot, Josepf Klier, you name it) - why didn't I stop wasting my money on them so she buy more shoes. Eventually, I settled on a couple of Christian Griego (of Edwards Musical Instruments fame) pieces. I probably don't sound much different on them but I'm really comfortable with the way they feels and react. Thats probably the secret - if you're comfortable with your mouthpiece you'll play better, not because of the mouthpiece but because of your comfort level. The one thing that has happened to me is that I play a much larger piece than I used to (Griego 3 vs. Bach 5G). I think that's just a function of being in the best shape of my life. Consequently, my sound is bigger than it used to be. The rule of thumb should probably be - play the largest mouthpiece that you're comfortable playing on.
  12. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    There are some interesting points here.

    I posted on the thread related to allergies earlier because I've just changed my mouthpiece because it was giving me some jip. I've gone for a much comfier mouthpiece, and although it felt a bit strange at first and my range was limited, after a few days, my old one felt strange and the new one was fine. I forget the make, it is an unusual one, not like the "standard" Denis Wick 4B I used to use.

    The mouthpieces are totally different in geometry but in a couple of days, the perceived difference was gone.

    The moral of this story is that I agree with Brasscrest in the main, the lip has a large potential to adapt.

    I've also recently rediscovered that the best way to improve sound, range and stamina is to practise...this makes the most difference. Messing with different mouthpieces pales into insignificance... :D
  13. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

  14. ComputerBloke

    ComputerBloke Member

    I should point out that I also found that my new mouthpiece changed my sound to be more mellow. My Getzen tends to have a harder, penetrating sound than a Besson, which I like, because the instrument blows more freely, but the mouthpiece tempers it to an acceptable level.

    I think practise is most important, but finding the right mouthpiece can also make a difference.
  15. ian perks

    ian perks Active Member

    I have had for the last 2 years a shank fitted to my mouth piece and it as made a big difference to the tuning, main tuning slide is not as far out as it used to be and gives piece of mind to me, the band and more than anyone our conductor:) :clap:

    Ian Perks
    Baritone Player
    Gresley Old Hall Band
  16. Highams

    Highams Member

    'Messing with different mouthpieces"

    This is why it is so important to understand what changes to rims, cups & shanks etc. can do. You must have a clear idea in your mind of how a mouthpiece works and how trying different ones will change different aspects of your sound and playing.

  17. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    this is why i thought id start this thread as i wanted a clearer understanding of how the different comonents worked indevidually.

    ive actuatually been toiying with the idea of maching a mouthpiece my self and wanted to know what each part did, as well as the difference the different materials made(this was going to be my next question)
  18. Highams

    Highams Member

    A google search of the many manufacturers will give a good insight as to how various ones work;


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