Plastic Mouthpieces to cure lip sores?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by westburykid, Feb 20, 2009.

  1. westburykid

    westburykid Member

    I, as a few of the players I have known in bands occasionally suffer from Cold Sores.
    Extra rehearsals normally make them worse, and outside playing at Christmas Time.

    I have normally put it down to lip damage caused by extra playing, also old mouthpieces which are through the silver/gold to the base metal.

    As a Tenor Horn player, we as yet don't have the option of the Kelly Plastic mouthpieces, therefore I am interested if anyone has moved from metal to plastic to cure sore lips.

    Just a theory........
  2. jonesbp

    jonesbp Member

  3. piston

    piston Member

    Surely just regulalry sterilising your metal mouth piece works just as well as some plastic gimmick? Reducing mouth pressure would help to.
  4. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Well, first of all, the plastic mouthpieces made by Kelly are not a gimmick. Carefully made. Lexan is what bullet-proof glass is made of and is very strong stuff and that is what Jim Kelly uses.

    Some people are allergic to brass, silver and/or nickel. Reducing pressure is always a good thing, but may not help with "sores".

    Stainless steel or very well coated gold mouthpieces may help.

    Cold sores (as we call them in the US) are an offshoot of herpes virus. Breakouts just happen. Allergy sores can be fixed or reduced by riding yourself of the cause of the allergy.

    But trust me, Kelly makes an excellent mouthpiece. And if you get sores, I would try a Kelly to see what happens. $20 or thereabouts is not a lot to spend.

  5. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I have used a kelly Mouthpiece for bass as I have an allegery to metal mouthpieces. I had an wick mouthpiece that caused a black mark round my mouth and if long use caused a rash. Now I realised it was rather old and knackered mouthpiece. I tried a kelly mouthpiece and for a few months, thought they were the best thing ever.

    However, I after a while my lower registared notes started to suffer, an uncontrollable wobble and I'm convinced it was caused by kelly mouthpieces. I don't think they support your embourche very as well. Although I am no expert on this:)

    I have now gone back to a new wick mouthpiece as recommended by Les Neish!!! Still get a black mark round my mouth, which I can live with now. My expereince kelly mouthpiece ok for old carrolling jobs, but as a main mouthpiece, big NO, NO.:)
  6. westburykid

    westburykid Member

    I helped a band out a few year ago on cornet and was given a old gold mouthpiece that was worn through to the metal. Next day two sores, its like an allergic reaction which damages the skin and allows the sore to break through.

    The clear plastic Kelly mouthpieces must be a great tutor aid to prove that the beginner has the mouthpiece in the correct place etc..

    Does the plastic mouhpiece have the same resonance as metal one, remember the old heavy top Wick experiment?
  7. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    Hiya kiddo!

    I can't play on a gold mouthpiece because I have an allergic reaction to the nickel in the plating - the chops break out quickly in blebs (yeuch!) and need steroids to reduce inflammation. :( It 's the same as any reaction to many alloys ie wrist-watches, earrings, etc. Not great in such a sensitive area so I stick to silver.

    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2009
  8. benjaminuk

    benjaminuk Member

    Plastic Mouthpieces

    I've tried plastic mouthpieces and they are abit softer on the lips. Although you do have to watch what it does to yur plying as it does tend to make the instrument play sharp.
  9. Bungle

    Bungle Member

    Our MD had the same problem when the plating wore through. He got it replated which is one solution.
  10. westburykid

    westburykid Member

    I got in touch with the guy who was gold plating iPods and things who went on Dragons Den.
    If anyone remembers he had a portable gold plating solution.

    I told him that he could try going to a large contest with the kit and I am sure there are a number of players who would pay a tenner to get their mouthpiece done there and then.

    He said it was a good idea but has never followed up........

    There is a possible business there for someone.......
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 21, 2009


    Plastic mouthpieces are ****....tried one on bass for about 3 months.. seemed o.k but no good for sound,use zovirack cream and don t play for a week,throw the plastic in the bin .
  12. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Mike Vax and other professional have recorded using a Kelly mouthpiece. It may not be for you, they are extremely well-built. Lexan is SO HARD that it feels very smooth. This does make it much easier of your embouchure.

    These mouthpieces may not be for you -- but the thought, workmanship and sound they produce (for more) is nothing to dismiss lightly.

  13. joshy

    joshy Member

    Once you have the virus then you can't get rid of it. It stores itself in a nerve junction and is set off by stress/tiredness/feeling run down etc... I suffer from them badly (just had to take a week off and it'll be another week before I'm up to snuff again) and have never sterilised the mouthpeices, it doesn't make a difference. Best thing in my experience is to catch them early and be aware when you are feeling stressed so they don't have a chance to come in.

    Also, I have just tried something from Boots that is mean't to help. Its a torch (sort of) that transmits light at a frequency that is mean't to help your immune system fighting the virus. That and Zovirax got rid of my sore completely in about 4/5 days along with no playing.

  14. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    NO mouthpiece is for everyone, or only one mouthpiece company would exist. That is your experience -- but others, including me and many professionals (including the Canadian Brass) have differed.

    I just differ a bit more politely and with facts (which is supposed to be a English trait).

  15. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    For some reason, the subject of plastic mouthpieces brings out over-generalisations from lots of people! Mostly people who've tried one, failed to get on with it, and assumed from that that the whole concept fails, which is a pretty bogus chain of logic...

    What you do find is that you get different feedback to the lips from the mouthpiece rim from the vibrations you're creating, and if you can't get used to working with that, then you can experience problems. What you also find is that, once you're used to playing on one, the audience can tell no difference in your tone quality between plastic and metal - with the possible exception of the tuba pieces, which I have not yet heard played with a full-bodied sound.

    I know you can get a thin plastic rim put onto a metal mouthpiece - I wonder if this might be good for Stella?
  16. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Maybe a stainless steel MPC is what you need, I've been using one for almost a year now and hav'nt had a problem
  17. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    Yep, your right DocFox it is a personnal preference. They defernatly have a place in the banding world and they are dert cheap. I saw an old thread regarding kelly mouthpieces and were plesently supprised the amount of positive reports when using them, unfortunatly it didn't work for me which resulted in devasating consequences.

    My playing has much improved since going back to a wick mouthpiece which was about a year ago. The band got me a new one.

    And for some reason I have notice the black mark round my mouth occurs more when I have makeup on!!! It doesn't irritate my skin anymore but it is annoying. It needs a good clean regularly.

    Is it a sign the mouthpiece is cerroding?? It still looks in good condition. If so I might consider buying my own and getting it plated/plastic coated. But does it feel different when using the mouthpiece??

    I'm don't really want to change mouthpieces, especially as I have been recommended by Les to use this particular wick mouthpiece and it has worked. Its taken me 12 months to get my playing back to normal since my bad experience with kellys and I'm playing as well as I ever have, and it is so difficult to find a suitable mouthpiece when you experience an embourchure weakness like I experienced.
  18. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I'm not a chemist, but I reckon the black mark is probably silver oxide (which is black); something on your skin is reacting with the plating, causing oxidation of the bit that touches you. It sounds like there's something in the make-up you wear that helps this reaction along a bit too.

    1) Don't wear make-up while playing!
    2) Get your mouthpiece plated/covered in something that isn't silver. Gold-plating is easily done, as is a plastic film (which doesn't feel at all the same as a fully plastic mouthpiece). Silver is a pretty unreactive metal - but gold is a lot more unreactive again. If you start dissolving the gold, I'll be impressed.
  19. Despot

    Despot Member

    True, unless of course it's a shop bought gold plated Denis Wick mouthpiece! The gold is plated directly onto the bare metal of the mouthpiece, and comes off too easily. Better to buy a silver model, and get that plated.

    But you are right, lots of different finishes available and it can be quite easily and cheaply.
  20. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Despot is quite correct. Denis Wick gold plating lasts maybe a year at the most. plates mouthpieces (they are located in the US) and their must be a similar company in the UK.

    I do believe (again in the US) does plating work. Many people are allergic to silver or the nickel in the silver. Stainless steel is a great choice due to its high density which makes it hard to pit and feels very smooth. I am a big believer in LOUD mouthpieces (

    I doubt the makeup is the culprit, although trying to play without it (perhaps at home if you feel uncomfortable in public) and see what happens. Mouthpiece wear can happen even before it is visible. Almost everyone can get brass poisoning by putting raw brass in their mouth or near the mouth. Most mouthpieces are plated brass.

    Again though, Kelly is a inexpensive option. I am quite sure (this applies to me only) that if you heard me play on my Kelly, and then my LOUD mpc, you probably could not discern the difference.


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