Plastic mouthpieces!!

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by smila, Sep 25, 2006.

  1. lmf

    lmf New Member

    How did the bass player sound on a metal mouthpiece before switching to plastic?

    Best wishes,

  2. TubaGeek

    TubaGeek Member

    I use a plastic Kelly mouthpiece at school - Although I struggle getting some of the low notes on my bass, I can get the high ones just as easily. It doesn't affect my pitching or tuning and it's great for cold, winter-morning gigs because the plastic doesn't come out of your case cold like a metal one would. Overall, I'd rather use a metal mouthpiece, but you can't just say "Nobody try it" because it is more convenient or appropriate for some people.
  3. steve butler

    steve butler Active Member

    Its not really helping then is it? If you are struggling getting some of the lower notes.
    "bass" - lower notes are quite important.
  4. TubaGeek

    TubaGeek Member

    Ah sorry - I should have been more specific, by "lower notes" I was referring to pedal notes really, so it's not much trouble. Especially since the majority of the music (perhaps even all) never drops below a low G. Sorry for the confusion.
  5. lmf

    lmf New Member


    I realize plastic mouthpieces are good for playing in cold weather and/or for good for those with allergies from metal mouthpieces. Is cheaper cost a factor, especially as tuba mouthpieces are expensive? I would think that you would derive more consistent playing (inside and/or warmer weather) with metal mouthpieces. If so, there must be a trade-off factor to consider? For tuba, do you believe the plastic mouthpiece enables you to play satisfactorily within a group, or is the metal mouthpiece more versatile?

    Trumpet/Cornet players have all sorts of reasons to use plastic, but the majority seem to use (and return to) metal mouthpieces. I wonder why? I've played outside in the cold winters, but I've always kept my mouthpiece warm (in my hand or pocket) between songs. Marching band would probably be more of a concern as one wouldn't have the luxury of warming the mouthpiece as easily.

    Best wishes, TubaGeek,

  6. Al

    Al Member

    I know this subject had been going a while but it meant nothing to me until recently.

    I've had to play 2 or 3 concerts over the same amount of days recently and my lip was getting really sore (EEb ). I was dreading the next concert when someone suggested a Kelly nouthpiece. It was amazingly comfortable and as far as I was concerned, my playing was no different.

    Christmas carols round the streets coming up . . . . I think I'll stick to the piece of plastic.
  7. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Thanks for find this peter. I knew it was around somewhere.
  8. Playabit

    Playabit Member

    Yes thanks a lot, looks like i am staying with what i know, a nice lump of metal, also ideal to get those cornet mouthpieces unstuck...a good hit with a BBb gob piece does the trick every time...:biggrin::biggrin:
  9. Aussie Tuba

    Aussie Tuba Member

    Have you tried Stainless Steel ? doesn't mark or dent like Brass and I find mine helps with range. Both up and Down.
  10. Brass_Head

    Brass_Head New Member

    In my assessment, the best use of a plastic mouthpiece is Christmas Carol playing. True they are less weighty and decorative but the intonation is poor (but maybe less so on a Tuba).

    Mouthpieces with plastic-coated rims have been around for ages and don't have the same effect on intonation but do help with colds, allergies andpolar conditions.

    I can't do much about the cold but by buying a gold Vincent Bach mouthpiece, I have avoided the other problems and used the same gob-iron for nearly 25 years.
  11. cshimmon

    cshimmon Member

    I have found another reason for the use of a plastic mouthpiece- and no puns! As many of you will know, I have a problem with my left hand which means I cannot grip my instrument properly. The result (aside from pain and the frustrating urge to through my instrument at my bandmaster with my good hand) is that my tone can be appalling. When I can't hold the instrument properly, because it's not being held in the correct position against my mouth, my sound is awful and I struggle to pitch accurately. I find that replacing my metal mp with my kelly means that the sound is damaged less. I don't sound so much like an irritating learner, and i'm a lot less likely to mis-pitch.

    I do also keep it in my handbag, for whenever I fancy messing around a little- or for my two year old who is obsessed with it.

    On a side note, I've been playing on plastic reeds on my saxophones for many years. My stamina and tone are greatly improved, my mouth isn't constantly dry from having a large stick of wood in my mouth, and I don't bite into my lips anywhere near as much. After a weekends intensive playing on woodwind, I used to have to take a week off brass because my mouth was such a wreck, but I now have no problems. It has also saved me an absolute fortune on reeds! For woodwind players I can't recommend it highly enough, but as with brass, you have to find a brand to suit you! The first ones I tried were awful, but I didn't let that put me off, and if I hadn't had that experience with my sax's, then I probably would never have tried doing the same thing on brass.

    It pays to be open minded!
  12. StellaJohnson

    StellaJohnson Active Member

    I used a kelly mouthpiece for Eb bass a few years ago after having an skin iritation using a metal ones. At first hey were great then after a while my notes especially on the lower registar started to wobble uncontrolably. I went back to a metal and the situation remained the same. Thankfully I went to see Les Neish and he recommended using a particular wick mouthpiece and after some hard practice and lip exercises, I'm back to normal if not better. I think my skin irritation is caused by metal mouthpiece and my make up I was wearing as I still get black marks aound my gob! Kelly mouthpieces didn't work for me but can see the benfits for other users.
  13. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Have to say stella, I've not tried one long-term, but I've used one short-term on a couple of occasions.

    I found the same thing. Low and pedal register (a BIG consideration for a BB player) really suffered, although the rest of the register seemed fine.

    John Pullin, who sits next to me at Wakey Met, plays on on a Kelly, and he seems to have no problems, but then he's playing the top Eb part so wouldn't use the same range I'm frequently in, or experience the same issue.

    I'll stick with my PT50+ thanks. :)
  14. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    As a Tuba player who ventured into smaller instruments for reasons of disability, I had to pack in the cornet playing and ended up on Baritone some time back due to (among other things!) carpal tunnel syndrome, which meant holding a cornet was increasing diffilcut and painful, especially on trigger use.

    Not knowing the extent or type of your injury, and I am sure you have thought long about how you hold yours, but the solution for me on (a Besson Sovereign) baritone was not to hold it conventionally, but to slot my hand INTO the wrap of the instrument, and perch it on the stays and tubing on an open hand, in the V between thumb and first finger, thereby easing the discomfort. It means you hold the instrument pointing out a little more, but it meant I had very little discomfort this way, and could even play with a wrist support when that was necessary, and not need to grip it at all!
    My tone on Baritone was pretty lousy anyway, so that was the least of my problems!

    Interstingly, your woodwind playing has continued.... my (rather basic) clarinet playing has been resigned to the bin, as I simply can't feel the keys accurately enough with my left hand, even though the numbness and pain is now not so bad as it was!

    The final solution to the problems was to go back to playing E flat Tuba again, and simply use whichever finger on my left hand was least bothersome for the 4th valve a the time, (varies from day to day or minute to minute!) OK. it's a struggle lugging it around it too, but I am happier now! :)
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2011
  15. on_castors

    on_castors Member

    I had used a Kelly part of the time I played Cornet, (it's easier on the front teeth if nothing else!) and having lost my Bach 24AW (somewhere!) in the period when I wasn't playing, and being unhappy on a succession of other sizes, I have ended up playing on a Kelly equivalent full time, initially intended for Xmas use only, but I have to say, I am not even planning getting a metal replacement now! Playing top E flat bass parts too, clearly I am finding the same thing, it's no problem at all.