Soprano mouthpiece's - unlocking the mystery

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Matt Griffith, Aug 4, 2003.

  1. Matt Griffith

    Matt Griffith New Member

    Have just started playing soprano for Moulton 77 band in Northampton ( 2nd Section - Midlands ) and finding playing being limited by mouthpiece which came with instrument. Particularly finding it hard to play quietly.

    Has anyone got any tips for a good mouthpiece?
  2. sparkling_quavers

    sparkling_quavers Active Member

    Isn't that a problem with all sopranos?? :D
  3. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member


    Surely it's not just the mouthpiece that helps with dymanics...
    part of it (if not all of it) must be down to technique and control!
  4. Pythagoras

    Pythagoras Active Member

    They have mouthpieces? I'd always assumed from the look of sheer pain and effort on their faces that they were blowing directly into the instrument!
  5. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    lol! :lol:
  6. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    :evil: Now Now you lot leave us sops alone :evil:
    It takes a lot of skill, stamina and balls to play sop :lol:
    anyway, i used to use a deniss wick sop mouthpiece and seemed to play alright on it (youll have to take my word for that).
    i did find that different mouthpieces did alter sound etc.
    im sure there are some more experienced sop players in here though that will be able to give you a little more help. As for the others , there just jelous!!
  7. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    Yea, that goes without saying... I've experimented with cornet mouthpieces... I think if every player in every band thought more about it, then all bands sounds would improve... especially cornet sections! :p

    All the same, doesn't help with dynamics... As I said before, it's down to technique and control :p ;-)
  8. super_sop

    super_sop Supporting Member

    i defo agree with that one, lots of long notes and concentrate on that ole diagphram(and if you sort that 1 out let me know how ya did it!)
  9. Naomi McFadyen

    Naomi McFadyen New Member

    All important word to add to that supersop is posture ;-)
  10. iancwilx

    iancwilx Active Member

    I remember that my band of years ago used to use "The Cossack" as a contest march - it has, as you know, a very exposed little solo.
    Well, our Sop kept messing it up at every rehearsal.
    We cured it when the Prin. Cornet examined the sops mouthpiece and reamed out a thick layer of "Gunge" - after that, no probs.
    Of course, we don't experience thick layers of "gunge" in this mouthpiece !!!!!!!
  11. markyboy

    markyboy Member

    I've been on sop for 27 years now and would have to honestly say I'm still learning to how play it! Best advise I could give is to try lots of different mouthpieces and just keep at it. It will take along time to feel comfortable with pitch tuning etc, it wont happen overnight. Long slow lip slurs are far more important than working on tehcnique. I must be the world champion at blagging my way through the years having a very poor technique but managing to emphasise my strenghs (if I have any).

    Playing a soprano cornet is a million miles away from playing a Bb cornet IMHO. The bits of advise I have picked up over the years would take too long to go through now, it all comes down to experience, you are always learning.(I suppose the same could be said of any instrument).

    ps I am still looking for a Kosikup sop mouthpiece as stated in another topic.If anyone happens to come across one lurking in the bottom of an old soprano case in some bandroom, I will pay pretty good money for it!

    Hopefully that should start a huge scramble of people searching!!
  12. Robo

    Robo New Member

    I believe that Dennis Wick makes a mouthpiece for a Sop. I think it is about the same as 5B. More importantly you need to find a mouthpiece that has a similar rim width as the one you have been using (if you were playing Bb cornet) Otherwise you are basically developing a new shape embouchure. Usually Sop mouthpieces are slightly smaller in the cup depth and sometimes slightly smaller bore than a Bb cornet mouthpiece to make the higher notes a little easier to hit.
  13. LU-Brasser

    LU-Brasser Member

    I use the Dennis Wick Sop-mouthpiece.. (Dennis Wick S). I found it isn't too deep and not too flat.
    Another possibility is to use different mouthpiece.. A normal deep one for the normal range, and a flat one for the special high. I know many Sop players which use differnet mouthpieces..

    But the optimal mouthpiece everyone must find for itself...
  14. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    As has been stated before the mouthpeice is only one part of Sop playing and posture and diaphragm are the keys to control (supersop .. I haven't mastered this one either :D ). The other problem is one of stamina, you may find a smaller mouthpeice gives you the range but lasting 2-3 hours of a concert is another thing!, I have tried many mouthpieces which gave me the range but I was dead after the first hour, best advice I had was to go for a mouthpiece which is comfortable enough to play and then extend your range through technique. I never got on with the Wick mouthpiece my chops are too fat :D so I use a Warburton 6D (quite large for a sop) with a soprano shank.

    Beg and borrow a few and see how it goes, best of luck!, just remeber though its addictive stuff and very hard to kick! (that and no other bugger wants your seat!).
  15. LU-Brasser

    LU-Brasser Member

    Warburton...hmm interesting.... I think many of the soprano players in this Forum use warburton.. I have never played with warburton, whats the different between wick S and warburton, is warburton more flat then S?
  16. WhatSharp?

    WhatSharp? Active Member

    It depends on what you go for, there is a massive range and since you can change the backbore it means if you end up doing Pic stuff or trumpet work you can keep the same rim.

    Have a look at for all the info on them.
    (erm am I going to get into trouble for putting this link in :oops: )
  17. LU-Brasser

    LU-Brasser Member

    Thank you for the link, maybe I try the warburton...
  18. Richard Pugh

    Richard Pugh New Member

    Ah...another convert to the cause of high and loud!!
    Who says not being able to play quietly is a problem??!! Just means we have to play loud all the time!
    There are a few good mouthpieces, Warburton, Stork and Bach all spring to mind.
    I think the Dennis Wick one is too deep with too narrow a rim. It has a nice sound down low but you would need to do about 2 hours a day to get any stamina using it in something high and loud.
    Of all the ones I have tried the best are ones that are shallow but have a slightly wider rim so that if you have to push a wee bit harder when you have really high notes it is not quite as sore on the lips!!

  19. Soprano Mouthpieces!

    Well, people!

    I Play on a Bach 10 1/2 EW, its a great all rounder.

    I play on a Smith Watkins Sop with a number 1 leadpipe and this combination gells very well for me.

    The mouthpiece is a nice size, comfortable and helps to give a sweet tone.

    I love it anyway!

    Ellington Colliery Band
  20. bladder

    bladder Member

    I've played sop in the past which isn't vastly different from D/Eb trumpet, only stylistically. I wouldn't profess to be the world's best sop, but could sit and play top-C's, loud and quiet for hours, if needs must. I've messed with mouthpieces and have come to the following conclusions which you may find useful.
    Yes, a different mouthpiece can make an enormous difference in sound. The cup diameter, measured inside the rim, should be matched to your embouchure purely for comfort reasons. If you're like me, your embouchure's a bit 'fleshy' and so require a larger cup to 'get it all in'. Generally the rim profile is also about comfort and personal preference. You use the 'feel' of the rim to position the mouthpiece.
    Now the important parts of the mouthpiece are cup, throat and backbore. The way these three varibles 'play' together is a bit of black art.
    The depth of the cup dramatically affects the quality of the sound, deeper equals more fat, round and warm sound. But the depth of the cup can also affect the tuning of the instrument, not as a whole, but just certain notes, i.e. D, E, & G's. You may have to trade 'sound' for intonation.
    The throat and backbone affect the perceived 'blowing' of the instrument. The 'back pressure' or the impedance to 'blowing' increases with volume and pitch. Increasing the width profile of the throat/backbore can reduce this impedance slightly making it easier to play louder/higher, and for longer. However, the impedance assists when trying to play soft and high, making it easier to 'key' notes. It's to play soft without playing 'against' something.
    The attributes of the mouthpiece are all double-edged affairs. What you choose to play on is entirely down to the ability/preference of the player. You could choose the 'large' path but some extra effort would be required for the soft stuff, for example. You can choose a wider muothpiece making it more comfortable to play without sacrificing any sound. Let's face it, if god made man in his own image, god's not a sop player!

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