Swapping during pieces?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Soppy, Mar 9, 2005.

  1. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    How many people around here swap mouthpieces inbetween and even during pieces? I'm stuck a bit atm, where I ahve one mouthpiece which can go a little bit strident when I'm playing loud, and doesn't produce a sound always quite as rich as I like (I can only do it in the middle register). My other one is fine on these fronts, but it wears me out a lot quicker and I also have a tendency to be flat a lot of the time when playing high. I've started swaping inbetwen pieces and even in pieces at some times (when a solo part is coming up for example), but I was wondering if this does more harm than good? Would it be better to just put up with the slightly thinner tone and work on it (which I do already mind).

  2. fitzy

    fitzy Active Member

    Wouldn't it be better in the long run to stick to the one mouthpiece all the time and work out what you have to do on that m/p rather than chopping and changing and risking something going wrong? ie: forgetting one of the m/p's, dropping one during a swap........ Tuning also tends to change between mouthpieces so that could be a bit risky. It would probably be better for you to settle on 1 m/p, but thats just me.
  3. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    This, to me, is always a tricky subject ... but when playing on a general basis I feel the most important thing is to be able to hit notes correctly and centered, consistently across ranges. You cannot master music playing unless you can play the written notes, regardless of the qualty of sound or dynamics. If you have a mouthpiece that you find suitable for this, you can then work on the other aspects to sustain and improve.
  4. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    Tuning is an issue when swapping, but I have marked out on my slide where it needs to be on each mpc, so I can stil lget my optimal tuning for each one (not that one of them is very in-tune anyway).

    The problem is that I always pride myself on my tone quality. I've worked incredibly hard on it, and I've got a lot of praise for that. I feel that, no matter how well you play the notes, if the tone is naff, then it will never sound good. But then again ,it kind of works the other way round too. And I can hit the notes etc on both perfectly well (although I loose a small bit of range on the deeper, better sounding one). I suppose my problem in the long run is more of do I work on getting my tone a bit better on one, or my tuning and stamina much better on the other. Sounds a simple choice, but it ain't!
  5. Dave Euph

    Dave Euph Member

    I'm not a sop player by any stretch of the imagination, but personally I can't see constantly changing mouthpieces being a good idea. Your embouchure naturally adjusts to the mouthpiece you use, so it can't really settle if you keep changing. My advice would be to choose the one you think you are best with all-around and then work on the areas that you have problems with.
  6. ScreamingSop

    ScreamingSop Member

    yup swapping aint a good idea at all in my opinion
    your ebrochure will be constantly changing and in the end your lip will just go.
    your better settling on a outhpiece your comfy with and work on your weak points
  7. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    What happens when you need to change in the middle of a bars rest?

    Stay with one and work on the embouchure for the tone quality you obtain from the other.
  8. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    Thanks. That is my biggest concern, that it'll just end up messing me up for both. I do much prefer the smaller one with the slightly worse sound, so I'll just have to work extra extra hard on my tone. I've done it before. Although I have to change mpc between Bb and Eb cornet. But that's slightly different I suppose.

    @Laserbeam, you'd be amazed how quickly you can change the mpc and slide etc. 10-15secs max. :) But it is risky if you dop it or something. Probably not a good idea.
  9. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    I use the same mouthpiece for EEb and BBb bass, and always did when I played sop and Bb cornet many moons ago.

    Try doing it on a BBb bass [​IMG]
  10. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    Well I used to use the same mpc on both, but I discovered much better ones for each individual instrument. I use a very deep mpc on the Bb (Sparx 3), and did, and now will continue, use a Shilke 10B4 on the Sop. If you know them two, that's a big difference. But, apart from the slight tonal problems on the 10B4 (which I'm sure I'd ironed out, hence my worry if it's come back), they are both great to use.
  11. Aardvark

    Aardvark Member

    What the same mouthpiece for bass & cornet ? That explains how you play those high notes ;)
  12. Kerwintootle

    Kerwintootle Member

    Which mouthpiece are using generally? (Which produces the nicer tone?)

    I think the problem is more a mind thing than a technical one. If you take the nicer sounding mouthpiece with the bigger cup and spend time each day on building your register. On a Bb cornet I would say, play a couple of hymn tunes up the octave but that's not very suitable for the soprano, so playing scales and the Chas. Colins exercises but only for a very short time every day. Make sure that everything is physically working in complete co-ordination i.e. embouchure (with corners of the mouth not slack) and support, air etc. Make a concious decision just to stick with one.

    As with the many discussions about mouthpieces we have had on here there is this choice to make, be strident and settle for a slightly thinner sound but have a consistent register OR work on the deeper mouthpiece and aim to improve the register on there. But be positive and don't shut your mind off thinking that you can't play high with this mouthpiece.


  13. Soppy

    Soppy Member

    The nicer tone comes from using a Sparx 3C, whereas the normally nice tone comes from a Shilke 10B4. There isn't a great deal between them though sometimes in terms of sound, it's jsut in certain situations, the sparx is thicker. WHat I'm worried about is that I had a big issue with the thin tone when I started playing the schilke mpc about 17months ago. But it got much better, and people, who had been very critical earlier, and those who were knew to me, always said how lovely my tone was. Then, out of the blue about a month ago, the conductor said that it was sounding strident when playing loud. I did some careful listening to my playing at home, and decided the sparx was nicer, and didn't get strident when loud. But I don't know whether I started causing it (in which case I can reverse it) or if it was always like that, but nobody said.

    It's the tuning that is the main issue with the sparx. If I just play say a top G, it will be perfectly in tune. But as soon as I put it into a passage, it goes flat, along with all the other notes. I push and try to keep the air up and play as sharp as possible, but it jsut feels impossible. If I did that with the schilke mpc, the G would turn into an A! But obviously I can't just shove the tuning slide right in ,because then I end up really sharp down the register, and when playing very loudly.

    I do suffer from a 'slack' mouth though, which I suppose could have more of an effect on the bigger cup mpc (the sparx). I play slightly to the left, and so my right side is always a bit loose, sometimes I get air escaping out of the side. Would that be the problem with the bigger cup?

    But no matter what, I think I'm going to have to plump for the schilke and try to thicken it a bit, for now at least. I have a big concert in a fortnight, and I'll never make it to the end with the sparx, and the tuning seems to be getting worse. But after that I'll have to make a firm choice.

  14. davidquinlan

    davidquinlan Member

    I would say that you need to do more work on your upper register on the larger mouthpiece on Bb Cornet (as Kerwintootle has suggested).

    I play Sop, Piccolo Trumpet, Bb Trumpet, D/Eb Trumpet and Cornet (in fact in one gig before christmas, I played Picc in A, Eb/D and Bb trumpet in the first half of a concert alone!! proper gig!! :) ), so the change in mouthpiece in general isn't bad for your chops as such. I use the same mp for Sop/Piccolo and depending on the repertoire D/Eb Trumpet (a Schilke 15A4), for Bb Trumpet (and D/Eb Trumpet sometimes) I use Warburton 3MD with an 11* backbore. For Bb Cornet I use Warburton 3BC with a 3BC backbore.

    Check out some other posts on Mouthpiece selection and general chops advice, in particular look for posts by Emb_Enh.

    Maybe for the moment, why not have a look at getting something in between what you are currently swapping between?

    The key thing is to develop a solid upper register on Bb cornet which in turn will help with Eb Soprano register. Most trumpet players work on Bb before turning to Picc/ Eb/D/G/F what everelse takes their fancy!!

    TIMBONE Active Member

    As a student, I played on a Bach 4G (Trombone) and the only change was to a Wick 4AL (equivalent), and that has been for 33 years! However, I believe that American trombonists use different mouthpieces according to style and range.
  16. trumpetmike

    trumpetmike Well-Known Member

    When swapping instruments (I am another person who plays all the various trumpets (A, Bb, C, D, Eb, G, Piccolo in Bb and A), cornets and flugel) I find that I am able to alter the depth of the cup without any problems, as long as the rim size remains constant.
    Range is not a problem on any of them - my regular Bb trumpet mouthpiece is a Warburton 1D (think BIG!) and I can still play double C (1 1/2 octaves above the stave). The reason I use the different mouthpieces is for an appropriate tone and improved intonation.

    If range is a problem, you need to work at the fundamentals of your playing, not the mouthpiece choice.
    If range is no problem, you go for the mouthpiece which allows you to best achieve the desired results.

    If you are having intonation problems with one of the mouthpieces, personally I would avoid that mouthpiece.

    The reason I use the Warbirton system is that there are so many variations that can be taken into account - changing the top part or lower part will have an effect on the intonation. I have a selection that I have spent some considerable time choosing, so I am able to select the right one for the job, depending upon the instrument and the style I am playing.

    Welcome to the world of the mouthpiece safari - best of luck.
  17. Laserbeam bass

    Laserbeam bass Active Member

    Of course I have to turn the cornet around and put the mouthpiece in the bell, for it to fit :clap:
  18. NeilW

    NeilW Member

    A long time ago :) I remember watching Maurice Murphy doing the premier of one of the cornet concertos (can't remember which one!) in the the "post finals" massed band concert in the Albert Hall (do they still happen?) and was astonished to see him changing mouthpieces when he got to a particularly high section of the piece - he must have changed m/p four or 5 times in the piece!

    Who am I to argue with someone of that calibre? But then I'm not a cornet player either...

  19. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    Some American trombonists use different mouthpieces depending on style and range, but I've never seen any American professional trombonist change mouthpieces in the middle of a piece. And most of the ones I know always use the same mouthpiece with the same instrument - for example, if they're using a medium-bore tenor, they'll use mouthpiece A, and if using a small-bore tenor (for whatever reason) they'll use mouthpiece B, but never use mouthpiece B with the medium-bore bone and vice versa.
  20. Adrian Horn

    Adrian Horn Member

    I'm another player who does everything from cornet to piccolo trumpet, and I agree that swapping around can't be doing your chops much good. If you are happy with your cornet mouthpiece then work on that for the sop (this will also help your cornet range aswell). If you need a little more support then perhaps ask sparx to make you mouthpiece with the same rim but shallower cup to help the high end.

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