Update on my Baritone Mouthpiece

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Jack E, Jan 11, 2017.

  1. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Last April, I posted a thread on mouthpieces, which started:-
    Advice on Baritone Mouthpieces

    I've come on pretty well since then, and have been invited to move up a level, to play with small groups of improvers, rather than just attending beginners classes, where I'm mostly playing on my own. Even better, the MD has suggested I aim to reach a standard by the end of this year so as to be able to play in the main band, and said that he thought it quite a realistic goal.

    Just out of curiosity, this afternoon I dug out the first mouthpiece I'd had, the Alliance B.6, and tried it to see what happened. Somewhat to my surprise, I not only got on well with it, but it also feels more easy to play, now, than does the Denis Wick 6.BS trombone mouthpiece that I switched to last April.

    So it seems to me that switching from the B.6 to the 6.BS did help me strengthen my embouchure, and has got me to a point where I can get a good sound using the B.6 without hammering my mouth - which is all I was hoping for.

    As I made clear in my original thread, I wasn't looking for a 'quick fix', nor did I think that just changing a mouthpiece would miraculously transform me into a good player; all I hoped to find was a stepping stone, to make my progress a bit easier - and the 6.BS proved to be just that.

    So many thanks to all of you who offered me constructive advice and suggestions, and the encouragement to persevere; you really helped! :)

    With best regards,

  2. Euphonium Lite

    Euphonium Lite Active Member

    Jack, glad you got sorted. Sometimes it can take a change to take a step forward - sometimes it needs more. Ultimately I think its the word persevere that's the key - too many people give up if they don't get a quick fix
    midnight_euph likes this.
  3. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    When I had my brass store (before the car accident) and people would buy mouthpieces, you would find one of two outcomes (most of the time). They played immediately better or immediately worse. It is a lousy way to buy a mouthpiece. For example, Mouthpiece Express is a very large online mouthpiece store. You can try a mouthpiece for 60 days and still return it. Or you can buy 4 mouthpieces (a chunk of money mind you) and return 3 or all of them. You need to do what you did Jack. Find a right mouthpiece and work into things. I have always like deep cups and sharp rims. At 58, the sharp rims are killing me. I am getting a semi-deep cup and a more rounded rim mouthpiece.

    I am glad it is working out for you. With a shallow mouthpiece, it is hard to bring out the fullness of a Euph. But moving back to a good and normal mouthpiece, you should get that full sound with a lot less effort allowing you to focus on other things such as tempo, articulation, dynamics and such.
  4. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Doc - can you tell me what difference the sharp rim / rounded rim makes? I assume that, when you were playing before, that the sharper rim gave some sort of benefit, but I'm puzzled about what.

    Not that I'm considering changing to yet another mouthpiece! Just interested, is all. It still surprises me how an instrument which is, on the face of it, pretty simple can be so complex in use.

    With best regards,

  5. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Rims can be roundish or have a cut (sharp) edge. Every player's embouchure is different. So the statements I am about to make are very general in nature. Like Steven Mead said to me when he was in my neck of the woods, a great player can make the worst euph setup sound great, but it takes more effort. If you find a good setup, you can concentrate on the details more.

    A sharp rim generally makes it easier to hit the higher notes, especially with people with larger lips. For some people, it makes the tone thin. It is also easy to make quick articulations. And for some, it can wear them out more quickly.

    A rounder rim generally is a bit harder to hit higher notes but is more comfortable. Generally, it makes for a better tone but can be difficult for people with large lips. Generally, makes for a better tone, articulations take a bit more work.

    A shallow cup generally is good for getting high notes. It is usually used by players who play high a lot (sop player perhaps) like jazz players. The tone is thinner, but for high playing jazz types, that is not their aim.

    A deep cup is for a nice rich tone. Depending on your embouchure, you can get too deep a cup. Lots of euph plays play 4 (quite deep) 5 or 6 (using the Mead/Bach numbering). If you get too deep of a cup, for example, you buy a bass trombone mouthpiece for your euph, you will be swallowed by it and articulation will be out the window.

    Now those are the extremes. Mouthpieces come in semi-rounded rims, semi-sharp rims, medium cup depths, etc. If you examine all the combinations, finding a mouthpiece that fits you can be a daunting task. The mouthpieces that come with new instruments like 6 1/2 AL or 12C are compromising mouthpieces. Like a one size fits all, except it is usually one size fits none. For cornets, the 7C or 11C fits that bill.

    That is why it is best to try a mouthpiece for an extended period. I have always carried my extra mouthpieces with me to band rehearsal. If I am not using one, and someone wants to try it, I let them. I have lost a few that way, but in the long run, I have provided a lot of help. When I owned my store, I gave a 60-day money back period.
    midnight_euph and Jack E like this.
  6. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Many thanks for the detailed reply, Jim - Ill save that onto my computer for future reference :)

    With best regards,

  7. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    This is from Mouthpiece Express. A little more detail.

    Mouthpiece Anatomy 101
    Consider these effects:

    Wide: Increases endurance.
    Narrow: Improves flexibility.
    Round: Improves comfort.
    Sharp: Increases precision of attack.

    Large: Increases volume, control.
    Small: Relieves fatigue, weakness.
    Deep: Darkens tone, especially in the low register.
    Shallow: Brightens tone, improves response, especially in the high register.

    Large: Increases blowing freedom, volume, tone; sharpens high register (largest sizes also sharpen low register).
    Small: Increases resistance, endurance, brilliance; flattens high register.

    Combinations of size and shape make the tone darker or brighter, raise or lower the pitch in one or more registers, increase or decrease volume. The backbore's effect depends in part on the throat and cup.

    Throat and backbore make a bigger difference on smaller mouthpieces (Cornets, Eb horns, Flugels, Sops, etc.) than they do for large brass instruments.

    From Kanstul comes the following. They bought a Computer Controlled Lathe many years ago that will copy any mouthpiece and Kanstul will allow you to compare trumpet/cornet mouthpiece visually using the data they have scanned in from some of the best selling mouthpieces. A cornet player could find their current mouthpiece and compare it to a possible new choice. It also allows a player to "mix and match" sizes and order a custom mouthpiece. For example, you might like a Wick rim but would like a Bach 3c cup. Kanstul can do that (it is pricey and no returns). If you have a favorite mouthpiece that is beat up, Kanstul will scan it, and make and new, exact copy.

    Below is a comparison of a large Bach mouthpiece with a Maynard Ferguson mouthpiece. Notice the Bach mouthpiece (in red) has a normal curve rim (generally rounded) and a nice volume for the cup. The MF mouthpiece (in green) has a much sharper cut on the rim and a smaller cup which narrows quickly. If you are not a screaming jazz type player like Maynard Ferguson or Bill Chase, this mouthpiece would wear you down and produce a thin tone.

    midnight_euph likes this.
  8. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    Jim, I apologise for the delay in responding to your last post and expressing my appreciation - I've been wiped out by some sort of chest bug for most of a week, and sleeping up to 18 hours a day! Getting old is nearly as much fun as being seasick - only you can't get off the boat . . .

    With best regards,

  9. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    Jack, a bug had me down for nearly two weeks. I certainly understand both your comments, first about being ill and second about getting old :(
  10. midnight_euph

    midnight_euph Member

  11. midnight_euph

    midnight_euph Member

    I'm always interested in this type of discussion, especially for 40 years as I play 4 down to 0AL wick on euph depending on how many hours I need to play for, the type of programme.... and have fuller lips. Thanks for keeping threads going
  12. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    WOW! You play a 0AL! My goodness, you must have full lips and a great embouchure. I play euph and I would fall into a 0AL!
    Jack E and midnight_euph like this.
  13. midnight_euph

    midnight_euph Member

    Not a pouty-ducky lip, but typical red-head size. I was given OAL by one of my leiblings for helping his band and I'd commented that at my age I needed to work the muscles more to keep my range. So that tends to be my range work. 2al is my standard concert one.... Yep, had to work harder to get articulation on these buckets, but I had to play euph/French horn/ trombone/and baby Eb bass for a while professionally, so one interchangeable mouthpiece was best.

    I never hear of anyone other than me discuss palate shape and note production. Am I out of fashion/been superseded by New info on this?
  14. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    No, it is fashion is just now catching up to you. You would be surprised how many play on the 6 1/2 AL that came with the instrument. Plus, some modern, well-developed mouthpieces are quite expensive. If you spend a lot of money, you would like it to be on a worthy mouthpiece.
  15. midnight_euph

    midnight_euph Member

    Don't mention mouthpiece prices. I nearly died at the LBBA trade stands when I looked. But I bought my 2AL in 1976. Lol
  16. DocFox

    DocFox Retired

    That is why the best of retailers allow you to return a mouthpiece up to 60 days after a purchase. And the 2AL today would be different than the one of 1986!
  17. midnight_euph

    midnight_euph Member

    I bet they are. But not showing my age or Yorkshire 'Canniness' any more than I have to. ;)
    Jack E likes this.
  18. Jack E

    Jack E Well-Known Member

    They gave me a nasty shock too, Midnight Euph - but I picked up a perfectly usable Wick 6BS on E-bay for £25. As Mr Tesco says, "Every little helps!"

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