Which Mouthpiece for me?

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Oliver.firth, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. Oliver.firth

    Oliver.firth New Member

    I learnt on a trumpet with a 7c mouthpiece, but I have made the move to the cornet! But I find the 4c mouthpiece horrendous for my tone, is the simple fix buying a 7c cornet mouthpiece? If not then HELP ME
  2. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    The great mouthpiece debate again, but as new people come to the forum the topic is fresh to them. I hope that you get a few good replies.

    I'm a low brass player but the process of mouthpiece selection is similar. To get a better sound I chose to play progressively larger and deeper mouthpieces until my ability to reach the high range notes became compromised. I settled on a popular Dennis Wick piece but, after several years with it, should really check whether my chops can now cope with and extract a better sound from the next size larger. Mouthpieces can be expensive, borrowing them off of pals to trial and buying them second hand was my way forward.

    Good luck.
  3. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Sounds like you are after something deeper. But it isn't clear to me what mouthpiece you're currently playing on - is "4C" definitely correct? There isn't a Vincent Bach mouthpiece model with that designation. There is a Denis Wick trumpet (but not cornet) model so called - is it a Wick?

    A decent starting point would be to try a Wick 4B (medium deep) and a Wick 4 (more deep), which are more usual cornet choices in the brass band. Any mouthpiece labelled "4C" is likely to have a similar rim size but be a lot shallower, and hence tend to make you produce a brighter tone.
  4. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    It would be useful to know what makes of mouthpiece you are using as numbering systems don't really compare across different brands.
    As Dave mentioned above the Wick 4/4b seems to be a good starting point.
  5. Tom-King

    Tom-King Well-Known Member

    Actually Dave, there IS such a thing as a Denis Wick 2/3/4 C cornet mouthpiece - they're not listed, but they do exist.
    Cup depth is similar to the B (or a touch shallower) but more in the shape of the no-letter variants, smaller throat and longer overall length.
    That's not to say that O/P is talking about the Wick 4C, just that it exists so it's possible.

    There are a few questions I would like to ask, though...
    1) Please can you confirm what the manufacturers of this 4C AND your 7C are (Bach?)
    2) What make/model cornet are you using? A Bach cornet (for example) will play ball with different mouthpieces to a Sovereign...
    Last edited: Nov 1, 2015
  6. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    Hello Oliver,
    The answer to this question will depend on a number of factors. The biggest of which is whether you intend playing trumpet and cornet or whether you are switching to cornet as your sole instrument. I will assume that you are switching permanently. Changing over will take a few months.

    One of the reasons you will be experiencing issues is that your cornet mouthpiece drops straight into the cup from the rim. Your trumpet mouthpiece has a slight angle that gives a little more support to your lip in the transition to the cup. The Wick rims can be difficult to acclimatise to.

    It might be worth trying something like a Yamaha 11E which is the mouthpiece provided as standard with Yamaha student cornets. You can pick these up very cheaply on Ebay as lots of people get them in the case and don't use them. The rim is closer to your 7C and is deep and open enough to give a true cornet sound.

    Failing this I would recommend a Wick 4 (not a 4B) and persevering with it for three months before deciding what to do.

    Now, if you intend being able to switch backwards and forwards from trumpet to cornet you will probably need to change the trumpet mouthpiece you are using to make the two set ups more compatible. That is a whole other can of worms for another day.
  7. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    The best advice is from anyone who tells you to try many different mouthpieces till you find one that suits you personally as well as producing a decent sound for any one else listening.
    Once you have started going through a range of different mouthpieces from different makers you will soon find that brand X 7C is a totally different thing compared to brand Y 7C. Add to that, a brand X 7C for trumpet will be slightly different to the brand X 7C for cornet, the cup and rim might be exactly the same, however the shank for cornet being smaller and shorter than the trumpet does make a difference in general feel and sound.
    It is a very wide world out there for mouthpieces and with so many differences between them, hence the only real way is to try as many as you can till you find the make and model that suites you.
  8. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    I advise caution on that approach. Trialling a whole slew of mouthpieces is a chancy business for your embouchure, especially if it isn't mature. It is so easy to find yourself in a position where your face has no idea what its 'home' mouthpiece is - where you have a whole lot of options each of which don't suit you in particular itemised ways, and none which feel comfortable.

    A basic but rarely acknowledged truth is that almost any mouthpiece will do the job you want, provided you work at it - the soft machine is much more flexible than the hard machine, as they say. Picking the 'right' mouthpiece is about picking one which makes it easy to do that job - and then getting on in the practice room learning how to play that mouthpiece/instrument combo properly. Probably the most sensible thing to do is to book a lesson with someone who knows about the available options and who can listen to you. Get them to make a single mouthpiece suggestion (which might even be 'stick with the one you have'), and then buy that and don't think about changing again for a year or two.

    Sorry to contradict you, Nev, but that did strike me as dangerous advice for someone who I assume is a developing player...
  9. Andrew Norman

    Andrew Norman Active Member

    Very good (if somewhat controversial) advice. I might just throw in that the need to blend into a section might also affect the choice.
  10. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    I agree that trying too many mouthpieces is a bad idea. Sticking close to the existing 7C rim makes sense so the Wick 4 and Yamaha 11E4 would be good starting points. I would suggest that those will feel bigger than the 7C because of the lack of support below the edge of the mouthpiece.

    As for size - well different physiologies and different embouchure set ups need different sizes and rim shapes. I struggle to play on small mouthpieces even after months of perseverance (apart from the Maynard Ferguson rims which for some reason I can cope with). I think my lips are just a bit too big for very small or very sharp inner rims.

    My recommendation is still to stick close to where you are and use a more open mouthpiece to improve the tone (the two I suggested would do that at minimal cost). Try that for three months and reassess your needs.
  11. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    @ MoominDave, I do apologise for not being specific enough about time! I certainly didn't mean to get a large collection and blow a few notes through each. I was assuming reality would get in the way and make sure that one mouthpiece at a time might be available for say a few weeks! After all, the OP isn't a raw beginner, he has been playing a trumpet for some time.
    Most of us will have gone through this in one form or another anyway, I know I tried several different mouthpieces, and I might add it was difficult to obtain enough to try them for long enough to make up my mind, they don't just fall out of the sky or grow on trees. Add to that of course much useful advice given by other players in the band in reference to depth of cup and rim diameters and sizes.
    We are all different, there is no two sets of teeth the same, there are no two sets of lips the same, give me your teeth and I would probably find my mouthpiece was suddenly terrible to use, so in the end we do need to try different makes and models till hopefully we find the one that makes all the difference.

    Way back in the late 1990's when I was first learning, I was in a certain music shop when another and obviously experienced player showed me a quite large tin box full of different mouthpieces that he had, some of which he demonstrated to show how the sound and quality can change quite dramatically between say a deep cup and a very shallow one, a wide rim to a narrow rim etc. at the same time explaining how each affected the way he played too. I found it quite useful information.
  12. MoominDave

    MoominDave Well-Known Member

    Hi Nev,

    I did actually mean chopping and changing every few weeks, rather than having a 'session' with a box of mouthpieces. After 6 months of doing something different for each successive pair of weeks, one's embouchure has forgotten what it was doing before, while not having acclimatised to any other specific thing. In contrast, spending an afternoon trying out alternatives is not going to damage your playing - no time to forget what you 'normally' do.

    It is important to at any one time have a 'base' mouthpiece, the one that is your reference, to which you relate any others that you might trial. I have three boxes of bass trombone mouthpieces at home on top of the piano, and could describe to you on demand the characteristics of each one - but throughout the process of accumulating those (which was done to see if anything that suited me better was out there), I continued playing on my trusty old Bach 1-1/4G, which still stands as the major reference point in my mind.

    FWIW, in quite recent history I think I have finally displaced the Bach 1-1/4G as my preferred gob iron... And with one that turned up relatively early in the collection, but that I dismissed - a UMI 1-1/4H. On a different trombone, with chops of a different age, it suddenly came together, and the extra depth and openness that had been a handicap before are now an advantage. Funny how these things work sometimes.

    One final note - yes, your facial geometry informs what mouthpiece to use to best effect. But practice trumps all... Boring message, I know, but it's true. If you put in proper practice time on any vaguely reasonable mouthpiece, you'll become good at it. Band players back in the day all played on mouthpieces that we think of as tiny today (particularly on the larger instruments) - but players still played well and made pleasing sounds. The face is more flexible than you're giving it credit for, and if you should find yourself with my teeth (one careful owner - hope you enjoy them; they've worn well, but are slightly curiously arranged), you could happily relearn how to play on your current mouthpiece even if it seemed a bit unfamiliar at first.
  13. 2nd tenor

    2nd tenor Well-Known Member

    Seeing the informed comments above reminds me of the old saying : "different strokes suit different folks" ..... (or something like that). Whilst they differ in places I also found elements in all of the comments that matched my own experience as I worked towards finding a mouthpiece that works well for me ...... and then there's how well the mouthpiece matches a particular make and model of instrument with this or that lead pipe. This subject is somewhat complex.

    It was also interesting to note that what might not work well for you at one point in time might well become ideal as your chops and technique mature.
  14. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    The instrument is actually a big factor in mouthpiece choice. Bigger than I used to think. For example, a very tight cornet might need a slightly bigger throat to help with easier articulation and tone. A very large open cornet might need something with a tighter throat or backbore. This is probably why some of the alliance or Sparx models work so well in large bore cornets and give such sudden improvement.
  15. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    I understand where you are coming from MoominDave, and yes I agree that practice and even more practice is the real answer.

    Funny that you should mention that GordonH. When I could eventually afford to buy the Besson Sov to replace the slightly battered Bach I started with, it came with an Alliance 3B, which I found after getting used to it, was a much better gob iron for that instrument than any of those I had previously collected including the Denis Wick RW4B which I found superb in the old Bach.

    Oh well, all now history. I haven't played much in recent times and unless I do beat this cancer I doubt I will again.
  16. GordonH

    GordonH Member

    Never give up hope Nev! I play the penny whistle too. Requires much less puff and much less ongoing practice. Its my musical fall back for later life.
  17. Cornet Nev.

    Cornet Nev. Member

    Slightly off topic, I have now written an update in the off topic section regarding the progress of the cancer treatment.
    Now lets get back to the advice regarding mouthpieces and some good stuff has already been offered, we can all learn from others experiences.

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