Kelly Mouthpieces.. Gimmick or not?

Well i brought an 18 kelly for tuba and found a total overall loss in tone, internation and many other things compared to my standard Bach 24 AW. But i agree the idea is good and the feel is very comfortable but there are other ways to get a mouthpiece for those allergic to the standard metal. Normally the gold plated or silver plated maouth pieces allthough very expensive are a much better choice as they have a greater mass then the plastic ones therefor reducing and feed back vibrations i felt through the kelly mouthpiece.
but if anybody can enlighten me to brass palyers that are actually allergic to the proper gold plate are silver plate rather then the normal compounds

Big Fella

I have quite a major reaction, to both Silver & Gold plated mouthpieces, even when I have had them re-plated to a much higher quality than the manufacturers finish..
I end up with lots of little blisters type things where the lower part of my mouthpiece sits..
Due to that, I have been playing on a JK Plexiglass for the last 4 years, took a little bit of getting used to, the tone you produce, is a lot darker than with a metal mouthpiece, but I like it...
Never played on a Kelly, but know a few people who have, and most of them are not particulary convinced about there mouthpieces

If anybody has any ideas on stopping allergic reactions, please let me know. Have tried a few, but will try more..
You could aways coat the rim of the metal mouthpiece in nail varnish to keep the metal tone but soften the metal to a plastic type feel!! (Hint i picked up from some random orchestral tuba player)


tMP Founder
Staff member
For those interested in these mouthpieces I thought I'd let you all know that I have negotiated a deal with Jim Kelly - owner of Kelly Mouthpieces - and I have 5 of these wonderful pieces of kit to use a prizes for some upcoming events on tMP.

Keep your eyes peeled as details will be announced soon.



Active Member
well, just bought one of these beasties. Very nice colour (lime green), but that's not what we are looking for is it! (or maybe it is?)

As it is a 1.5G, and I play a 1G, the upper register was obviously easier (so much so I can now play the trombone solo in the second movement of year of the dragon on it!), and there was a slight thinning of sound. The lower register was slightly harder, and the thinning was especially obvious down there.

However, the fact that the mouthpiece is plastic is what we are interested in. Due to the plasticness, I get less feedback, and the instrument feels lighter when I'm playing. I think this also contributed to the slight thinning of sound, and caused a slightly more raspy tone (if someone fancies loaning me a 1.5G metal, i could compare this a little better!).

The good and bad point about the mouthpiece is it doesn't cool down upon not playing for a while (or when playing for the first time). I personally use the temperature of the mouthpiece to remind me about the condition of my lips (and also the temperature of the instrument indirectly and hence the relative tuning due to temperature), but this is not a major problem.

A few thoughts from me <skip if bored easily>:

Why is plastic different from metal?
Plastic has a somewhat different atomic structure and constituents, which is what makes them different from metal allergy wise. However, this structure also affects the conductivity of the material. This means that the plastic will almost be like an insulator of vibrations.
At the point where the two materials are together (platic and metal, or metal and metal), the way the waveforms (sound waves) combine will be different. A metal is generally a hard material, with certain properties at an atomic level which allow it to conduct sound waves across joins quite well.
Plastic however is plastic! (this sounds like an obvious statement, but plastic is a term used to say a material is generally "bendy", and the material was given the name because of this property). Which means that any vibration in the plastc will be transfered to the instrument much less than in the case of the metal mouthpiece.

Does it make a difference?
This is where the slightly more advanced physicists come in. I think that as the main constituent of the sound of a brass instrument is the size and shape of the air in that instrument, it will make little difference to the fundamental note produced (ie pitch). But due to the vibrations not passing from the mouthpiece to the instrument (and hence vice versa) very well, the standing wave in the metal will be relected much better at the end (as the plastic allows the metal to vibrate a little more due to it's plasticity), which in turn would boost the overtones of the sound. Not at all sure about this, but it's the best I can do.

</skip if bored easily>

In summary, a plastic mouthpiece will make little difference to the sound of the note, with any change being to the overtones. This will affect the brightness (and darkness) etc. and will possibly affect how long the notes vibrate after the air has stopped flowing. They will also affect the response.

well, I've put my neck on the chopping board, lets see how big the knife is!

Roger Thorne

Active Member
Just for your information we are launching our Summer Quiz on 1st June and one of the prizes offered to the winner is the opportunity to choose 3 'Kelly' mouthpieces - along with some other goodies.

Just GOT to have one and think it will be a see through blue one!

Early birthday pressie to myself - my birthday is next April.

Paul Drury

Ross Berry

Kelly Mouthpieces

I bought one a few weeks ago and with the little blowing I have done it does not appear to have made a significant difference. As someone who suffers from an allergic reaction, I think any slight loss will be worth the improvement in comfort.

It will also prove handy for someone like me who switches a bit between Euph and Bari as it will mean I can own my own mouthpieces without costing me a fortune.

It would be good if they did a metal look one though.

A number of people said that they look cool but I think that other than for a novelty thing (as Carl Woodman describes) they look a little pretentious and I spend ages explaining to people what it is.


Active Member
I bought my purple one!! yay. I find it has a less 'brassy sound' than the equivalent metal one (cornet 4b), although inevitably it hasn't got such a nice sound as the metal DW 4 I usually play on. I do like it, but wouldnt use it as my main mouthpiece unless they brought out a deeper cupped plastic one (in purple of course). It made the kids in junior band gaze in awe and wonder!

TuTuKu Xxx

Dave Payn

Active Member
TuTuKu said:

wow i want one... so pretty... :shock: and only £10...

They're supposed to be better because...

1) they dont go cold when sat outside or in cold churches, or carroling etc etc
2) They're more comfortable & supposedly make your lip last longer

I would like one, but i can't help feeling they're a bit of a gimmick :?

Has anybody got one, what do you think?

Haven't got one, haven't tried one, but perhaps a bit of a marketing ploy advice; they'd look less gimmicky if they didn't come in all those different colours. Sure, if they ARE any good, I'll get a blue one! (;-)) The clear ones seem the most useful from a practice point of view. Thing is, the UK stockists list doesn't appear to list any of the well known retailers (Normans, Phil Parker etc. etc.). I wonder......

Dave Payn

Active Member
carlwoodman said:
I've not used it outside in the cold yet but indoors it did tend to overheat after about 5 minutes use!

I've been on to try and find out more as well as asking a few pro and semi pro friends of mine. I was replied to on the trumpetmaster forum by someone who's a dealer in them in the USA, who puts a good case for them, but a couple of my other contacts have referred to the possibilities of overheating in warmer environments. I intend to head to one of the UK stockists (World of Brass kindly informed me that John Myatt stock them - ta for the info WoB!) and try them out at length. Seems to be the best answer as with all mouthpieces in the end! I dare say that they will suit some more than others!
i'd like one but... idea what size to get!
I use a Denis Wick 6bs at the moment, but I don't understand the dimensions chart to work out which would be most similar! If anyone could advise it would be much appreciated.
Thanks :)


New Member
Kelly Mouthpieces!!!


I've got a PINK one!! For my cornet, works like a treat. It did belong to my younger brother (no he's not gay, i don't think so anyway????). He bought it for his birthday, i told him to give me that one and I'd buy him another one in a more man-like colour. Not got round to it yet.

To all, they are excellent. I found that my metal one used to over heat inside and freeze my lips off outside, this one however is a good all-rounder!! I can play for longer too, not as tired after practice.

Everyone go get one!


Active Member
Re: Kelly Mouthpieces!!!

3rdCornetGirl said:

I've got a PINK one!! For my cornet, works like a treat. It did belong to my younger brother (no he's not gay, i don't think so anyway????). He bought it for his birthday, i told him to give me that one and I'd buy him another one in a more man-like colour. Not got round to it yet.


Its ok-our sop player (a bloke) brought a pink one on sat :roll: look's quiet good tho, and he seems to like it!

And the mouthpiece's do have my name......BONUS :D :D :D
No proffesional musician should use these mothpieces, the metal mouthpiece is designed to stay 'cool', so your lips stay strong. I bought one of these mouthpieces for my cornet a few months back, and found my playing standered fell very quickly. Sure, they might be good to warm up with since they dont get cold, but you should immediatly switch back after the warm up. I found the mouthpiece got warmer and warmer, and my lips weren't working as well, especially in the higher register.

TAKE MY ADVICE.... DONT BUY ONE! overall they are useless (unless you have an allergy to metal).
I can garentee you they won't do you lips any favours!



Active Member
These mouthpieces were not for me. They do look good for comedy concerts / carroling, but I dont think they are a mouthpiece any advanced players should be using.

When I played one on my trumpet it just didnt feel substantial enough, and the sound was very thin. Though i am wondering whether it was just such a mismatch, having a Taylor Trumpet and a plastic mouthpiece probably isnt a good idea.

A better alternative if you want designed mouthpieces are Jazz Tec. These mouthpieces are resin designs encapsulating a brass core, so they sound and react much like a metal mouthpiece, but the feel on your lips is like a plastic mouthpiece (thus providing no allergic reactions).

Bach Mouthpieces also offer Lucite rimmed models (a type of plastic) which caters for those allergic to metal who want a normal mouthpiece.


Active Member
Neil Twist was playing on one at Easingwold - sounded pretty good to me.

I'd probably only use them in an outside jobs (esp if it's cold) as I don't think playing on a very cold instrument all the time does your lips any favours. Wouldn't use them all the time though.

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