Soprano help required!!

ok i have a feeling i'm going to get a bit of abuse here but heay i need help!!!

i've been playing soprano for a little over a year now and am lucky enough to be playing on a Schilke, and i'm using the denis wick soprano mouthpiece, i play for a good 3rd section band that is doing well and i need to make sure i don't let them down.

my range is ok and is getting better (it must be the pracitice thing...) well i can get top Bb nearly all the time, top C is still a little to "thin" for my liking tho and i hope that improves

i would really like to get a better "tone" i don't have a bad tone (well i don't think i do...) but it's not quiet the "sweet" sop sound you hear on some of the better players, does anyone have any advice on improving my range and/or tone?

be nice soprano players have feelings as well (yes we might be deaf but that is another story :))
To be honest, I struggled with the Denis Wick mouthpiece for the soprano. It didn't feel comfy and I felt that it was fairly deep. Why not road test other mouthpieces? Most shops are ok with you going in with your instrument and trying a few. (Normans/Band Supplies). You may find one that gives a good balance between tone and register. However, if you're happy with the Denis Wick you may need to examine how you are striving to get a top register. i.e. diaphragm support, embouchure control etc. and working out a programme of lip building exercises.


Active Member
Maybe a good start would be to narrow down to one or two famous players the "sound/tone" you want to recreate. And then listen to as many recordings of them as you can, so you can get a good idea of the sound it is that you are trying to emulate.

After all, as my trumpet teacher once said, "how can you hope to get the sound ou want, until you have a clear idea of the exact sound it is you are trying to create?!"

This isn't exactly an answer to your question, as I don't think i'm qualified enough to dish out advice on technique etc since i'm only a 6th form student.

But it is the way I went about getting my tone, so I suppose it's as good a place to try as any since it helped me.


Active Member
Usual answer I'm afraid - Practice!

Re: Mouthpieces - Wicks tend to have a pretty hard tone I've found, try a Bach, Schilke or a Warburton if you can borrow a few for a rehearsal and see how it goes, you may find its ok practising but not too good in anger.

If its any consolation I've been playing sop for nearly 20 years and STILL haven't go the tone I want. I just settle for "well it's my tone, it ain't bad and no-one complains too much" :D
i've tried a few mouthpieces and out of the Schilke ones i tried i liked the 11A the best i did try the ones like 10A4a but they sounded very "shrilly" (now that is not a word!!)

i might go and try the 11A a bit more and see how well it does

practice practice practice!!!!! i just wish there was 28 hours in a day

then i can sort the huskies out, spend time with the wife and practice more!!!



Well-Known Member
Schilke 12B4 works well for me:

I find the #12 inside rim gives a bit more room for flexibility than 10 or 11, but that might be just because I have fairly thick, fleshy lips.

The 'B' cup is slightly deeper than 'A' cup so the sound is a bit warmer (less "shrilly" - good word, even if it's not real!), but is still shallow enough to support the high register. (again, with thick, fleshy lips I find it difficult to produce any sound with an 'A' cup)

And finally, the #4 "cushion" rim is really useful in that it doesn't hurt as much on those occasions where one is forced to fall back on the "No-Method-Pressure" technique :)

Although it's only my opinion, I certainly don't think Schilke Sop with DW mouthpiece is a good combination; apart from anything else, DW throats/backbores don't seem to match US-made receivers very well.
i tried the 12B4 but as i have thin small lips i found it to big for me..... as a friend said we are all different and have to try things and see if they work

after i help out in another band on friday night (dep'ing for a champ band.... even tho i normally play for a 3rd section band....glup!!!) i'll give the new mouthpiece a go and see what happens

watch this space!!!!

Dave Payn

Active Member
As to what mouthpiece you should use, it's the same as any instrument, it largely depends on your mouth shape/dental structure. As you already appear to be having some success on sop (well done, by the way!) I would say fork out for a Warburton as you can experiment with different backbores and cups until you find the right combination for your chops on a Schilke sop.

Insofar as achieving a bit more with a high register, well, there are various methods/ideas that have been included and they'll probably all work for at least one player, so all I'll do is give you some advice my first trumpet teacher gave me as an occasional warm up from scratch: set embouchure, breathe through nose and start on middle G. Hold for 12 seconds, rest for 2 seconds, breathe through nose for another 2 seconds, not altering embouchure, then play G sharp for 12 seconds, repeat process chormatically upwards (including the rests and breathing through nose AND not altering embouchure!) until the corners of your mouth in particular are really aching. Rest completely for 15 minutes then resume normal practice schedule. It might work for you, it might not. Hope it helps in some way!

Others may well say what a load of cobblers, but I think it helped me personally.



Mouthpieces do help, quite a lot sometimes, but it really does come down to practice too! My nice 'Soprano tone' suddenly dissappeared last summer! It just went, and when I realsied (which wasn't until November!) I was really annoyed. I changed mouthpieces ( I now use a Shilke 10B4), but it didn't suddenly change the quite hardish tone I'd ended up with. But after 3 months of solidly working on my tone, it's starting to come good again, and is getting warmer and softer. It's not consistent, but on a good day I'm really happy with it. So you have to set yourself a target, and work at it, and it'll come eventually, but not overnight! :D
thanks for all the advice, i will get things to work time for some serious practice (i'll see if i can get a pass from the wife!!!! :? )

one things i have found that works (not sure if its a good or bad thing atm) is playing with my practice mute and just playing long scales all the way up to the high notes, it's helped the range and tone out for the past few months, it just looks like i'll have to keep going and going and hopefully the higher notes will just start working !!!!!


Personally regarding mouthpieces, i think that no matter what instrument, the player should be able to produce a nice tone. In my opinion the way to aid this is to play on the deepest cup you can whilst still being able to play the part. I play on a schilke with a wick mouthpiece aswel and find that it is a super instrument and the wick aids a rich sound which, with some practise and listening to role models, will automatically make you try to produce your rold models sound and before you know it you will start sounding a little tiny bit like the player you have in mind :lol: personally my model is our flugel player which may seem strange on sop but my sound is great. I have only been playin sop a year aswel sinse i was 14.
The wick mouthpiece although giving a nice sound is hard work up top but lots of practise with practise mute in is helpful. i find it hard to get the top C on a wick schilke combination but its fine on a yamaha sop with yamaha mouthpiece (my 1st instrument :p) hehe

sorry all this is jumbled but you might pick some sense out of it
I've just asked the other half for you (he too is sop in a third section band) and has quite a nice sweet tone (I'm nor being biased here - others like his tone too) and he actually uses a cornet mouthpiece opposed to one designed especially for sop. It's a 4b.

Just experiement until you get the sound you're after.


i agree with kari. Ive tried a 4B and it does play quite nice on a sop, probabily gives a nicer tone than it does on a cornet. The only thing to watch for is intonation and just work a tiny bit harder for the high notes.


New Member

what suggest is scales and breathing exercises. also you might find that long notes and peddle notes will also help.

but the wick 4b is a waste of time. and the schike is a very hard sop to play on. just experiment!!


I'm no sop player myself, but all I'll say is find a mouthpiece you are comfortable with. Go to a good brass shop (like Band Supplies) and play on as many varied mouthpieces as you can (without being silly of course!). When you've found one you're comfortable with, go home and try some more serious playing on, like technical things and playing solos/parts. If it's the right mouthpiece for you, even if you can't do everything on it (like extremes of register) then you can work on those, but it will be easier to do with a comfortable mouthpiece.
hey there, im no sop player, not much of a trombone player either but neway :wink: :p , im currently using a booster mouthpiece and that seems 2 take away some of the buzz that u get from goin 4 higher notes, so u cud maybe try 1 of them or ive heard that those clear plastic or perspex 1s, called kelly mouthpieces i think cud b quite good, as every1else has sed, use 1 which is comfortable, depends on how rangey ur pieces r at ur band and how much u get a solo part, that shud help u decide on wot mouthpiece u need, and also again wot every1else has sed, practice, but i wudnt practice several hours a day, i tend do do an hour a day but i spread it out, 15 mins in the morning on long notes, 15mins just b4 lunch on scales+arpeggios etc, 15mins in the afternoon on solo pieces+band parts, and 15 mins in the evening usually on something light just 2 finish it all off, maybe a mixture of the stuff just mentioned, that usually works 4 me neway, good luck with ur sop playing, and gd lk with the areas!

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