Thoughts about mouthpiece placement

  • Red or no red? One third up, 2 thirds down? 50/50? considering the size of the rim, how many of you can really play without anchoring in the red? Up-stream, down-stream? Successful players with unorthodox embouchures? (and we can leave the slightly off-centered out, nobody really cares)

  • Global Moderator


    Since Rowuk isn't here yet, I'll post my views. 🙂

    I use a 1/3 top, 2/3 bottom approach. I believe this is probably the best approach for most people, however, lots of great players have used other placements. This is something that really comes naturally for most musicians. If I were you, unless you have serious issues in your playing that cannot be resolved with more practice, I wouldn't think much about mouthpiece placement.

  • Exactly what I think - my issue is that my 1/3 wants to be 1/4 if I let it slip and I always question myself about it when things are not so good in terms of range and endurance (it has been the case in the last couple of weeks). Looking for some reassurance 🎺

  • @pss

    Anchoring in the red of the lower lip?

  • @Brian-Moon : no, on the top lip. Bottom lip vibrates more than top.

  • I can't remember, so I use lots of pressure so I can see were it is supposed to go! Seriously, I'm a boring old 1/3, 2/3 guy like most of us. It feels like it's centered, but I don't think it is!

  • The position of most resonance for me is approximately 57.5/42.5 %. I'm not being facetious about this; it's not as different as 60/40 and not as equal as 55/45. Over the years my mouthpiece position has moved toward using more upper lip.

  • @J-Jericho

    When I first took lessons ( 1953) the only thing I remember is the prof. of music at the conservatory saying " place the damn thing where it works ". I have never measured it, but I would say it is a bit more on the lower lip than the top. That position back then, and now about 54 years later still in that same position. It works so I ain't messing with it.

  • @GeorgeB

    My high school trumpet teacher (back in the 70's) also believed you "place the damn thing where it works." My placement is mostly upper lip and, as I recall, his was mostly lower lip.

  • Txs! As I said, because my placement can be a bit extreme I always end up questioning it when things don't go very well, but the fact is that this is how I sound better - so the answer is still the same: more long tones!

    I was also checking the waters for talibans and it looks like we are strangely still good.
    (not a religious runt, I mean people that are absolutely sure about something that they read somewhere or that someone told them, based on some absolute scientific "facts", like the lack of muscle under the red of the lips)

  • My instructor just tells me to "get more meat in the cup" !

  • Qualified Repair Techs

    I am a total believer in putting it on your face and not thinking about it - let it work where it’s naturally meant to work. If we were all the same, than the same formula for placement or equipment would work for everyone. I have seen people destroy themselves by overthinking and changing for no real reason other than to see if “maybe it works better over here”, or trying to get some textbook formula of placement. I have seen students struggle because teachers told them their teeth had to align perfectly before they could play, so the student spent several minutes trying to line up teeth and embouchure every time they tried to play, and all sorts of other foolishness. Unless your embouchure is truly messed up and weird, it’s better not to mess with it, especially over the internet where no one can really see what you’re doing. A couple of lessons to make sure you’re not damaging yourself with a good teacher would be the way to go.

  • Credentialed Professional

    @flugelgirl I agree with this as well. I'm generally not a fan of playing in the red of the top lip (I did it long ago myself), but I've seen it work for a few people. I tell my students as long as they are in the ballpark (anywhere from 1/3 top to 2/3 top and mostly centered left to right) and they can function (this is key) I am good with it.

  • What Flugelgirl states makes perfect physiological sense. Each individual has a unique set of dentition and lip muscle size, thickness and displacement that when combined, this all fits to a bare, cold metal mouthpiece in an unique way. The line up with the dental and lip fit is anatomically controlled. We should not fool around with Mother Nature's architecture, and that cold bare metal cup will find it's most comfortable fit to this embouchure gift that Mother Nature has uniquely created for each and everyone of us. SO.... celebrate this gift and play where the cup lands.

  • @JorgePD said in Thoughts about mouthpiece placement:


    My high school trumpet teacher (back in the 70's) also believed you "place the damn thing where it works." My placement is mostly upper lip and, as I recall, his was mostly lower lip.

    How does one find out what works? One can learn to play a lot of different ways but not all ways are as efficient as others.

  • @pss
    When I saw the topic I was all set to it carefully in the small hole opposite....
    but never mind. That would be childish.

  • @Brian-Moon
    I believe the guidance of a good teacher is the way to find out what works most efficiently for you.

  • Just like a frat house.....Smart ass! Thats MY job;)

  • @BigDub : not at all! Childish would be to also translate it to Fudd speak so everybody would understand what I meant:
    "Doughts about moudpiece pwacement"

  • @JorgePD said in Thoughts about mouthpiece placement:

    I believe the guidance of a good teacher is the way to find out what works most efficiently for you.

    The only problem is finding someone who can find the most efficient way for you.

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