Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...



  • As seen in the screen+print image from an Excel spreadsheet, I am now searching for a new mouthpiece that will help save my chops, and more importantly, allow me to still play with serious dental problems. As you remember, I have adjusted my embouchure and compensated for my problems, and all is well. But, what I have sadly learned is that now my endurance isn't what it used to be. I absolutely CANNOT play 1st chair, screaming high, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Chase, style of music. I just can't... My Curry 3M. and my Bach 3C won't cut it.

    I decided to make a spreadsheet of various mouthpieces that I am interested in, with a wide range of cup sizes and manufacturers.

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    I absolutely love my '75 Olds Ambassador cornet with the old eBay Conn 3 mouthpiece that I picked up for a steal. It makes my cornet sing and is so sweet and mellow. I have no problem playing sweet, soft, melodies on it.

    But yet with my '67 Holton Collegiate trumpet, I have played a Bach 3C for years and years. Then, I discovered Mark Curry and his line of mouthpieces and bought his 3M. mouthpiece. It was great, sounded great, and just a micromillimeter shallower than a standard 3C cup. The Curry 3M. is not a 3C and not a 3D. It's weird, it's sort of like a 3C½ if that makes sense.

    Anyway, what I am getting at in this long winded post.... I need to find something that allows more endurance. I switched back to my Bach 3C and even though I've played it for years and years, my endurance is shot. By about the 4th tune in the concert, I'm just about done, and my upper denture plate is loose no matter how much Super Polygrip or Fixodent I use. 😞

    Confession: I have adjusted my embouchure to alleviate any pressure on my lower teeth, as my bottom front teeth, root structure, etc... is all severely weakened. My dentist wanted to start work on fitting me with a complete lower denture plate, and I told him to (in a polite manner) "go to hell". I can play with an upper denture plate and real (but weakened) teeth on the bottom. I doubt I could play with TWO denture plates at all, and would probably have to give it all up. 😢

    What do you think? If you were in my situation, would a very easy, very comfortable, mouthpiece be a consideration? Something with a wide rim (cushion rim) and a bit of a shallow cup, to aid in higher range?



  • What is missing from this list is the 5mm design by Harrelson, It will be more expensive than the comparisons on the list you have posted, but the investment is worth it. I have used a Jettone Studio B for years on my lead horns (prior to Harrelson the Getzen Superbore). With all horns and the standard Jettone, it performed well for awhile, only to lead to me bottoming out as demand increased (usually after the first 2 hours of play).

    Harrelson copied the Jettone rim and cup for me, but their 5mm system allowed me to substitute a wider throat. That made all the difference in the world. So the resistance with a small and shallow rim was removed by using a wider throat. I might suggest that system for your assistance in supporting your unique embouchure.



  • This video will help explain the 5mm concept:



  • Thank you!!!

    Yes, it is an "interesting case" with me and my embouchure, etc... and the often told tale of my near devastating ice hockey injury, where (back in the day) I was playing amateur hockey with some buddies of mine, and I crashed head-on into a defenseman on the opposite team. We both fell to the ice, and out of sheer dumb luck, I landed on his hockey stick with my face, knocking out my front teeth and busting an eye tooth as well. I don't remember much, but just laying there, face down, in a pool of blood and teeth, also with a partially fractured nose! 😱

    All these decades later, the bridge that they fitted me with broke in two, so my dentist fitted me with a complete upper denture place, and the rest is history.

    Now, present day, my bottom teeth are now severely deteriorating, and I need to find some type of trumpet mouthpiece that will allow very easy playability, extreme comfort, and also allow extended range (should I need it).



  • Here is the direct link to the Harrelson site to enquirer. Do be prepared for sticker shock. Also, do wait on sale pricing. I did get a sale offer over the summer of 40% off the price. But when it comes to comfort and performance enhancement, the mouthpiece is a keeper (for any horn due to the backbore options), and in the long run will be more economical than buying a different mouthpiece for each horn.

    https://www.whyharrelson.com/store/p367/5MM_Modular_Mouthpiece_(9pc_Kit)_.html



  • Wow... Sticker shock isn't the word!!! The Harrelson mouthpiece kits are incredible, but cost almost about the same as a common "school band" trumpet!



  • And then there is a cheaper idea. Buy this book:

    link text



  • @ButchA said in Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...:

    Wow... Sticker shock isn't the word!!! The Harrelson mouthpiece kits are incredible, but cost almost about the same as a common "school band" trumpet!

    Hey, Butch, you may want to look into the Wedge. With my comeback for the first two years, using first a Bach 3C, and later a 5C, I just couldn't get past a 60 minute endurance period. I had a serious injury last fall and after a month long break from playing, came back using a Wedge. Nothing magic, but it seemed right for my chops ( upper denture ) and within a few months I was playing 90 minute practice sessions with a tough new band. Today I can go beyond 90 minutes if a can get a break or two. Check out wedgemouthpiece.com. Dr. Dave is great to work with and the price is half that of the Harrelson. I use a Wedge MD65 with an ID just a slightly larger than my Bach 3C. He also makes a 65 Cornet Wedge mp ( nore of a deeper V cup ) that I use on my cornets.
    Oh, yes, one other thing: he offers a 90 day trial period, after which, you can get a full refund if the Wedge doesn't work for you.


  • Qualified Repair Techs

    A bunch of makers, including Wedge, ACB, Reeves, Warburton, Stork, probably Curry and maybe others I’ve missed will do mouthpiece consults. It helps take the guesswork out of what to try next. A lesson with a local pro may also help, rather than trying to figure it out all on your own.


  • Global Moderator

    What you really should do first is get yourself the Stomvi Mouthpiece system. One rim, two stems, eight cups - that system can adjust to amost everything. And it is fairly inexpensive.



  • Try the Bach 10.5C. They are easy to find. You could probably find one used somewhere for $25. They have a nice, flat rim similar to the 3C, but a "smaller" cup. That's what I switch to when running out of gas. Vincent Bach himself said it was the perfect mouthpiece for C trumpet or for "anyone with weak lips." It might not be right for you, but it's a cheap experiment.



  • Thanks, everyone! 😁

    One more question: Does anyone have experience with Denis Wick mouthpieces?



  • If you want to try one of the "cushion" rims, I have a Bach 10.75CW that I tried as an experiment. I tried it a few times, but it's just not my thing. I'm sticking with the boring Wick 3C for most things and Bach 10.5C when I'm getting tired. PM me if you want to try the 10.75CW.


  • Global Moderator

    @ButchA said in Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...:

    Thanks, everyone! 😁

    One more question: Does anyone have experience with Denis Wick mouthpieces?

    Indeed I have. For me, the rims are a bit soft and round, and some of the cups are deeper than other mouthpieces.



  • This is a thread where it is very easy to be "unkind"...

    The fact that you "absolutely CANNOT play 1st chair, screaming high, Maynard Ferguson, Bill Chase, style of music" puts you in the same boat with just about everyone else here. Even if there were a mouthpiece that "aided" the high register, there are many compelling reasons not to share that "secret". Maybe so much - your Bach 3C and Curry 3M CAN cut it...

    Endurance is not a function of a 3C or Curry equivalent. It is the result of us reducing the amount of tension necessary to play. That is accomplished with superior breathing and body use techniques as well as a LOT of very soft playing to train lower embouchure tension.

    The width of the mouthpiece is not indicative of a specific range or endurance and there is most certainly a "cost of business" when we start switching around.

    The Bach 3C is as close to standard magic as it gets. It has a slightly sharp inner rim to get the sound started more easily. It is average in size in relation to rim, cup and backbore. For commercial type playing, it is certainly not a bad choice. If you are having a rough time with it, I would not expect another mouthpiece to perform "better". I would focus more on the basics of sound production and get those habits in line with your dental situation. I am facing a dental situation myself and look forward to practicing what I have preached - even to students with braces.



  • rowuk tell me if I'm off track. I would just add these observations.

    Shallower cups (not diameters), can emphasise the upper partials and de-emphasise the lower ones, aiding the sound to being more easily heard if playing lead or in an electric combo. This is an acoustic phenomenon, not a range building one.

    Deep cups, for many, are just harder to sustain playing high notes over a long period of time, and generally enhance the roundness or depth of the tone, pushing out the lower partials at the trade-off of the upper ones.

    And some mouthpieces just enhance a certain sound preference.

    This doesn't mean that any of these factors can't be "overcome", in and of themselves. To use an analogy though, you can get from New Hampshire to California in a BMW or a Volkswagen Beetle. It just depends on how you want to travel.



  • @Kehaulani said in Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...:

    To use an analogy though, you can get from New Hampshire to California in a BMW or a Volkswagen Beetle. It just depends on how you want to travel.

    If there is snow on the passes I'll take the VW!



  • @Vulgano-Brother said in Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...:

    @Kehaulani said in Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...:

    To use an analogy though, you can get from New Hampshire to California in a BMW or a Volkswagen Beetle. It just depends on how you want to travel.

    If there is snow on the passes I'll take the VW!

    I'll take the higher priced helicopter, with 5mm rotor blades.



  • @Kehaulani said in Not really a "mouthpiece safari" but the need for a "saving grace" type of mouthpiece...:

    rowuk tell me if I'm off track. I would just add these observations.

    Shallower cups (not diameters), can emphasise the upper partials and de-emphasise the lower ones, aiding the sound to being more easily heard if playing lead or in an electric combo. This is an acoustic phenomenon, not a range building one.

    Actually the cup is an acoustic filter between the lips and the resonance of the instrument. A deep cup filters the upper harmonics creating a darker sound. That being said, a shallow cup has more "compression" creating a "stiffer" cushion against our lips. This in fact could aid properly trained chops in the upper register. The idea is equilibrium - our blow and the air cushion of the cup create a fluid instance where the lips can freely open and close. IF our embouchure is not developed enough, we apply armstrong and all bets are off about attaining equilibrium. You see, when our blow is stronger than the backpressure of the cup air cushion, our lips protrude more deeply in the cup, changing the geometry of the embouchure and possibly even bottoming out. With slighly deeper "standard" mouthpieces, this danger hardly exists.

    Deep cups, for many, are just harder to sustain playing high notes over a long period of time, and generally enhance the roundness or depth of the tone, pushing out the lower partials at the trade-off of the upper ones.

    Only when we are leveraging our face muscles instead of letting the horn do the work!

    And some mouthpieces just enhance a certain sound preference.

    This is a HUGE issue. As I have often posted, how we hear ourselves determines what we believe that the trumpet is doing. Play in a nice room - get the warm fuzzies, then take that same trumpet/mouthpiece and attitude and play outdoors in an open space - endurance goes down, the amount of work seems to go up - although all that has changed is how we hear ourselves! I will maintain that most players have a VERY WARPED concept of what they like and what is good for them. That underdeveloped "opinion" limits their playing in serious ways!.

    This doesn't mean that any of these factors can't be "overcome", in and of themselves. To use an analogy though, you can get from New Hampshire to California in a BMW or a Volkswagen Beetle. It just depends on how you want to travel.

    ***I am not sure that nature needs to be overcome. The rules of engagement are very clear - get a daily routine for maintenance (not improvement) and stick to it. This is like treating diabetes. If we regard the ceremony of injecting insulin as "overcoming" the symptoms of diabetes - we have already lost the battle. Our bodies are screaming for a different type of eating ceremony and we just apply a bandaid. In May this year, my own diabetes got worse. I got a new diabetologist and we decided on a new strategy. Inside of a month, I was able to reduce the quantity of insulin by 50%. I changed the eating ceremony - was never hungry and have been losing about 1 to 2 pounds per month. I currently have the best medium term results since 2011.

    It is no different with the trumpet. There are so many "microfactors" that we need to commit to "second nature". This is why I am allergic to mouthpiece discussions and embouchure changes - not because they have no value, rather because our bodies are telling us what we need to know and we are not listening or able to hear - so we come up with "hairbrained" schemes that simply satisfy our urge to "do something" but NEVER give us the results (if we are taking notes).

    The single greatest improvement for the casual player is the daily routine. Like with diabetes -> when the input is right, the output is far less invasive.***



  • Thanks Rowuk. And best of wishes with your new Diabetologist.


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