How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

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herrerabone
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How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by herrerabone » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:17 pm

How do you know if you need a new mouthpiece? I've had little experience with different mouthpieces so I have no idea as to if another would work better. If I do try new mouthpieces, what should I look/listen for and how should I go about trying them?

I've been playing on a Bach 7c with my .500 jazz horn and have had no issues, but I wonder if something else would work better for me. I went to ATW and it really opened my eyes as to how many options there are! :amazed:
Last edited by herrerabone on Sat Mar 31, 2018 10:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Neo Bri
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by Neo Bri » Sat Mar 31, 2018 2:27 pm

Looks like you were writing in HTML.

Try a different size and stick with it for at least three weeks. That'll give you time to adjust for real. Then note the pluses and minuses, particularly in terms of range (both directions) and and flexibility. Also endurance.

Then do another three weeks on another mouthpiece in the other direction.

For example, sometimes people need a bigger mouthpiece to play both lower & HIGHER. I'm one of them. Some others might need to use smaller equipment to achieve the same results. So it goes.
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Redthunder
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by Redthunder » Tue Apr 03, 2018 8:40 am

If you say you're satisfied with the results on the 7C, instead of trying other mouthpieces just to see if there is a better option for you, a better use of time/money/sanity might be to get a lesson from someone knowledgeable who would be able to point you in the right direction, if indeed there is something that might be a better fit for you, your chops, or your horn. As pointed out above, many players do much better with larger rims than smaller ones (myself included), though there are also those that need smaller mouthpiece rims and do just fine, both high and low, and all of that is determined by your physiology.

I, as I'm sure others on here would as well, can't recommend Doug Elliott highly enough. He is a wonderful teacher and player that is more than capable of answering this question and many more. He gives Skype and in person lesson, and I've had at least half a dozen skype lessons as well as an in person lesson, and each time I left with questions answered I didn't know I even had.
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Another person I'd highly recommend for a lesson if you're in his area is Dave Wilken, who runs his own incredibly helpful blog here.
hyperbolica
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by hyperbolica » Tue Apr 03, 2018 9:44 am

The quest for the ultimate mouthpiece has seen a lot of players throw a lot of money down a hole. Find one that feels comfortable and sounds good, and practice the hell out of it. I played a 5G for years. Then I moved to a 52e2. If you go the modular route, and catch a guy like Doug Elliott at a conference, you can set up a custom configuration on the spot and although you'll spend a chunk of change, you'll save yourself a lot of trial and error.

The grass is always greener, and a new mouthpiece often feels better just because it is different. I recommend you give every new mouthpiece a couple of weeks to see if it really is better or it was just a honeymoon thing. There is no guarantee that a titanium mouthpiece is going to be any better than an off-the-shelf piece that thousands of highschoolers use. Try to have an open mind (and ears) and have other people give you objective opinions about how you sound.

Sound, flexibility, range, comfort, endurance. These are all things you should measure with each mouthpiece. Notice that the gleam of gold plating is not listed. Of course you need a teacher. Internet advice can help or harm, but a teacher who knows you is the best source of advice.
Last edited by hyperbolica on Sun Apr 22, 2018 6:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sid
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by Sid » Wed Apr 04, 2018 9:54 am

New member here coming from the old boards.

I personally feel that I need to commit at least three months on a new mouthpiece to determine if it works, although in my experience, it takes a fraction of that time to figure out it doesn't work.
Redthunder
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by Redthunder » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:27 am

I often find I like mouthpieces I try when I play them in the practice room, in terms of sound and blow, and then sit down in an ensemble (usually big bands), and can't get rid of the piece fast enough. The pieces that I end up sticking with pretty much always feel good when I sit down in a section for the first time with it. So usually after a few days of playing on a piece I try to put it to the test, and it usually is a pretty good filter for mouthpieces without having to commit a bunch of time to trying it.
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tbathras
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by tbathras » Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:59 am

Redthunder wrote:
Wed Apr 04, 2018 10:27 am
I often find I like mouthpieces I try when I play them in the practice room, in terms of sound and blow, and then sit down in an ensemble (usually big bands), and can't get rid of the piece fast enough. The pieces that I end up sticking with pretty much always feel good when I sit down in a section for the first time with it. So usually after a few days of playing on a piece I try to put it to the test, and it usually is a pretty good filter for mouthpieces without having to commit a bunch of time to trying it.
I find this to be true as well. If I had to guess it's because in the practice room one can consciously think about about playing and you're probably more relaxed, while in an ensemble I'm more in "automatic" mode and thus any nuanced compensations you were making in the practice room go out the window. I also "put more into it" in an ensemble, if that makes sense.
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BGuttman
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by BGuttman » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:23 am

Not to mention, sometimes a particular mouthpiece works best with a particular instrument. I picked up a Warburton 7D cup /4 backbore. It works really nicely with my Martin Imperial, but not so well with my Holton Stratodyne (the Bach 4C works better there).

I will agree that a true dud shows up immediately. But determining that a particular mouthpiece is "the one" takes much more time and practice. Often it's a combination of you adapting to the mouthpiece and the mouthpiece working with the horn.
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mwpfoot
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Re: How/when to pick a new mouthpiece

Post by mwpfoot » Wed Apr 04, 2018 11:59 am

Definitely try new mouthpieces when you get a new horn. "The One" on my Olds Recording is vastly different than "The One" on my Yamaha 891z. When trying a new (to me) horn, I'll quickly run through a whole line of mouthpieces and divide into yes, maybe, and no, and ... go from there.

(I have a theory that my relatively crappy technique puts more of a workload on the mouthpiece/horn junction; a refined player that can make a garden hose sing probably has a tougher time characterizing the nuances of a mouthpiece than a squash and blow player like myself.)

On the same horn, it's just an optional exploration you can choose to take, and you should, within reason. I'll sometimes expand outward from what I use on a horn, but I'm doing this less frequently now that I've identified good matches for most horns that I'm actively playing. Of course, I wouldn't know these best fits for me without the try try try swapping it took to arrive here.

Borrow before you buy is always the prudent approach.

:good:
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