Too many mouthpieces?

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Bach5G
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Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:02 am

Facebook introduced me to a new mouthpiece maker, Ultimate Brass. A quick look revealed a number of bass trombones models, including a signature model from Dr. Pollard, and a number of signature models from George Curran, including one called the “Crusher”. (“Hey violas, listen to this!”). Also signature models from Wang Wei, who I don’t know.

I probably got this ad, because I clicked on a Giddings ad, which also offered a plethora of mpcs that would undoubtedly make all the difference in my playing.

Are there too many choices out there? Can anyone really hope to find the perfect mpc? Or is it a fool’s errand? Does this lead us to overthinking instead of overplaying?
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Vegastokc
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Vegastokc » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:24 am

We should all just delete our facebook accounts and call Doug Elliot. :good: :lol:
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KingOfDreamland
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by KingOfDreamland » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:38 am

Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:02 am
Are there too many choices out there? Can anyone really hope to find the perfect mpc? Or is it a fool’s errand? Does this lead us to overthinking instead of overplaying?
As someone who's been trying to do some play testing on a bigger variety of mouthpieces recently to find a "magic bullet" that works for everything I play, I've been asking that same question. Until recently, I hadn't played on a large shank mouthpiece that I felt truly comfortable throughout my range with, and so I tried a lot of other options (everything from a basic 6 1/2AL to a 4G Megatone to a Monette TT4S1). They played "well enough", but until I tested a Bach 5GS, I didn't feel like I found something that responded well to everything I tried to play. The Bach just felt right to me. Now I don't feel like I need to look anymore (except for a used 5GS in decent condition, anyway).

I guess what I want to say, in way more words than are probably necessary, is that it's good to have options. They may make it seem difficult to find the right one for you just because so many options exist, but the little nuances between them can also make it easier to narrow down what you really want if you're willing to put in the time to test. If you find one that feels right, that's the time to stop thinking and start playing.
Last edited by KingOfDreamland on Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by tbonesullivan » Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:58 am

The hardest part about finding THE mouthpiece you need is knowing that it's THE ONE. And then, it's just THE ONE for that particular horn/setup or playing situation. I think the hardest part is usually zeroing in on what size/shape of rim you really need, which may not always be the most "comfortable" at first. With the options and expertise that Doug Elliott has, finding "The One" should just be a matter of time, and maybe swapping out a few parts. Once you know the RIM that works best with you, then you can get different cups and backbores to work for a variety of horns and playing situations. Maybe even pick up a lexan rim for those outdoor gigs.

I do agree however that there are a lot of mouthpiece makers out there. All you really need are a CNC lathe and designs, and you can start making them. There's no saying that they'll be very good, but you can still make them. And every maker at first really goes out to find someone to help develop and test what they make.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:29 pm

I don't think anyone is complaining about having too many choices. If you don't want them, they're easy enough to ignore.

As always... it's possible to practice a lot AND try to find the right equipment for you. It's not a zero sum game.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:34 pm

I might be complaining - a little - about too many choices.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:36 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:34 pm
I might be complaining - a little - about too many choices.
Yes, but... why?
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:44 pm

Too little money, too little time. Like, just give me the magic bullet now.

Seriously though, I wonder if the A Trudel advice should be kept in mind: Buy a 6 and 1/2 and practice it until the plating has worn off. Then consider a new mpc.
Last edited by Bach5G on Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Matt K
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:45 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:34 pm
I might be complaining - a little - about too many choices.
Tell you what, I'll save you the trouble - you can send me a check with the amount of money you were going to spend on mouthpieces and I'll tell you that what you have works fine. :wink: (And use that money to buy more mouthpieces for me).

But on a more serious note you'll find a somewhat corollary style in painting in minimalism, where few colors are used but the ones that are used can be very striking. The primary difference is that, unlike a painting, we can only use one "color" at a time. If we find something that interfaces well with our physiology (rim) the rest - of both the mouthpiece and really the instrument - is basically what color or set of colors do we have access to. So fundamentally, the question is for any given person, can I do everything I want to with this:
8 crayons.PNG
8 crayons.PNG (959.77 KiB) Viewed 1405 times
If so... there's no point in having this:
64 crayons.PNG
64 crayons.PNG (811.51 KiB) Viewed 1405 times
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Burgerbob
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:52 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:44 pm


Seriously though, I wonder if the A Trudel advice should be kept in mind: Buy a 6 and 1/2 and practice it until the plating has worn off. Then consider a new mpc.
If you play tenor trombone in France a couple decades ago, sure.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 2:02 pm

And be born with the right genes that gives you a physiology that 6.5AL is the perfectly suited for!
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by mrdeacon » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:17 pm

You know the 6 1/2AL gets a lot of hate... But I've been giving it a chance and it's more viable then people think it is. I've got a Reeves Dr Solo model on order and I'm excited to give it a blow!

I'm starting to come full circle and realize rim size doesn't really matter. Of course to some people it truly does but for most it doesn't.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:29 pm

The 6.5 isn't a bad piece... I use one on my 3B and I love it. But to play large tenor at a high level? Not in the US, anyway. Even David Rejano Cantero plays a 6G, with a much deeper cup.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Posaunus » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:35 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:52 pm
Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:44 pm
Seriously though, I wonder if the A Trudel advice should be kept in mind: Buy a 6 and 1/2 and practice it until the plating has worn off. Then consider a new mpc.
If you play tenor trombone in France a couple decades ago, sure.
A bit snarky for you, isn't it Aidan? I believe that "Bach5G" was probably trying to lighten the tone of the discussion.

By the way, his name may sound French, but Alain Trudel (a fine trombonist) is actually Canadian, not French. His advice was to younger players searching for the "Holy Grail" mouthpiece; the message was to first improve by practicing on a vanilla (generally acceptable) mouthpiece, then when you know your way around the trombone you can more effectively look for a better mouthpiece. It worked for me, and still sounds reasonable!

And by the way, I've tried (and enjoy playing) a Yamaha Alain Trudel Signature mouthpiece.
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Burgerbob
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:44 pm

Posaunus wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:35 pm
Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 12:52 pm


If you play tenor trombone in France a couple decades ago, sure.
A bit snarky for you, isn't it Aidan? I believe that "Bach5G" was probably trying to lighten the tone of the discussion.

Perhaps, but this kind of thinking and how often it's said here bothers me. Don't just stay on a mouthpiece with no thought. I feel like we go over this quite often.

You're right, Alain is Canadian- my bad. And he is great, no question! Obviously he is on the right equipment for him.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by harrisonreed » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:51 pm

Burgerbob wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:29 pm
The 6.5 isn't a bad piece... I use one on my 3B and I love it. But to play large tenor at a high level? Not in the US, anyway. Even David Rejano Cantero plays a 6G, with a much deeper cup.
Doesn't V. Rijen fill in at NY as principal from time to time on his 6.5 sized mouthpiece? That guy is pretty good (one of the best, lol). It might be that he is using a larger cup version of the 6.5. whatever the Michel Bequet model is.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Burgerbob » Thu Feb 13, 2020 4:55 pm

I'm not exactly sure what Jurgen plays. Not large, for sure.
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Matt K
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Matt K » Thu Feb 13, 2020 5:43 pm

It's also not really snarky if its a true statement. You can take out France (or Canada) and put "America" in there as well. The fact of the matter is that it is no longer 1970 and the Bach or Schilke catalogue are no longer the only means of acquiring pieces with descriptions like "TEUTONIC SOUND" or "FOR PEOPLE WITH STRONG EMBOUCHURE ONLY". As Aidan indicated, it's just as silly to stay on something because other people like it as it is to switch to something because other people like it. Unless you want a Teutonic sound and then I mean, yeah the 6.5AL is... well... the only piece that makes that claim that I'm aware of. FWIW, my main classical piece is actually a 6.5AL, but it's a Shires copy and threaded for a 104N rim so, not a 1:1.

Actually, btw, when that statement was made is one of the periods that are the most sought after, the .CORP, slightly less so than the NY and Mt. Vernon periods so who knows if that claim even would be made by Mr. Trudel today.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Bach5G » Thu Feb 13, 2020 6:32 pm

The point was rather in “until the silver plating wears off” as opposed to the reference to the 6 and 1/2.

I’m committed to making my Yeo R work although I have a Reichenbach on my shelf.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by quiethorn » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:29 pm

KingOfDreamland wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:38 am
Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:02 am
Are there too many choices out there? Can anyone really hope to find the perfect mpc? Or is it a fool’s errand? Does this lead us to overthinking instead of overplaying?
As someone who's been trying to do some play testing on a bigger variety of mouthpieces recently to find a "magic bullet" that works for everything I play, I've been asking that same question. Until recently, I hadn't played on a large shank mouthpiece that I felt truly comfortable throughout my range with, and so I tried a lot of other options (everything from a basic 6 1/2AL to a 4G Megatone to a Monette TT4S1). They played "well enough", but until I tested a Bach 5GS, I didn't feel like I found something that responded well to everything I tried to play. The Bach just felt right to me. Now I don't feel like I need to look anymore (except for a used 5GS in decent condition, anyway).

I guess what I want to say, in way more words than are probably necessary, is that it's good to have options. They may make it seem difficult to find the right one for you just because so many options exist, but the little nuances between them can also make it easier to narrow down what you really want if you're willing to put in the time to test. If you find one that feels right, that's the time to stop thinking and start playing.
Hey me too with the 5GS!

I played a 5GS or 5G for a long time on large bore (I almost always play large bore), then went smaller--6.5AL, Wick 6AL, down to a Yamaha 47L, messed around with an adapter and small shank 7C, Wedge 6.75C, then went bigger into some 4 cups, tried some other 5 cups (Schilke 51, 51B, Wick 5BL, a DE setup), and recently ended up back on 5GS. Got one for my pBone too. I still have a Faxx 4G for when I want something "bigger," but even that I might replace with a Faxx 5G I'm getting from someone on the forum since I'm honestly not a powerful enough player to deserve a 4 cup :mrgreen: .

It's funny how sometimes exploring just takes you farther away from where you should've stayed in the first place.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by quiethorn » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:46 pm

Bach5G wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:02 am
Facebook introduced me to a new mouthpiece maker, Ultimate Brass. A quick look revealed a number of bass trombones models, including a signature model from Dr. Pollard, and a number of signature models from George Curran, including one called the “Crusher”. (“Hey violas, listen to this!”). Also signature models from Wang Wei, who I don’t know.

I probably got this ad, because I clicked on a Giddings ad, which also offered a plethora of mpcs that would undoubtedly make all the difference in my playing.

Are there too many choices out there? Can anyone really hope to find the perfect mpc? Or is it a fool’s errand? Does this lead us to overthinking instead of overplaying?
"The paradox of choice" I think is a phrase coined by Barry Schwartz. There's an old TED talk he did about it. The audio is horribly out of sync, not sure why, and it's from 2007 so it's dated, but it's pertinent to mouthpiece tinkering I think:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VO6XEQIsCoM

We now have more mouthpiece choices than anyone in history and the mouthpieces we choose fit us perfectly, but we feel worse about our mouthpieces choices than anyone in the past :mrgreen:
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by FullPedalTrombonist » Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:53 pm

I love the mouthpieces I play the most and I don’t know what a different one may change with what horn. I’d try if I had the opportunity, but I’m not caught up with it. No matter how many exist in the sized that feel right.

Once a player gets past how many choices there are and the truth that fiddling will only get them so far it doesn’t matter any more than it did when you could have a Bach or a Schilke.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by bassboy » Thu Feb 20, 2020 9:33 pm

FullPedalTrombonist wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 9:53 pm
I don’t know what a different one may change with what horn

Maybe that's a distinction to be made though. It's one thing to try to find the magic piece that works well for everything; it's another to try to find one (or maybe two) that brings out the unique characteristics of the instrument in question. One of these may be more feasible than the other...
tbonesullivan wrote:
Thu Feb 13, 2020 11:58 am
The hardest part about finding THE mouthpiece you need is knowing that it's THE ONE. And then, it's just THE ONE for that particular horn/setup or playing situation.
1+^
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by FullPedalTrombonist » Fri Feb 21, 2020 7:51 am

I’m full of typos.

I just don’t need to go chasing after another magic piece of equipment. I don’t know if I can get closer to any sort of holy grail.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by Matt K » Fri Feb 21, 2020 9:43 am

I think the problem with the idea of a "holy grail" piece, and possibly the misunderstanding people have about the purpose of having lots of options, is that the "one piece" it might be true only for one slice of time and for a particular playing situation. It isn't that due to having a plethora of options that one of them will be superior to every other mouthpiece for all of the playing you do unless you have a relatively narrow range of playing you ever do. When I play, there is a lot of variety in which chair I'm on, style of music, acoustics (indoor/outdoor/mic'ed, etc.), and how much time I've practiced, which horn I'm on, etc. There's no way there's a "holy grail" for me, even playing in the same band with the same charts but on a different part I'd switch around.

So I think a statement like:
Once a player gets past how many choices there are and the truth that fiddling will only get them so far it doesn’t matter any more than it did when you could have a Bach or a Schilke.
Misses the point. For example, I'm in a big band where a lot of the charts have more-or-less bass trombone range in the 3rd part. I could play it on my usual 3rd piece (XT104N/E/E4) but it works much better on an LB112/D/D3. However, I'm not going to play lead on an LB112 because I'm not bouncing around between the pedal range and the treble staff... and I need to project a little more so I'm usually on an XT104N/A/A3 for lead if I'll be living in the treble staff for the duration of the rehearsal/gig. None of those pieces are a holy grail, although technically I could use the E for probably near 100% of my playing; however, they each work really well given the respective context I use them in.
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Re: Too many mouthpieces?

Post by FullPedalTrombonist » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:36 am

I think I just didn’t explain myself enough. I mean to say if my choices were limited like it was when just Bach and Schilke were just about the only choices I’d be using the pieces and the horns that worked the best for what I was doing all the same. Now with seemingly endless choices I can keep trying out all my options forever, but the key is to find what works for the venue, band, horn, chart, personal concepts, and strengths and not so much worry if I should be playing Doug’s 1-1/2G-ish piece or Hammond or Shires or Stork or Symington or Ultimate Brass or look for a MV... If the size or design is appropriate then stop the tinkering there unless there’s an unquestionable gap in functionality for the player. I tried tons of 3-sized pieces for large tenor when I was in university. They all worked and I was just chasing higher levels of perfect for the match between it, my horn, and myself. That’s the fiddliness I hope players don’t fall into. Comparing took too much time I could have spent just practicing. I still don’t know if I need those fine adjustments. It’s not too much harder for me to play bassy 3rd parts on my usual lead setup to make me want to change mouthpieces and horns, but I do simply because I could afford the equipment and it fits that much better. If I couldn’t afford it I wouldn’t stress and I hope other folks don’t think of all the choices and being limited by budget make them feel like one piece will help do it all easier.

Fiddling too much can hinder the music making. And the amount of choices might do that to younger players starting out on a mouthpiece quest. So keeping in mind that my XB/M/M10 works here, L/L9 there, heavy blanks for this setup, light blanks for this stage, M/M8 with this horn, switch to the MB series when I’m on 3rd... is more dialed in than a lot of players need to be I say narrowing our own choices to “this big piece is too big for this band or venue and I should use my smaller horn and my smaller piece” can be more helpful.
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