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Thread: San Francisco-area euph embouchure/mechanics/horn/etc expert?

  1. #1

    San Francisco-area euph embouchure/mechanics/horn/etc expert?

    I need to decide whether to continue by euph, trombone, and tuba-playing. Main reason I'm thinking about this is that I only rarely enjoy the quality of my playing. Practicing hasn't helped. I think I could use some personal time with an embouchure and physical-mechanics expert. (Would also enjoy a chance to try playing a high-end instrument.)

    Could anyone recommend a real embouchure expert here in the San Francisco area?

    (Background: I'm 57, I've done many different kinds of playing, singing, dancing, etc etc over the years. A while ago my brother successfully encouraged me to go back to the roots, to what we both did in school -- play low brass. I'm in multiple bands now and I greatly enjoy the community aspects. But, no matter how hard I try, I cannot reach even a solid F-above-middle-C, and other notes are often wobbly. Sometimes I have a beautiful-feeling tone at least in the midrange, but even that's not too reliable. It's not fun when it's time to do a bit of solo, nor fun to play in my small klez where what I do really matters. My mouth is a bit oddly-shaped; I suspect I should never have been directed towards brass playing in the first place. But, c'est la vie.)

    One of my rules of music is that different people are just naturally suited to different instruments. I suspect I'm not a good match with euph. But I'd like to give it a little work before taking up clarinet or tambourine.

    Thanks for any help, stories, etc.

  2. #2

    San Francisco-area euph embouchure/mechanics/horn/etc expert?

    Your best bet for locating an embouchure specialist is probably to ask for a recommendation/referral in the Reinhardt Forum on

  3. #3

    San Francisco-area euph embouchure/mechanics/horn/etc expert?

    I'll give that a try. Thanks.

  4. #4

    San Francisco-area euph embouchure/mechanics/horn/etc expert?

    When I first came back to playing after abt 17 years off, I emailed a community band and they told me to come on down. I did not even own a euphonium yet. I walked in the door and they handed me a 60 year old Conn detachable bell front that was a donation from a defunct US Navy band at a defunct navy base.

    I had a horrible time with that horn. When I finally got my hands on a new horn, the difference was phenominal.

    If you are having a hard time getting even an F on staff, I think you might be experiencing equipment issues. Drive down to Palo Alto and go play some euphs at Peninsula Music. Eric Hand there always has a bunch of euphs in stock and ready to play. It is a nice store and comfortable so you can take your time and enjoy yourself.

    Also, you can head over to Best Music in Oakland as they always seem to have euphs in stock and a nice practice room as well. They have a bunch of mouthpieces.

    If you want a great opinion on your embochure and mouthpiece, go see Dick Ackright at A&G Music in Oakland. He has been around for a while and knows what he is talking about. He used to make custom horns for Doc Severinsen. Go downstairs into the repair shop, that is where he is most of the time. He will probably take one look at your face and pull out his mouthpiece box or drawer and you will be in business. However, I don't know if they have any euphs in stock so you may want to bring your horn or call ahead.

    If you are up in Sacramento, go see Scott Mandeville at Tim's Band Instruments. He is a euphonium player and has euphs in stock. He also has a bunch of mouthpieces to try.

    Hope it works out for you, but don't give up if you enjoy music.



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