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Thread: Shallow Cup and Lage Diameter vs Small Diameter and Deep Cup

  1. Shallow Cup and Lage Diameter vs Small Diameter and Deep Cup

    From what I understand, having a shallow cup or a small diameter have about the same effect, making high notes easier at the cost of tone, while deep cups and large diameters have about the same effect, producing a better tone at the cost of the high range. In order to get a little bit of each, would you prefer a mouthpiece with a shallow cup and a large diameter, such as a Wick 4BL, or one with a small diameter and a deep cup, like a BB1?

  2. #2
    I'm not sure I agree with the premise. A narrow cup does help in some ways to get high notes, but a narrow, deep mouthpiece is not usually a good choice for high playing. But a narrow mp with a deep cup can produce a nice sound.

    In general a wider rim puts more lip into action. More lip gives you more muscle to work with. A 4BL is pretty good for high stuff, and I used to use one for demanding concerts (or euph-tuba ensemble gigs) instead of my usual 4AL. The BL helped me with endurance and range. But ultimately I can play as high on either. But the high notes' tone is more solid and ringing on the BL.

    A friend handed me a small Yamaha trombone with a 7C mouthpiece once and asked me to play "I'm Getting Sentimental Over You" (a Tommy Dorsey signature song). I did so, then just for fun I played the opening lick up an octave, to a high C# concert (above double Bb). That I could not do on my 4BL!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. EDIT:

    I see what you're saying now. The wider rim lets you use more of your muscles in your lips so you can play high. Would you recommend getting a piece like a 4BL, or is something like a BB1 better?
    Last edited by The Euphinator; 12-09-2012 at 10:27 PM.

  4. #4
    The answer can be different for every individual. But I CAN say that for me, the wider rim gives many benefits and can still be very workable in the high range if the mp has enough of an open throat to allow you to use lots of air (which the Wick 4 does). With mp's of this size, air is the secret... and lots of it. The post I just linked explains the technique.

    However, note that you won't find many lead trombonists in jazz settings using equipment this big. While a 4BL CAN give you good high notes in a classical sense, it won't give you that ripping jazz sound. But a 4AL/BL will give you lots of other advantages, and will better facilitate the "euphonium sound" that most of us want.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    I've tried both the BB1 and Gail Robertson model from Warburton, which kinda represent the inverse proportions you're talking about, and I can say that I chose the Gail Robertson for a few reasons. The larger cup fit my face better, and the shallower cup offered less resistance when I really pushed my air. The BB1 felt too small for my face, and any kind of pressure I put on it really fought back on me. I also found that I really like the sound that I get out of larger mouthpieces better, and while the BB1 was a considerable stab in that tonal direction, a lot of the articulations I put through it had waaaaaay too much punch. The BB1 is a great mouthpiece, but it just didn't fit me. And it doesn't help that I dropped it on concrete and tore up the rim...

  6. #6
    Regarding rim size preferences, there are (approximately) three completely different embouchures found in the brass world, due to different facial structures. One of them one does best on the larger mouthpiece sizes, one of them does best on the smaller-to-medium (6-1/2AL/6BL/51D/BB1/5BL/etc) size range, and the third type is kind of variable - some need bigger and some need smaller rim sizes.

    I use my knowledge of embouchures to help advise players on what they may really need, not just a "try everything" approach.

  7. It seems most people agree that playing a wider rim with a shallow cup would be good for the high range. Is there any negatives to this? Would it be harder to control? Would the tone not be as good?

  8. Just out of curiosity, I played on a friend's Bach 1g (bass trombone mouthpiece). Granted I had nearly 0 accuracy, I was surprised to find I could actually play higher than on my BB1 (an F vs a D). The 1g is obviously to big to be accurate, but I wounder how I would do on something like a 4/5al...

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by The Euphinator View Post
    Just out of curiosity, I played on a friend's Bach 1g (bass trombone mouthpiece). Granted I had nearly 0 accuracy, I was surprised to find I could actually play higher than on my BB1 (an F vs a D). The 1g is obviously to big to be accurate, but I wounder how I would do on something like a 4/5al...
    That's a prettty clear sign that you need a bigger rim size than the BB1 or "5" (1.01")size mouthpieces. A larger rim size around 1.02" to 1.04" will help both your high and low range. Regardless of the cup depth.

  10. Yeah I may look into increasing size. How about the 25.75 size, like maybe a 52D or a Heritage 5al?

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