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Thread: Difference between Ultra Series mouthpieces?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    May 2016
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    Truro, Cornwall, UK
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    110
    Bob Childs said I had the oddest embouchure he'd ever seen, but didn't want me to change anything as it would probably be detrimental. Bizarrely the most horrific event took place in the opening statement of Calling Cornwall where the notes just fell apart. Admittedly this was two hours into a very heavy brass band rehearsal at pretty much full chat the whole time, but even so I wouldn't expect this to happen - I would expect a decline in accuracy of pitch and intonation but neither of those happened. I couldn't seem to form an embochure of any tension, but I think the aperture in my embocuhure is excessively large anyway, as I have never had much in the way of stamina. Back to the "setting up drills"! (And much more importantly, the 4AL).
    1983 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign
    Denis Wick SM4 (original series)

  2. #12
    I have said this a few times on other threads. When I moved to euphonium last year, I was initially using a SM4X. After about a month, I gave up with it, mainly because it was far too bright of a tone for what I wanted (almost baritone like). I agree though it was a little more easier in the upper register (only by a couple of notes) and articulation had a bit more clarity to it. I ended up buying an SM4U, which is what I have been using ever since. Takes a bit more when going upstairs, but has a much more full and dark tone. And I don't have the most perfect embouchure.

    On a side note, I am wanting to try an SM3X and compare it to my 4U soon to see what it is like.
    Yamaha 642-II Neo Euphonium (2016) - Denis Wick SM4
    Besson 956 Sovereign Baritone - Vincent Bach 5G

  3. #13
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    May 2016
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    Truro, Cornwall, UK
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    I am guessing that there will be a development of a SM Ultra X PLus at some point, and the Denis Wick euphonium mouthpiece merry-go-round will continue.
    1983 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign
    Denis Wick SM4 (original series)

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
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    Farmington Hills, MI
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    272
    Quote Originally Posted by Simes View Post
    I have not long returned from a fairly heavy band practice using the SM4UX. I'm not in great touch but have recently been doing a decent amount of home practice, and for once doing the right stuff, rather than merely enjoying myself. However the meandering has a point - I have arrived at the conclusion that the 4X is a truly awful mouthpiece. No consistency of tone, and ghastly amounts of unwanted feedback through the instrument, as well as a total breakdown of sound at points, which extreme fatigue aside, I have never before experienced. the range involved of the pieces rehearsed is from bottom G to top Db (treble clef) but I seemed unable to centre anything. As I am guesting on solo euphonium it was both awkward and embarrassing. I do however now a dilemma - use the 4X for Sunday's gig or revert to my trusty battered 4AL?

    Getting back to the 4X - I cannot recommend it. It will be going on ebay very shortly.
    Interesting. I think it might have been better to say this mouthpiece is horrible for You. Mouthpiece choice is a very personal decision. Do you know that Steven Mead plays an SM3X? It certainly works for him. I also am quite pleased with my X model.

    Last, it takes a good amount of time to adjust to a new mouthpiece. I'd never consider using one if I were asked to be a guest soloist until I've had it for a few months.

  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    Interesting. I think it might have been better to say this mouthpiece is horrible for You. Mouthpiece choice is a very personal decision
    I agree with the general statement, but I took Simes to be making a personal decision and describing the factors that were unsatisfactory for him. You may have read my post recently about my personal transitions to get to the 4AL. In the early days the 4AL just seemed sooooo big and endurance-taxing, but that was of course from the perspective of what I was used to, and to some extent what my own concepts were.

    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    Last, it takes a good amount of time to adjust to a new mouthpiece. I'd never consider using one if I were asked to be a guest soloist until I've had it for a few months.
    Very true in some cases, less in others. It depends on the mouthpieces on either end of the transition. I adjusted to some very quickly; and quite slowly to others.

    That is what makes it hard to test mouthpieces. It really is best to play on one for a few months, but that is a commitment in a couple ways (including $$). I have purchased mouthpieces intending to switch to them, but after months of playing decided they were not for me.

    At present my own stable consists of only 2: my standard 4AL and my alternate SM4U. The latter provides a little clearer articulation but much less expanse of sound for me.

    As far as expressing things, I qualify most things. So I say, "The Adams is the very best horn for me." Now and then I get lazy and say, "Adams is the best horn on the market." That is how I feel, of course, but saying it that way is not accurate for all others.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  6. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Simes View Post
    I am guessing that there will be a development of a SM Ultra X PLus at some point...
    Ha! It does make one wonder how far they can go with appending words. It's almost as bad as Rick's link to the story of "Dawn" dish soap.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  7. #17
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
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    I did know that Steven Mead uses a SM3UX. I am curious as to why you insinuate my opinion is somehow worth less because Steven Mead uses one? I can normally adjust to a mouthpiece within a few minutes, and euphoniums in even less time. I also know two or three people personally that have sold their Ultra Xs in a very short time after buying them, and perhaps their quality is evidenced in the fact that I had to price mine, at less than a month old, at 25 inc postage to even garner interest. Emperor's new clothes is a phrase that springs to mind.
    1983 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign
    Denis Wick SM4 (original series)

  8. #18
    To be a little cynical, I do wonder if the SM line of mouthpieces changes as Steve develops and refines his style. AFAIK, his progression was 3AL, SM3, SM3U, and now SM3X. And somewhere in there was a brief stint on the Alliance 2 (my favorite). That said, 3AL and SM3 are still great mouthpieces for the euphonium -- even though he left them behind years ago, they may well be perfect for others.

  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
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    110
    I have returned to my trusty 4AL with an immediate improvement in every department. As an aside, you could buy nearly new Ultra Xs on ebay.co.uk for 18!
    1983 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign
    Denis Wick SM4 (original series)

  10. #20
    I've returned to my 4AL more times than I can count. It is really a pretty good mouthpiece!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    YouTube: dwerden
    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

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