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Thread: Hard time getting used to larger mouthpiece

  1. #1

    Hard time getting used to larger mouthpiece

    Hello all,

    Since I got my new euphonium (Besson Sovereign 967), I started using an Bach 4G mouthpiece.
    The problem is that I am used to a standard Yamaha 6 1/2 mouthpiece which is a lot smaller.

    I have a lot of problems getting used to the larger mouthpiece and can't play consistently, and can't play for a long period of time.
    Since the Bach 4G is actually a trombone mouthpiece, would that be the problem?

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    3,138
    A switch from a Bach 6-1/2 to a 4G is HUGE. It can take a longtime getting used to the 4 size. You might try a Wick 5 (or SM5) or maybe the Schilke 51D. Some others may have some suggestions.

    Welcome to the forum.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (on long-term loan to grandson)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    When the Saints Go Marching In (arr. Mashima) at ACB Conference Ft. Lauderdale
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  3. Practice, practice, and more practice is likely the remedy you seek. Buzzing and long tones will go a long way in getting you used to the larger mouthpiece. A Bach 4G is bigger than you're used to but I doubt it's too big.

  4. A Bach 4G requires serious chops.
    I found the Denis Wick 6BM / 6BS (reasonably close to a Bach 6 1/2 AL) worked well for me originally shifting to New Standard and older Bessons from my Conn.
    More recently I have found a BB1 EU working well for me on the Bessons without reducing my upper range.
    Of course, I was dealing with medium shanks and you are probably dealing with a large shank on the 967.
    Jim
    Jim Babbitt
    1960s 4 valve and 1971 3 valve Besson New Standards (Denis Wick 6BM) for regular playing
    1936 Conn 5 valve 30I Double Bell (Bach 6-1/2AL) General Purpose Back -Up
    1924 Buescher 5 valve (the Denis Wick is close) and 1940 Holton 5 valve (Bach 6-1/2AL) Double Bells for kicks.
    1860s OTS Saxhorn when history is required (the Denis Wick fits)

  5. #5
    As others have said, that is a BIG jump. I'm also assuming you've made the jump from something like a Yamaha 321 to your new Besson (congrats!), which is another big jump. The amount of air needed for either jump is sizable, and with both would be a serious task. One well worth it though.

    I only have two anecdotal pieces of advice from my personal experience. 1) Find a practice room you can fill up and get some positive feedback, then force yourself to play in a larger room and get the same sound. 2) Try using a BERP on the most restrictive setting before you warmup and play. It forced me to mentally use more air from the start, and not 'warm into' a fuller sound.

  6. #6
    My own experience, back when I was playing full time, was that I had a 6-1/2AL and wanted to move to the Wick 4AL, but the 4AL felt enormous. So I went first to a Bach 5G, then a Wick 4BL, then the 4AL.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams E3, Denis Wick 4AL (classic)
    Instructor of Euphonium and Tuba
    Twitter: davewerden
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    Owner of TubaEuph.com, DWerden.com

  7. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    My own experience, back when I was playing full time, was that I had a 6-1/2AL and wanted to move to the Wick 4AL, but the 4AL felt enormous. So I went first to a Bach 5G, then a Wick 4BL, then the 4AL.
    A few years ago I switched from a Wick 4AL to a SM3X, and that took quite a bit of time before I could play it well for extended periods. The darker, richer sound I get from it and my Sterling was worth the effort though!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    648
    The larger horn will need more air.

    To modulate that air for good tone, one needs more meat in the MP, to an extent. Hence the larger cup.

    Asking those heretofore unused chop muscles to liven up can cause riot among the rest of them, but the result will be worth the effort.

    Not too much at first, as bad habits can develop. Take your time and work into the new MP.

    It took me quite a while to make my SM3 sing, coming from an SM4 but it too was worth the effort.

    Dennis
    3 notes and the truth.

    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard, early model Wick 4AL
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1917 Conn C/D/Eb mellophone original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original, Bach 5GS

  9. #9
    I'm not convinced by the premise that you have to change to a bigger mouthpiece for the sake of it. My understanding of selecting the right mouthpiece size as an individual is to select the right mouthpiece size based predominantly on the shape and size of your mouth and lips and to some degree on your ability level. Jumping to a Bach 4G just because its big or the size most people play would be like buying size 9 running shoes because that’s the most popular size even if you have size 7 feet!

    My own mouthpiece history was based on the bigger is better premise and it has taken some time to find the right size for me (let alone the right make/model).
    I'm from the UK playing in Brass Bands mostly - I was a cornet player for 20 years, then Baritone (as a step towards Euphonium) playing on the mouthpiece in the case (a Wick 6BS) for a couple of years before moving onto Euphonium. I initially played on a Wick 4AL (which came with the Euphonium) and then tried a host of mouthpieces all approx. that size.

    The only time I didn't use a mouthpiece of that size was christmas carolling - as it was cold I used a cheap plastic Kelly 5G. The sound wasn't as good as with a metal mouthpiece but it was far easier to play throughout the range. I switched to a Bach 5G and (even though you would consider it very small as a Euphonium mouthpiece) have been so happy with that size that I have used different makes/models of it for over 5 years.

    Thinking about it, I'd never really noticed before but I do have relatively narrow lips and a small mouth so starting on a small mouthpiece makes sense.

    There is a relationship between how much you practice and what you can get away with in mouthpiece sizes so only recently (after now playing Euphonium for 9 years) I have increase the size slightly to play on a K&G 4.5 and I'm pretty happy with it. In a year or twos time I may move up in size again or not, I'll make the judgement based on feel and sound (throughout the entire range) not on what everyone else uses and I certainly won’t go up by more than 1/2 a size at a time.

    My advice is not to blindly play on what everyone else is playing on, if the 4G is too big, try something smaller until you are comfortable. Then practice and if you still want to increase in size (usually to improve the sound) then do it gradually never moving up onto the next size until you are in full control of the sound from the one your currently playing on.

    I'm sure at his peak Usain Bolt could beat most of us in a 100 metre race in Carl Lewis' running shoes but I'm also sure he'd be faster in the correct size running shoes for him.
    Last edited by EuphoJon; 04-11-2018 at 08:58 AM.

  10. Quote Originally Posted by EuphoJon View Post
    My advice is not to blindly play on what everyone else is playing on, if the 4G is too big, try something smaller until you are comfortable. Then practice and if you still want to increase in size (usually to improve the sound) then do it gradually never moving up onto the next size until you are in full control of the sound from the one your currently playing on.
    I fully agree with not blindly following what's en vogue. However, it is difficult for most people to be able to try multiple mouthpieces before buying one, so I understand why individuals gravitate towards using what the pros use.
    James Kircoff
    Genesee Wind Symphony - principal euphonium (Sterling Virtuoso 1065HS and Adams E1 Custom w/ Parker 4G Houser)
    Capital City Brass Band (2019 NABBA 2nd section champions) - 1st baritone (Besson BE956 w/ Denis Wick 6BY) and 10 piece ensemble (Getzen 1052FD w/ Bach 1G)

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