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Thread: DC3 v. SM4U/X

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simes View Post
    As an addition I find it telling that this plethora of new “evolutions” of the SM mouthpiece range come as Steven Mead ages, and presumably playing is not as easy as it once was. (Not a criticism, the man is one of the best in the business).

    I’ve tried all the new models and they all emphasise one thing - ease in the upper register at the expense of everything else. Certainly it seems tonal quality is not the primary consideration any more.
    I don't think this is true at all. Steve plays on an SM4X (maybe U) these days and his tone is as nice as ever. He's always had great range in both registers. I believe he once played the SM3U and went to the 4 size but that's the only change I can recall. When I last spoke with him, in December of 2018, he was not using the R model.

  2. #22
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    Personally, I think his sound has got brasher with age, certainly since going from an older Sovereign to the new Prestiges.

    Listen to some of his early 1990s recordings, and doesn’t sound like that any more.
    1983 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign
    John Ridgeon 1LE

  3. #23
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    Iím sure heís getting the sound he wants. It has nothing to do with his age. Heís in his early 50ís I believe. Thatís far from old.

  4. #24
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    No doubt youíre right, but over here these mouthpiece revisions are being greeted with no little cynicism. Rather than go all out on the ďmoney makingĒ angle I try and reason through that. As it would appear that there are only nominal differences between the mouthpieces, designed to help in one single area, for a specific player, thatís the conclusion Iíve reached. Denis Wick being an inveterate money grabber doesnít put these theories to rest either.

    As for being in his fifties, thatís positively ancient for a British euphonium soloist. With a few exceptions, most world class players move into conducting around their forties. I can think of more that have retired from top class player at that age, than havenít.

  5. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by Simes View Post
    Personally, I think his sound has got brasher with age, certainly since going from an older Sovereign to the new Prestiges.

    Listen to some of his early 1990s recordings, and doesn’t sound like that any more.
    I have one of his recording from that period. It may be just the quality of the recording, but the terms that comes to mind is "blatty". So, I'm glad he doesn't have that sound anymore. Regarding the various mouthpieces, i think there is now a tendency to move away from really large cup volumes, i.e., a combination of very deep and wide, which I think this is a good idea. Although having too many choices isn't necessarily a good thing either. But, that is another discussion.

    Mike
    Last edited by mbrooke; 05-20-2019 at 11:15 AM.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simes View Post
    No doubt you’re right, but over here these mouthpiece revisions are being greeted with no little cynicism. Rather than go all out on the “money making” angle I try and reason through that. As it would appear that there are only nominal differences between the mouthpieces, designed to help in one single area, for a specific player, that’s the conclusion I’ve reached. Denis Wick being an inveterate money grabber doesn’t put these theories to rest either.

    As for being in his fifties, that’s positively ancient for a British euphonium soloist. With a few exceptions, most world class players move into conducting around their forties. I can think of more that have retired from top class player at that age, than haven’t.
    Sorry but I can't agree with any of this. What does age have to do with any of this? Steven is a world class euphonium player, one of the very best. He travels the world and plays his ass off. I don't understand your point of view at all.

    As far as the Wick (or other brand mouthpieces), they each have their own strengths. I've played on an SM4M then switched to the SM4MX after comparing it to the SM4MU. There are significant differences between the X and the U. And the R as Steven has pointed out is there to help with fatigue in the high range. As I pointed out earlier, that's not what he's using. There's nothing wrong with adding to the product line.

  7. #27
    Quote Originally Posted by MichaelSchott View Post
    Sorry but I can't agree with any of this. What does age have to do with any of this? Steven is a world class euphonium player, one of the very best. He travels the world and plays his ass off. I don't understand your point of view at all.

    As far as the Wick (or other brand mouthpieces), they each have their own strengths. I've played on an SM4M then switched to the SM4MX after comparing it to the SM4MU. There are significant differences between the X and the U. And the R as Steven has pointed out is there to help with fatigue in the high range. As I pointed out earlier, that's not what he's using. There's nothing wrong with adding to the product line.
    Interpreting Simes posting in the best possible light, you could say that some players, after achieving a high level of success, get bored with simply playing and seek other challenges such a conducting or teaching. Of course, when they do that their level of playing drops simply because they aren't playing so much. However, this really doesn't have anything to do with a loss of skill due to advanced age, which I guess is around 40 yrs old.

    Mike

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbrooke View Post
    Interpreting Simes posting in the best possible light, you could say that some players, after achieving a high level of success, get bored with simply playing and seek other challenges such a conducting or teaching. Of course, when they do that their level of playing drops simply because they aren't playing so much. However, this really doesn't have anything to do with a loss of skill due to advanced age, which I guess is around 40 yrs old.

    Mike
    Another reason some euphonium players move to conducting or teaching at a university is the limited earnings potential as a soloist. Steven apparently has found a way to do so. He also does not mind frequent travel.

  9. #29
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    Ok guys! I only interpret on what I see! The days of really top class British brass band soloists over 40 are gone. The likes of Trevor Groom, John Clough, Lyndon Baglin et al, playing into their late sixties at the highest level is gone. I stress this is only brass band, which I have a great interest in. Morgan Griffiths doesnít play at a high level any more. David Thornton does more conducting than playing as far as I can tell. David Welsh has vanished, Stephen Singleton I havenít heard of for years, Michael Dodd doesnít play at a top band any more. Bob and Nick Childís didnít go far last forty before the lure of conducting took over. There are lots more, but Iíve selected the best known.

    Steven Mead has done brilliantly. Heís a great ambassador for the euphonium. I deeply admire his longevity and his enthusiasm for all aspects of playing. However that does not make him immune to criticism. It is perceived in this country - UK - that heís only in it for the money. Releasing mouthpiece model after model after model, along with ďsilly gimmicksĒ like the plates, donít dispel this perception. I donít use SM mouthpieces because theyíre crap, not because I dislike Steve Mead.

    I think I might just wind my neck in 😂

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Simes View Post
    Ok guys! I only interpret on what I see! The days of really top class British brass band soloists over 40 are gone. The likes of Trevor Groom, John Clough, Lyndon Baglin et al, playing into their late sixties at the highest level is gone. I stress this is only brass band, which I have a great interest in. Morgan Griffiths doesnít play at a high level any more. David Thornton does more conducting than playing as far as I can tell. David Welsh has vanished, Stephen Singleton I havenít heard of for years, Michael Dodd doesnít play at a top band any more. Bob and Nick Childís didnít go far last forty before the lure of conducting took over. There are lots more, but Iíve selected the best known.

    Steven Mead has done brilliantly. Heís a great ambassador for the euphonium. I deeply admire his longevity and his enthusiasm for all aspects of playing. However that does not make him immune to criticism. It is perceived in this country - UK - that heís only in it for the money. Releasing mouthpiece model after model after model, along with ďsilly gimmicksĒ like the plates, donít dispel this perception. I donít use SM mouthpieces because theyíre crap, not because I dislike Steve Mead.

    I think I might just wind my neck in 😂
    Letís just say that there a lot of people on this site that happily play Wick SM mouthpieces. And some use the plates. I have close friends who play all manner of brass instruments that use the plates. Is Steven affiliated with LeFreque? He does not use them on his new horn.

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