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Thread: Denis Wick SM6U (British Baritone)

  1. #1

    Question Denis Wick SM6U (British Baritone)

    Hello! Long time viewer, first time poster Please excuse the wall of text, I'm just like this.

    I played Baritone for a few years in my youth and have come back to it in my adulthood. I play a euro/british-stye baritone (small shank). I am finding it is not quite like riding a bike and I feel like I'm starting from the ground up again some days.

    Currently, the only two mouthpieces I have are a generic 12C and a Wessex 6 1/2. I came back to the horn on the 6 1/2 and am kind of used to it at this point, but I feel like I need a mouthpiece with more "support" for my notes if that makes any sense. The 12C seems to give me more support particularly in the high register, but the sound is what I consider "abysmal". My band director (intermediate band) is saying the 12C will be better for me right now, but I just can't. I hate the thin / tinny sound it produces compared to the warmer 6 1/2 even if I less-consistently land my notes (usually higher notes) on the latter, and the 12C rim diameter feels "too small" for my embouchure anyway.

    So now I'm on the hunt for a new mouthpiece outside of these two options. I've gone through a number of posts already on this forum but I'm still quite confused about my options. I'd like to go in the direction of a Wick but the vast number of choices is daunting, and because I live in Canada, mouth piece try-and-swap is not usually available. I've checked our local music stores and they are all special order, so I will have to purchase (probably online which is quicker than going through the music stores), try it out, and send back for a full refund and purchase again if it doesn't work. I'm not opposed to this, but I would like to try to get as close as I can to a usable piece for my circumstance the first time.

    TL;DR: I came across an Amazon listing for a Wick SM6U that was Prime (Prime is harder to find on the Canadian amazon site). I'm trying to stick to Amazon Prime listings as I get free returns that way. I was finding it difficult to find information on what will fit my 0.51" bore baritone but there is a review on this one saying that it fits.

    Could this be a good place for me to start, or are there any other recommendations?

  2. #2
    Welcome to the forum! Your post got sidetracked for a while by an automated system, but I approved it. You probably experience that again.

    Basically, smaller will give you a brighter (and smaller) tone, larger will give you a darker, nicer tone. The 12C is smaller than the 6-1/2 by quite a bit.

    The SM6U might would better for you. Its internal shape will usually give a nicer sound. However, you may find it is a bit hard to play high until you get used to it.
    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. #3
    Is there a better choice? There is an SM6 as well I noticed on the list of prime options. I'm not sure how big of a difference I would get between the SM6 and the SM6U

  4. #4
    I'd recommend giving Doug Elliot a try. He makes mouth pieces that come in three pieces, shank, bowl and rim. As such they can be made interchangeable to fit many different instruments and playing styles. The advantage he gives you is that he will watch and listen to you play and then recommend an initial setup that is pretty much right for how you are playing and for the structure of your mouth. It can take much of the guess work out of trying mouth pieces. While they can be a bit expensive I've found it is worth it because you are getting a custom mouth piece that can be changed in the future without buying a whole new one. Look him up on the web.

  5. #5
    I don't think I'm ready to get into anything Doug Elliot, the whole system is incredibly overwhelming.

    I may just try to hack it out with the Wessex 6-1/2a at this point, the whole world of mouthpieces is giving me anxiety.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by ametropia View Post
    I don't think I'm ready to get into anything Doug Elliot, the whole system is incredibly overwhelming.

    I may just try to hack it out with the Wessex 6-1/2a at this point, the whole world of mouthpieces is giving me anxiety.
    You might be surprised. Doug is really good at diagnosing issues people have with mouth pieces. He uses Skype to watch and listen to your playing. I don't think it hurts to at least talk with him and see what he has to say. I'm using his mouth piece on my baritone, as well as all of my euphoniums. I simply switch out shanks to do that. I also have two rims, one normal and one plastic for playing in cold weather. This allows a lot of flexibility. You may not need that now, but maybe in the future. The one thing I can say though is that my tone improved quite a lot when I switched to the one he recommended. I had been using various Wick / Mead and guessing what was right. They are not cheap by any stretch. And considering that I needed them for both euphonium and baritone, well you can see how that began to add up.

  7. #7
    The SM-series baritone mouthpieces seem to be designed to get a nice sound on baritone with a euphonium embouchure and airflow. If you play it like a baritone player, they are too deep and deep and sound too heavy. The plain old 6BS is a good place to start if you want to work on playing like a baritone player.

    (I use a Doug Elliott mouthpiece on baritone myself, one that was sized to be similar to a 6BS.)

  8. #8
    I'll throw 2 cents in here. Warburton has a Demondrae signature Baritone mouthpiece. It lets me make a charicteristic baritone sound pretty easily. I don't think I'm using a euphonium airstream. I had tried several SM and wick mouthpieces, and found, as Barry said, the wick 6bs worked well with the instrument, but not my face. The Demondrae baritone piece is the same rim size as the Demondrae euph (1.03").


  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2018
    The Netherlands
    I am using a Stork T1, which I absolutely love. Deep enough for a round sound, shallow enough to prevent intonation issues in the high register, a backbore that you can 'lean into', comfortable rim, well made, not too expensive...

    It worked well on a 40 year old round stamp baritone, as well as on the four valve Wessex baritone I am now playing (just recently).

    Good luck,
    Last edited by Barking Iron; 12-25-2018 at 02:33 PM. Reason: Typo

  10. #10
    I had the opportunity to get a really cheap 6BS clone, and I'm pretty happy with the feel of it while playing and there is a marked improvement in my primary trouble spots. Problem is, the clone is a POS quality wise and I really don't want to keep it in my horn for long-term testing as I'm worried about seriously damaging the lead-pipe.

    So based on a short amount of testing only, I think the 6BS might be a good place to start, I just can't get a 6BS on Prime which is unfortunate.

    Can anyone tell me how similar the 6BS and the SM6 are? Since I CAN get the SM6 on amazon prime in Canada.

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