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Thread: Question for Wick 4AL mouthpiece users

  1. #1

    Question for Wick 4AL mouthpiece users

    To all Wick euphonium "AL" series mouthpiece users:

    A reputable Wick representative has said that the "The 4AL was highly suggested for Euphonium prior to specifically made Euphonium mpcs being designed." He also said that the "SM" series mpcs were designed for conical bore instruments whereas the "AL" series were designed for cylindrical bore instruments like trombone.

    In light of the above information, it would seem that the "SM" series would be more suitable for our euphs than the "AL" series. But I know several of you play and love the "AL" mpcs. So my question is: Have you tried the "SM" series, and if so, why do you prefer the "AL"?

    Thanks in advance for your responses.

    JP

  2. #2
    From my experience, the SM series (the original, the Ultra, the Ultra X and now Ultra XR) takes the 4AL and modifies it in different ways. For my money though, nothing quite sounds as sweet and beautiful as the original 4AL. Bastien Baumet plays the 4AL with his Sovereign and sounds just magnificent.
    Adams Selected E3 - 0.6, Yellow Brass Bell, Silver Plated
    K&G 3.5D

  3. #3
    I prefer to use a 3AL. I’ve tried a 4AL but prefer the fuller sound i can get on the 3AL. I did try a SM4 and although good in the upper register I found it difficult to play in the lower register and found the sound to be thin.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    612
    The SM series eats up a lot more air, OK if you can swing it.

    To the ears of several listener/friends, my 4AL sounded 'better' than a SM3, 3.5, & 4.

    I liked the sound of the SM4 best, but got voted down by everyone. Then again, who plays just for themselves?

    Dennis
    One show at a time...


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

  5. #5
    My experience was similar. I just get a better, more open sound from the AL.
    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. I prefer the 4AL to any of the Wick or Alliance equivalents (SM4, SM4U, SM4X, DC3, E3). The 4AL rim is more comfortable and the sound is just right for me. I actually have six (6!) 4AL's including my 38 year old gold plated one that came with my 1980 B&H Sovereign 967. The newer 4AL's have a softer rim rim (not as sharp and thicker) than the original. Of any of the alternatives, the Alliance E3 Prestige is my second choice. This the mouthpiece that came with my 2007 Besson 2051 Prestige.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1052HS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HS baritone & Conn 24I/25I euphonium
    New England Brass Band/Metropolitan Wind Symphony
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  7. I play a 3AL, but have a lot of experience with the SM3U. I did really like the SM3U, particularly regarding flexibility. I felt that I could play with a little more focus to my sound on the SM3U than the 3AL, but for me the thing that I really liked was the flexibility.

    I went back and forth with the 3AL and SM3U for a while and ultimately went with the 3AL. I felt I could play with a more open sound on the 3AL than the SM3U and the 3AL feels a little bigger to me. I found the little bit of extra size comfortable transitioning from middle/high registers to low registers, something that I have always struggled with. The last deciding factor for me was doing a blind A/B comparison for a couple friends and they both immediately and strongly preferred my sound with the 3AL.

  8. #8
    Well, the truth is in the music, and so much beautiful euphonium playing has been done on the AL series, that really all that matters is what works best for you as a player. Anything else is just marketing-speak.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Location
    Hidden Valley, AZ
    Posts
    612
    As I've said before; MP's are like underwear.

    You can try every type, but you stay with what works best.

    DG
    One show at a time...


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

  10. I think it is interesting that Dennis also had several friends prefer his sound on the 4AL compared to the SMs. I remember being blown away that my listener friends were so unanimous in preferring the 3AL. I asked my wife yesterday what she remembered about when I did the A/B comparison between the 3AL and the SM3U and she said that my sound was clearer and more open on the 3AL.

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