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Thread: Comparison between the Wedge Euphonium and Steven Mead Ultra X mouthpieces

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,964
    The whole mouthpiece thing is a journey (and an experience) -- not an event.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  2. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by ghmerrill View Post
    The whole mouthpiece thing is a journey (and an experience) -- not an event.
    True enough! I should have given the complete story, as far as I know:

    High school: 7C, I think.

    College first half: 6-1/2AL
    College second half: Bach 5GB (bass trombone profile)

    USCG Band first 2 months: 5GB
    USCG, the next 7 years: 6-1/2AL (the 5GB was not a good choice for the difficult rep we were doing - not like college!)
    USCG, the next 7? years: Bach 5G
    USCG, the next 2 years: Wick 4BL
    USCG, the rest of my term: Wick 4AL

    Now, with a full-time day job, here is where I've been:
    For several years: Wick 4AL
    For a very brief time: SM4
    For a year or so: Wick Heritage 4AL
    Next period: Wick 4AL
    Next period: SM4Ultra
    Last few years: Wick 4AL

    For my own taste, I don't consider the 4AL perfect, but it is the best I have found. The SM4 just didn't have a tone I liked. The SM4Ultra had a good, solid tone, but could not open up and sing as well as the 4AL. I have tested several others, including some in stainless steel (I LIKE the feel of that material). It seems to me that the thicker cup body stifles the open, singing quality I seek. The last new brand I tried was a Parker, which I liked, but again it seemed like the more massive body limited my sound. I'm keeping an open mind about other possibilities, but I'm in no hurry to switch.
    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

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Central North Carolina
    Posts
    1,964
    I think I'm with you on the 4AL (and 4AL-ish sizes more generally), but I tend more towards a 3AL-ish size on euph because I mostly play tuba-ish parts with it. And when I feel I need to cheat for temporary high range, I use a 5AL.

    One point of curiosity: What was with the flirtation with the Heritage 4AL -- and it's ultimate rejection? I went through something similar with tuba mouthpieces. What's puzzling is that I can't point to any objective difference I feel between the Classic and Heritage versions. But there's just something about the Classic that feels better. Maybe it's the feedback I get from it because the metal mass is distributed differently compared to the Heritage.
    Last edited by ghmerrill; 04-30-2019 at 04:48 PM.
    Gary Merrill
    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (Denis Wick 3XL)
    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
    Amati Oval Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J6 euph)
    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba, modified Kelly 25
    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K9/112 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

  4. Dave Werden, I listened to your recording, sounded great.

    I think I approached this topic wrongly initially, and think this was due to when I switched from an old Jupiter to an almost new Yamaha Neo, the difference it made was huge, which led to thinking that there were also "good" and "bad" mouthpieces. I now realise that mouthpiece choice is a lot more subjective and individual. This leads to a thanks to all of you. You have probably saved quite a lot of money, time and effort.

  5. Quote Originally Posted by davewerden View Post
    True enough! I should have given the complete story, as far as I know:

    High school: 7C, I think.

    College first half: 6-1/2AL
    College second half: Bach 5GB (bass trombone profile)

    USCG Band first 2 months: 5GB
    USCG, the next 7 years: 6-1/2AL (the 5GB was not a good choice for the difficult rep we were doing - not like college!)
    USCG, the next 7? years: Bach 5G
    USCG, the next 2 years: Wick 4BL
    USCG, the rest of my term: Wick 4AL

    Now, with a full-time day job, here is where I've been:
    For several years: Wick 4AL
    For a very brief time: SM4
    For a year or so: Wick Heritage 4AL
    Next period: Wick 4AL
    Next period: SM4Ultra
    Last few years: Wick 4AL

    For my own taste, I don't consider the 4AL perfect, but it is the best I have found. The SM4 just didn't have a tone I liked. The SM4Ultra had a good, solid tone, but could not open up and sing as well as the 4AL. I have tested several others, including some in stainless steel (I LIKE the feel of that material). It seems to me that the thicker cup body stifles the open, singing quality I seek. The last new brand I tried was a Parker, which I liked, but again it seemed like the more massive body limited my sound. I'm keeping an open mind about other possibilities, but I'm in no hurry to switch.
    Hello David,
    I find you mouthpiece history very interesting, what were the main criteria influencing you changes was it always the sound or were there other criteria
    such as instrument changes and was there an amount of strength necessary before some changes could be made

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Location
    Truro, Cornwall, UK
    Posts
    108
    I played on a Yamaha when I started, as quickly found it limiting. However, I should have stuck to my mouthpiece rather than search for the holy grail. Which I’ve not found, although the current mouthpiece is close, as was the 4AL which preceded it.

    In order the mouthpieces I used were; 51, 4AM, SM4M, SM3M, SM3.5M, 4AL, 2AL, 4G, 4G Megatone, 4GB, SM4, SM3, SM3.5, SM4U, John Ridgeon 1LT, 4AL, John Ridgeon 1LE.

    There’s a whole lot of blowing in the wind right there. I should have focused on the basics, and developing a properly broad sonorous sound rather than chasing high Ebs!

    Please don’t waste the time and money I did, by not knuckling down and working hard. I’ve simplified my equipment and approach, and am playing better than I ever have done.

  7. The Wedge euphonium mouthpieces have been refined in collaboration with Steven Walsh (former YBS euphonium player and Yamaha artist, helped developing the NEO) The 103E would compare to the SM4U and the 104E would compare to the SM3U. I've played wedge before and I really like the feeling and (extra) endurance it gave me.
    In fact this thread got me thinking of ordering a 104E (GEN2) Wedge mouthpiece. I've spoken to Steven Walsh (awesome euphonium player) he states that the cup is slightly shallower then the SM3U and the rim aids in high register and endurance.
    Hear Steven play Allegro from Bassoon Concerto here:
    https://www.facebook.com/BoarshurstBand/videos/435338913910828/
    Last edited by DutchEupho; 05-29-2019 at 12:43 AM.
    Euphonium: Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium (SS Bell)
    Mouthpiece: Wedge 104E
    Trombone: Benge 175F
    Mouthpiece: AR Resonance 26

  8. #18
    I am a mediocre player (don't practice daily, or even weekly...) and currently play a Wessex Festivo with a Wick 3AL. Would you say a Wedge mouthpiece could be useful for me?
    Martin Monné
    • Wessex Festivo, 4-valve compensating (2017)
    • Hirsbrunner HBS 378 Standard, 4-valve compensating (1983)
    • Mahillon Bass Saxhorn, 4-valve (1927)
    • Anton Hüller Tenor Horn, 3-valve (Early 20th Century, HP, wallhanger)


  9. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by MarChant View Post
    I am a mediocre player (don't practice daily, or even weekly...) and currently play a Wessex Festivo with a Wick 3AL. Would you say a Wedge mouthpiece could be useful for me?
    A Wick 3AL is a very large mouthpiece to use if you are not playing a lot. And even then it is probably too much for most people. Before, trying something like the Wedge (which is $230), you should probably try downsizing and getting in some more practice so you can honestly assess your needs. On the other hand, Wedge does offer a 90 return policy.
    Mike

  10. I'd say that a wedge mouthpiece could potentially be useful to any kind/type of player. Wedge offers a good 90 day return policy, so why not give it a try. Also they give really good mouthpiece advise. Try (and use) their mouthpiece fitting guide: https://www.wedgemouthpiece.com/fitting-guide/

    I agree with Mike that a 3AL is pretty big, downsizing might help you.
    Euphonium: Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium (SS Bell)
    Mouthpiece: Wedge 104E
    Trombone: Benge 175F
    Mouthpiece: AR Resonance 26

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