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Thread: New mouthpiece practice routine

  1. New mouthpiece practice routine

    I'm trying out a number of different mp's now and need a little structure. My questions are:
    1. When you're comparing mp's, how long does it take you to know which one is the right one?
    2. Do you compare by playing the same exercises, etudes and tunes with each mp?
    3. Since I have an adjustable mp gap receiver (Adams E1), do I make adjustments on that with each mp as I go or should I make my mp choice first, and then work on finding the right gap?
    FYI, I'm an amateur intermediate in my 4th yr as a comeback player. Thanks in advance for your help.

  2. There really is no "right one"... Every mouthpiece has its positives and negatives - every gain is made at the expense of something else (in comparison).

    Think of it this way - instead of finding a mouthpiece that would do this and that... You are finding a mouthpiece whose weaknesses can be overcome by your strengths.

    For example, I used to play the 4AL which helps me play super fast and clean, but I struggle to play high and soft with good tone quality. I now play the SM4U where I have to work a lot harder to play fast and clean, but I have more even tone quality, and more secure quiet and high playing. I can't play as fast as I used to, but I've settled on that limitation. I know how to train myself to play faster, not as knowledge in improving tone quality in extreme registers, so it's a good fit for me.

    A good euphonium teacher who can watch you play should be able to give more relevant advice.

    The type of ensemble you play in may also influence your choice. For example a Besson horn with a Wick/SM mouthpiece is distinctively brass band sounding.

    No one can ever tell if I'm playing a 4AL, 4G, SM4U or whatever because only I know the different struggles each of those mouthpiece present. Also the audience only gets to hear you on one mouthpiece.

  3. #3
    You have a tough job ahead! I have yet to find a quick & easy way to dependably choose a mouthpiece. Having said that, I think there are two paths:

    1. Contact Doug Elliott and work with him. He will guide you via his years of experience.
    2. Go it alone, but plan to take a good bit of time. I think you can compare mouthpieces quickly to get a basic idea of their sound characteristics. If a mp sounds bright, it will probably not end up sounding dark once you have gotten used to it and chosen the best AGR setting. So you can limit the field to mps that seem interesting at first blow. Then you need to select one new one and play on it for a while. A few days can get you a long way towards getting used to it. If it seems not to do what you want, eliminate that one and move on. But if it still shows promise, spend some time getting the AGR right. Then if you can play in an ensemble with it, you can get some good feedback from folks there, and also get a feel for how it works within the ensemble (i.e. does it have a sound that lets you project for short solos or nice counter melodies? Does it still give you the sound that's in your head, even while playing with a bunch of other instruments?).
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  4. Both responses are helpful, thank you. I play in our local concert band, with 6 - 8 euphs in our section. I have played one solo and one duet in our church. My primary playing will be with the band, but I do want to strengthen my solo skills to a high confidence level and do more. Is it reasonable to assume that band work and solo/duet work might each require different mp's?

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    ...Is it reasonable to assume that band work and solo/duet work might each require different mp's?
    I have a mouthpiece (the Warburton Demondrae signature model) that I have used almost exclusively on euphonium for going on 6 years. I play solos quite often with bands and other groups, I play in brass ensembles, I play some tuba quartet music, but I mostly play euphonium in several bands (concert/wind). I don't switch mouthpieces when going from band (section euphonium) playing to solo playing. I found the mouthpiece that gives me what I perceive to be the best tone possible, works well with whatever type of music I play, and it has some other features that I also like. I could not imagine switching mouthpieces when going from band music to solo music. In fact, I frequently play band concerts in which one of the pieces in the concert is a solo I play. I use the same mouthpiece for the whole thing.

    The above references euphonium solos with band accompaniment. If you are talking about just solo euphonium or duets with no other accompaniment, I would still use my Demondrae MP. What reason would there be to switch from a mouthpiece that I perceive to be the best for me?
    Last edited by John Morgan; 06-02-2020 at 01:26 PM.
    John Morgan
    The U.S. Army Band (Pershing's Own) 1971-1976
    Adams E3 Custom Series Euphonium, Wessex EP-100 Dolce Euphonium, 1956 B&H Imperial Euphonium
    Adams TB1 Tenor Trombone, Yamaha YBL-822G Bass Trombone
    Wessex TE-360 Bombino Eb Tuba
    Rapid City New Horizons & Municipal Bands (Euphonium)
    Black Hills Symphony Orchestra (Bass Trombone), Powder River Symphony, Gillette, WY (Tenor Trombone)
    Black Hills Brass Quintet (Tuba)

  6. #6
    On switching mouthpieces between solo/ensemble, I agree with John. For most people that is not the best approach. An all-around mouthpiece is better.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  7. Again,thank you. Very helpful.

  8. #8
    A comment about switching mouthpieces between solo and ensemble playing. Years ago, I was in a band playing Showboat and we had a trumpet player that had a case with about 20 different mouthpieces. He marked his music indicating which mouthpiece to use at each section. And he went through most of them. I was interesting to watch. Not mention he coordinated this with eating Cheetos!

    Mike

  9. Haha!

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