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Thread: OEM Mouthpiece, yay or nay?

  1. OEM Mouthpiece, yay or nay?

    I'm cruising into the end of my 2nd week with my JP274. I had budgeted for a mouthpiece to go with it, but I couldn't think of anything. The dealer suggested doing nothing and using the OEM mouthpiece. As he put it, "it isn't the be all, end all of Euphonium mouthpieces but it isn't all that bad". I have no reference. I've never played Euphonium before. Curiosity got the best of me finally and I got the calipers out and the ID of the rim is bang on 26mm. I have no way of measuring the depth of the cup but it's pretty deep. I guess my question is what would I gain (lose?) by buying a big name mouthpiece in a similar size? And a more nuanced question: what would be the main difference between two similar '4' sized mp's like the DW 4AL vs the SM4? I notice an almost complete absence of love for the Bach 4G and there isn't much regard either for the Schilke in that size which would probably be a 52D. Horn players also dislike OEM mouthpieces but they also dislike mp's that accentuate a part of the range or facilitate smooth slurs, or etc. The thinking is more of a 'Swiss Army Knife' mp that does nothing exceptionally but neither does it do anything badly. Is there something like that for our instrument?
    John Packer JP274 MKII S

  2. #2
    I didn't particularly like the OEM mouthpiece that came with my Wessex Dolce a few years ago, both how it played and how it looked. I can't remember the model number, and I don't have it any longer as I gave it away to a forum member. I already had a mouthpiece that was working well for me when I got the Wessex (temporary transitional horn that I ended up keeping).

    If you have never played euphonium before or any other brass instrument using a similar sized mouthpiece, I would suggest a Wick 4AL might be a good starting point. Another option could be a Bach 5G. From either of these mouthpieces, you could explore going larger, smaller or other variants once you have gotten used to one of these pieces and see how it works for you. I'm not suggesting, however, that either of these mouthpieces are just middle of the road choices (nothing too great, nothing too bad), as many people, for example, use the 4AL exclusively as their mouthpiece of choice and really like it.

    Mouthpiece selection is really a personal thing and what works for you may be and probably is totally different for others. It is indeed an almost never ending search to find the "perfect" mouthpiece. But the 4AL and 5G could each be a good starting point.
    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)

  3. #3
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    Bach now sells the 5G in the "Artisan" line, supposedly a retro to the original specs.

    I tried one, pretty darn good.

    Dennis
    1966 Besson 181 highly modified New Standard
    1918 Hawkes & Son euph 3&1 original
    1915 York Bb tenorhorn original

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
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    Quote Originally Posted by leisesturm View Post
    [snip] I guess my question is what would I gain (lose?) by buying a big name mouthpiece in a similar size? And a more nuanced question: what would be the main difference between two similar '4' sized mp's like the DW 4AL vs the SM4? [snip]
    Focusing on this part of your question: even less-expensive mouthpieces can be made to a high degree of tolerances thanks to advancements in the machinery. There may be differences in the brass alloy, differences in the quality and thickness of the silver plating, and finally, subtle differences in the shape of the rim and the cup. For example, the DW 4AL and the SM4, SM4U, and SM4UX are all 26 mm rims manufactured by the Wick company. The quality of the brass and the plating should be equivalent. Nevertheless, they have differences in rim width, rim shape, cup depth, cup shape, etc., that may be hard to discern by eye but that will make a difference in playability and tone.

    I have the no-name Bach 6.5AL clone that came with my Mack Brass euphonium and also have a large-shank Bach 6.5AL that I acquired from a band mate. They play like two different mouthpieces.
    Dean L. Surkin
    Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1, Kadja, and DE 101XTG9 mouthpieces
    Bach 36B trombone; pBone; Vincent Bach (from 1971) 6.5AL mouthpiece
    Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
    See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo) and Delilah (the cavapoo puppy) keep me company while practicing

  5. Quote Originally Posted by John Morgan View Post
    If you have never played euphonium before or any other brass instrument using a similar sized mouthpiece, I would suggest a Wick 4AL might be a good starting point. Another option could be a Bach 5G. From either of these mouthpieces, you could explore going larger, smaller or other variants once you have gotten used to one of these pieces and see how it works for you. I'm not suggesting, however, that either of these mouthpieces are just middle of the road choices (nothing too great, nothing too bad), as many people, for example, use the 4AL exclusively as their mouthpiece of choice and really like it.
    I want to +1 John Morgan's comments. As a youngster through my college years and into my early adulthood, I used a Bach 6 1/2 AL. But since I purchased my first Sovereign in 1980, I have used the Wick 4AL for most of the last 40 years as my daily euphonium mouthpiece. It took me around 2-3 years to transition successfully from the much smaller Bach to the 4AL. Since then, I have tried ALL of the other related Wick mouthpieces (and Alliance as well) and keep coming back to the 4AL. OTOH, for playing American baritone/euphonium or English baritone, I found the Wick 4 mouthpieces too large. I finally resolved to a Bach 5G. I find the rim size close enough that it doesn't hurt much going back and forth. The 5G has a shallower cup that makes playing the high range and managing pitch on the smaller horns easy for me.
    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  6. Alrighty then, a 4AL it is. I got the last one Dillon Music had (via Amazon). A number of retailers are sold out of this model. My Denis Wick practice mute arrived today. Geez Louise no one ever mentions how BIG that thing is! Anyway the 4AL won't be here for at least a week. Going to do my first night practice. Thanks everyone. Stay safe.
    John Packer JP274 MKII S

  7. Just saying, in case this helps anyone on a tight budget: the mp that comes with the JP274 IS a DW 4AL for all practical purposes. It would take laboratory grade measuring instruments to find the deviations. The only obvious difference of note is that the plating inside the bowl of the of the Wick mp is finished to the same (high) standard as the outside. The inside of the OEM Packer mp is less polished than the outside. Obviously, if someone wants a bigger (or smaller) mp than a 4AL it will be necessary to buy something appropriate. If, however, the plan is to play with a 4AL, then IMO (fwiw) the stock Packer mp fulfills that mission objective to perfection. I'm not going to return the 4AL I'll probably even use it. Don't most of you guys have four or five (or more) of these mouthpiece things? :-)
    John Packer JP274 MKII S

  8. #8
    4 or 5? hahaha!! hundreds...
    --
    Barry

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