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Thread: mouthpiece dilemma

  1. #1

    mouthpiece dilemma

    Hello to all,
    Still awaiting my new euph from ACB. It has only been about two weeks since ordering, but I'm not really known for being a paticularly patient person
    When I purchased the "beater" Conn euphonium, I'm now playing, I also purchased the only new mouthpiece they had in stock - a 6.5AL. After playing about 2 months and reading along here on the forum about others having issues with mouthpieces, I decided to go for a deeper bore mouthpiece and bought a 51D piece. Now, having played the 51D for about a month, I'm not particularly satisfied with my tone again (have been playing lots of long tones to try to improve my intonation problems too)
    I've tried to switch back to the 6.5AL, and actually think that it sounds better. I've also noticed that my endurance is not what I expected after this amount of time playing again.
    To make a long story short, now I've ordered a 4AL piece to give that a try. I'm not sure where I'm going here, but feel like I'm falling into the pattern of developing a rather large collection of available mouthpieces, without becoming proficient with any particular one. I'm finding that renewing my passion for music is becoming an expensive proposition.

    Thanks to all for any ideas that you may have.

  2. Joe,

    The mouthpiece that will work well on the Conn is VERY different than what works on the ACB. I used a 6.5AL on my Conn for years (back in the late 60s and early 70s). I continued to use the 6.5AL on into the early 80s when I purchased my first Sovereign. It came with a Wick 4AL. It took a while but the 4AL was the right mouthpiece for the Besson. Your ACB is a MUCH larger bore and deeper sounding horn than the Conn. It is well suited to the 4AL as long as you develop the endurance.

    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  3. #3
    +1 what Doug said. Any time you switch a mouthpiece, it is going to take time, like weeks, maybe even months to adapt fully to it. The 4AL is an excellent mouthpiece for that size horn. There are clearly others, but getting fully used to the 4AL I think should be the first step you take before trying any others. You can indeed get on a non-stop merry-go-round with mouthpieces if you don't really live with one for a sufficiently long period of time.
    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)

  4. #4
    Thank you Both - Doug and John...
    I didn't realize there would be such a difference between horns.(I always thought that it was more to "fit" the users armbrouchre than the horn s bore). But that certainly does make sense when I think about it! That being the case ,I'm glad I ordered the 4AL. I should receive it by this weekend, and think I'll begin getting used to it. Hopefully it'll be the right piece for my new horn when it arrives. I'll have to work on that endurance!

    Still trying to learn- even through the "Golden Years"!

  5. #5
    FWIW, my own journey to get comfortable with a 4AL was a bit long, but I was trying to do it while engaged in a fairly tough playing job where I could not control what I played when. So I had to be more gradual than you will probably need to be. In any case I had been using a 6-1/2AL for some years but thought it was too small/bright. So I first made a change to a Bach 5G, which smoothed out the sound a bit, but it was not too harmful to my range or endurance. After playing the 5G for a while I tried jumping to the 4AL but could not quite handle it right off the bat. So I switched to a 4BL (shallower cup) for a few years and then moved to the 4AL.

    I'm not suggesting you go though that extended process, but I would like to caution you that it takes a while to build your strength for the 4AL. It is wider, first of all, which means you are going to be using more "tissue" inside the rim. And it is deeper and has an open backbore/throat, which require more strength to properly support your tone and range. Don't push yourself too fast when you get the 4AL. If your range decreases, don't force it - work gradually using good air support and the strength will develop.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. #6
    Thank you for the advice Dave!
    One thing I've got is plenty of time, I hope. I'll try not to rush the breaking in to a 4AL. If it doesn't feel right , then maybe I'll end up going the 4BL route that you took. I'm determined to get back to playing reasonably well enough to play along with the community band. I've hooked up with one in Southeastern Mass. and hope that they'll be able to get back to their concert schedule this summer. I'm really looking forward to it, and have been practicing some of their music daily.
    Thanks again, I really appreciate the expert advice I get on this forum.. Lots of experience and knowledge to try to emulate.

  7. Joe,

    Be aware that the 4AL will not fit your Conn. Your Conn is a tenor shank and the 4AL is bass trombone shank.

    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band

  8. #8
    Thanks Doug...I'll hold on to the new piece until my new horn gets here. Is it correct to assume that the 4AL will fit the ACB doubler when it arrives? As I understand Daves post, I assume that I may also need to purchase the 4BL? Perhaps I should try the 4AL first??

  9. Joe,

    I hesitate to offer too much advice. I don't want you to end up purchasing a gaggle of mouthpieces! Both Dave and I are fans of the 4AL, having a cumulative 60+ years on that mouthpiece, however, as both of us have said, it is a BIG jump from the Bach 6.5AL, both in rim diameter, cup depth, cup shape, and backbore. IIRC, the ACB Doubler that I tried came with a "who knows?" mouthpiece. I tried it and found it unsuitable for me (too small), but it might give you a start on getting used to the horn.

    Certainly, the Wick 4AL is a good piece for that horn, but you may experience stamina and range issues initially. If so, there are several other backup choices. As Dave mentioned, the Bach 5G is a good choice (I still use a tenor shank 5G on English baritone). This has both a smaller rim size as well as is more "cup shaped" rather than "funnel shaped" providing a bit more back pressure. The 4BL has the same rim size and shape as the 4AL, but a shallower cup, providing more resistance.

    Sterling Virtuoso 1065HGS & Adams E3 Prototype 0.70 Top Sprung valves
    Sterling Virtuoso 1050HGS baritone
    New England Brass Band
    Winchendon Winds/Townsend Military Band


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