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Thread: Switching between mouthpieces

  1. #1

    Switching between mouthpieces

    We all know that trumpet players tend to hoard mouthpieces like a dragon with gold, and they also tend to have dedicated mouthpieces for different settings/styles/ensembles/etc., etc. The same doesn't really seem true for MOST euphonium players, but I was curious who here might regularly switch mouthpieces to suit specific needs on your euphonium, what mouthpieces you use for what, if you feel switching back and forth affects your chops in general (in either a negative or positive way).

    I personally have always been a one-mouthpiece player. But I've lately been considering switching things up, say, when I need to play trombone parts in a quintet, or lead on pop tunes to "liven" the sound up a bit. So I'm throwing the question out to the forum. What are you's guys's thoughts?
    Sean Kissane
    Low Brass Specialist, Paige's Music
    Principal Euphonium, Indianapolis Brass Choir
    Principal Euphonium, Crossroads Brass Band

    Equipment:
    S.E. Shires EUSOLO
    Warburton Gail Robertson mpc

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Posts
    3,659
    I don’t like switching mpcs usually cause I find intonation may change and I chip more notes. But after our 2-1/2 year shutdown due to Covid, when I started back to playing regularly I had to drop down to what felt like one size smaller rim and throat. From my normal Brandon Jones (Warburton model) to Doug Elliott’s 102rim; I cup; I-9 shank. Did this because I lost some range and stamina. After just 3 weeks I went back to Brandon Jones mpc.
    Rick Floyd
    Miraphone 5050 - Warburton Brandon Jones sig mpc
    YEP-641S (recently sold)
    Doug Elliott - 102 rim; I-cup; I-9 shank


    "Always play with a good tone, never louder than lovely, never softer than supported." - author unknown.
    Symphonic Band of the Palm Beaches
    El Cumbanchero (Raphael Hernandez, arr. Naohiro Iwai)
    Greensleeves (arr. Alfred Reed)


  3. #3
    As a trumpet like mouthpiece hoarder myself, I donít typically switch mouthpiece based on application in the way that a trumpet player might when going between commercial/jazz work and orchestral work. I liken that more to switching between baritone and euphonium.

    I will say, I could see an argument for switching it up when playing something like trombone parts in a quintet to get the more bright/direct timbre of a trombone.

    I would personally be most comfortable keeping the same rim size and changing cup and backbore profile so something like doug Elliotís pieces might fit that bill for something like that.

    Mike

    Quote Originally Posted by spkissane View Post
    We all know that trumpet players tend to hoard mouthpieces like a dragon with gold, and they also tend to have dedicated mouthpieces for different settings/styles/ensembles/etc., etc. The same doesn't really seem true for MOST euphonium players, but I was curious who here might regularly switch mouthpieces to suit specific needs on your euphonium, what mouthpieces you use for what, if you feel switching back and forth affects your chops in general (in either a negative or positive way).

    I personally have always been a one-mouthpiece player. But I've lately been considering switching things up, say, when I need to play trombone parts in a quintet, or lead on pop tunes to "liven" the sound up a bit. So I'm throwing the question out to the forum. What are you's guys's thoughts?
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

  4. #4
    To SOME extent I think switching mouthpiece for specific uses is OK. However, it is like any other skill and requires some practice - it may not work well the first couple of times.

    In the CG Band, by the last few years of my career I was using a Wick 4 exclusively on my euphonium. I would use a 4AL for general purposes and switch to a 4BL for demanding concerts or for solos that needed a bit more zing. It was OK.

    Personally, I have tried to stay with the same rim width, but I think even that can be flexible. If I were asked to play lead trombone in a jazz group I would probably go to my 6-1/2AL. The 4 wouldn't cut it!
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Varese,Italy
    Posts
    300
    If I think about the money I have spent on the purchase of mouthpieces since I started playing back in 1965, I realize that with that amount I could easily buy a new mid-range instrument. For some years now, I have been using exclusively K&G mouthpieces, with which I find myself beautifully: I have about fifteen, distributed among the 5 instruments in my possession (2 euph, French tuba, trombone and baritone), which vary between cup size, depth, shank diameter and manufacturer updates. Some of them have been modified in the external diameter of the stem to be able to adapt them to the receivers (New Standard with receiver for medium stem and French tuba for GAP and intonation). I remember that at the beginning of my adventure in playing the euphonium (self-taught, after 9 years of flicorno contralto - tenor horn in the Anglo-Saxon nomenclature), I bought a Bach 7C mouthpiece in a shop to match the instrument that made me available the band, a real dog, with a really horrible sound and intonation, despite which I managed to get a lot of satisfactions, such as the victory in some competitions at local and national level with the band. Later I bought a proprietary euphonium and from there began the collection of mouthpieces to search for the holy grail, blaming it for my obvious musical gaps. In short, I moved from 7C to 61/2 AL, then to a pair of Courtois mouthpieces supplied with the instrument, the various Shilke, Denis Week, SM, Alliance and finally K&G. Over the years I have always increased the size of the rim, going from the initial 24.75mm of the 7C, to the current 26.7mm of the K&G 3D. I tried to go further with the K&G mouthpieces for bass trombone, with the 28.4 of the 0D, but this rim size proved excessive. I can be able to play the euphonium with the K&G 1D (27.7 mm), in some contexts that require a dark sound and a low register (even if the high one doesn't suffer anyway), but I have found the optimum with the 3D + ( 26.7mm), which I use on the 2 Bessons and the French tuba. On baritone and trombone I play with the K&G 4 and T4C, 26.2mm which is an unusually large size when compared to what most baritone and trombone players use but I, with smaller cup diameter mouthpieces, just can't to play.
    Last edited by franz; 07-25-2022 at 06:00 AM.
    Besson Prestige 2052, 3D+ K&G mouthpiece; JP373 baritone,4B modified K&G mouthpiece; Bach 42GO trombone, T4C K&G mouthpiece; Besson New Standard 3 compensated valves 1974, 3D+ K&G modified mouthpiece; Wessex French C tuba 3D+ K&G modified mouthpiece.

  6. I have switched a lot of mouthpieces in "the quest", but I think I've landed finally. I'm primarily a tenor trombone player, so initially figuring out what the euphonium was supposed to sound and feel like was the first challenge. At first I was using tenor trombone mouthpieces (5G, 3G), and then graduated to bass trombone mouthpieces (2G, 1.5G, 1.25G). Those didn't really do much for the euph sound. So I tried some classic euph pieces, like DW SM3 and SM3U, and I finally felt like I was making some progress.

    Every now and then I question my choices, so I'll take the top 3 mouthpieces that I own, and start swapping as I play, just to make sure I wind up with the same result that I got last time. I tend to be kind of suggestible, so if I read here about someone using a different piece, I might check it out. Someone mentioned the Schilke 52e2 as a euph piece here once, so of course I had to go out and buy another one, since I sold the one I used on trombone a long time ago. The 52e2 isn't one I'd recommend.

    This was all complicated by my trombone mouthpiece "quest" which eventually landed on Doug Elliot 104 rim size for tenor. So eventually I switched euph over to DE 104 rims as well. Keeping all my tenor sounding instruments on the same size rim really helps with the ability to switch back and forth. The DE system allows you to pair just about any rim size with just about any cup/shank combo.

    So in the end, on bone, I use DE 104 with a cup to match the horn (C-G) and on euph, I use DE 104 J8. The only time I'll switch out mouthpieces per the music I'm playing is if I'm covering bass bone or tuba parts on euph, I'll put a bass bone mouthpiece in (DE 112 K). Anything that stays beneath the staff.

    Part of my issue is that I'm using a Wessex Festivo, and I'm not sure I'm really finding the limitations of mouthpieces as opposed to limitations of the horn. Originally, this horn had a leak that took some time to find, but anything on the compensating side using the 2nd valve had a small leak that made certain notes stuffy. Eventually I got that fixed. But still, the euph doesn't seem to have a lot of dynamic range (doesn't play very soft or very loud). But that might just be a trombone player trying to play a euph like a trombone, not sure. I don't play a lot of different instruments or hang out with a bunch of euph players, so I don't have a great point of reference. Euph is just a double for me, and in the 5 years that I've owned it, I've only had it out of the house a handful of times. I've actually played my tuba out on gigs more than the euph.

    Since tuba was mentioned, I'm playing another Doug Elliot, this time a contrabass trombone mouthpiece on my 3/4 size tuba, DE CB122 P 16 I think is the designation. That took a lot of stabs in the dark until I asked Doug for some help.

    Overall, I can say that Doug is a serious mouthpiece fit guru, in addition to making great mouthpieces. He has straightened out my wonky mouthpiece relationships on all the instruments I play. He's primarily a trombone player, but his help on euph and tuba have allowed me to elevate my playing on both instruments.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Lawrence, KS
    Posts
    29
    I find that keeping the same rim shape/diameter is more noticeably positive between trombone than euphonium.

    I use Doug Elliott mouthpieces on trombone (a lexan N102 rim, to be exact) and just alternate between a D (small tenor), G (most large tenor), and H (if I was exclusively playing 2nd bone in a larger wind band or orchestra) cup. I've been pleased with this setup, particularly being able to pair a relatively shallow cup to a wider rim than you would normally see for a small tenor piece.

    On euphonium, I have an Elliott euph mouthpiece with the same rim size and a J cup. Given how different everything else is past the mouthpiece between trombone and euphonium, I don't find the same rim to be as helpful and I feel just as comfortable on my old reliable BB1.

    My hypothesis is that euphonium players aren't expected to push out as many variations of sound concept as a trumpet or trombone player. We don't get much work in the jazz/pop genre, so the opportunities to field a different tone that is characteristic aren't as vast. I would use different gear in a British brass band, performing difficult solo work, or in a wind band, but that's about it and I'm personally not doing much of the first two at the moment.
    Andrew Easley
    Principal Euphonium, 35th Infantry Division Band of the Kansas Army National Guard

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