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Matching the mouthpice to the player, or to the brand of euph, that is the question

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  • Alex
    Member
    • Jun 2023
    • 43

    Matching the mouthpice to the player, or to the brand of euph, that is the question

    Sooo. Do certain mouthpieces match up better to a specific horn? What if the 'piece matches you best, but not the horn, or vice versa? Any thoughts?
    The University of Missouri "University Band"
    Columbia Community Band, Columbia MO

    Trombones:
    Shires .525 medium bore
    Conn 6H

    Euphonium:
    Besson Sovereign 967 Satin finish (1995)
  • miketeachesclass
    Senior Member
    • Feb 2016
    • 461

    #2
    Originally posted by Alex View Post
    Sooo. Do certain mouthpieces match up better to a specific horn? What if the 'piece matches you best, but not the horn, or vice versa? Any thoughts?
    This is a big ol' can of worms right here.

    I find that some horns seem to have subjectively better pitch tendencies with certain mouthpieces. This is true both on Euphonium and Baritone. There are lots of factors - cup depth, rim size, shank length, backbore, throat, etc. All of that interacts with the mouthpiece receiver gap, and all the internal taper and bends of the venturi and leadpipe.

    I've personally had experiences where a mouthpiece I use with great success on one horn just won't work for me on another.

    That said, it's also a personal thing - if you generally like a mouthpiece at a particular perceived size/diameter (I say perceived because the specs will get you in the neighborhood, but the feel trumps them; each manufacturer measures at a different point on the rim contour, which complicates matters).

    I know I TYPICALLY like a mouthpiece somewhere between 26mm and 26.4mm as the specs indicate. There are outliers though. There are some pieces that have specs that say they're 27mm that I find equally comfortable. (Doug Elliott 106 comes to mind, which is not quite 27mm)

    Clear as mud?

    Mike
    Mike Taylor

    Illinois Brass Band
    Fox Valley Brass Band

    Comment

    • Brass is Class
      Member
      • Jul 2023
      • 44

      #3
      I have an old trumpet, pushing or over 100 years that had an Olds mouthpiece with it. That’s the only mouthpiece that keeps that horn in tune…tried 2 of my Bachs in it, too far out of tune to correct it! The Olds does work somewhat in my good trumpet, but it’s not what I would call a joy to play!

      Old trumpet was made in Bohemia, works great on Bohemian Rhapsody! This horn rarely gets used, usually as a loaner for a brass ensemble or once or twice if French horn playing daughter joined my trumpet playing grandson and myself for a trumpet trio.

      Comment

      • Alex
        Member
        • Jun 2023
        • 43

        #4
        Originally posted by miketeachesclass View Post
        This is a big ol' can of worms right here.

        I find that some horns seem to have subjectively better pitch tendencies with certain mouthpieces. This is true both on Euphonium and Baritone. There are lots of factors - cup depth, rim size, shank length, backbore, throat, etc. All of that interacts with the mouthpiece receiver gap, and all the internal taper and bends of the venturi and leadpipe.

        I've personally had experiences where a mouthpiece I use with great success on one horn just won't work for me on another.

        That said, it's also a personal thing - if you generally like a mouthpiece at a particular perceived size/diameter (I say perceived because the specs will get you in the neighborhood, but the feel trumps them; each manufacturer measures at a different point on the rim contour, which complicates matters).

        I know I TYPICALLY like a mouthpiece somewhere between 26mm and 26.4mm as the specs indicate. There are outliers though. There are some pieces that have specs that say they're 27mm that I find equally comfortable. (Doug Elliott 106 comes to mind, which is not quite 27mm)

        Clear as mud?

        Mike
        Well, you made a valient attampt. I get it. I was brought up on trombone, and I read that Bach designed the 6 1/2 AL specifically for the .525 bore size. (A medium-sized bone these days). I used that all through my K-12 years and then when I moved up to the .547 large bore bone I moved to a Schile 51 or a Back 5G. Interestingly, I used Schilke in band and Bach in orchestra. I got a little brighter sound with the Schilke, which fit all the other yellow brass bones in the section better. But you get into quicksand when things don't match up. I.E.: Doug Elliott uses a really big mouthpiece on his small-bore rocket launcher bones. I use a 6 1/2 AL on my Conn 6H, which is OK, but some think that's too big, and I use a 5GS on my Shires medium bore. I ask this because I read the David Werden thread on the Wick 4AL, 4ABL, Heritage models, and SM models. He talked about about the same mouthpiece sounded fine on a Besson, but not on another brand. I guess the moral of the saga is to go down to your local music store and try everything they have.
        The University of Missouri "University Band"
        Columbia Community Band, Columbia MO

        Trombones:
        Shires .525 medium bore
        Conn 6H

        Euphonium:
        Besson Sovereign 967 Satin finish (1995)

        Comment

        • Alex
          Member
          • Jun 2023
          • 43

          #5
          Originally posted by Brass is Class View Post
          I have an old trumpet, pushing or over 100 years that had an Olds mouthpiece with it. That’s the only mouthpiece that keeps that horn in tune…tried 2 of my Bachs in it, too far out of tune to correct it! The Olds does work somewhat in my good trumpet, but it’s not what I would call a joy to play!

          Old trumpet was made in Bohemia, works great on Bohemian Rhapsody! This horn rarely gets used, usually as a loaner for a brass ensemble or once or twice if French horn playing daughter joined my trumpet playing grandson and myself for a trumpet trio.
          Thanks for your reply. Yup, I have an Olds pea shooter trombone that's 60 years old and it needs a 7C mouthpiece, whether I like it or not. A 7C feels like "tight shoes" to me, but a 6 1/2 AL just throws everything outta wack.
          The University of Missouri "University Band"
          Columbia Community Band, Columbia MO

          Trombones:
          Shires .525 medium bore
          Conn 6H

          Euphonium:
          Besson Sovereign 967 Satin finish (1995)

          Comment

          • dsurkin
            Senior Member
            • Feb 2014
            • 526

            #6
            Originally posted by Brass is Class View Post
            I have an old trumpet, pushing or over 100 years that had an Olds mouthpiece with it. That’s the only mouthpiece that keeps that horn in tune…tried 2 of my Bachs in it, too far out of tune to correct it! The Olds does work somewhat in my good trumpet, but it’s not what I would call a joy to play! [snip]
            This makes me think that the Getzen bass trumpet I inherited may be salvageable. D4 is terribly flat using a Bach 12 (came with the horn) and a Bach 6.5AL the mouthpiece on use on my Bach 36B trombone). I wonder what mouthpiece could clean up the intonation on that horn? I'm open to suggestions.
            Dean L. Surkin
            Mack Brass MACK-EU1150S, BB1 mouthpiece
            Bach 36B trombone; Bach 6.5AL and Faxx 7C mouthpieces (pBone on loan to granddaughter)
            Steinway 1902 Model A, restored by AC Pianocraft in 1988; Kawai MP8, Yamaha KX-76
            See my avatar: Jazz (the black cockapoo; RIP) and Delilah (the cavapoo) keep me company while practicing

            Comment

            • TheJH
              Senior Member
              • Dec 2014
              • 339

              #7
              Depends on the instrument. My old New Standard baritone is absurdly fussy with its mouthpiece, in such case that the only mpc that works is a Yamaha 48. Wick 6BS is a disaster, and a Courtois 10 is also a disaster.

              My Sovereign Euph is generally not that fussy, in terms of intonation, although a Schilke 51D does tame the 6th partial a bit. But at the cost of the sound.
              My Willson is pretty much alright with everything I throw at it, although resistance in the high register is affected somewhat depending on the mouthpiece.
              Euphoniums
              2008 Willson 2960TA Celebration
              1979 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign (Round Stamp)
              Mouthpiece: Denis Wick SM4
              Baritone
              1975 Besson New Standard
              Mouthpiece: Courtois 10

              Comment

              • ghmerrill
                Senior Member
                • Dec 2011
                • 2382

                #8
                Sometimes with older instruments (and I think that both my 1947 trombone and 1924 tuba are examples), we may be trying to judge the appropriateness of a mouthpiece relative how it sounds in that instrument -- while a significant problem is that we're judging it also relative to how similar instruments (trombones, tubas, baritones, etc.) sound today, and how "today's sound" has become our "standard". I can make my 1947 trombone sound much more like a contemporary trombone (though not completely) by using a different mouthpiece than the original (which I have). And I've worked hard at making my 1924 tuba (which wasn't originally even pitched to A=440) sound like how I think a small Eb tuba ought to sound -- or at least the sound that I want to get out of it. But others would argue (and have, rather loudly at times) that this whole approach is "inappropriate," if not demented.

                So I often wonder -- especially with "period" instruments -- if issues about their "fussiness" aren't really issues about our own fussiness in wanting them to sound in a way that they were never intended to sound. ... Not that I'm going to deviate from wanting that 1924 tuba to sound the way I want it to sound when I play it today -- since I do want to play it today and in today's ensembles.
                Gary Merrill
                Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
                Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
                Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
                1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
                Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
                1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

                Comment

                • TheJH
                  Senior Member
                  • Dec 2014
                  • 339

                  #9
                  Nah, in the case of my 1975 baritone it's that the Yamaha 48 is the only mouthpiece that can make 95% of the notes play in tune and doesn't make it feel and sound like a bag of prunes to play xD
                  Euphoniums
                  2008 Willson 2960TA Celebration
                  1979 Boosey & Hawkes Sovereign (Round Stamp)
                  Mouthpiece: Denis Wick SM4
                  Baritone
                  1975 Besson New Standard
                  Mouthpiece: Courtois 10

                  Comment

                  • ghmerrill
                    Senior Member
                    • Dec 2011
                    • 2382

                    #10
                    Yeah, I get that. 😂😂
                    Gary Merrill
                    Wessex EEb Bass tuba (DW 3XL or 2XL)
                    Mack Brass Compensating Euph (DE N106, Euph J, J9 euph)
                    Amati Oval Euph (DE 104, Euph J, J6 euph)
                    1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba (with std US receiver), Kelly 25
                    Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone (DE LB K/K10/112/14 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R)
                    1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Olds #3)

                    Comment

                    • CousinJack
                      Member
                      • Apr 2020
                      • 75

                      #11
                      Originally posted by miketeachesclass View Post
                      I find that some horns seem to have subjectively better pitch tendencies with certain mouthpieces. This is true both on Euphonium and Baritone. There are lots of factors - cup depth, rim size, shank length, backbore, throat, etc. All of that interacts with the mouthpiece receiver gap, and all the internal taper and bends of the venturi and leadpipe.
                      Definitely true. My Sovereign with my K&G 4D+, Wick 4AL, and Wick SM4X all have different tendencies. To be honest, I think the SM4X has better intonation on that particular instrument but I still prefer the K&G as other characteristics are superior.
                      Adams E2 | K&G 4D+

                      Comment

                      • Brass is Class
                        Member
                        • Jul 2023
                        • 44

                        #12
                        Just to clarify on my old trumpet, commonly referred to as “Old Gold” in our household, I’m not attempting to have the same sound from the old horn that I have from my Holton MF horn, just simply trying to keep it in tune. I’ve used it once or twice and it plays acceptably, but it doesn’t have the sound I want from a solo trumpet on a weekly basis. My MF horn also blends well with pro trumpet players Bach horn he uses for jazz and big band playing on the occasions he joins me.

                        Comment

                        • Alex
                          Member
                          • Jun 2023
                          • 43

                          #13
                          I play a Besson Sovereign euph and have landed on using the Wick 4AL. Tried the Schilke 51 D, 52 D, 52 E2, and an ACB 1, The ACB 1 was better for me than al of the Schilkes, but the Wick 4AL helped me more in the high range, where eups flourish. I will say that I struggle to focus everything in the mid-range on that 'piece, but I think with any mouthpiece the player needs to adjust to what it does. The euph is a 1995 model of Sovereign with a .80 bell thickness. I don't know how that year differs from a 2023 model, but the Wick 4AL seems to be pretty ubiquitous in use these days.
                          The University of Missouri "University Band"
                          Columbia Community Band, Columbia MO

                          Trombones:
                          Shires .525 medium bore
                          Conn 6H

                          Euphonium:
                          Besson Sovereign 967 Satin finish (1995)

                          Comment

                          • highpitch
                            Senior Member
                            • Mar 2006
                            • 1034

                            #14
                            Love that "bag of prunes".

                            They can set you free...

                            Comment

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