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How to choose your trumpet mouthpiece

Dear yyyyy,
You need to be VERY careful about drilling out your mouthpiece. It can create pitch (flat in the upper register) and endurance problems, as well as making soft playing more difficult. Please remember that any mouthpiece you have "reamed" out, is forever destroyed, insofar as the original specifications are concerned! This procedure must not be taken lightly. You see, Vaughn, or anyone else for that matter, was likely NOT talking about orchestral musicians. Rather, he was talking about making a rather small, shallow, mouthpiece able to to play very loudly, in the stratosphere! (Above and beyond "high C"), for lead and "commercial" playing. No orchestral conductor would tolerate that kind of "sound" in a symphony orchestra. My Bach 1 orchestral mouthpiece already has a #23 (quite large) throat. Smaller mouthpieces often have throats in the neighborhood of #27 or even 28. When I was playing a LOT of bigband "lead" I used a fairly small , shallow mouthpiece with a #20 throat. At any rate , I would NEVER open a throat more than one drill size at a time. All the best!
Clyde Hunt


Dear Mr. xxxxx, One's range is a result of the player's ability to "buzz", or vibrate, at a given frequency. A mouthpiece is an inanimate object - it is neither: good nor bad, in-tune, out-of tune, nor does it possess any range, as it sits there on the shelf. The above information, if taken seriously, can save you piles of cash, and many hours of lost practice time!! (grin!) Disclaimer - this does NOT mean that there is not a mouthpiece which is "best", for you. This is precisely why there are so many choices available. "Find a mouthpiece which feels comfortable on your chops, allows good "tonguability" in the low register, and "sounds" the way YOU want to sound - then learn to play it". Keep'Em Flying!
I still prefer my old Bach 1 for non-jazz solo work. I also believe that a large mouthpiece encourages a strong, robust, embouchure - and a like "sound", to go with it.

To my way of thinking, it is best to choose a mouthpiece which will allow the strength of sound you require in the BOTTOM register. (I find the bottom register to be quite mouthpiece dependent.) Then, you learn to do what is required when you wish to play in the stratosphere. I can play just as high on my old Bach 1 (with all the plating worn off) , as I can on a Shilke 13a4a - the player supplies the vibration, not the mouthpiece. But there certainly is a different sound in all registers, when we compare the two (above). Were I required to limit myself to ONE mouthpiece for ALL genres - I would stay with the BACH 1 !!! The "maneuverability" and "tongue-ability" being prime factors.

Sorry - there are no magic mouthpieces nor magic trumpets! Choose one of the above, and learn to play it! How can you expect your embouchure to stabilize
and develop when you keep changing mouthpieces? Many "wannabe's" are pre-occupied with equipment - that is one of the reasons they are "wannabe's"!!
This perhaps seems cold, and no doubt it is NOT what you want to hear. But I offer it to you with the greatest sincerity! Clyde Hunt
(Q): am I limiting myself sticking with the Schilke, or should I go to the 3C or maybe lower and "learn to play it"?
(A): I would choose the mthpc. which allows the least "pain" while allowing the kind of "sound" I need. Eg., I use a Schilke 13A4A for my "Jazz" pyrotechnics.
I would NEVER struggle with my faithful Bach 1, "up there". It would seem to me that that the 12a4 might be a good mouthpiece FOR THE PURPOSES which you have,
described to me - if it is "comfortable" for you?? If you were going to be playing in a symphony orchestra, or as a "legit" soloist, you would never "get-away"
with using that 12a4. On the other hand, I would NEVER use my Bach 1 for a jazz-rock gig such as you describe. The sound, while "big as a house"
is devoid of a brilliant, laser edge. I do not need the superior flexibility, dynamic range, and "tongue-ability", which is afforded me by the Bach 1.
To keep this from being simply a "me too" post, I'd like to add a quote from my beloved teacher, William Best : "If 'e 'ad spent as much time practising,
as he has "trying" mouthpieces, 'e'd already be a good player!" end quote.

If there is any "magic" involved, I'd say its the "psychological comfort" which results from knowing oneself as intimately as possible -
ie, me + my mouthpiece + my trumpet. In this manner, we are less likely to wonder "what the H--- is going to come out"?, when we pick up our trumpet.
(To paraphrase Donovan

I guess my greatest concern with all of this, is that students may be distracted from the "truth" - the "real" secret lies with "a greater expectation of oneself,
and the 'will' to see-it-through"! "Keep your hand on the throttle and your eye upon the rail." AMEN - and now let's turn to page 226 -
"you'll find your books on the back of your seats

Keep 'Em Flying!

Clyde Hunt How does the mouthpiece "Throat Size" affect my playing? How do you feel opening up the throat
affects intonation?

(A) My mouthpiece throat sizes are stock, except for the BACH 1E, which is about a 23. BTW, this mouthpiece was given to me by an acquaintance because he had had it "drilled-out", and now declared it to be "ruined". (range and intonation problems) Also, my "old" BACH 1, has a #23, I believe.

Is it not better to have a mouthpiece designed to be more open? NOT NECESSARILY!
(YES) - Opening the throat seems to help LOUD playing, especially.
(NO) - It MAY adversly affect soft playing (lack of resistance). And yes, intonation may become a problem - at first. But as always, that can be overcome as we
"re-learn" to play the mouthpiece. Intonation is, firstly, the players problem - people who head off to the local music emporium and begin "trying" mouthpieces,
and forthwith begin making pronouncements re. intonation, must not be taken seriously. I believe there is often a problem when "week-end warriors",
and people who may practice for 3 - 4 hours a week, try to use equipment utilized by those who are serious about playing the trumpet. I suspect that the
majority of playing difficulties are directly attributable to "insufficient practice".

Questions concerning Clyde's Equipment

I do not have great experience to share with you, regarding mouthpieces. I have played upon a grand total of "eight" different mouthpieces-since day ONE.
I agree that a deeper cup certainly helps to eliminate that very metallic sound we often hear (a very distorted sound). ALSO, for me it is much easier to articulate
cleanly on a deep mouthpiece. Here is a response which I wrote previously, regarding my equipment. (1) I use a BACH #1 for "legit". I started using it when I was
about 23 (1960 - still use same one), because maestro Louis Lane had complained that my sound was too "bright/loud/whatever". I had been using a 1-1/4C in the
orchestra, prior to that.(2) For my Yamaha Custom Picc I usually use a Yamaha 14A4A or Bach 1E, depending upon the sound quality I'm seeking.
(3) For big band lead/soloist I usually use the Yamaha 14a4a. If the band is really "potent" (loud, let's face it) I may use my Yamaha YTR 739 big bore trumpet
(well, at least it was in 1979).(4) with my silver Getzen Capri Shephard's Crook Cornet, I recorded the H.L.Clarke Characteristic Studies. HOWEVER,
I did record a couple of those with the BACH #1). I really can't tell!!! (or remember). The ARBAN 14 Characteristic Studies - first 9, on the Getzen cornet,using
an Olds 7s mouthpiece (deep and conical). (5) With my sextet, Swing's The Thing, I used a Shilke 13a4a. However, on As Time Goes By, I used a turn-of-the-century
Carl Fischer "cookie cutter" mouthpiece that has a DEEP "V" cup with an enormous throat! There are mouthpieces which facilitate brilliance and intensity of sound.
These mouthpieces, sometimes labeled high velocity, are more "V" shaped as opposed to bowl shaped. Sometimes, usually at the music store when we are trying mouthpieces,
almost any mouthpiece appears to be superior to the one we are now playing - hence the answer to all our prayers. But pitch is determined by frequency of vibration of
your lip. If you can play a C4 on a Schilke 5a4a, you can also do so on a Bach #1. Don't get into the drawer full of mouthpieces syndrome. Choose a rim that is
comfortable and learn to play it. I am convinced that a larger cup diameter and a more open throat, which permits a larger airstream, actually facilitates the
development of the high register.

Hello, Greg!
The best advice I have for you is: find a mouthpiece which is (A) comfortable (B) has a sound (when YOU play it) that is appropriate for the music, and (C)
learn to play it!!!!!!! I'm certain that you are correct - a 1 B is NOT going to have enough "zing" for playing lead. Finally, remember that constantly
"fooling around" with lots of mouthpiece is often counter-productive. You will not gain any "psychological security" while constantly changing mouthpieces.
Mr. Best always used to say, "If he'd spent as much time practicing, as he did trying mouthpieces - he'd already be a good player!! WANNA-BE's spend lots of time
with the above - hence they remain so! Don't be duped re. the role of the mouthpiece. I can't recommend a mouthpiece for you, anymore than I can reccomentd
that you should buy a size 48 suit!! You CANNOT .... pick-up a mouthpiece and make a valid value judgement in a few days - let alone a few hours or minutes.
I'm aware that this (above advice) is not going to be perceived as being particularly helpful. (Grin!) But it is offered to you in all sincerity!
Please read the first paragraph, again - remember the A,B, C,s of mouthpieces!
Keep 'Em Flying
Clyde Hunt

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