When is a mouthpiece too big?

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Bach5G
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When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by Bach5G »

I don’t mean Schilke 60 in a 2B too big but rather the difference between 102, 103, and 104. I’m playing a DE 104 rim (G, G8) but, despite relatively assiduous practice, my high range remains unpersuasive.
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Burgerbob
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by Burgerbob »

That's actually a good question. I can tell when a throat/backbore is too big, and to a lesser extent when a cup is too big.

I guess I just did go through this- I got a GB 2.5GSY used, and while I think the cup size and throat were appropriately sized, I got very fatigued on the rim size being just too big for the instrument.

FWIW, it took me a while for the 104 size to feel natural in the high register- to not rely on the rim to do the work for me.
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Doug Elliott
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by Doug Elliott »

Can you do a Skype call?
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harrisonreed
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by harrisonreed »

Bach5G wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 10:58 am I don’t mean Schilke 60 in a 2B too big but rather the difference between 102, 103, and 104. I’m playing a DE 104 rim (G, G8) but, despite relatively assiduous practice, my high range remains unpersuasive.
It just means you need a bigger mouthpiece. :twisted:
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JohnL
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by JohnL »

How do you know when a mouthpiece is too big?

When you can't climb back out after you've fallen in.
Bach5G
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by Bach5G »

Doug Elliott wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 11:43 am Can you do a Skype call?
I’ll contact you offline.
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muschem
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by muschem »

harrisonreed wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 1:49 pm
Bach5G wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 10:58 am I don’t mean Schilke 60 in a 2B too big but rather the difference between 102, 103, and 104. I’m playing a DE 104 rim (G, G8) but, despite relatively assiduous practice, my high range remains unpersuasive.
It just means you need a bigger mouthpiece. :twisted:
You joke, but I was fairly surprised that going bigger worked better for me. What surprised me most wasn't that a larger cup ID worked better, but that the scaling didn't seem as linear as I would have expected. For me, stepping up from 101-104 sizes, things got progressively more comfortable, improving flexibility and response at range extremes, and so on. Then there was a pretty steep drop off where things got worse in the 105-106 size range, which seemed to point to 104 as my upper limit. Counterintuitively (at least, to me), pushing past that zone where things didn't work, and going even bigger to the 108-110 range was actually a huge improvement again.
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EriKon
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by EriKon »

That's indeed an interesting question and I've been wondering the same thing too. Every now and then I saw people reporting to more frequently crack notes when a rim is too small. Is there a similar transfer to a rim size that is too big?
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by harrisonreed »

muschem wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 3:10 pm
harrisonreed wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 1:49 pm

It just means you need a bigger mouthpiece. :twisted:
You joke, but...
You know I ain't joking -- I play a 106. 😎
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ghmerrill
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by ghmerrill »

I think it's difficult to talk sensibly about a "mouthpiece" being bigger or smaller -- except in vague terms. The mouthpiece consists of the rim, the bowl, and the shank. Change any of these and you've got ... well ... a change. Change all of them simultaneously and you've probably got a bigger change. And this assumes that other things are held constant -- such as the particular instrument the mouthpiece is being stuffed into and (as a significant part of that) the lead pipe -- which you might also change and will affect how the mouthpiece is working.

Beyond that, there's the questions of "What do you want? What are you trying to achieve? What do you feel isn't right with your current setup?" I guess what I'm saying is that the question "When is a mouthpiece too big?" is a VERY complex question, even in terms of its meaning. I say this in the context of, for several weeks, rotating repeatedly through several combinations of rim, shank, and lead pipe in order to get what (I think) I need. I think I'm there now -- I think. Time to stop the experimentation and settle on one combination to play on. :roll:
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muschem
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by muschem »

harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 04, 2024 6:50 am
muschem wrote: Fri May 03, 2024 3:10 pm

You joke, but...
You know I ain't joking -- I play a 106. 😎
:) I know. I'm glad you talk about it here, because I wouldn't have thought to try larger rim sizes otherwise.

I wish the 106 worked for me, so I could stay in the XT range instead of bothering Doug with tenor-depth cup requests in the SB line. I tried going back after experimenting with the 108 and 110, but still no dice. Something weird happens for me around that size. I'm sure its just my mechanics being off, but I get double-buzzes like crazy and feel really fatigued with a 106. Smaller or bigger than that, and those issues go away. I can make smaller sizes work, but its really uncomfortable and my shifts have to be much larger.
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harrisonreed
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by harrisonreed »

ghmerrill wrote: Sat May 04, 2024 7:50 am
Beyond that, there's the questions of "What do you want? What are you trying to achieve? What do you feel isn't right with your current setup?" I guess what I'm saying is that the question "When is a mouthpiece too big?" is a VERY complex question, even in terms of its meaning. I say this in the context of, for several weeks, rotating repeatedly through several combinations of rim, shank, and lead pipe in order to get what (I think) I need. I think I'm there now -- I think. Time to stop the experimentation and settle on one combination to play on. :roll:
The question was specified though. When is a mouthpiece too big, in terms of 102, 103, 104, etc.

No need to try and make it more complex.
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ghmerrill
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by ghmerrill »

harrisonreed wrote: Sat May 04, 2024 11:44 am The question was specified though. When is a mouthpiece too big, in terms of 102, 103, 104, etc.

No need to try and make it more complex.
As specified, the question has certain assumptions behind it. I'm suggesting that if your goal is something like "better high range," and you want to constrain possible solutions to rim size, then you may very well be overlooking a more fundamental issue. But I'd also guess that Doug might provide the best insight, and it may have nothing to do with rim size at all.
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BrassSection
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by BrassSection »

Not much experience on various tenor trombone mouthpieces, have one I like and never tried anything else other than the King that came with the horn and a Bach 12 I had laying around just to say I tried them. Euph I switched from Olds 3 to Bach 6 1/2 AL and haven’t looked back. Trumpet, using Bach 12B, kinda small. Tried Holton MF3, that came with horn, visually larger than the Back and lost upper and lower range and sound quality…gave it a week and no improvements. Tried an Olds 3, while it works for me in an old trumpet, not so much in the Holton. While I’m not as happy with my trumpet MP as with all my other horns, bigger definitely was not better, and smaller gets me the notes and sound I’m looking for.
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by musicofnote »

I'm going through a mouthpiece search myself. My daily driver was for years a Wedge 110G, which according to Dr. Dave has a cup ID of 27.94. But sometimes I felt it was a bit big, so I had him make up a 109G, which in terms of cup ID is similar to a Greg Black 1 7/16th with 27.59 / 27.68. But when playing a while, I found I was missing high notes on the upper side.

Then, in a fit a "I wanna too", I ordered a Griego Markey 85 and 87 and found, that both worked very well for me, where a Griego Hecht Audition 1 felt huge when I tried it. That Hecht is actually smaller than either Markey. Now, after warming up on my Wedge, after about 10 minutes I go to my new favourite which is either a Greg Black 1 3/8 (27.90) or the Markey 85 (28.32). Both work well for me, with the Markey favouring the pedal register without losing ground upstairs. And I love the sound of both, more than the Wedge. That being the case, I received a Markey 90 (28.88) which is much larger than the Yeo that came with my Yamaha years ago and I couldn't play at all. And of course the lower register is much better, but --- the upper register doesn't suffer. In fact, I feel, that my lips have more room in the cup to pucker efficiently for the upper register. It's just a little more work.

What I'm trying to point out is, that depending upon your state of development as a player, how you've approached your deficits, what is too large or not large enough can be a moving target. I now have no inclination of going larger and I bought the Markey 90 via Thomann, so have 3 weeks left to decide to keep it or send it back. In the meantime, I have 2 Greg Blacks underway analog to the Markey 85 & 87. I also have a Markey 82 hung up in Swiss customs which is supposed to be the same general size as my Greg Black 1 3/8. Then I can take some time to decide how I want to go and sell off the rest. Yeah, it's expensive, but the kids are grown, I'm retired and I'm not going to be taking any money to the grave with me.
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ghmerrill
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by ghmerrill »

musicofnote wrote: Sat May 18, 2024 12:56 am Yeah, it's expensive, but the kids are grown, I'm retired and I'm not going to be taking any money to the grave with me.
That's been my approach as well. I can't tell you how much I spent over about 20 years on tuba mouthpieces (probably north of $2,000). But it was a significant educational experience. I finally narrowed it down to one or two that work best for me (a Schilke 66 and a Perantucci that's no longer on the market) on BBb German-style tubas, two that work for me on my big compensating Eb (Denis Wick heritage 3XL and 2XL), and what works best on my 1924 Buescher Eb (Kelly 25). Think of it as tuition for education. Most of my tuition for trombone mouthpieces I've sent to Doug Elliott, and I've learned a lot. :lol:

As to when a mouthpiece is too big, the answer to that can often be "most of the time". At least that's definitely true in the case of tubas where players uniformly use mouthpieces larger than what would be best for them. On two occasions, I've heard Oystein Baadsvik sternly lecture students on that point. But maybe that's less true on trombone.
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Mack Brass Compensating Euph
Amati Oval Euph
1924 Buescher 3-valve Eb tuba
Schiller American Heritage 7B clone bass trombone
DE LB K/K9/110 Lexan, Brass Ark MV50R
1947 Olds "Standard" trombone (Bach 12c)
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Re: When is a mouthpiece too big?

Post by imsevimse »

Interesting question. To big to play for me? One question is in what terms? Diameter of rim or cup for me to handle or in some other aspect? To be frank I do not know because there are probably a myriad of parameters that go along with a change of just one parameter that make me choose but anyhow as a person who play a lot of mouthpieces depending on horn, part and style and also have a large collection and do change I should be able to answer. To me any mouthpiece is equal on my lips and face so that's not what I consider. I mean my face can handel them and noone ever comments a choice as impossible, so I guess It's all up to me. All is about context. So, when is a mouthpiece too big if anything goes?

I never put a mouthpiece that is as big as a 2G in a King 2b so that's not an issue. If I would do that then I'd have very difficult issues. No, when I change my considerations are sizes between Bach 6 1/2 AL and Bach 12C on a small bore tenor and Bach 2G to Bach 6 1/2AL on large bore tenor and Bach 2G to Bach 1G on bass. First I need to know the mouthpiece. I need to aim correctly in the mouthpiece or else this will be the wrong mouthpiece. This is first what I need to learn and then:

1. Somtimes I find my current mouthpiece is to large if streangth start to suffer. The mouthpiece might be to difficult to handle that day. To me that means I need a smaller mouthpiece. In some rare days it could be the opposite. If I'm swollen I instead might need a larger mouthpiece.
2. Somtimes I find my current mouthpiece is to large because a part needs another type of sound. To me a smaller mouthpiece help my lead playing, what help carry and bring my sound to be it in front of the band, and a smaller rim also feel like less work in terms of I get less tired. I do not need to be too tired to make the type of sound I want. I know some people think the smaller size doesn't make high playing easier. Not me. It matters, but in certain contexts I want a larger mouthpiece. It could be a wider rim to play easier in the low register or in some contexts I need a deeper voice and then I try same rim on a deeper cup. After such a swith it could be the mouthpiece is too big and I notice this because I loose some important frequences in my sound, then I switch back as quickly as possible. I just feel I'm not cutting trough the way I want in that context. Sometimes I even change within a song because me playing the part calls for it. So "too big" then is when sound isn't right.

/Tom
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