Brass Mouthpiece Advice & Info…
Many brass players will tell you that you can search for that elusive perfect mouthpiece, but never find it. Truer words have probably never been spoken but the benefits of trying to find a good compromise can be enormous. If you are looking to improve the squeakiest of lead trumpet parts, the mellowest of flugel tones or the meatiest bass trombone pedals, the chances are we have something to suit!
All instruments are sold with a mouthpiece included, but this is often a student size and can sometimes be completely inappropriate for the style of music you like to play.
A mouthpiece is the part of the instrument that communicates the sounds and expressions from you to the instrument – even the smallest change can alter your whole sound.
General rules to observe…
• Mouthpiece cup diameter: increasing this will make more of your lips vibrate inside the cup and give a richer sound, but may also compromise endurance.
• Cup depth: a deeper cup gives a fuller sound but makes playing higher more difficult. Shallower cups make high playing much easier but will produce a harsher tone.
• Rim width/ sharpness: a wide rim will make playing for long periods of time very comfortable but will make lip slurring harder. A thinner, sharper rim will vastly improve lip slurring and flexibility but will become very uncomfortable for endurance playing.
• Backbore: this is possibly the most complicated measurement. A wider backbore will make the whole instrument feel and play more openly but this will affect your breathing and endurance. A narrow backbore increases resistance, which can make higher notes easier to hit but gives a very thin sound.
This is just a brief glimpse into the science behind mouthpiece selection. Selecting one is all about compromising and, of course, working hard! This writer is lucky enough to have stumbled upon his “perfect” mouthpiece… until the next one comes along!
Of course, every player is different and this is why we suggest trying out several until you find one that fits you. Any brass player can come to us and try out mouthpieces in store or we can simply offer some friendly advice. Dawkes Music offer a 1 week trial period on any brass mouthpiece as often the only way to test a mouthpiece accurately is in situ – at band or with your teacher. We charge a £3.00 “hygiene” fee to cover the cost of cleaning the mouthpiece should you decide to return it.
Matt – Brass DeptBrass Mouthpiece Advice & Info…
ChopSaver Lip Balm – Product Review
It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the brass band world, with the run up to the Spring festival and now in the last week before the Masters. We have been rehearsing solidly most nights for the last 3 weeks and along with my personal practice, and an instrument and mouthpiece change, my lips have taken quite a beating.
After leaving a 6 hour rehearsal last Sunday aching I decided to dig out the tube of ChopSaver bought a couple of months ago. Applying after that rehearsal I didn’t expect a lot but when I got up on Monday my lips didn’t feel bruised as I expected and when I played at Lunch, they actually felt a little fresher than the day before. I have been putting the stuff on every day since and now no sign of dry or sore lips at all!
The list of players using this now is like a who’s who of the pro music world, manufacturers would kill to have this as a list of endorsees – view players
Anyone who has used Vaseline or any other petroleum based treatments knows that the mouthpiece sliding around can be a real issue and it can build up on reed instruments. ChopSaver is non-greasy so it can be used while playing.
There are 2 types of ChopSaver currently available, original and Gold. Original is perfect for any general use. Gold contains a sunscreen and gives SPF 15 protection, perfect for those up-coming park jobs over the summer and the Whit Friday Marches!
You can find it on our website under mouthpiece accessories
Matt – Brass Dept (26/05/2011)
* For more info please see the ChopSaver websiteChopSaver Lip Balm – Product Review