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My Mouthpiece is “Trash” so I Need a New One


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sjholson
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:27 am    Post subject: My Mouthpiece is “Trash” so I Need a New One Reply with quote

Hi, I really only created this account to ask this question because it’s been driving me insane for months and months, and I reading other people’s advice isn’t really solving my problem.

I’m a senior and am a part of the concert/marching band (first semester-marching, second semester-concert) at my school. I’ve been first chair for 2 years straight and lead a section of anywhere between 15-21 trumpets. I would say I’m one of the better players in my district considering I always place top band/top 10 chairs. I play on a Jupiter Bb trumpet with a Schilke 14A4a. I used to have a 3C that came with my first trumpet and the Jupiter but it literally disappeared or got stolen. So because my family doesn’t have the funds to buy a new mouthpiece and that I’ve only got a few months left, we didn’t buy a new one despite a few judges and instructors telling me to get one now. My band directors didn’t care I played on my Schilke and our marching season trumpet instructor is the one who recommended it to me and told me to play on it for a while. But at the latest clinic, I messed up my audition and the judge asked what Schilke I was playing on. He then told me to just throw it in the trash. 2 years ago at a drum corps audition, the brass instructor during arc took my trumpet, yanked it out, and made me play on someone else’s 3C the rest of the weekend. (I didn’t go to callbacks).

So before my important clinic, I want to get one that’s gonna get me the sound everyone goes after for concert season. I haven’t decided if I’m gonna do band in college or join an orchestra in the city the college is in. When I played on 3C’s I just didn’t like how they felt on my mouth. My Schilke is just so so comfortable and I’m so used to it. The judge recommended me the Yamaha 16C4 but after reading many reviews I’m scared it will be too big for my mouth and what I’m wanting to do. Scales are an important thing during this season. I’m always playing lead parts and higher notes. I guess my air resists, I really don’t know what that means, but I like how easy it is for my air to go through. My mouthpiece never tires me out, so I thought about getting another Schilke but I just don’t know. I heard about Bach 3C’s but I don’t know if that’s what I need. I really can’t be spending too much money, but I’m considering doing band for a little while longer (not majoring), so I need something that’ll help me. Sorry for the long story

UPDATE: I bought a Bach 5C the same day this was posted since the guy there recommended it to me. Warmups/exercises were okay, but when I used it in band, I don't think my lips have ever died out this fast since 7th grade. I got big lips, and I felt like they were getting lost into the cup. Maybe it was just a bad day of playing. It felt like I didn't have enough room to do anything, but I loved the sound I gave off and noticed I meshed with the other trumpets very well! It was a very rewarding experience. I think I should keep working with it, or return it and find something else.


Last edited by sjholson on Wed Jan 23, 2019 10:13 am; edited 3 times in total
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Danbassin
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to TH! -And let me be the first here to offer you simple encouragement and reassurance - you deserve congratulations for the hard work you've put in, for the courage it takes to reach-out about so potentially discouraging and upsetting an experience, and to have the wisdom to seek out advice when given such...again, upsetting and discouraging advice.

Now, a very few words on the situation you may find yourself in, as well as a few more that I hope may be helpful:

1) The Schilke 14A4a is something of a specialist mouthpiece. Probably fine for Marching Band, certainly well-suited and even a tried-and-true Commercial/Lead mouthpiece, but almost unequivocally NOT an all-around mouthpiece.

1a) I'm sorry to hear about your 3C that evaporated!

2) As for getting a good start with an all-round mouthpiece that shouldn't create brand-new stumbling blocks after your already-excellent track record in development, a few thoughts come to mind:

2a) I'd be remiss not to state first and foremost that you are now at a crucial juncture that a quality Private Teacher is THE most important arrow you need in your quiver. Beyond being able to diagnose and anticipate your needs in your continued development and success on the instrument by orders of magnitude better than anything you'd get out of even a community as supportive as TH, a teacher who knows your playing and musical goals will be absolutely necessary in the mouthpiece quest.
2a*)I say this recognizing that since you mentioned mouthpiece purchasing may be a financial strain, paid private lessons may also be a bit much. That said, however, seeking out a local pro has and could yield the potential for even informal low/no cost lessons/mentorship...and much more than likely a loaner mouthpiece as you go on your quest for the next step in your life with the trumpet.

I could go on, but I'm sure many of our colleagues here will have much to contribute. (Fingers crossed they can even pack up and ship a spare MPC [or a few dozen] to your school music teacher!)

Keep practicing, and keep your head up - sounds like you have a good one on your shoulders, already!

-DB
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't follow some of your post, sorry. I've got a question. though. Some bands have Marching Band season followed by Concert Band season. Are you doing both or just Marching Band, now?

My concept of Marching Band and Concert Band is different. If you are doing Marching Band and a 14A4A was fine for both you and your director, then why change horses?

The reaction of your 14A4A by others may have been regarding their use of other mouthpieces for Concert Band and I concur. It may be different for others, but my feel about 14AAs is that it is one of a specialty mouthpiece. To me, the cup size and the backbore say Jazz Band more than Concert Band.

If it's Concert Band, why not use something close to your 14A4A, if that's what you otherwise use, like a Schilke 14C2 or even just a Schilke 14.

No offense, but I don't know how poor you can be to not have, get or earn sixty-six bucks for a mouthpiece. Surely you can get out there and earn that.
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Last edited by kehaulani on Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I suggest asking your band director (or other players) if they have a Bach (mentioning the brand because it is often very available) 7 / 7B / 7C / 5C / 5B / or something similar.

Jay
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Nixer
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
I suggest asking your band director (or other players) if they have a Bach (mentioning the brand because it is often very available) 7 / 7B / 7C / 5C / 5B / or something similar.

Jay


I buy used horns off ebay goodwill and craisgslist occasionally. More often than not they come with a Bach 7C, I have more Bach 7C mps than I know what to do with. Message me with your address and I'll send you one if you think it might do the job.
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Andy Del
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 12:34 pm    Post subject: Re: My Mouthpiece is “Trash” so I Need a New One Reply with quote

This is a long story, and one which sadly seems to be rather common in the US...

If you are doing well on trumpet, then you need to get one thing straight, and that is that band conductors, etc. are NOT your teacher and should not be telling you things like XYZ mouthpiece is trash, but instead giving you some feedback as to what they hear. Plus the direction to take this back to your trumpet teacher and discuss it with them. (It sort of hints that the judge, instructor, conductor, etc should be professional... not narrow minded nutters) (but I may be painting with a broad brush here)

You DO have a trumpet teacher, right? Remember that the lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client. If you are teaching yourself (band directors do NOT count as a teacher) then fix this ASAP.

Many people do not like the feel of XYZ mouthpiece, and so they look for something they do like the feel of. So, if you like that Schilke 14A4a, then what about a Schilke with some more depth to the cup, in a similar sized rim which allows you to get that richer sound you will need for playing in band?

Try some Schilke mouthpieces in the 14 range, like a 14B. Yes, this takes time and money, unless your teacher has a range of mouthpieces you can try. You may need to solve this issue with a part time job after school, negotiating chores with neighbours, mowing your trumpet teacher's lawn, etc. (why do NONE of my students think of this???)

good luck in the hunt...
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starkadder
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are used to the brighter sound that that Schilke mouthpiece produces. It may not be the best sound for you (hence the critical feedback), but it's the one that you are accustomed to. I suspect part of your difficulty is wanting to make that same sound with a different piece.

Your goal as a musician is to sound beautiful on any equipment, which means you figure out what can be done with the combination in your hands. But remember, the trumpet is only an amplifier -- the sound comes from you.
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O00Joe
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would try a Schilke 13C4 with you. You like the Schilke '4' rim and it is pretty much the same diameter. The 13C4 has some depth to it to smooth out the sound but it's also somewhat funnel shaped so it's really easy to brighten up and a bit easier in the high register.

Mouthpiece Express allows trials so you could try many mouthpieces without losing too much money.
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CJceltics33
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Work on opening up your sound. Work on not tensing up on upper register notes. It is likely that your band directors are hearing a thin, tense sound and blame it on the mouthpiece.

Good luck on your endeavor!
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3thanP
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was the same way with you, I made an account to ask a question about a mouthpiece, and the one I bought is absolutely perfect. I used a Yamaha 14a4a for a while, but my chops always bottomed out in the cup, but I really loved the rim of the 14a4a. I know Schilke and Yamaha are different, I'm not exactly how different they are, but if you were thinking of a new mouthpiece I'm really loving my Curry right now. Also, a problem I had with the 14a4a is that the tone was always very sharp. Granted, my horn does not tune well, I also have a Jupiter like you that I have loaned from the school, but it is always sharp. The 14a4a seems to be notorious for being sharp, and also I've seen that it's even considered a piccolo mouthpiece rather than a lead. I'm really happy with my Curry right now, and the switch was rather seamless from the 14a4a embochure wise. Obviously there's no magic mouthpiece but from my first impression of the Curry, it's great.
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you want to save some money, try the relatively new Schilke 13 model. It is roughly a 3C and plays nicely. (I've tried it). It is not as wide a diameter as the 14B and straight 14.
Designed for Forrest Buchtel and (supposedly) Conrad Gozzo, the 14A4a is a highly specialized upper register mouthpiece. Lew Soloff would plug it in when he had extreme upper register work.
Buchtel himself told me it was designed for him to play above the staff (way above) loudly and all night. They've also been modified over the years to allow more players to at least attempt it. It is not made for high school kids and in reality, for most players. If you cannot handle the high alpha angle and shallow cup, it is a disaster for many.
Ed Kennedy is a former Schilke employee from the golden days when Mr. Schilke as alive and very active. Perhaps he can shed more light on this top selling mouthpiece.
I have had one since 1970 and is an original design. I can play it rather well, but the tone just isn't what I needed then and won't use now.
R. Tomasek
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veery715
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd send you a mouthpiece (I have plenty to spare, believe me) if I thought that was the answer to your problem, but:

The only person to tell you to change mouthpieces is your trumpet teacher. If you don't have one, ignore the others and just keep playing what you have, as changing at this point with a clinic looming will just cause you more trouble.

If you are serious about playing - you need to think long and hard about what YOU WANT - then the cost of a mouthpiece should not be an obstacle. But if you have no teacher, then that is a big obstacle. Make some connections and find one and start figuring out how you are going to pursue the instrument to achieve your goals. You need to embrace adulthood and take charge of your aspirations.

The hardest part of growing up is, well, growing up. Look inside and see what's driving you.
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trumpet_cop
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 4:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Unless you are Vizzutti or a few other very specialized players, using a 14A4a for anything other than high playing/commercial work is inappropriate no matter what your concept is.

Why has no one suggested a Yamaha 14B4? I know things are not 100% interchangeable, but it should be closer than a 3C.

You're a senior and say you're "considering doing band for a little while longer". Does this mean you want to major in music? or just play in a band? That answer should help guide you to the answer of should you spend money or not.
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, stay with the 14A4A. Just be aware that different styles will call for different kinds of playing. Learn to play different styles better. This mouthpiece seems to be the one you play the best on and like the most. It's a good mouthpiece. I can get a good pedal, low and middle register with it and, personally, wouldn't give a second thought about using it myself.
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TrpPro
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

repeat

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Ed Kennedy
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trumpet_cop wrote:
Why has no one suggested a Yamaha 14B4? I know things are not 100% interchangeable, but it should be closer than a 3C.


Exactly what I was thinking. And thank you VinDi Bona for the kind words.
It's a matter of the right tool for the job. Don't pound tacks woth a sledge hammer! BTW your 14A4a is NOT trash. It is a tool for high energy high register playing. The judge had an opinion and, dare I say, a predjudice. There are players that can do all with a shallow piece and that has as much to do with their denture and oral cavity structure as anything. Somebody mintioned Vizzuti. He is a soloist and has carte blanche to sound however he likes. You won't find any pro symphony players playing on an extremely shallow piece except, maybe on their piccolo trumpet. We do have to fit into the situation in which we find ourselves. I thind the 14B4 would be a good move for you and would keep the people who have opinions (and other things) off your back

PS If you want to go on the cheap I like the Kelly 5C around $20.


Last edited by Ed Kennedy on Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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Louise Finch
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi

I also was thinking Yamaha 14B4 as I read the opening post.

It is a good all-around piece, with what I consider to be a good rim contour, and reasonably priced. Despite differences in the published specifications, in my opinion, the Yamaha 14B4 is pretty similar to the Bach 3C in terms of cup diameter, cup shape and cup depth.

All the best

Lou
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mafields627
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm coming at this from a different angle than most posters -- I'm a trumpet playing band director. In most school band settings the 14A4a is simply not going to be an appropriate mouthpiece. If the rest of your section is on the 7C/5C/3C end of the spectrum then the brighter sound of the 14A4a is going to stick out and you do need to change to fit in. Regardless of what some have posted, your band director absolutely has the right to require you to do this. Now, if you do have a major performance coming up soon this isn't the time to switch.

If you want to go down the Bach route, see if you can find a used mouthpiece. I wanted to try out a different size and my music store rep hooked me up with a rental return mouthpiece in great condition for only $25 (new Bachs are near $60).
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMO, the 14a4a is definitely a "specific use only" mouthpiece and IMO (also) not a mouthpiece that young developing players need to use and can be detrimental to skill/habit development. The high note players I know that use them use them only for those specific uses. Lead playing in a big band or rock band horn sections where the trumpet part is extremely high not as their primary mouthpiece.

The other aspect that I believe can be a problem with younger players is the shape of the rim (Schilke). The are so rounded and "soft" that they tend to promote bad habits, mostly with pulling pressure and articulation quirks. Yes, they feel comfortable, but the trade off is extra focus on good technique.

I'd highly recommend trying a Yamaha 14B4, (will "feel" very much like the Schilke) either the standard blank or the GP.. I think going to Bach rims would be too much of a jump for you and I think you'd have a difficult time finding a good fit. The 14B4 is a mouthpiece that you can play in all ensembles a good all=around piece. (Maybe a 16B4, but I'd guess that this would feel noticeably bigger)

The other route would be a Curry 3C for most if not all of your playing, then for Big Band, Rock Band or Marching Band work you could get a Curry 3* (Star) which would "feel" the same on your chops but provide you with a brighter more commercial tone.

Then get some lessons with a reputable teacher, the mouthpiece is only a piece of the puzzle.
I teach in a band program that has 44 trumpet players in the HS band, the top players are pretty darn good, but ALL of them have things to work on and growth to be made. Don't be surprised when you step out of your little pond and find out that there are players of all ages that are way better than you and teachers that think you have a lot to work on.
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Ed Kennedy
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mafields627 wrote:
I'm coming at this from a different angle than most posters -- I'm a trumpet playing band director. In most school band settings the 14A4a is simply not going to be an appropriate mouthpiece. If the rest of your section is on the 7C/5C/3C end of the spectrum then the brighter sound of the 14A4a is going to stick out and you do need to change to fit in. Regardless of what some have posted, your band director absolutely has the right to require you to do this. Now, if you do have a major performance coming up soon this isn't the time to switch.

If you want to go down the Bach route, see if you can find a used mouthpiece. I wanted to try out a different size and my music store rep hooked me up with a rental return mouthpiece in great condition for only $25 (new Bachs are near $60).


Warning - Mouthpiece Rant (with apologies to Jens)

YOu are absolutely right that the director has the last word regarding the sound of his/her band. Another fact is that given the exact same equment, two different players can sound wildly different. Look in any professional orchestra section and you will often find four very different mouthpieces in a section that sounds together and jells. Chicago SO comes to mind.
Rim ID and contourhave to fit the player. Your marching band may have the same shoes but they are not all the same size.
Cup depth and shape different players have differing intrusion into the piece with their chops. Lots of intrusion functionally makes the piece more shallow.
I have encountered band directors (usually percussionists or woodwind players) who insist that EVERY trumpet player play a Bach 3C. I personally know several 1st call lead players who play or have played 3C. I also know several symphony players, one of whom was 1st trumpet in a major orchestra and my college teacher (Stephen Chenette) played a 3C. These players couldn't have sounded more different from each other. One of the lead players (Danny Barber) is a Bach artist and plays a stock ML37 with which he can light up a big band or a broadway pit. Ron Turner is the other lead player.

I suggest that band directors acquire a variety of mouthpieces from 1 1/2 to 10 1/2 and in between 2C, 3C, 5C 5B, 7C, 7B and so on (equivlent sizes of different brands are fine) for kids to try under supervision of director or brass coach with the object of finding comfort wit a piece that allows the desired sound to be produced. COMFORT and SOUND
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