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Seymor B Fudd
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Joined: 17 Oct 2015
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Location: Sweden

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:09 am    Post subject: Back in the birdbath! Reply with quote

On pages 46 - 50 in the book mr Smiley discusses smaller vis á vis bigger mouthpieces; so here´s my story:
1) short version: I´ve played on rather big mpc:s during the better part of my life meaning Bach, Schilke 1 1/4C and nr 14, (17,02-09 in diameter).
Enters the BE method - now during almost 3 years smaller (even deeper cornets mpc), 16,25mm. Lately finding myself almost yearning for bigger diameter mpc:s finally going back et voilá endurance, sound , register gets better by the day!

2)Long version
When I began playing in our brass band (still do) 60 years ago, and migrated to front row cornet I was handed a Salvation Army nr 1 mouthpiece; deep but extremely cramped. So I played! But in the late sixties I could no longer get my lips into the tiny thing. Enters Bach 1 1/4 C, trumpet and cornet version. During long periods I played the soprano part, Bach 1 1/2C; effective usable range up to a solid B (as written., in Eb)). Also I played lead trumpet in our swingband - original scores seldom above C; occasionally I had to nail Eb, even F# when we later on played April in Paris. I used this configuration up to late nineties when I came to the conclusion I did not develop. So safari begins, mainly hovering around Schilke mpc:s. A 14 seemed good enough. In the meantime our brassband had slowly changed the sound profile, from bright cornets to darker ones, the Wick invasion seemed inevitable. I tried, some years, Wick classic nr 4 - but couldn´t master it. Back to Schilke 14. So time went by and all of a sudden I had come to the point in life meaning lesser professional work. Gave me ample time to practice resulting in a chops melt down. Overuse syndrom. Kind pro helped me regain music again (should tell that prior to that no lessons at all). So I found the BE method! During a memorable spring I eventually found myself able to use an old Schilke 14 3D3, custom made for me - rather deep - and then I tried a Wick Ultra, tested the whole range and bought a 7C (16,25). But lead playing was in demand again so what mpc? Finally I found a Stork VM6 (16,25). Very good mpc! Now, mainly due to the BE I had somewhat, not entirely, regained my old register, (safe up to D) and very surprising, endurance. 24 tunes in a row during a dance gig; brass band concerts with heavy material (anyone familiar with brassbands will be acquainted with nil pauses, abundance of semiquavers high a low etc.)
So time went by me practicing a lot, BE method the basis. But - during a period of some months I began to feel, very subtle feeling, that my lips were behind bars - and decided I should test my old Schilke 14 D (17,02) and what happened? Much to my amazement my lips felt let loose, sound quality and range got better, no impairment whatsover on endurance, in fact the reverse. Heavy practicing on cornet made the transition to trumpet difficult and the reverse. Lips got swollen, you name it. So I tested an old Schilke 14B for lead and wow, sound, high register opened up. It is as if heavy practicing trumpet or cornet benefit each other - contrary to how it was. Writing this I have good enough endurance, sound, and register in the brassband, trumpet as of today better, Eb, E. Many times I have began the Roll In nr 3 on E; I´m able to play Roll in 1, 2 and 3 in a row. And as of late december I´ll turn 77.
Reflecting on this I believe that I have developed a much better focus - coming from the BE and the use of smaller diameter mpc:s.

I would be very interested to hear if my experience is common! Any comments are appreciated!
Getzen Custom Series Schilke 143D3/ DW Ultra 1,5 C
Getzen 300 series
Yamaha YCRD2330II
Getzen Eterna Eb /M V 1 1/2 C/Schilke 14B
Yamaha 6335 RC Schilke 14B
King Super 20 Symphony DB (1970)
Selmer Eb/D trumpet (1973) Selmer 2 D

Last edited by Seymor B Fudd on Mon Jun 17, 2019 11:04 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Posts: 4540
Location: Texas, by way of Germany and Hawai'i

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

While Jeff suggests 7C-type mouthpieces as a starting point (and I don't consider 7C that small), doesn't he basically say to use, eventually, what works best for one?
"If you don't live it, it won't come out of your horn." Charlie Parker
"Even if I could play like Wynton Marsalis, I wouldn't play like Wynton Marsalis."
Chet Baker

Last edited by kehaulani on Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:19 am; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 02 Nov 2005
Posts: 218
Location: Southern U.S.

PostPosted: Sun Jun 16, 2019 7:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Using a small mouthpiece just as a process to force some adjustments to playing mechanics and correct some bad habits doesn't mean that someone has to stay on the small mouthpiece forever.

Joe Marcinkiewicz in his book, "The Buzz Zone" says that mouthpieces to embouchures are like shoes to the feet. Different sizes accommodate the different physical characteristics of various players.

What I don't like is when classical teachers tell everyone that they must use a Bach 1 and band directors (and ignorant teachers) telling all beginners to use a Bach 3C.
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Joined: 11 Nov 2001
Posts: 3134
Location: Garland, Texas

PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2019 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Seymor,

I've seen similar outcomes to yours many times. Yes, it sounds like your focus improved. Congrats!

With improved focus, a wider range of mouthpieces are available to you.

Thanks for posting.

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