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Jens Lindemann about mouthpieces


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trickg
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 11:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:
trickg wrote:
... It was a good Taps, but I knew from the first note that I needed to really focus. Fortunately I had no clams, and my sound, dynamics , intonation and note lengths were good, but I just didn't feel like I had a lot of control - everything felt stiff, and I didn't feel like it was as musical as it could have been. ...

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trickg - this is not a comment about your playing of Taps.

My view is that when part of a memorial service or ceremony, there shouldn't a noticeable 'musical ' aspect to the playing of Taps.

Yes it should be played well and without any fluffs, but it should be played in a very respectful and solemn manner. The only embellishment might be doing 'echo Taps' with another player. Taps should never be 'stylized' as is sometimes done to the Star Spangled Banner at sporting events (and I don't care for that either!).

I'm not quite sure how to describe it except that my chops felt stiff while playing it, and as a result I think I was also thinking about the mechanics of playing as much as I was on the musical phrasing of the line, and I didn't feel like I had the dynamic control I normally have. No one who isn't a musician would have noticed and I received a lot of compliments on it.

I certainly NEVER stylize it. If you've heard the Echo Taps I have on Youtube, you'll know what I mean. I play it like that, only without the echo.


Link

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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 12:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trickg wrote:
... If you've heard the Echo Taps I have on Youtube, you'll know what I mean. I play it like that, only without the echo.


Link

-----------------------------------------
Thanks, that's a fine example of echo Taps.
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trickg
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's my actual rendition of Taps on 9-11 - I start playing at 35:10.

It's not bad actually - couple of places where intonation was not quite on, and my sound wasn't as smooth as normal, but it's pretty solid overall.

https://www.facebook.com/FOXBaltimore/videos/1568756213467112/

To bring this back to the subject of mouthpieces, even something middle of the road like this 3C, can feel foreign if your chips are stiff.
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Shifty
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 2:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It starts at 31:00 on my computer.

Nice work.
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Vin DiBona
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well done!
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Grits Burgh
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 13, 2021 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trickg wrote:
It's not bad actually - couple of places where intonation was not quite on, and my sound wasn't as smooth as normal, but it's pretty solid overall.


Thanks for posting. I think that your rendition is spot on.

Back when I was in high school in Western Pennsylvania, I was the guy the local American Legion would get to play for the funerals of veterans. Oddly, it was easier for me to do it back then than it is now. Back then I was rather cocky and self assured. I don't recall ever chipping a note.

Back then, it was the best gig in town. They paid me something like $3.00, got me out of school for pretty much an entire day, and I got to eat the fantastic Italian and Polish food served up in the American Legion after the funeral. Nice work if you can get it.

I haven't played taps since then. I have been asked to play on Memorial Day lately, but I have been out of town or otherwise unavailable. I anticipate that I will play next year. Nowadays, I have a better appreciation for the solemnity of the occasion and the exposed nature of the bugle call. I'm not nearly so self-assured. I can't say that I am looking forward to the event, but I will listen to your rendition in my preparation.

Warm regards,
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furcifer
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jens is a great cat and a great hang - if you ever get the chance, don't miss it, LOL Vin DiBona's first comment on that was spot-on, as well.

I'll quibble a bit with trickg; I don't think trying any new mouthpiece is ever a completely "fruitless attempt". 'Not practicing' is a totally different topic, and more often just a presumption and a straw man. It's a too-easy target and therefore just a cheap shot. EVERYBODY needs to "practice more", OK? It's a given. Can we pin a post to the top of every thread that stipulates that we all already know and concede that we need to practice? Has any player or manufacturer ever claimed that they finally found the mouthpiece that allows us to play amazingly without practicing? Not even Jet-Tone ever claimed that if you buy a Bill Chase mouthpiece you'll be able to play like Bill Chase.

I've also never met a single young trumpet player in over 40 years who EVER thought that Bill Chase's mouthpiece would automatically make them play like Bill Chase either - but almost all with few exceptions would be happy try Bill Chase's mouthpiece if I had one and offered it to them to try. (fun fact: I only know two trumpet players in 40 years who regularly played a Bill Chase Jet-Tone)

Don't blame mouthpiece experimentation for not practicing. There is actually far more real-world examples that these two things are practically unrelated and not at cross-purposes, much less an either/or choice. Every mouthpiece I have ever tried informed my playing in some way, and also informed my next, usually significantly-better mouthpiece choice as a collective result. If a young player needs to try three, five or a hundred different mouthpieces to finally arrive at the right one (for now), then so be it. What's the problem here? Save some money and get busy! LOL

But even more importantly, for those who presume to teach others and help guide less experienced players through a mouthpiece quest, it follows that you'll be a better pedagogical resource with less unintentional personal bias interjected if you make a point to acquire a bit more than a passing familiarity with the more common and inclusive "specialty" mouthpiece sizes and brands chosen by various kinds of players, for the various kinds of playing they do.

Every mouthpiece produces a mixed result. It makes some aspect of playing easier while other aspects may require a more diligent and/or specialized approach in order to ensure a net gain from a given mouthpiece choice. Some will be totally unsuitable for certain kinds of music/players. But every one should tell us something more about how rim, cup, throat and backbore either facilitate or compromise various aspects of our own playing.

One step further: Upon "trying" a mouthpiece, it should also be understood that there is an acclimation period, and this is where we can get ourselves in trouble. What a mouthpiece does for us up front may not be what is happening two months later, because it has driven an unconscious change in the embouchure that is now producing a different result. Here again, more familiarity with what different specs of rim, cup, throat and backbore do for us will help us arrive more quickly at a choice that will seem more likely to survive and even improve through the acclimation period.
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I want to clarify a bit what I meant with my following statement.

trickg wrote:
So yeah, this is still relevant because as long as there are young, up-and-coming players, there will always be a fruitless quest for equipment to solve issues that need to first be addressed in the practice room.

I know that when I was in high school, I bought a couple of mouthpieces in an effort to achieve the elusive stratospheric range I desired - one was a Jet Tone of some size or other, and the other was the Maynard Ferguson model of Jet Tone. I couldn't play a lick on either one, and I certainly didn't gain any range. I suppose that one could argue that I did have a takeaway - my chops weren't nearly developed enough to be able to use anything that small, and thus I learned a lesson about them in that I never tried to play on a Jet Tone ever again.

An even bigger takeaway would be that I came to the conclusion that my best bet for improvement was to really dig in and get to work in the practice room on fundamentals on the mouthpiece I was the most comfortable with - a mid-sized fairly normal mouthpiece.

With that being said, I have known many young aspiring players over the years who just get it so wrong where equipment is concerned, and it runs the extremes.

Years ago I worked with a high school marching band and jazz band, and the current trumpet hotshot of the band had some fairly shallow gear he was trying to use (IIRC it was a Schilke 6A4a) because he was completely chasing the stratospheric glory notes. The net result was pretty typical - his chops weren't strong enough or developed enough to handle it, so ultimately when he'd start cranking on the pressure with the pinky hook "octave key," the buzz and sound would close off. He'd get about 3-4 decent notes before that happened. I think I ended up giving him a 14A4a or something or other to give him something maybe a bit bigger. Ultimately his quest for that magic mouthpiece never amounted to much and he dropped playing trumpet altogether.

On the opposite side of the spectrum I worked with a high school jazz band a couple of years ago where two of the students were using mouthpieces way too big for them. The one girl was certainly proud of the fact that she "graduated" to a 1.5C - she made a point to tell me about it. I watched her fail on a solo at a Christmas thing - I think she was playing "Oh Holy Night" -- the line was basically, "Ooooh niiiight, de-vi---spleah...(air)......" I could hear well before that line that she wasn't going to make it, and I felt badly for her that it was going to happen and be potentially embarrassing. This was a small girl too - maybe 5'2", 100 lbs soaking wet. She'd have been better off on something a bit smaller.

This was a kid who took lessons too, and I imagine her teacher moved her to that from something else. He'd have been better off leaving her on what was probably a 7C, and just having her work fundamentals, but there's a fallacy that persists in high school settings that as a player advances, then they MUST move to a bigger mouthpiece.

The other kid was trying to play jazz band lead trumpet on a 1.5C, and he struggled to hit a 2nd ledger C. He was another one who had no business using a mouthpiece that big, but his Dad, also a trumpet player back in the day, moved him to that mouthpiece because undoubtedly he was under the same delusion that as a player advances, they must go to a bigger mouthpiece.

Practice is the key - if you can't sound big on a smaller mouthpiece, or have poor range on a bigger mouthpiece, getting a different mouthpiece really isn't going to help much.
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 7:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is an ancillary question, but is there a general group that The Mouthpiece Safari actually centers around and, hence, its wide proliferation is over-generalised?

As a school kid, I only changed mpcs once, and that was at the guidance of my teacher. In college, I also changed once, this time with the tacit observation of my teacher and I kept that mpc. for most of my playing time. It's only since semi-retirement and, perhaps with the simultaneous rise of the (mis)information onslaught of internet life.

So, is the Search for the Holy Grail generally centered around one group and not as universal as it seems? I should add that, from my perspective, how valuable and cost-efficient it can be by consulting a good teacher or an experienced role model?
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So...I just found a video of the gal I mentioned in my post above. It's her college senior recital. I won't post it - it's not great to say the least, and she doesn't deserve the scrutiny when the Youtube to the recital was published on a semi-private basis. In any case, even after 4 years of a collegiate music program, she had some of the same playing issues she had in high school. I don't know if the chops just aren't there, if the mouthpiece fit is wrong, or possibly she had a really really bad case of nerves.

Either way it didn't seem to be much improvement at all from the player she was 5 years previously, so I'm not sure we can chalk it up to an equipment issue, or if the desire is there, but the talent is lacking.

Clearly, there's more to playing the trumpet than making the effort to choose the correct mouthpiece.
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
This is an ancillary question, but is there a general group that The Mouthpiece Safari actually centers around ... ?

-----------------------------
My guess is the 'general group' that is vulnerable to the Mouthpiece Safari is of 2 sorts -
1) Have not developed good embouchure skill. Perhaps due to lack of good teaching or learning, or due to strong (but incorrect) personal beliefs about embouchure usage.
2) Have lip or teeth structure that makes finding a comfortable mouthpiece that 'works for them' difficult.

For trumpet, I've use a Bach 7 since first beginning.
For French horn, I tried a few that made claims of better sound and intonation, but I returned to the same mouthpiece that I started with.
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
This is an ancillary question, but is there a general group that The Mouthpiece Safari actually centers around and, hence, its wide proliferation is over-generalised?

As a school kid, I only changed mpcs once, and that was at the guidance of my teacher. In college, I also changed once, this time with the tacit observation of my teacher and I kept that mpc. for most of my playing time. It's only since semi-retirement and, perhaps with the simultaneous rise of the (mis)information onslaught of internet life.

So, is the Search for the Holy Grail generally centered around one group and not as universal as it seems? I should add that, from my perspective, how valuable and cost-efficient it can be by consulting a good teacher or an experienced role model?

I think that folks like you and me are the exception rather than the rule. I dabbled a bit in HS, but once I found a mouthpiece that was comfortable and worked pretty well, I stuck with it. That particular mouthpiece was a Marcinkiewicz #3, and I'd likely have stuck with that for the duration, but like an idiot, I left it sitting on top of the instrument cage/lockers when I was at the Armed Forces School of Music after drill band one day, and it grew little feet and walked off. The local music store that was within walking distance of the Naval Amphibious base sold Marckinkiewicz mouthpieces, but they were out of the #3 - they had the #2, so I bought that one to replace it.

I've strayed now and again from that mouthpiece, but I always seem to wind up coming back to it. That's 32 years at this point.

During my Latin Band days, I moved to a Schilke 14A4a because a guy had given me one to try with a pic. I used that for years until I opted for the more open 14A4 - same rim and cup, but a more open backbore. For the Latin band and wedding band stuff I've used either the 14A4a or the 14A4 from about 1997 to I think 2013 when I got my Warburton setup - the 4SVW on a KT backbore.

I know guys who are constantly switching things up though - never more than a month or two on any particular mouthpiece, trying to find one that gives them everything they want - the sound, the focus, the comfort, the ease of use, the range, etc. Heck, I know a guy who would swap mouthpieces between phrases during rests.
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PMonteiro
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 8:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

trickg wrote:
Oddly, I had a rough day on the horn on Saturday playing Bb. I was at a 9/11 ceremony for Maryland's National Guard fallen, and was tasked with sounding "Taps" - the Governor and a US Senator + news crews were all there - no pressure, right?

It was a good Taps, but I knew from the first note that I needed to really focus. Fortunately I had no clams, and my sound, dynamics , intonation and note lengths were good, but I just didn't feel like I had a lot of control - everything felt stiff, and I didn't feel like it was as musical as it could have been.


I had a similar experience on Friday. I had two 9/11 ceremonies and performed Taps both times on my Bb with a 5C.

The first was early in the morning and I didn't have a chance to warm up fully. I can easily overpower the 5C if I'm not precise, and without a good warmup I was playing imprecisely. Playing open in the key of Bb, it felt stiff and shallow sounding. Several audience members complimented my playing but I felt it wasn't ideal.

The second time I took it down to the key of G on 3rd valve. On 3rd the slotting can be wonky so I had to be very careful, but that's easier to do when you're using less air. Sounded better this time around but still room for improvement.

Both times I wished I was using my 1 1/2, which would give me more room for error. The point I'm trying to make is that while smaller mouthpieces may be more efficient, they can require more precision and be less forgiving than larger pieces.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kehaulani wrote:
This is an ancillary question, but is there a general group that The Mouthpiece Safari actually centers around and, hence, its wide proliferation is over-generalised?

When exactly does trying new mouthpieces become a safari? Is it a certai number of changes, the rapid sucession of it, or the never-ending aspect of it?

I generally refer to my own quest for mouthpieces a safari, but the total number I've owned is around 10 or so? And while the first change was definitely spurred by a desire to improve my range (I'd played a Bach 1 /14C for over a decade when I finally got fed up and decided I was gonna 'cheat', ended up with a Reeves 3C), the other mouthpieces were more aimed at getting different sounds (I did get one or 2 shallow mouthpieces for the sound the had in the staff and below it, believe it or not). The 3 AR mouthpieces I currently use (a shallow, medium & deep V one) I stumbled upon more or less by accident, not because I was looking for an upgrade, but because I was curious and had a chance to try them, and they worked. So well in fact, that I'm confident that any deficiencies left in my playing are truly lack of skill or practice, and that no amount of new gear (mouthpiece or trumpet) will fix it...does that mean that the safari is over?
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trickg
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hibidogrulez wrote:
When exactly does trying new mouthpieces become a safari? Is it a certai number of changes, the rapid sucession of it, or the never-ending aspect of it?

I think that in order to define what constitutes a "mouthpiece safari" we should first look at the definitions of the word:

Safari:

1. a journey or expedition, for hunting, exploration, or investigation, especially in eastern Africa.

2. the hunters, guides, vehicles, equipment, etc., forming such an expedition.

3. any long or adventurous journey or expedition.


For most people, going on a mouthpiece safari equates to a costly hunt to find the "trophy" mouthpiece - the best one you can find given the time and budget you are on. The idea of course is to find something special or extraordinary that's going to give you just the right sound, enable your range, assist your articulation, aid your endurance, improve your flexibilities, boost your gas mileage, make your breakfast, paint your house, do your taxes...

Ok - getting a bit carried away, but you get the point. I think it's one of those things where people feel they are starting to stagnate for one reason or other, and they are also looking for that extra something that will provide some inspiration.

I know that when my chops aren't in shape, dragging myself into the practice room is a chore because playing when my chops are in that state isn't really enjoyable. However, if I can get over that hump to where playing is easier again, then it's circular - the better I'm playing, the more I want to play, and therefore the more my playing continues to improve.

The safari is just part of that quest to play better so that we want to continue to play. That's how I see it anyway.
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hibidogrulez
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 14, 2021 11:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

trickg wrote:
Ok - getting a bit carried away, but you get the point.

Yeah, I think I do. Mostly trying to to make sure I understand what other people mean when they use certain terms (I've had several fruitless arguments over semantics in the past ).

Thinking back though, what Jens wrote applied to me too. The Bach 1 1/4C was way too big for me, and I remember bottoming out instantly the first time I tried a shallow mouthpiece. Neither were right for me at the time, though I can play them just 'ok' right now.
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