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Mouthpieces and the Extreme Upper Register



 
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Destructo
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:33 pm    Post subject: Mouthpieces and the Extreme Upper Register Reply with quote

Most "lead" player (Bergeron, Ingram, Miyashiro, Jim Manley et al) do use the 'right tool for the job' meaning a shallow cup etc. Yeah, exceptions, I know, but most do.

Anyway, while I was kicking around in the Pickett website, I noticed in the description for Ingram's mouthpieces that the studio model (all rounder) mouthpiece says something like 'Ingram does not attempt to play in the extreme upper register on this model' or something like that. Keep in mind that the Studio model is still fairly small and shallow compared to most standard mouthpieces.

We often hear folks say things like 'range is not about the mouthpiece' and that 'you'll have the same range on any mouthpiece' and that a lead mouthpiece is more about timbre/sizzle and so on.

And I appreciate the point of this, but I do wonder if there comes a point (different for different folks) for players where the mouthpiece does really actually matter quite a lot in making something possible. I wonder how many lead players could actually cleanly and repeatedly articulate a robust 4th leger G, without killing themselves, and not be toast after a few minutes, on any standard C cup mouthpiece? And I say articulate, because slurring up to a decent GG is much easier than going "BAM" and hitting it straight on with a clean attack.

Could Wayne Bergeron convincingly play O Holy Night on a 3C? Could Vizzutti triple tongue those arpeggios up to double C and back in Carnival of Venice on anything notably deeper than his 'very shallow' mouthpiece? What would Jim Manley sound like playing above High C on a 7/3/1.5C? I suspect the answers are probably 'No', 'No', and 'Not great'.

I guess what I'm trying to get at is that I wonder if some players really do just need a shallow/small mouthpiece in order to play anywhere near to their best? If Vizzutti hadn't stumbled on his 14a4 and ended up on a 1.5C, would he be a 'high D' player like so many?

Basically, I am asking how often great upper register players would struggle to play in the upper register without the right equipment.

How often does the right mouthpiece set the conditions for success rather than being merely a matter of timbre? The common denominator is equipment that provides a sense of ease doing what is required, and everything gets built around that. But without that ease, the best you can hope for is to get strong enough to muscle everything. But that isn't what the great players are doing. And I'm not at all convinced that 'ease' is something that is independent of the equipment?
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Jaw04
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do believe that a shallow mouthpiece can help a player discover range. It forces you to play without a lot of lip protrusion, and makes higher notes come out a little bit louder with less air. I also think that if you are playing a lot of high notes and need to play them with a loud sizzling sound, a lead piece is appropriate. However, if you are playing typical music like jazz, classical soloist, or section playing, you will probably prefer the tone and response of a deeper mouthpiece even if a lead piece helped your development. It is possible to discover the upper register on lead equipment and then transfer some of what you learned to all-around equipment.

Furthermore, you get used to your equipment. So what might be a lead piece for one person will be an all-around piece for another person. The "all-around" studio Ingram is shallow to some, but if his lead piece is shallower, it works well as an all-around piece for him. It's all relative. If you eat spicy food every day, Sriracha is very mild. But if you never eat spicy food it's quite spicy. If you play a Bach 1X, a 3C might feel like a lead piece to you. If you play a shallow piece frequently, for example a Shew Lead a lot, a 3C will feel, and behave, like a symphonic mouthpiece to you.
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delano
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2022 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My experience is that pros like those can play anything on any mouthpiece from a 10.5C to a 1X and you will not hear big differences.
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Destructo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 2:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

delano wrote:
My experience is that pros like those can play anything on any mouthpiece from a 10.5C to a 1X and you will not hear big differences.


I really, really doubt this is the case (with a small handful of exceptions), unless you're talking about playing from High C down. The demonstrations you're talking about are usually very brief. I can do stuff in the upper register and pop up to some AAs etc of varying strength on a bunch of drastically different mouthpieces, but the difference in effort required can be huge. And the different in how long before I start abusing my chops doing it, can be 1 minute, or it can be 20 minutes of playing without a rest.
Which is to say, the comparison strikes me as meaningless, because it's about "useable range".

But yes, there are some folks whose emobuchure is pretty much independent of the mouthpiece. But I'd guess that most of them are upstream players.

And I would guess that for every strong lead player that can do it, there are a bunch of them (just a good) that would crash and burn trying to get through MacArthur park on a 1X.

Quote:
If you play a Bach 1X, a 3C might feel like a lead piece to you. If you play a shallow piece frequently, for example a Shew Lead a lot, a 3C will feel, and behave, like a symphonic mouthpiece to you.


I think there is some truth to this, but only within certain limits for each player. You'll never experience 'ease' on a mouthpiece with familiarity alone, right? It'll become familiar, but not neccessarily comfortable or easy.
But yes, if you're playing some 2nd chair orchestral stuff where you don't need anything above an A above the staff, then it make sense to play whatever makes you sound best in that range.

The story KO from Stomvi tells in one of their videos comes to mind, about having a professor tell him he was playing a cheater mouthpiece to play high, and turning it back on them and asking if the professor wasn't just playing a cheater mouthpiece to sound like an orchestral player.
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 3:17 am    Post subject: Re: Mouthpieces and the Extreme Upper Register Reply with quote

Destructo wrote:

Basically, I am asking how often great upper register players would struggle to play in the upper register without the right equipment.


My answer was aimed at this question. First, they won't struggle, second, it is only my experience, YMMV, third, I did not realize that you are on the same level as Ingramm, Bergeron, Vizutti and Faddis, sorry for my mistake.

BTW look on youtube for clips of Arturo Sandoval, you can see and hear him play DHC and beyond without effort on a 1 1/2C
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Destructo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 3:58 am    Post subject: Re: Mouthpieces and the Extreme Upper Register Reply with quote

delano wrote:
Destructo wrote:

Basically, I am asking how often great upper register players would struggle to play in the upper register without the right equipment.


My answer was aimed at this question. First, they won't struggle, second, it is only my experience, YMMV,


Can you be specific about your experience and examples?

delano wrote:

third, I did not realize that you are on the same level as Ingramm, Bergeron, Vizutti and Faddis, sorry for my mistake.


I never said that. I just provided my own experience. I can't personally play with any level of ease above High Eb unless I'm on a reasonably shallow cup. I will struggle to articulate cleanly with precision above high Eb if there is too much cup volume. I *can* play a fairly loud double A on a bach 1B. But it's hard work. Articulating repeatedly on a 4th Leger G would a nightmare, and playing up there, my chops would be shredded after a short while.

Quote:
BTW look on youtube for clips of Arturo Sandoval, you can see and hear him play DHC and beyond without effort on a 1 1/2C

I've seen the clips. I don't want to say anything critical of the trumpet GOAT but I disagree with it being "without effort" and that the DHC he is getting on his 1 1/4C is anything more than a muscled-out note that would likely be completely burried next to many pro lead players.
That said, when he was playing smaller equipment back with Dizzy etc, he sounded extremely strong. Possibly also worth noting that he does use a different setting for the extreme upper register.
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I din't realize that you was only talking about the extreme upper register. Most regular lead players I know play up rather easy to high G and above that, they will often lose sound. They can do that on any mouthpiece but of course a 1X is not very handy for a whole gig.
I know a few classical players who play up to high G with an effortless sound, no real difference with G an octave below. And on big equipment.
The typical screamers, IMO a specialist business, may have their own rules.

Don't believe what you see from Arturo, he is often acting, let the public believe he gives everything, but he can play anything easy. And yes, he is not a typical screamer, can't be, he needs another sound for his (allround) playing.
A quote here from John Mohan on this forum:

John Mohan
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PostPosted: Mon May 23, 2016 11:34 am

Arturo Sandoval moved to and has been doing most of his playing on a Mt Vernon 1-1/4C for several years now. I thought he was just using it for practice but he enlightened me on that point earlier today. It's interesting that if you line up a Mt Vernon 1-1/4C (not the modern 1-1/4C) on the Kanstul Comparator with the Mt Vernon 3C their rims are actually fairly similarly shaped. But that 1-1/4C cup is definitely deeper. Arturo proves that one can play the entire register with full power with bigger mouthpieces, but like Arturo, you have to be willing to put in the practice time. Arturo says the reason for using the bigger 1-1/4C is the sound he gets with it.


Last edited by delano on Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:00 am; edited 2 times in total
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JayKosta
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 4:46 am    Post subject: Re: Mouthpieces and the Extreme Upper Register Reply with quote

Destructo wrote:
Most "lead" player (Bergeron, Ingram, Miyashiro, Jim Manley et al) do use the 'right tool for the job' meaning a shallow cup etc. Yeah, exceptions, I know, but most do.

Anyway, while I was kicking around in the Pickett website, I noticed in the description for Ingram's mouthpieces that the studio model (all rounder) mouthpiece says something like 'Ingram does not attempt to play in the extreme upper register on this model' or something like that. ...

---------------------------------------
It's about the 'right tool for the job'.
It appears that Pickett does not say that Ingram CANNOT play extreme upper register with that mouthpiece - it implies that Ingram chooses not to, because it is not the 'right tool' for him.
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zaferis
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 5:16 am    Post subject: Re: Mouthpieces and the Extreme Upper Register Reply with quote

JayKosta wrote:

---------------------------------------
It's about the 'right tool for the job'.
It appears that Pickett does not say that Ingram CANNOT play extreme upper register with that mouthpiece - it implies that Ingram chooses not to, because it is not the 'right tool' for him.



Yup, once again "it's the indian not the arrow" ... the mouthpiece is about embouchure fit/comfort, tone, articulation, pitch tendancies, matching the qualities/tendancies of the instrument - not adding notes. Ask a French Horn player...
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kehaulani
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 7:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know why the disconnect. Most lead players I knew, played with a cup smaller than a Bach C and a diameter of about a Bach 7 or smaller, like a Giardinelli 6M, Purviance 5*K4 (if memory serves). In fact, studio legend Ray Triscari gave me one of is mouthpieces which was so small. it made my chops bleed.

I don't think many would disagree that one can play high notes on a large mouthpiece, but other f things are also factored in, like endurance, enhancing the upper partials, etc.

Arturo plays great as do some other large mouthpiece players, but are they the norm or the exception?

,
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tsja mr. K. It is the OP who is convinced that the great highblowers can't do that on a big(ger) mouthpiece. Seems to be important for him.

And I think your avatar of the trumpet playing mr. Richard Nixon is very funny.
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peanuts56
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 12:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Recent youtube videos I heard of Arturo sound like he's lost a little luster in the upper register.
I've heard him live twice. First time was in 03 and his final note of the evening was a G over Double C that was ear splitting. Maybe 5 or 6 years later I heard him again and it just wasn't there. Could have been an off night or maybe Father Time.
I'm wondering if Arturo may need to go to some smaller equipment mouthpiece wise. I'm guessing he's somewhere in his 70's. Baseball players will go to a lighter bat in their later years to keep the same bat speed. Father Time catches up to all of us. I could run a 5 minute mile in my 20's and averaged 6 minute miles in road races up to a half marathon. By the time I was in my 40's that was a distant memory. At 66 it's all but forgotten.
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delano
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maybe he prefers playing the piano nowadays...
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patdublc
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Roger had me try playing each mouthpiece in his standard set just to see how I sounded on them. I don't want to go off on that tangent, but I mostly sounded like me instead of Roger.
Why not reach out to Roger and ask about that particular comment? I think he would probably be willing to talk about it. He loves to talk all things trumpet.

Jens has that famous rant that everybody should be able to play on something in the 3C-7C size range. And that everything outside of that is special purpose. But there are still so many examples of people that do other things and make them work.

The way Arturo plays is just not known to me. Then look at Faddis. His mouthpiece is not particularly small. It's also heavy weight and he plays a horn with a very heavy bell.

To answer the OP, yes, I believe that some of the players mentioned would suffer if they had to play on a 1.25C or something like that. Most would probably find a way to make it work, but why? They've already found what works for them.
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Destructo
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 6:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

patdublc wrote:

Then look at Faddis. His mouthpiece is not particularly small. It's also heavy weight and he plays a horn with a very heavy bell.


Faddis' mouthpiece is roughly a schilke 6A4A I believe, so both small and shallow by normal standards.

Quote:
It is the OP who is convinced that the great highblowers can't do that on a big(ger) mouthpiece. Seems to be important for him.

It depends on how you're defining "can't do THAT". What is the "that"?
If you mean most lead players playing on small mouthpieces could do it just as well on a 1.5C for more than a few minutes, I just don't think that's true.

It's not that it's "very important" for me. It just seems to me that the insistence that everyone should be able to do everything on any mouthpiece is one of those things that just doesn't make physiological sense to me.

Think of it this way...There are a lot of players that say "I can't play small/shallow mouthpieces" but are great players. It seems to me like the opposite would also be true (although less black and white). Some people will be unable to play well (good sound and a sense of ease) on a big/deep mouthpiece.

Let me put it a different way though:

If you can only play well on a shallower/smaller mouthpiece than is conventional, but you play excellently doing so, does it matter?

If so, why?

I think that question perhaps gets to the heart of the issue, which is there often seems to be some sort of puritanism around equipment these days.
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Shaft
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2022 9:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“Muscle-ing everything” - that is the approach which could quite possibly be why more people do not achieve the range that they would like.

Some players will tell you that they played in a manner that did not achieve the results that they now attain. They are referencing the playing technique in these cases and not so much equipment choice.

As far as those who have gotten the knack for things due to finding the right equipment and having that ease help them. Its possible that happens.

However, I could buy great carpentry equipment and not do anywhere near a journeyman’s quality.

There’s no fixed rule to a lot of things but the attributes of various equipment choices are spoken of for a reason. On the other hand there was a time when people played on something because “that is what they had” and it was “what was available”.

At the end of the day. Speaking for myself, I play what I play on simply because that’s what I wanted to play on. Perhaps its that way for other players too.
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RussellDDixon
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My two cents ... Arturo; Charley Davis; Jerry Hey and one of the other lead players for Buddy Rich (name escapes me) play(ed) in the upper register with a Bach 3C mouthpiece. On the other hand, within Vizzutti's old blog on his old website ... he mentiones playing everything (orchestral and lead in big band) on a Schilke 14A4E (that Schilke mistakenly sent him). He even mentions that due to the "stigma" of using a shallower mouthpiece, he tried to keeep his hid during orchestral sessions (or something to that effect).

I CANNOT play the same range on my Marcinkiewicz Claude Gordon Personal mouthpiece as I can on ANY of my Lead pieces. Maybe someone playing on a very middle of the road mouthpiece (FOR THEM INDIVIDUALLY) can do this. I can get a very good tone for four octaves on my Monette Prana mouthpiece.

It remains my contention (due to my own experience) ... that equipment DOES MATTER and can indeed drastically improve ones playing. I played a Bach 7C for many years and finally began to "experiment." This is before the internet was invented . Back in the day when you had to read your Band Directors "Instrumentalist" magazine to look at mouthpiece ads and read MF's or Kenton's Fan letters etc. I finally found my way to a 10.5C diameter and this helped me tremendously.

Regardless of what anyone thinks (and contrary to the Cheater Mouthpiece Paradigm) ... a shallower piece FORCES you to play correctly because if you try to use alot of brute force ... you bottom out. Whereas you can use alot of mouthpiece pressure on a deeper cut and to borrow a phrase from Dave Monette ... it is more forgiving.

I never had any lessons because there were no teachers anywhere near me when I was growing up and the one "professor" in college sucked as a player. His tone was weak and he did not approach the horn correctly from a physical standpoint at all.

My opinion from MY EXPERIENCE. Others are Welcome to have other opinions.
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patdublc
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2022 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="Destructo"]
patdublc wrote:

Faddis' mouthpiece is roughly a schilke 6A4A I believe, so both small and shallow by normal standards.


Jon's mouthpiece is definitely shallow, but the ID is middle of the pack and based on the 11 series rim.
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