Showing posts with label lew soloff. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lew soloff. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Truth About Mouthpieces (updated)

I recently posted about Booker Little and trumpet player/blogger Ian Carey commented: "interesting that he got that fat "1C" sound out of a tiny Al Cass 1-28!"

That's one facet of the mouthpiece mythology that I didn't get into in this original post: People believe they should strive to get to a bigger mouthpiece (1c-3c) so they can get to a "bigger sound." The truth is, it absolutely depends on the player. Enough great players with "fat" sounds have put the lie to it to make any young (or older) trumpet player think twice:

Clifford Brown's sound has always been renowned for its juiciness. What mouthpiece did he use? Bach 17C1 and 17C2, equivalent now to Bach 10 3/4 CW. Small.  Ditto Conte Condoli. Ditto Fats Navarro. You think of Red Allen's sound as small? Don't think so. He used a very small cup Zottola. Dizzy Gillespie: Al Cass 2-24 & 2-25-equivalent to a Bach 11.75. The list is long.

The neglect that I experienced around mouthpiece choice and which I believe continues in early brass education is sickening. Young players: You need to know how important mouthpieces are. I truly believe that players just starting out are given mouthpieces that are several sizes too big and trying to use a mouthpiece that's too big can really mess you up.

You can play almost any trumpet, unless it's a real piece of junk, but having the wrong mouthpiece can absolutely stunt your musical growth. When you pick up this beast of an axe, you need positive reinforcement to stick with it. The wrong mouthpiece can make it so much more difficult to play that it can erode morale and no doubt has led many to ditch the horn. On the other hand, finding the right size mouthpiece can be incredibly motivating and speed you on your way to great range and flexibility.