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The Trombone ForumHorns, Gear, and EquipmentMouthpieces(Moderators: BGuttman, Doug Elliott) Need Suggestions for Alto Trombone Mouthpiece
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ssking2b

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« on: Nov 17, 2017, 05:53AM »

As the subject says, I am looking for suggestions for an alto trombone mouthpiece. I have a Bach 12c, 11c, Marc Charlie Loper and whigham mouthpieces. These donít give a good over all response with the horn.   Suggestions would be appreciated.
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« Reply #1 on: Nov 17, 2017, 06:09AM »

Philip,

I have no expertise here but I have a spare 15C you are welcome to try.  I'll bring it to bone choir next time if you want.

When I've tried altos at conferences the 15C was much better than the 6 1/2 I had along.  At home I have only the pBone alto, and on that I can't tell any difference between the 15 and the 4 I use on my small bore. 
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Tim Richardson
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« Reply #2 on: Nov 17, 2017, 06:17AM »

You might want to provide the model alto you are playing.

When I was playing alto I used a Lindberg 15, which seemed to do the job.
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« Reply #3 on: Nov 17, 2017, 06:21AM »

If you want one on the smaller side, the 15CL or 13CL are great. Otherwise get a Doug Elliott piece with the same rim size you normally play and a C cup and proper shank (tell him the kind of alto).

You could also do the Bousfield alto piece (on the small side), or pick an Alessi alto piece with the correct rim size. I believe there is also an Oft mouthpiece for alto. Karl Hammond makes alto pieces as well.
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« Reply #4 on: Nov 17, 2017, 07:06AM »

IMHO work with Doug Elliott , as you list yourself as a pro player it will make more sense to keep the rim size same as your large bore....also very jealous that you have one of Kai's horns!!!
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #5 on: Nov 17, 2017, 08:19AM »

As the subject says, I am looking for suggestions for an alto trombone mouthpiece. I have a Bach 12c, 11c, Marc Charlie Loper and whigham mouthpieces. These donít give a good over all response with the horn.   Suggestions would be appreciated.
If those mouthpieces are all that bad, it's the horn. 
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« Reply #6 on: Nov 17, 2017, 08:41AM »

as you list yourself as a pro player it will make more sense to keep the rim size same as your large bore....

I don't get that reasoning. Playing on different rims on each instrument is for amateurs and playing with a unique rim is "professional"? We all have different morphology and different technique - for some, having a unique rim gives the best solution, for some having vastly different mouthpieces for each horn is best, and for others, somewhere between those two extremes on the spectrum.


For the OP, if you like small alto mouthpieces, you might want to get in touch with John Cather. His alto mouthpieces are very very small, smaller than any standard model on the market that I know of. Really really not everyone's cup of tea, but interesting to at least try. I get a brighter but also much fuller and resonant tone on alto with mine than I did with the various 12C and 15C I've used.
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #7 on: Nov 17, 2017, 10:10AM »

Yamaha provides a 48A with its altos. The A designates an alto backbore.

Not expensive, designed for alto (or, at least, some consideration paid to alto). If you find one at WWBW or MF, you can likely return it if you don't like it.
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« Reply #8 on: Nov 17, 2017, 10:21AM »

Did I miss the indication for which alto it is?

Some altos have different receivers and so it may make sense that none of those work.  Or it could be the horn. Is it a Jin Bao/Roy Benson/etc.?
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« Reply #9 on: Nov 17, 2017, 10:25AM »

My reasoning for using your tenor rim size is that you get stronger and better at playing on one rims size if you're not switching and relying on that as a crutch for high range.  The fact is, the range you use on alto is no different than the higher side of tenor range.  And for me it's not limited to "reasoning," it's what I've been doing professionally for several decades.

It's true that for some players a smaller rim will give a very resonant sound - like bass trombonists who get a big sound on a 2G or 1-1/2G, or the fact that French Horn players use our full range on a comparatively tiny rim size.

But others, including myself, are unable to play low range, even an alto's low range, on a small rim size.  It makes a lot more sense to use what I'm already successful on.

Yamaha provides a 48A with its altos. The A designates an alto backbore.

As far as I know, in the numbering system used by both Schilke and Yamaha, "A" immediately after the size number designates a shallow cup.  Maybe Yamaha has changed that.
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« Reply #10 on: Nov 17, 2017, 10:26AM »

If those mouthpieces are all that bad, it's the horn. 

That was my first thought.

But all those pieces are a similar size. Might be worth trying something smaller, like the 15s suggested above, or a bit bigger like a 7c or even 6.5 size.
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« Reply #11 on: Nov 17, 2017, 10:30AM »

That would be reasonable, but any of those mouthpieces should at least be acceptable if they fit reasonably well into the receiver (and they're a size you can play tenor successfully on).  Going into the receiver farther would probably help more than a smaller or bigger size.

What's the horn?  It's more than likely a bad leadpipe design.
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« Reply #12 on: Nov 17, 2017, 10:42AM »

My reasoning for using your tenor rim size is that you get stronger and better at playing on one rims size if you're not switching and relying on that as a crutch for high range.  The fact is, the range you use on alto is no different than the higher side of tenor range.  And for me it's not limited to "reasoning," it's what I've been doing professionally for several decades.

It's true that for some players a smaller rim will give a very resonant sound - like bass trombonists who get a big sound on a 2G or 1-1/2G, or the fact that French Horn players use our full range on a comparatively tiny rim size.

But others, including myself, are unable to play low range, even an alto's low range, on a small rim size.  It makes a lot more sense to use what I'm already successful on.

As far as I know, in the numbering system used by both Schilke and Yamaha, "A" immediately after the size number designates a shallow cup.  Maybe Yamaha has changed that.

Yes, I agree with you, my comment wasn't geared at your approach to rim sizes - I have plenty of friends and colleagues who use the same or similar rims on different instruments. It was aimed at Chris' argument of "if you're a pro, better keep the same rim", which I don't get. Your approach is valid - but surely we can all agree that there are pros who do change rims between instruments and that other approaches can also be valid. I don't see how it has anything to do with being a professional player is all...
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Maximilien Brisson
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« Reply #13 on: Nov 17, 2017, 12:22PM »

There are plenty of alto mouthpieces being made., and none of the mouthpieces you listed are those.  You should try those. The mouthpiece makers know more about it than anyone, and the artists they made them for are happy about that. FWIW, a Conn 7C comes with the Conn altos, and I've found that the artist type alto mouthpieces are head and shoulders above standard small tenor designs. If out of the Oft, or Bousfield, or Alessi, or Lindberg, or Friedman, or Slokar alto mouthpieces you find nothing that works, it might be the trombone or your approach to playing it.
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« Reply #14 on: Nov 17, 2017, 02:06PM »

There are plenty of alto mouthpieces being made., and none of the mouthpieces you listed are those.  You should try those. The mouthpiece makers know more about it than anyone, and the artists they made them for are happy about that. FWIW, a Conn 7C comes with the Conn altos, and I've found that the artist type alto mouthpieces are head and shoulders above standard small tenor designs. If out of the Oft, or Bousfield, or Alessi, or Lindberg, or Friedman, or Slokar alto mouthpieces you find nothing that works, it might be the trombone or your approach to playing it.

Yes this!
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« Reply #15 on: Nov 17, 2017, 02:32PM »


As far as I know, in the numbering system used by both Schilke and Yamaha, "A" immediately after the size number designates a shallow cup.  Maybe Yamaha has changed that.

You're right. Yamaha says as follows:

"The 48 rim combined with a very shallow cup. For alto trombones. Bright tone with good volume. Ideal for baroque compositions."
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« Reply #16 on: Nov 17, 2017, 02:48PM »

You're right. Yamaha says as follows:

"The 48 rim combined with a very shallow cup. For alto trombones. Bright tone with good volume. Ideal for baroque compositions."

I must say every person I've ever heard play one (included myself) sounded terrible on that mouthpiece (of course I might have heard somebody in concert or recording play one and not known they were playing one and some people might sound wonderful on it - I'm talking people I know). The throat is (almost ridiculously) tiny and quite sharp. Bright tone, sure, good volume, I don't know about that. I sounded like the dead squirrel in the trombone player joke using that mouthpiece. Airy sound, difficulty playing in the center of the note...
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« Reply #17 on: Nov 18, 2017, 06:41AM »

I sounded like the dead squirrel in the trombone player joke using that mouthpiece.

Surely a dead squirrel doesn't make any sound?

I think it's a mistake to go for a particular baroque sound on alto because the repertoire also includes, for example, Schubert 9 and The Burning Fiery Furnace. Gear that helps the player make a variety of timbres is preferable, I think.

Can anyone enlighten me about the design differences in these newer alto pieces compared to common small shank choices? The names Oft, Bousfield and Alessi suggest relatively recent products. Maybe Slokar and Lindberg alto pieces have been around for a while, I don't know.
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Doug Elliott
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« Reply #18 on: Nov 18, 2017, 11:01AM »

I don't know about those mouthpieces, but for mine I make a separate alto backbore for each of the appropriate cups.  I won't discuss what's different about it, but it's not the same as any of my tenor backbores.

A tenor mouthpiece tends to feel a bit unbalanced between high range and low range on most altos.
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« Reply #19 on: Nov 18, 2017, 01:45PM »

Iíve got a Griego Oft Alto mouthpiece   Iím trying to sell if youíre interested.
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