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Author Topic: Theory---Largest..or Smallest?  (Read 95225 times)
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evan51
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« on: Jul 12, 2006, 03:56PM »

Kevin Marsh writes of Alain Trudel:

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Lots of modern trombonists , both bass and tenor, play equipment that is AS LARGE as they can get away with. Then they have to practice excessively , to build the necessary muscle mass and physical strength to be able to produce the pitches they require to do their playing. And also to produce the necessary air capacity and air speed to control a mouthpiece TOO LARGE for their needs.
They are practicing too much just to get to the point where they are able to produce music ONLY after they are able to control the brass.


Trudel's theory is totally different---

He plays AS SMALL a mouthpiece as he can because he wants to play MUSIC from the first time he picks up the horn. He is unconcerned with building muscle or muscle mass or excessive strength to control the horn. He plays as openly as possible and with as little pressure as possible.

He inhales- he exhales. Sometimes a trombone gets in the way....at that point he is playing a trombone, otherwise he breathes the same all the time, effortlessly.


This is a very interesting quote and lays out two opposing and common views about selecting a mouthpiece. Where do y'all stand on this? What have your teachers recommended? What have you actually done in approaching this issue (when their backs were turned  Grin ?).
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Frank B
« Reply #1 on: Jul 12, 2006, 04:01PM »

I just play what's most comfortable and achieves what I wish to achieve from the mouthpiece.

My teacher didn't really say anything about my mouthpiece and choosing one. I had my concussion/contusion earlier in the year when I wanted to switch mouthpieces, the ETW was the first time I'd played in a couple weeks as well as where I got my new mouthpiece. The only comment that I got from him was when I got back to school and my playing sucked, he took my mouthpiece, washed it, played it, washed it, and handed it back to me saying, "Well, it's not the mouthpeice. Thats a very good mouthpiece. It's you."

That's all I ever really got from him before, during, or after.
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2olbones
« Reply #2 on: Jul 12, 2006, 04:56PM »

I'm certainly no Alain Trudel.  If I was I would probably not be spending so much time on forum.  But Frank B. is right.  I kind of evolved to large mouthpieces, which I attribute to having an overly large mouth.  I think it's a mistake to totally discount anatomy when searching for the 'right' equipment.
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Kevin Marsh
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« Reply #3 on: Jul 12, 2006, 08:00PM »

I guess that  I started this ugly can 'o worms. I'll short circuit the thread and reduce the number of posts right now by 80%.

Go through the OTJ.
Read it ALL.
Memorize it all.
Get as much professional experience experience as you can so you can detect the red herrings in the threads and get to the truth.

Here it goes, folks:

Why do some principal players in huge orchestras play large mouthpieces?
1. Because they can
2. Because the acoustical tiles on the ceiling destroyed the acoustics and they have to to get a round full sound in competetition with 100 strings and 12 percussionists.Or, the new paint job destroyed the acoustics and they're in trouble with a new conductor.
3. Because they spend 95% of the time counting rests, and they can.

Why do some bass trombonists in large orchestras do the same? See points 1,2 and 3 above.


Heres a fun thing to search for on the OTJ......Van Haney had a nice perfect mouthpiece made for him in '45 and it was copied many many times. It became a cult item in Eastman and copies of it are still floating around...Giardinelli Symphony-T. Remington mouthpiece. Guys ( famous famous players ) played their copies and one day found out at an audition that althought they all bought the same mouthpiece some were 4G size and some were 6 1/2AL size. Poor copy control.

Numbers don't tell even half the story.


Does body shape or oral cavity shape determine your mouthpiece? Personally I have a large oral cavity, within human range...but about one inch longer than normal so I'm flat on most horns. So, do I play a larger mouthpiece? Absolutely not. SMALLER.


I just finished a gig for 2 1/2 hours. Played outdoors in renaissance garb with a brass quartet into the sun drinking wobbly-pops for a crowd of feasting agricultural company reps and their wives. Conn bass bone with large tenor mouthpiece. Did anyone complain? You bet...they complained whenever we stopped playing and they had to knock off the tambourine playing and dancing. Tenor player played a small Rath M.N. S11. Could we have gone on and done another 3 hours . YES.

Did anyone say our sound was "small". Nope.

At one point in my life I used to play 3 -set big band jobs with a Schilke 60. At the end of a night I could taste blood. Next day I was wasted. Stupid? Yes.

I used to play three parades a day in a military band with a Schilke 60. Could I taste blood when I went to bed after I polished my boots? You bet! Stupid? Absolutely.


My last point--- here is my prediction--- the OTJ will have at least 500 kids in Grade 9 discover the horn next school year. And I predict 80% of the kids on the OTJ will be asking the same question.....how "big" should I play? And will Schilke be introducing a Schilke 61 with a shallower cup for me to try?

Now, everybody go re-read the thread that Blast started about the 1 1/2G on the top of this page, and why does it still work....if you let it and are prepared to make the effort to.[/u]
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« Reply #4 on: Jul 12, 2006, 08:06PM »

Trudel is an amazing player, but he is a soloist and can be more individual in his sound. Working as basically an ensemble player requires one to be more conscious of blend with other trombones as well as other instruments. As someone who does play on larger equipment, I do not agree that I have to spend a lot of time building up muscle or that I have to control the brass before I make music. I feel that I always try to make music, I don't like to think that I'm simply "playing the brass". There certainly are trombonists who play on equipment that is too big for them, but that is not the fault of those who do play big equipment for valid reasons.

I like to test myself every so often too, I have been working on this solo that is very high and has almost no rest for about 12 minutes. I've been working on this on my large horn and mouthpiece. After a while I try it on my small bore horn with small mouthpieces of various sizes to see if it makes it any easier. I give each set up a fair shake, and as hard as it is to believe, it's easier for me on my big horn. Now if more people tried this test, they may find that they are more happy on the smaller mouthpieces. I do try this with bigger mouthpieces once in a while too and I'm not going any bigger.

I don't make a big deal about the size of my mouthpiece to students for this reason, as students are impressionable, I don't want to make them think that they need to play on a big mouthpiece to make it. There is also some machismo involved in this whole big mouthpiece thing, like it proves that one is a bigger man for doing it. That certainly is NOT the case. Trudel is a great player for a lot of reasons, but the size of his mouthpiece is not part of the equation. Joe Alessi may play on a huge mouthpiece, but he changes mouthpieces often and will sound like him no matter what size cup he's on.

Listen, learn, practice. Play a horn that is in good working order and on a mouthpiece that is appropriate for your facial structure and concept of playing. And by all means, always make music!
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« Reply #5 on: Jul 12, 2006, 08:15PM »

It took me so long to write the previous post that Kevin snuck one in that I feel I should respond to.

I certainly respect Kevin's opinion and if he's happy playing what he's on, great! It does sound like he spent some time figuring out what was a good fit for him, which is something we all go through.

However, I don't agree with his comments about orchestral players necessarily and they certainly don't apply to me as a band player. The horn is on my face for 2 1/2 hours of rehearsals a day, plus my personal practice time and I've been playing a 2 hour musical 7 shows a week. The size of my mouthpiece is certainly not standing in my way.

I do agree with Kevin that when it comes to younger players, the size of the mouthpiece becomes too much of an issue too young.
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Kevin Marsh
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« Reply #6 on: Jul 13, 2006, 05:29AM »

Quite true, sir. An excellent point. And perhaps one that Sam Burtis has been writing about for many years on this and other forums ( fora?).


Orchestral trombone playing is a hold over from 19th century european "art " music, and as such is almost a historical curiosity. I admit that new music is being composed daily, performed daily and appreciated daily. But the overall "structure" of the symphony orchestra is set in stone.

Need an example? To auditon for a gig there you play excerpts of tunes 150 years old and are judged by how well you can RE-create the past. If you can RE-create the past with 100% accuracy 100% of the time, chances are you'll get the gig, and happily plan your retirement after another 40 years of RE-creating the 19th century.

Band playing? A totally different animal. Totally different gear, different mind set. Different goals. All just as worthy as the orchestral experience.

My personal concern, as someone approaching the end of my playing days in a scant 30 or 40 years from now, is how to make the horn appeal to a huge crop of kids RIGHT NOW! I'd like to see 12 trombonists in every band, three or four on a part, and the really exceptional ones heading over to the euphs and tubas to learn how to double and be really versatile.( Just to drive the "fulltime" euphs and tubists insane when the good trombonists can eclipse them in two hours when they discover that 7-positions equal 7 valve combinations.)

Will the ordinary human being, who will hopefully evolve as a player into someone with a love of music above all, and settle down into a weekend warrior pattern of gigging and rehearsing for their full lifetime, be able to do this on the LARGEST equipment possible?

    I think not. Finish school, whatever level you get to. And then settle down into a lifelong pattern of practicing, rehearsing with community groups and loving it because it doesn't hurt. To do this, you select the SMALLEST gear possible to do the job.

I'll repeat a thread I contributed to previously on the OTJ. Do trumpet players get caught up in the arms war and select huge mouthpieces? NEVER. They love to talk about mouthpieces above all things else on earth, but to a man they're not interested in getting Schilke to produce a model #25, 26, 27 etc. etc.   to get an advantage over the next player.

I predicted in my first post here that I'd short circuit about 80% of the posts to this thread. I'll kill off another 10% right now. Of the players who are happy playing their current mouthpiece, and have EVER  ( I mean EVER , even once, questioned their choice of gear in their mind) or have had a section mate express surprise at their choice of large mouthpiece-- have they ever had another thought that after a layoff of a period of time had mis-givings about the length of time it'll take to get back "into shape".

I'm talking about taking two days off of the horn, and then thinking in their heart " Aaaaaaaarrggggghhhh, gotta practice .Now! Or it'll really be a drag tomorrow, on day 3".

And if you're one of the 80% of the guys who play large equipment and the answer to the above question is " Nah! I NEVER take a day off." then I commend you for your diligence. But eventually you'll have a family, or ***GASP*** a day job and won't have the strength to play 8 hours a day-- or the time. And then playing a nice SMALL mouthpiece may be fun again.
Just small enough to do the playing you want/have to and still be able to take breaks from the horn to take care of daily business without having to worry about the gear.
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« Reply #7 on: Jul 14, 2006, 03:21AM »

One of my teachers said "It's too big, too tubby. Try this..."

One said, "They both sound OK."

Another said,"It's too big for me."

A different one said,"That's a bit small for me..."

They all talked about and DEMONSTRATED a good, fundamental sound in all registers. They all spent more time on making music than on equipment. Having taken lessons with a number of guys, and having had the chance to play in ensembles with talented folks of both genders, the usual order of things is to find out what is being used and then get to the important stuff: music.

I know that if I'm talking about equipment with a student that the next thing we'll talk about is air. Air, air, air...then on to music and the fundamentals there-of.
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« Reply #8 on: Jul 14, 2006, 04:37AM »

Quote from: "Kevin Marsh"
I predicted in my first post here that I'd short circuit about 80% of the posts to this thread. I'll kill off another 10% right now. Of the players who are happy playing their current mouthpiece, and have EVER  ( I mean EVER , even once, questioned their choice of gear in their mind) or have had a section mate express surprise at their choice of large mouthpiece-- have they ever had another thought that after a layoff of a period of time had mis-givings about the length of time it'll take to get back "into shape".

I'm talking about taking two days off of the horn, and then thinking in their heart " Aaaaaaaarrggggghhhh, gotta practice .Now! Or it'll really be a drag tomorrow, on day 3".

And if you're one of the 80% of the guys who play large equipment and the answer to the above question is " Nah! I NEVER take a day off." then I commend you for your diligence. But eventually you'll have a family, or ***GASP*** a day job and won't have the strength to play 8 hours a day-- or the time. And then playing a nice SMALL mouthpiece may be fun again.
Just small enough to do the playing you want/have to and still be able to take breaks from the horn to take care of daily business without having to worry about the gear.


No, I've never had mis-givings over time taken to get into shape after a lay-off the horn.  I've had periods of 2 months where I havn't played the horn and it never feels bad first day back, 2nd or third or ever.  It feels perferct for my face, just as it does when i've been practising solidly for months.  

Some people NEED large rims.  Small rims don't work.  I hope Doug Elliott will chime in here to talk about that.
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« Reply #9 on: Jul 14, 2006, 05:14AM »

Ah, ha!!!

Two more thoughful intelligent posts to this thread. Thank you, gentlemen.

Now, using the Socratic method of asking probing questions and getting answers in an attempt to DEFINE OUR TERMS, we get closer to the truth.

The thread title is "largest" or "smallest".

 We can now further define the thread title as "TOO large" or "TOO small".

Thank you, good sirs, we've just eliminated another 5% of the potential readership. And so we're down to 5% of the OTJ readership. I consider this a great victory, because even 5% of 5000 members will be ....uhhhhhhh..... about 12 players.(??)

I read with appreciation every post of Doug Elliott's. He gets to the heart of a matter and can diagnose a problem like no other. His multitudinous testimonials from legion of professional trombonists here on the forum illustrates two points---

1. He REALLY knows his stuff, and REALLY cares about people, ( not business and the almighty buck) and --
2. The vast majority of trombone mouthpiece manufacturing done in the 20th century was by companies run by trumpet players ( Bach, etc. etc. ) who needed a line of mouthpieces to flog with their horns and throw into the case as a freebie with every horn sold.


21st century?? Rath, Laskey and Elliott and all the other makers who did thousands of hours of play testing. Unlike Bach who took a reamer to a trombone blank and gradually every .5mm added another mouthpiece to the line of products.

Now, unless I'm mistaken, the majority of posts regarding Elliott products I read are all about fine tweeking of smallish gear to make it more efficient for individual players to suit their musical needs and the demands of their gigs. If they want TOO large mouthpieces then those are already available a plenty from the mass produced manufacturers.

Case in point? A kid finding a 5G too bright is likely to go to a 4G or a 3G ( " cuz dats whut Jay Friedman plays on!!!). Someone else may go to Doug Elliott and tell him he finds a 5G too bright with his 88H, and Doug will listen and suggest a different underpart or backbore?
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« Reply #10 on: Jul 14, 2006, 05:24AM »

I was very happy with my Stomvi 7B on my king 4B, very nice sound when played at my home, where FF means mF in my wind band...

So if I want to hear myself and be heard at my windband (more than 50 windplayers...) I always have to play louder than home, in another kind of place (big old barn...) and the sound of the 4B began to be really nasty...

So now, when I play there I'm more than happy on a Faxx 5G, which is considered HERE to be really big!!!  
I dislike playing this piece when I'm home, but I have to, in order to train for the windband...

I love to play the trombone softly, I'll have to find a band where I can do so!! :shuffle:
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« Reply #11 on: Jul 14, 2006, 06:21AM »

Quote from: "Kevin Marsh"

Now, unless I'm mistaken, the majority of posts regarding Elliott products I read are all about fine tweeking of smallish gear to make it more efficient for individual players to suit their musical needs and the demands of their gigs. If they want TOO large mouthpieces then those are already available a plenty from the mass produced manufacturers.

Case in point? A kid finding a 5G too bright is likely to go to a 4G or a 3G ( " cuz dats whut Jay Friedman plays on!!!). Someone else may go to Doug Elliott and tell him he finds a 5G too bright with his 88H, and Doug will listen and suggest a different underpart or backbore?


What Mr. Elliott does is tries to find a rim that matches you, then recomends cups/shanks depending on what sound you are looking for/problems that may arise.

For me, he asked for photos of my chops while playing, and asked me to do some tests with a tuner.  I was asked to tune up in my normal playing position and then place/slide the mouthpiece to different places.  From this He was able to determine two things:

I need large rims
I needed to move my mouthpiece placement higher.

At this time I was playing on a 4G.  He recomended his equivalent rim (which i believe is slightly larger).

I use this same rim for all my horns and it works wonders - I have never once felt it to be too big - OR too small.  Just perfect.

so, fif someone goes to doug elliott and tells him that he finds a 5G too bright, Doug will listen, ask questions, and may or may not sugest a different rim size.  AFter this, then the subject of cups will come up (with large tenors his 8 shank is the only one he provides now as it is hte absolute best he has come up with so far for large tenor).  Doug may also find that the bright sound is not an equipment problem, but that falls outside the subject of this thread.

I think i remember him saying once that if you CAN play WELL on a large rim, you most probably NEED a large rim.

Keep in mind that not everyone agrees with Doug's views.

So to get back on topic, some people may find it harder to get back into shape with a smaller rim.  I know it would take me month to try and play will on a 12C - not days.  It all depends on the person.

I don't think either of the 'as big as possible'/'as small as possible' camps are correct.  I believe the correct answer is 'what works for you best' which may be big, which may be small, which maybe in between. (I believe Doug once mentioned that the 5 sized rim was the middle size - may be wrong).

This is, of course, my opinion.  Some people will tell you you should use a mouthpiece that works for each horn, which may meen a 12C for small tenor and 4G for large.  These people make it work for them.

Not one thing works for everybody.

Find what works for you and don't listen to anyone else.  If you don't agree with me, don't bother remembering anythgin I've jsut said because it may harm the way you play your horn if you start wondering 'what if...'  Good!

Luke
(A Large rim player)
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Frank B
« Reply #12 on: Jul 14, 2006, 06:38AM »

Quote from: "Kevin Marsh"
The thread title is "largest" or "smallest".

 We can now further define the thread title as "TOO large" or "TOO small".


I really do not understand what you are attempting to say here.

TOO large or TOO small, how about a mouthpiece that fits, first off, and second has the desired charastics that a mouthpiece is possible of providing?

It's as non-sensical to go deer hunting with a pellet gun as it is to go with a shoulder mounted gernade launcher.

In the spectrum of small and large there are trade-offs either way you swing it.  Some may be desired, some not be. In the larger sizes it is possible to get much more body with the trade off that much more body is much harder to throw around. On the reverse, it maybe easier to throw around the body, but that is because there isn't as much.

To me, these sound like stylistic and performance concerns that have great potential to varry depending on the player and what they want to accomplish. So why then would a knowledgable and well abled trombonist wish to make a blanket claim for everyone that we should tend to only one side of the spectrum?

If we are discussing the ability and growth of students, then when working from a semi-blind position, why not simply attempt to develop them and their abilities to a point where they can function very well on an average, middle sized mouthpiece from which they can choose sizes as they fit both the player and stylistic considerations and abilities?

If this posturing is mostly to balance out the "bigger is better" type theories, there is little need. Often proponents of that theory negate their verbal claims with the physical result of the theory put in motion.
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« Reply #13 on: Jul 14, 2006, 08:04AM »

Quote from: "Kevin Marsh"
I'm talking about taking two days off of the horn, and then thinking in their heart " Aaaaaaaarrggggghhhh, gotta practice .Now! Or it'll really be a drag tomorrow, on day 3".

And if you're one of the 80% of the guys who play large equipment and the answer to the above question is " Nah! I NEVER take a day off." then I commend you for your diligence. But eventually you'll have a family, or ***GASP*** a day job and won't have the strength to play 8 hours a day-- or the time. And then playing a nice SMALL mouthpiece may be fun again.
Just small enough to do the playing you want/have to and still be able to take breaks from the horn to take care of daily business without having to worry about the gear.


I'm in that boat.  When I was a music major in college I got caught up in the "arms race"  of larger trombone mouthpieces.  It seemed like we could never sound dark or loud enough so we kept going to larger mouthpieces.

Now finding time to  practice is a stuggle so I am trying smaller mouthpieces to find the easiest one to get a good sound with.  I no longer have 3-4 hours to spend  practicing every day.
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« Reply #14 on: Jul 14, 2006, 08:11AM »

I just had a wonderful thought...  It's like shoes.  Mouthpieces are ultimately just like shoes.  You've got your mass produced Walmart shoe, your slightly higher quality shoe available only at shoe stores and your custom, high end boutique shoe.

Now, and here's the time to laugh at Stan, I'm not a really big guy.  I'm 5'3, and I wear a size 6.5W.  Apparently, the strangest shoe size ever.  Now, I can fit my foot into a 6.5 or a 7, but it's that 6.5W that really is the sweet spot.  

Of course, I could wear a size 9..I could probably even squeeze into a size 5.  But, I shop around endlessly until I can find something that feels good, and that's generally around a 6.5W.  

Moral of the story:  lips have many, many more nerves than feet, so why shouldn't they be just as picky?  I could play lead trombone on a 1.5G, or I could throw a 3GS in an alto trombone.  If that feels as right and effortless as good fitting shoes, there's no problem.  But, if I'm playing a mouthpiece that feels way too big or small, and dogmatically marching onward against my mouth's own logic, then I may as well be marching onwards in shoes that are 5 sizes too big.

Stan
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« Reply #15 on: Jul 14, 2006, 08:29AM »

Quote from: "Stan"
I just had a wonderful thought...  It's like shoes.  Mouthpieces are ultimately just like shoes.  You've got your mass produced Walmart shoe, your slightly higher quality shoe available only at shoe stores and your custom, high end boutique shoe.

Now, and here's the time to laugh at Stan, I'm not a really big guy.  I'm 5'3, and I wear a size 6.5W.  Apparently, the strangest shoe size ever.  Now, I can fit my foot into a 6.5 or a 7, but it's that 6.5W that really is the sweet spot.  

Of course, I could wear a size 9..I could probably even squeeze into a size 5.  But, I shop around endlessly until I can find something that feels good, and that's generally around a 6.5W.  

Moral of the story:  lips have many, many more nerves than feet, so why shouldn't they be just as picky?  I could play lead trombone on a 1.5G, or I could throw a 3GS in an alto trombone.  If that feels as right and effortless as good fitting shoes, there's no problem.  But, if I'm playing a mouthpiece that feels way too big or small, and dogmatically marching onward against my mouth's own logic, then I may as well be marching onwards in shoes that are 5 sizes too big.

Stan


Joe Alessi uses the same analogy in the video with Wycliffe gordon that can be found in the Trombonists section of the forum.

Joe also said something else quite interesting.....he said the reason he plays on the mouthpiece he does, is because he needs to produce a certain sound to fit in with his surroundings. In his case, the surrounding is a symphony orchestra. He also said he looks forward to the day when he can pop a nice small mouthpiece into a Bach 16 (or similar) and play what he wants to play. I know I'm paraphrasing a bit from his actual words, but I think I'm pretty close to what he said.

You can read many things in that comment by Joe Alessi. It could be that his choice of mouthpiece is not one that makes his job easier, but is more like a best fit for the circumstances he finds himself in. It could be that his choice of equipment might not be his first choice or ideal choice....but merely the best combination he can find for him to do his day to day job.
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« Reply #16 on: Jul 14, 2006, 11:31AM »

As a certifiable mouthpiece junkie (they just fascinate me) I figure I can be one of the twelve maybe?

OK, to start off I have to play a wide variety of styles on a wide variety of equipment in a wide variety of situations...the only non-variable is that the quality has to be top-notch.

Alright, now the main determining factor on mouthpiece rim sizes seems to be:  A person's phyisical make-up.  period.  I mean, people can MAKE anythign sound good, but different rim sizes fit certain people better, while it seems the cup/backbore, etc. seem mainly to help facilitate a person's tone concept or help thier timbre for a given situation.

To wit:  A mouthpiece is a tool that will help facilitate a particular concept, by the physical construction of the mouthpeice accentuating certain characteristics of that concept.

It isn't a substitute for paractice, etc. etc. which every post here seems to agree with.

Anyone that chooses any piece of equipment because someone else plays it is missing the point...i bet they play what other people want to hear all the time and have no concept of their own either.

There are no shortage of small mouthpiece players in here, and no shortage of big mouthpiece players either.  i only hope that they all play what is comfortable and helps them get the job done right.  Too small is just as bad as too big.

In the CG band I play a Bach style t-bone (not my choice, but it WORKS with the section) and a JA 5.75, which is abotu a 4 rim and super deep cup.

In dixie bands i play a 12C sized piece, sometimes a 15C.

In my professional commerical life I play a 6 3/4 sized pice.

In brass quintet, a .525 with a wick 6BS

On bass a Hammond 20BL

All very different, one on the small side, one on the large side, and two floating somewhere in the middle on tenor and a 59 size on bass (which I guess is semi-large).

None are the same in design concept.

Why?

1.) Becuase they feel comfy to my face
2.) They help facilitate the job I'm doing; i.e. they help facilitate my sound concept in those situations.

None take me more than a couple fo minutes to feel comfortable on (except sometimes the 15C if my chops are a little swollen/larger from playing the larger pieces, hence the 12C), and certainly it never takes me long after a couple of days off.

Its about feel, air and sound!.

That's all it should be for anyone.

Pick the mouthpiece that is most EFFICIENT for the job.
Good luck.

-Ben
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Dave Tatro
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« Reply #17 on: Jul 14, 2006, 12:10PM »

Quote from: "Alex"
Joe (Alessi) also said something else quite interesting.....he said the reason he plays on the mouthpiece he does, is because he needs to produce a certain sound to fit in with his surroundings. In his case, the surrounding is a symphony orchestra. He also said he looks forward to the day when he can pop a nice small mouthpiece into a Bach 16 (or similar) and play what he wants to play. I know I'm paraphrasing a bit from his actual words, but I think I'm pretty close to what he said.


I have heard here and there that their hall is terrible for the trombonists and that they have to make an enormous amount of sound to project well. Thus, the large mouthpieces. Apparently Gordon Pulis used quite a large piece, a 3G or 2G ,when he was there, and for the same reason. I read somewhere that he switched to a 6.5 later in his carreer when he went to another orchestra with a better hall. Note that this is secondhand, anecdotal information at best, so take it with a grain of salt.

I do know that Jay Friedman has written about the acoustic dryness of the CSO's hall, and their need to create tremendous warmth at the horn to sound good in it. That is probably why those guys are using the very large, open equipment that they are. Jay (and, I believe, Michael) are using Bach 42's with 50 slides and 3G-sized m'pieces. Charley, well... 'nuff said!

I have found recently that I have the opposite issue in the halls that I play in. I like to play larger rims for comfort and flexibility, but in a recent recording I thought my sound was a little too warm and tubby in the hall, even though it sounded great to me at the horn, and to the other players around me. The only time it really approached what I was after was at extreme fortissimo volume levels, so needless to say, that was undesirable.

Ironically, I have switched to the Alessi mouthpieces because I can get a large rim with smaller cup sizes. I haven't heard it in the halls yet but will this coming week. I am hoping it will be the sound I am after. If not, I guess Doug E. will be hearing from me soon!

For what it's worth to this discussion, I can last a little longer in the upper register on a slightly smaller rim, and might pull out my trusty 3G for a really grueling gig, but for me, the overall performance of the larger rim sizes is tough to beat.

Dave
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"He also inevitably discovered the similarities between glass doors and forcefields."- marchingknight
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« Reply #18 on: Jul 14, 2006, 12:24PM »

The Trudel argument is not about the actual size of the mouthpiece.... it is about a philosophy of playing.... to use the smallest mouthpiece you can.
This may be a bigger mouthpiece than is used by another player trying to use the biggest mouthpiece he can. It is an approach... a way of choosing what you play on. This is a quite common approach in the U.K.  I remember Eric Crees, principal trombone at the Royal Opera House Covent Garden, and former co-principal of the LSO saying this.
It is the way I am working at the moment.... in order to get the sound quality that I want. I find it more work on the 1 1/2G, but enjoy the results... it's funny, I never had any problems with big mouthpieces... just didn't like the sound.
The other approach is to try the biggest mouthpiece that works for you, and develop that philosophy.
What several people here have said, in effect, is that their biggest and smallest option is in fact, the same mouthpiece, and that is the one place that they will be happy. OK that's fine.
I think most players have a range of sizes that can be made to work on any given size of trombone, and that is where this question really comes into play.
Which side of the size range to go for.
It's mostly a question for advanced players with mature, well developed playing concepts and physique.... they are most likely to have this degree of flexibility and to wish to refine their playing to this degree.
Who is right ?
Everybody who gets exceptional results.
Chris Stearn.
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Still cannot think of anything better to do. Back on an old 1 1/2G again !
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« Reply #19 on: Jul 14, 2006, 01:18PM »

Quote
The other approach is to try the biggest mouthpiece that works for you, and develop that philosophy.


While I have heard the philosophy of playign the smallest equipment you can I have never. ever heard of a philoso[phy of playing the biggest.  

I have heard of people needing a larger inner rim diameter but the bulk of large inner rims are on bigger cups, resulting in a larger mouthpiece overall, which might be more work but is more comfortable to the face and allows more flexibility.

i have also heard of people liking their rim but wanting more room in the cup/backbore for a particular sound or timbre.  But in Large shank not too many 'pieces were available like this and hence they had to shift to a larger overall rim which may have been more uncomfortable on the face but allowed the timbre they wanted/needed.

I've even heard of poepl shifting to larger overall equipment for the sound comfort or anything and having to get used to it.

But I've never heard of get the biggest mouthpiece you can and make it work.  (except from some jive jazzers that couldn't even play to begin with and were looking down at orchestral guys.)

Maybe this mentality was a result of a limited amount of options in the small rim/large cup or versa vice.  But in this age of customizationt that is becoming more widespread, its easier and easier for musicians to find a close to perfect fit for our face and our playing situations.  Its easy to get too caught up in it and too conufsed, but real results that are beneficial to the player can be acheived.  Again its a question of efficiency for the situation and the player.

-Ben
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