How and When to Upgrade Your Brass Mouthpiece
Starting to think about exploring with mouthpieces? Here’s what you need to consider.
When you first started playing you were probably a fairly narrow mouthpiece, which is great for beginners. This allowed you to produce a sound while your embouchure muscles were underdeveloped.
Where to now?
If you’ve been playing for a few years now, you can start to look into playing something has a wider rim. Mouthpiece with larger cups will give you more tonal flexibility and allow you to play louder. You might find that the top notes in your high range disappear for a bit, but don’t stress! It’ll come back better than ever once you get use to the different size.
Which mouthpieces should I try?
The style of mouthpiece you choose to upgrade to will depend on the styles of music you like playing. Typically, classical/orchestral players will gravitate towards mouthpieces that are deep and wide. This allows for producing a rich, dark sound across the low and high registers. Lead trumpet players generally prefer a shallower and narrower mouthpiece.
It can also depend on your anatomy. We all have a different arrangement of teeth and lips, meaning that what is best for one person will not necessarily be the best for you. This is why it’s important for you to try several mouthpieces and see which helps you achieve your best sound.
Mouthpiece experimentation can be a fun journey! Although certain mouthpieces will be more suited to particular settings, It's important to remember that a mouthpiece won't fix all of your technical issues or add a fifth to your range (sorry to break it to you!).
Some players will find one mouthpiece they like and stick with it. Others prefer to have a few different ones in their performance toolkit. There’s no right or wrong way, so long as you are getting the results you want.