M O U T H P I E C E M A N U A L
Selecting a MouthpieceWhen selecting a mouthpiece, a brassinstrumentalist should choose one with asolid, compact tone of large volume. Acarefully selected Bach mouthpiece canhelp improve a players embouchure,attack, tonguing and endurance.
Professional musicians and advancedstudents prefer the musical results oflarge mouthpieces, such as the Bach 1B,1C, 1 14C, 1 12B, 1 12C, 2 12C, 3C, whichprovide a maximum volume of tone withthe least amount of eort. By openingup the lips so that they do not touch, thelarger mouthpiece produces a clearer,purer tone. The large cup diameter alsoallows a greater portion of the lip tovibrate, producing a larger volume oftone, and keeps a player from forcinghigh tones by encouraging the correctfunctioning of the lip muscles. However,a student may nd a medium-sizedmouthpiece suitable.
Do not select a certain mouthpiecebecause another player uses it. Becauseno two players have the same lip ortooth formation, what is perfect for onemay be entirely unsuitable for the other.Bach produces many dierent models sothat each player can nd the best mouth-piece for their individual embouchure.
Visit your local dealer and try severalgenuine Bach mouthpiece models, allstamped with the Vincent Bach trademark.
A mouthpiece consists of the rim, cup, throat, and backbore. Bringing these various components into proper relationship constitutes the art of superior mouthpiece production.
In choosing a special combination of rim, cup, throat and backbore designs, consider the eects of each.
Wide: Increases endurance.Narrow: Improves exibility, range.Round: Improves comfort.Sharp: Increases brilliance, precision of attack.
C UPLarge: Increases volume, control.Small: Relieves fatigue, weakness.Deep: Darkens tone, especially in low register.Shallow: Brightens tone, improves
response, especially in high register.
Large: Increases blowing freedom,volume, tone; sharpens highregister (largest sizes also sharpenlow register).
Small: Increases resistance, endurance,brilliance; attens high register.
Except in general terms, it isnt possible to identifybackbores by size because they also vary in shape.Various combinations of size and shape make thetone darker or more brilliant, raise or lower thepitch in one or more registers, increase ordecrease volume. In each instance, the eectdepends in part on the throat and cup used incombination with the backbore.
The playing qualities mentioned on this pageare discussed in greater detail in the followingsections. Keep in mind that playing qualitiesof mouthpieces vary from person to person;therefore, descriptions of playing qualities arenecessarily subjective. It is important to viewall information in this manual as ageneralguide. For best results, use it as a startingpointfor testing a number of models, not as asubstitution for testing.
What Every Brass InstrumentalistShould Know About Mouthpieces
The RimA well-constructed brass instrumentmouthpiece should have a medium-widerim with a fairly sharp inner edge. Ifthe mouthpiece is properly placed, it willpermit the lips to move slightly forwardand backward. For high tones, a playerwill draw the lips farther back; whilefor low tones, the lip muscles will relax,permitting the lips to protrude.
A sharp rim will not cut the lip if theat face of the mouthpiece rim is placedon the lips in (or slightly above) a hori-zontal position, with the mouthpiece ata 90 degree angle against the front teeth.A sharp inner edge against the lip willautomatically remind the player that theinstrument is not being held correctly.
The use of a mouthpiece without asharp inner edge is not recommended,as it would not allow sucient surfaceto distribute pressure over the lips. Atoo-rounded rim will dig into the lips,limiting the players endurance.
A player with a normal embouchureand fairly muscular lips should prefer amedium-wide rim, which will allowboth exibility and endurance. A too-wide rim will clamp down lip musclesand embouchure exibility, and theeect will be noticeable on quicktonal changes.
Players with very thick lips, however,can use a wide rim to advantage, as amedium-wide rim might dig into the softtissues of the lips and interfere with theblood circulation. Players who cannotovercome the habit offorcing hightones, or band members who occasionallysmack the mouthpiece against the lipswhile marching may also consider itadvantageous to use wide-rimmedmouthpieces. However, even very thick-lipped musicians and marching bandmusicians should prefer medium-widerims if they do not feel hindered in usingthem, for mouthpieces with extra-widerims encourage a player to use too muchpressure for the high notes instead ofrelying on the lip muscles to do the work.
A narrow rim oers a trumpet ortrombone player greater exibility, butit tends to dig into the esh of the lips,cutting o free blood circulation anddecreasing endurance. Horn players oftenprefer a medium-narrow rim becausetheir instrument covers so wide a range(a fourth lower than a trombone andalmost as high as a trumpet). The medi-um-narrow rim enables the horn playerto move the lips much more easily; thelips will be able to protrude for the lowtones and retract for the high tones.
The Cup: DepthIn general, a large cup diameter and/ordepth lowers the pitch of an instrument,while a small cup diameter and/or shal-low cup raises the pitch. Therefore, it isimportant to match the cup of the mouth-piece with the pitch of the instrument.Due to variations in embouchure, airsupport and oral cavity among musicians,individuals should select a cup whichimproves their overall intonation.
The correct depth of the cup dependsupon the pitch and corresponding lengthof the instrument, and, to a certain extent,the bore. For example, achieving thebrilliance of a B piccolo trumpet requiresa shallow cup, while the dark lyrical tonequality of a uegelhorn demands the useof a deep cup. For this reason, we do notrecommend using retted trumpet orcornet mouthpieces with the uegelhorn.
A player using a medium-large bore Bor C trumpet or a B cornet should gen-erally use a mouthpiece no shallower thanthe Bach C cup and preferably, slightlydeeper cups such as a B or A. One excep-tion is for musicians who continuallyplay in the extreme high register anddesire a brighter sound. In this case, amore shallow mouthpiece such as a 3D,3E, 3F or 5SV may be preferable.
For the Horn, a comparatively largevolume of air must be used to ll thebell. A very deep cup will help to get afull low register (suitable for second andfourth horn) while a shallower cup willhelp produce high tones (advantageousfor rst and third horn players). For thesmall tenor trombone, a medium-deepmouthpiece cup such as the 7C, 11Cor 12C is preferred. For the symphonictenor trombone, a larger cup, such as612AM, 6 12AL, 5G, 5GB, or 5GS maybe preferable. For baritone or euphonium,it is generally best to use a medium-deepcup, preferably one with a symphonicbackbore to produce a more mellow tone.
The Cup: DiameterWe recommend that all brassinstrumentalists professional artists,beginners or advanced students; symphony,concert or jazz band use as large a cupdiameter as they can endure and a fairlydeep cup. A larger mouthpiece with afairly deep cup oers the advantages ofa natural, compact, and uniform high,middle and low register, improved lipcontrol, greater exibility, and avoidanceof missed tones. A larger-sized mouthpiecewill also oer greater comfort, makingit possible to secure a good tone qualityeven when the lips are swollen from toomuch playing.
Splitting tones may be an indicationthat the mouthpiece is too small or perhapstoo shallow. A small cup diameter doesnot permit the lips to vibrate suciently,preventing the player from producing arich, full tone. The lack of tone volumetempts a player to exert more lip pressureand to force more air through the instru-ment than the small mouthpiece is capableof handling, creating a shrill tone.
The ThroatAll standard Bach mouthpieces are madewith medium-sized throats which pro-duce an even register, good intonation,and sucient endurance for strenuous,all-around work. A small throat does notproduce an easier high register; on thecontrary, it not only chokes the tonebut contracts the entire register, makinghigh tones at or the low tones sharp.A mouthpiece with an excessively largethroat will make playing softly dicult,however, a large throat may help toproduce a bigger tone.
Throats (with specications) availablefrom Vincent Bach:
T RUMPET AND C ORNET
Special: No. 28, 3.57mm (.141")Standard: No. 27, 3.66mm (.144")Special: No. 26, 3.73mm (.147")
(Standard Mega Tone)Special: No. 25, 3.81mm (.150")Special: No. 24, 3.86mm (.152")Special: No. 22, 3.99mm (.157")Special: No. 21, 4.04mm (.159")Special: No. 20, 4.09mm (.161")
Standard: No. 22, 3.99mm (.157")Special: No. 21, 4.04mm (.159")
(Standard Mega Tone)
Standard: No. 16, 4.50mm (.177")Special: No. 14, 4.62mm (.182")
(Standard on 7S)
T ENOR TROMBONE (SMALL SHANK )Standard: 5.85mm (.230")Special: 5.94mm (.234")
(Standard Mega Tone)Special: E, 6.35mm (.250")Special: F, 6.53mm (.257")
symphonic(Standard 6 12AM)
Special: G, 6.63mm (.261")euphonium or large tenor(Standard 6 12AL 5GS)
Special: 1764", 6.73mm (.265")(Standard Mega Tone6 12AL 5GS)
BASS TROMBONE LARGE SHANK TENOR TROMBONEStandard: 7.00mm (.276")Special: J, 7.04mm (.277")Special: 7.53mm (.296")
(Standard 1 14GM 1 12GM)Special: N, 7.67mm (.302")Special: 8.10mm (.319")