Brass Mouthpiece Selection

By: Greg Pate, Low Brass Specialist (Bass and Tenor Trombone, Contrabass Trombone, Tuba, Euphonium)

Selecting a brass mouthpiece can be a challenge for many players. A mouthpiece that is too large or too small can have a detrimental effect on the players sound, embouchure, and ultimately their sound.

I will try to give some clarity to this process based on what I have learned over 45-plus years of playing experience. mouthpiece1_c.jpg

Comfort

The rim of the mouthpiece should be comfortable on the face. Rims can be narrow or wide, sharp or round. Brass players may prefer one shape over another. The diameter of the rim must feel comfortable as well.

Response 

The mouthpiece takes the vibration and airstream from the embouchure and transfers it to the horn. The input that the player gives must make the instrument respond properly. If the mouthpiece is not correct for the player, it will feel like the sound and pitch of the instrument is unstable.

Sound

The correct mouthpiece will help the player to get the best sound. It is always a good idea to have another musician listen while the mouthpiece is being tested and give feedback on the sound quality.

In summary, selecting the right mouthpiece will give the player optimum results in all three of these areas.  Be patient though. Sometimes it may take a long time to find the right one.

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Identifying Fake Band Instruments

Identifying Band Fake Instruments

by: Luke Armstrong, Band and Orchestral Instruments Specialist

Step 1: when coming across a possible fake instrument, search for the manufacturer’s website and inspect the various instrument specifications and pictures provided. Take some notes.
Step 2 Identify Common Errors:  Company logos will sometimes be incorrect on fake instruments, and we have seen instances of professional instruments being featured with incorrect engraving and/or finishes that are not actually in production lines for said models. Stamped vs. printed serial numbers are an easy one to spot.
Step 3: forward the link on to Jim’s band & orchestral specialists and we can verify if it’s “too good to be true”Click here to contact us
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WHY/HOW do people do this?
My repair experience has shown me this….as manufacturing has been improving over the last 20 years globally, opportunists have sprung up that can have professional instruments copied to an impressive visual equivalent. The case, the engraving, the finishes ALL look like the real deal when propped and pictured, but the actual play-ability and composition of these fakes is apparent upon visual inspection & play test on my repair bench. Ebay or whoever is listing the fake item gets their listing fees, the shipping companies collect their cut both ways, as does the credit card company who sits in the middle of the whole exchange with that money floating back and forth between customer and ebay as things get resolved. The complexity behind the profits, the wasted time the customer experiences could have been all alleviated if they had supported their local music shop. We want to keep people playing and happy….. everyone online trying to sell that copy is just there for a buck.

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