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An aspiring jazz trumpet player's blog about jazz improvisation and ear training.

March 14, 2004 Jazz Blog 7 Comments

New Yamaha mouthpiece

MouthpieceAs mentioned in my equipment post, I'm not thrilled with my Bach 5C mouthpiece.

I was all set to do a mouthpiece trial with mouthpieceexpress.com, but then I spotted a Yamaha 11C4-7C on eBay for $4. I wasn't really looking for a Yamaha mouthpiece, but I figured this mouthpiece would help with sizing --if it feels good, then I'd know I should try some 7C-sized mouthpieces and perhaps even smaller sizes. I ended up winning the Yamaha auction and purchased the mouthpiece for $9, including shipping.

I've been playing the Yamaha mouthpiece for a week now (I used it when recording I Mean You). At first, the mouthpiece felt really small. While I can't see much of a difference between my Bach 5C and this 7C, my lips sure can feel it.

After a few days, I felt my embouchure adjust to the smaller size. I'm still not sure that this small size works for me, but I've noticed that the smaller size causes me to use less pressure as I try to focus my embouchure on a smaller target. Using less pressure, I have greater endurance and less soreness at the end of the day. Good stuff!

I'd like to say this experience has helped me in identifying the characteristics of my *ideal* mouthpiece. Honestly, though, I just feel more confused as I now have yet another variable (a smaller size) to add into the already perplexing mouthpiece equation. Why is it so hard to find the right mouthpiece?! That's rhetorical question, no need to comment ;-)

I take that back, if you do have any suggestions, I'd be glad to hear them.

In other news, I'm going to be trying two new trumpets in the near future: a Yamaha Xeno and a Getzen Eterna 900S! You can expect detailed reviews and pictures…

ADDITIONAL READING

Comment by Roman I

Hey, how would you compare the tone, response, and range between the 7C and the 5C? I play the 7C currently as well, just switched from the Yamaha 14B4 (similar to the Bach 3C). I really like the tone and response of it much more than the 14B4 because of its deeper cup and smaller diameter, but I'm thinking of trying a 5C.

Comment by Rick

Hi Roman,

My Bach 5C definitely sounds better than the Yamaha 11C4-7C. While the Bach produces a deeper and fuller sound, the Yamaha still wins out for comfort and ease of play. Unfortunately, my endurance is so bad that I have to choose performance over quality of sound...

-Rick

Comment by Gregory Ryan

Roman,

I was doing some mouthpiece research came across your blog. I use a Yamaha 11C4-7C. Took an 11 year hiatus from the Trumpet and just got back into it. The 7C is what I used as a kid. Figured I would need something larger since my embouchure is larger now. But it seems everyone still uses the 7C, 20 years laters. Endurance seems like it would be better on a larger cup size. You found this not to be true however?

Comment by Rick

Gregory,

I think most people find better endurance and a stronger upper range with smaller mouthpieces. The smaller size requires less overall movement and therefore less effort. But, smaller mouthpieces typically come with a smaller/narrower sound.

Here's a pretty good list of famous players and their mouthpieces. As you can see, there really isn't a standard setup that everyone uses.

http://abel.hive.no/trompet/playerhorn/

At the end of the day, you need to find a combination that's comfortable for you.

Thanks for visiting,

-Rick

I have been playing my trumpets with a standard beginners 7C mouthpiece from Bach for a little over 4 years now. I didn't like how it wore me out every day when hitting in the higher range. I have just recently purchased a new Bach 5C mouthpiece from my music supplier store, and I have felt more comfortable with this mouthpiece for some reason. Allthough it's not completely allowing me to take on an even higher range, it is however, making it easier and more comfortable to hit...oh, I'd say about a High C. Can you tell me how and why this new mouthpiece size made such a difference? Thanks.

~lilmoo~

Comment by Rick

Hi "lilmoo",

As mentioned in the previous comment to Gregory... generally speaking, a smaller mouthpiece (larger number for the C(up) size) makes it easier to play in the high register and a larger mouthpiece (smaller number in the cup size) provides a bigger/richer sound. With that logic, the upper range of a 7C would be easier than the upper range of a 5C. In reality, though, most players gravitate to whatever mouthpiece size is more comfortable for them, allowing them to have the best tone, endurance, and dexterity. In your case, it sounds like a 5C is a better fit for your embouchure and playing style so it's easier for you to play.

-Rick

Hello again. I have another question. I came to realize that the 5C mouthpiece that I purchased was probably too little of a baby step to be helping any, so I traded it in for a 3C, and it's working out a lot better. For example; A piece that I tried to play for Solo and Ensemble last year was too high of a range for me while I was on a 7C...but this year I switched straight to a 3C and had little to no problem playing the solo (Received the best rating on it). Could it be that the 3C made the difference, or was it just that I'd become more improved since last year?

~lilmoo~

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