There is a huge variety of different trumpet mouthpieces available on the market today, as wide and diverse as the range of players who use them. While at a glance, this may seem daunting, there are certain tried and tested models that can be found in every genre.
Before you invest in a new mouthpiece, make sure you know why you are changing. Has your teacher recommended a change? Are you playing a different genre of music? Remember that while the right mouthpiece will aid your development, no mouthpiece is a magic bullet that will automatically make you into the player you want to be, so make sure you’re certain about changing before you part with your cash!
Below, I’ve listed some common mouthpiece models. Before we look at those, here’s a quick primer on some mouthpiece jargon:
A deeper cup will generally produce a louder, darker sound while a shallow cup will afford the player a brighter, cutting sound.
A larger cup will increase the volume of sound and make it easier to control while a smaller cup will relieve fatigue, improving stamina.
Different brands use different sizing systems to describe the cup size and depth (and occasionally other parts of the mouthpiece such as rim width and shape, throat size etc.) Vincent Bach sizing is the cup diameter (the lower the number, the larger the cup diameter) followed by the cup depth (A being the deepest, F being the shallowest). Other mouthpiece companies will label their mouthpieces differently, but sizes are often compared to their closest equivalent Vincent Bach size.
A quick note on trying mouthpieces
If you’re trying new mouthpieces, make sure to warm up on your current model first. This way, you will be able to make the best comparison. It’s also useful to have someone else whose musical judgement you trust with you if at all possible. Have them listen to you playing each different mouthpiece from a distance. The sound of a trumpet across the other side of a room will be different to how it appears from the perspective of the player.
With all that in mind, on to the mouthpieces themselves!
Vincent Bach 7C– If you have a Vincent Bach, this will be the mouthpiece that was included with it. It’s a good size for beginners to start on as the cup diameter and depth are both in the middle of the range. Not too large or small. This doesn’t mean that the 7C is exclusively for beginners, as many different types of players use this mouthpiece. However, as you progress with your playing, you may find your needs change.
Sonata 7C– The Sonata version of the 7C is included with our Sonata trumpet model and offers great value for money. If you want a 7C brass mouthpiece to use with your pTrumpet, this is a great choice.
Vincent Bach 5C and Vincent Bach 3C– These have a larger Cup Diameter than the 7C and like the 7C, both sizes are extremely popular with many different types of players. The pTrumpet comes with a plastic version of each of these sizes so that you can choose which is more comfortable.
Big and Bold- Vincent Bach 1 1/4C and Vincent Bach 1 1/2C– Even larger Cup Dimeter. These mouthpieces are capable of producing a loud, dark sound. Players with larger lips may find these sizes more comfortable and they will also suit players looking for a powerful, symphonic tone.
Lead Trumpet Mouthpieces- These sizes are often used by lead trumpet players in big band and commercial applications to produce a very cutting, bright sound and aid playing in the upper register. Most applications won’t call for anything this extreme and some lead trumpet players are known to use deeper mouthpieces.
My favourite player plays X mouthpiece, should I play one?
Maybe. When choosing a mouthpiece, it’s important to consider your own needs. Seeing as everyone’s embouchure, tooth formation, playing style and numerous other factors are different, the mouthpiece that suits your favourite player might be completely unsuitable for you. That said, if their sound is close to the sound you want to produce on the instrument, it is worth trying one out if possible or considering which aspects of the mouthpiece design help them produce that sound. Remember that the mouthpiece is only part of the equation- don’t underestimate those lip slurs and long tones!
Take a look at our range of mouthpieces by clicking here!