Mouthpiece Questions
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Author:  paulrace [ Tue Sep 19, 2017 12:57 pm ]
Post subject:  Mouthpiece Questions

A reader writes:

Concerning mouthpieces I have a Selmar Mark V1 Soprano and have been playing with the original c mouthpiece using a 3 1/2 Vandoren which for me run stiffer than any other brands. Been playing off and on for 40 years on the horn. Using a stiff reed any recommends for how big an opening I may like.


Thanks for getting in touch. My guess is that you have a C* mouthpiece, which is actually different from a C. Are you using a 3 1/2 reed because you like the tone or because they hold up better when played hard?

If you live in Frisco, you might be in a position to do what most people can't - try out other mouthpieces. If you're playing Jazz or Pop and you want a louder, brighter sound, I might recommend a metal mouthpiece. Unfortunately everybody's numbering system is a little different, but you could probably adjust easily to an E in Selmer if you're in practice. People who go to F or beyond tend to be professional players who are playing places they need to be very loud and who have built up serious lung power.

If you go to an E or greater, you might have to go back to #3 reeds until you're used to the bigger opening.

The best thing would be to try them out in a music store with your Selmer and a new box of reeds.

If you don't have access to new mouthpieces to try out, see if you can get a professional mouthpiece a couple steps up used for cheap. Even if it's not ideal, it will give you an idea of whether a new one is worth the investment.

The truth is that I DON'T play enough to get to the point where I would adjust easily to anything greater than an E, so I can't offer recommendations at that end of the spectrum. I use C* on everything, because that's what I'm used to, and I tend to play in situations where I don't need to be very loud. So I'm a bad example, I suppose.

Have a great day, and good luck with your choices.

Paul Race

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