How to Choose a New Mouthpiece

It never ceases to amaze me when I see a horn player come into the shop with a new, very expensive instrument, who’s playing it with a mouthpiece that someone gave him or her in high school or a teacher fished out of his junk drawer. It seems almost like an afterthought. It shouldn’t be. The mouthpiece is the interface between the player and their instrument and choosing the right one can make a dramatic difference.

Choosing a new mouthpiece can be a daunting task. But, it doesn’t have to be. Every mouthpiece needs to meet three requirements: 1. It has to suit the player, 2. It has to suit the horn, 3. It has to produce the desired sound and response.

The first step is to find the right rim. It should be comfortable and allow clean articulation and a smooth legato. The inner diameter of the rim can vary to suit thick or thin lips or to accommodate uneven teeth. A wider ID (inner diameter) allows more of the lip to vibrate and can help a stronger player play with greater volume and flexibility. The contour of the rim can be wider or narrower, flatter or more rounded, or have a reverse peak. Generally, wider flatter rims provide better endurance and thinner, more rounded rims allow greater flexibility.

Next, the cup and throat should compliment the instrument. The key here is the venturi, the narrowest point at the beginning of the mouthpipe. Large bell horns like Conn 8D’s have a slower overall taper and the venturi is quite small. Medium bell instruments, like Alexanders, start larger and have a much quicker taper. So, what’s needed is balance. 8D’s work well with large throat mouthpieces that balance the small venturi. Alex’s need smaller throats to perform well. Generally, mouthpiece throats in the 10-16 range work well for most people.

The shape of the cup affects sound quality and response. More curved, cup shaped side walls make a brighter sound and work well with both large bore instruments and some smaller horns, like Alex’s, Paxmans, and Yamahas. Deeper, straighter sided cups have a darker, less focused sound quality and work well with Geyer-style instruments. Shallower, more cup shaped mouthpieces favor higher harmonics, deeper, straight sided mouthpiece favor the lower register.

There just isn’t one mouthpiece that will work for all players, all instruments, all music. When you settle on a mouthpiece be aware of its basic design and dimensions. Then, if you want to make a change, you will be starting from a known quantity and you can be systematic in your search. No mouthpiece is perfect, the question is: “Does this mouthpiece help me move in the direction I want to go?”

Financing Your New Horn

We’re often asked by customers if we offer financing. The best way to finance a large purchase is with PayPal or a credit card.  PayPal offers six months of no interest financing on purchases over $99. You can choose PayPal financing on our website during the checkout process.  For longer terms, credit cards are the best option. Some cards offer interest-free financing for up to twenty-one months. Sites like Nerdwallet (http://www.nerdwallet.com/the-best-credit-cards) can help you find the best card for your needs and circumstances.

Our Holiday Schedule

Osmun Music will close on December 24th at 4pm and reopen on Monday, December 29, at 10am so that our staff can enjoy a long holiday weekend. We’ll close at 2pm on December 31st and reopen on January 2nd at 10am. The weeks around the holidays are very busy so, if you need repair work during that period, please schedule it as soon as you can.  (Click here to schedule an appointment online.)

All of us at Osmun Music wish our customers and friends a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a safe and prosperous New Year.

Getting Ready For the Holidays

Choosing gifts for the brass players on your holiday list can be tricky. You want to support and encourage them, but it’s difficult to pick out things will be appreciated. Here are some ideas for presents that will appeal across a wide spectrum.

  • The Maslet horn straight mute is a versatile all-around choice.A Really Good Mute. A professional quality straight mute is a basic item for every trumpet, horn, and trombone player. Horn players need a good fibre mute. Aluminum mutes are standard for trumpet and trombone. If your brass player is using a plastic mute or the old red-and-white fibre kind, a new mute will be welcome.
  • Silent Brass fells and sounds like a concert hall.Silent Brass/ Practice mutes. These specialized mutes for practicing allow a player to warm up or do basic maintenance playing without disturbing people in the next room.
  • Combo tuner-metronomes pack a lot of punch into a small package.Electronic Tuners and Metronomes. Rhythm and pitch are the building blocks of performance. Everybody needs a tuner.
  • Solid, stable, and hold its adjustmentStands and Lights. If your brass player is using a wire stand at home you can bet he or she will appreciate a solid, strong, orchestral stand that can support a heavy load of study materials. A good stand light can be a life-saver in a dimly lit room or pit.
  •  About Playing and PlayersBooks. Books about playing, players, and performance broaden horizons.

Made for Marking MusicStocking Stuffers. Small, inexpensive, and guaranteed to be appreciated:

E. Schmid Rims for Screw Rim Mouthpieces

Schmid_rim

As Engelbert Schmid’s mouthpieces have become increasingly popular, a lot of our customers have asked for Schmid rims to use with Osmun cups. so, we now have two Engelbert Schmid copy rims. All four standard sizes are available as metric rims and the smaller sizes (17, 17.5mm)  are made for standard (Giardinelli thread) cups as well. Here are the rim sizes for Schmid’s mouthpieces:

  • 17mm-Schmid models 4 thru 6.5
  • 17.5mm-Schmid models 7 thru 9.5
  • 18mm- Schmid models 10 thru 12.5
  • 18.5-Schmid models 13 thru 13.5

We also have Schmid Digital rims in 17.5 and 18mm, as used on Schmid Digital mouthpiece models 1 thru 3.5, available as metric rims (fits our metric and Paxman Halstead Chidell cups).

You can see our full range of cups and rims on our mouthpiece page at osmun.com.

We Go the Extra Mile

Osmun Music Trumpet Specialist Jim Becker

Osmun Music Trumpet Specialist Jim Becker

Jim Becker, our ace trumpet tech, just got a nice shout-out from a happy customer on the Trumpet Herald (Here’s the link):

Hi All — Last year I had Jim Becker at Osmun do a valve job on my 1968 Olds Special. He turned a “Special” into a “Fantastic.” This past week, he did a valve job on my 1954 Olds Recording, with the same result. The horn is the off-the-map good. In my view, for a vintage horn, there’s no bigger bang-for-the-buck than a valve job, as long as the rest of the horn is sound. Jim also goes the extra mile, always finding other things to correct along the way (my Recording came back with the bell straightened out and with O-rings on the third valve slide). He’s an expert’s expert, fair in pricing, and a nice person to boot. Thanks, Jim!

Be sure to check out the Trumpet Services page at osmun.com.

Schmid Horns New Website

Engelbert Schmid valve block and flare with garland

Here’s a nice shot of a Schmid valve cluster and a bell flare with nickel silver garland. The ports between the valves have a gentle curve and there are no solder joints to interfere with the airflow. Schmid’s garland is narrower than most and has an oak-leaf motif. Garlands can also be made in yellow or gold brass.

Engelbert Schmid horns has just launched a new website: www.engelbert-schmid-horns.com (Easy to remember, harder to type.) It’s been completely redesigned and organized and has a lot of information and pictures. It shows the full range od Schmid modern horns, baroque and classical hand horns, and Wagner tubas.

Our next Schmid horn is due in late January. It’s a full double, yellow brass, lacquer, two water keys, adjustable hand rest, and your choice of bell flare. (All our Schmid horns come with detachable bell.)  Give us a call  (978-823-0580) or an email if you’re interested.