With the amount of choices offered and such a broad range of price tags when picking out a new tuba mouthpiece, how can you go about selecting probably the best tuba mouthpiece for your requirements?
This article is going to give you the lower down on how you can get the best choice for you.
Imagine purchasing a Lamborghini coupe and fitting it with incorrectly sized, discount tires. Suddenly a high performance automobile is stymied by a pair of lackluster treads making inefficient contact with the asphalt below the primo vehicle.
Precisely why would anyone do this?
When purchasing a mouthpiece for a tuba, or perhaps any brass instrument for that matter, pricing should not be the driving consideration.
A mouthpiece’s shape, size, and construction materials impact the overall tone quality produced by the instrument.
Inasmuch, mouthpiece selection should regularly be in conversation with the musician’s needs and the characteristics of the instrument that will be yoked to the mouthpiece. The very best tuba mouthpiece for high notes won’t necessarily suit the needs of the marching band player.
Performance setting is a crucial facet of mouthpiece selection as the marching band field and concert hall demand different outcomes from the mouthpiece.
Advice guide to purchasing your best tuba mouthpiece:
Well, there is a great deal of things to think about before you buy your tuba mouthpiece. You will find various components in a tuba mouthpiece and they all add to the experience of yours when playing your tuba.
Continue reading to discover more about what to take note of when searching through options and finding probably the best tuba mouthpieces for you.
The quality of tone you are able to get out of each mouthpiece is normally an individual preference. Best to try out a number of options to determine which one to purchase.
Just how does the mouthpiece shape affect my choice?
In terms of cup shape and depth, most modern mouthpieces trace the roots of theirs to the Bach eighteen and the Conn Helleberg designs.
The Bach design is recognized by its wide, bowl-shaped cup, shallow, contoured rim, and fairly long shank reaching down toward the backend of the mouthpiece.
The Conn Helleberg designs feature a thin, sharp rim, and a strong, funnel shaped cup that often shortens the shank length of the mouthpiece.
As for the benefits related to these 2 basic shapes, bowl designs have a tendency to be well suited for passages containing rapid movement between notes, while funnel designs seem perfect for adagio type passages that require long, mellow note production.
What size is perfect size to go for?
Tuba mouthpiece size is generally best expressed with a variety of measures rather than one all encompassing metric.
Rim size, for instance, relates to embouchure flexibility and stamina.
In general, a wider rim affords the musician a far more open embouchure and heightened endurance, while the narrow rim, and the resulting tighter embouchure, offers the musician more flexibility between notes.
Cup depth relates directly to sound characteristics.
A shallow depth cup often means intensified brilliance and flexibility in the high register, while a full cup allows darker and richer tone production in the lower register. One shouldn’t overlook the throat diameter of the mouthpiece either.
Generally, a larger throat size produces louder notes while a smaller throat produces cleaner notes.
Lastly, a note about backbore diameter.
Backbore diameter, when properly in addition to another measurables listed above, can improve the entire tone characteristics produced by the additional features of the individual mouthpiece.
Mouthpieces are created in an assortment of materials.
A regular style calls for solid brass construction with silver plating on the rim and glass of the mouthpiece.
Because lots of brass amalgams contain a considerable lead component, the silver plating protects the musician from the toxicity of the lead as well as provides some germicide benefit.
For the cost, brass with silver plate creates crisp, sound that is clear at a very good value. On the bigger end of the cost continuum, gold plate mouthpieces offer a huge blend of ease, sound production, and comfort of maintenance for the musician.
Because of the smooth finish of gold plating, a tubist’s embouchure is treated to a somewhat more comfortable finish than the silver plate options.
In terms of sound production, gold plate mouthpieces have a tendency to help the creation of a darker and broader sound than the silver plate mouthpieces. On the downside, the gold models are much more costly compared to mouthpieces crafted with various other substances.
A word about plastic mouthpieces.
Lexan mouthpieces are presently in vogue as inexpensive alternatives to traditional mouthpieces. In marching bands especially, plastic mouthpieces are praised for offering musicians an assortment of color choices with durable construction.
Lauded for their rapid warmup ability and clear, expansive tone production, plastic mouthpieces are highly favored in school that is high as well as college settings.
Nevertheless, professional musicians insist that Lexan crafted mouthpieces significantly degrade tone quality along with other good characteristics, and should not be used in concert hall settings.
With numerous solutions where should you start?
For the beginning tubist, size is most likely the most crucial mouthpiece consideration. While some sixth graders may have the lung capacity to create suitable notes in all registers, they don’t have the embouchure to do it.
The Blessing eighteen, Conn Helleberg 7B, and Miraphone TU21 are fine examples of mouthpieces that gently shape the embouchure while providing plenty of wind resistance to train the tubist’s airflow.
The Blessing eighteen mouthpiece
Conn Helleberg 7B mouthpiece
When pushed, a lot of music educators are going to say that cone shaped mouthpieces are better for novices than bowl designs. Generally, plastic mouthpieces aren’t a good choice for the beginning tubist.
Advice for intermediate players:
With proficiency, the intermediate musician may select a larger mouthpiece with advanced materials and construction.
Considering the bowl mouthpiece’s outstanding power to go through a fast progression of notes when compared to Helleberg/cone designs, an intermediate tubist would be smart to select a bowl shaped model when purchasing another mouthpiece.
If the budget allows, a gold plated finish will compound the tonal quality of the bowl mouthpiece.
Excellent intermediate options include the Bach Megatone series, the Laskey 28G, and gold plate numbers in the Perantucci seventy series.
Kellyberg plastic models (Kelly Mouthpieces) are great chances for the intermediate performer looking for maximum volume just for the outdoor venue.
Vincent Megatone Tuba Mouthpiece
Kelly 25 mouthpiece
For the professional tubist:
Professional musicians have a tendency to choose their mouthpieces based on their performance contexts.
The orchestra instrumentalist, for instance, is going to choose bowl mouthpieces due to their precession and fluidity when the score calls for a powerful tuba contribution.
The professional playing a horn in an outdoor context i.e. drum cops performer will often seek a mouthpiece with a full bowl due to volume considerations.
DN Tuba Bass Horn Mouthpiece Silver Plated
Review: this affordable tuba mouthpiece is perfect tuba mouthpiece for beginner players.
Not a popular manufacturer
Great mouthpiece for: somebody searching on a budget.
Glory Standard Tuba Mouthpiece
Click Here for Pricing, Reviews and pictures on Amazon.com
Review: this affordable mouthpiece offers a comfortable blow with a quality tone.
Suits all abilities
Easily discoloured, tarnished or perhaps bashed
Great mouthpiece for: any player on a budget.
Adam ATU18 Adam Mouthpiece Tuba 18
Review: this mid priced mouthpiece offers a sleek edge for comfort.
Comfortable to play
More expensive than several other options
Great mouthpiece for: an intermediate player looking to move ahead with their playing.
Yamaha YACBB67C4 Tuba Mouthpiece
Review: a well priced mid range option for the intermediate tubist.
Would need upgrading with experience
Great mouthpiece for: intermediate players.
24K Gold Helleberg Tuba Mouthpiece
Review: this mouthpiece is perfect tuba mouthpiece for marching band.
Great mouthpiece for: the professional marching band player with money to spend.
Denis Wick DW3186 3L Heritage Tuba Mouthpiece
Review: this deep cupped mouthpiece offers an experienced player exceptional tone quality.
Exceptional tone quality
Great mouthpiece for: professional players looking for that high class note hitting mouthpiece.
Conn-Selmer Helleberg 120 Standard Tuba Mouthpiece
Review: this high end option is pricey but offers the comfort and tonal quality that reflects the price tag.
Great control for dynamics
Great mouthpiece for: a professional looking for luxury in the mouth piece of theirs.
A Final Note
With time, many professionals amass 6 plus mouthpiece options giving them a treasure trove to choose from when considering performance settings and literature demands.
Top professional models include the Bach Dynatone Gold, Gidding and Webster’s Dynamo series, the Marcinkiewicz Pro Line, and for outdoor use, the Marcinkiewicz N6W.
In truth, mouthpiece selection is as essential as instrument selection.
A large instrument with a skimpy mouthpiece is counterproductive coupling. Likewise, gold-plate, a hefty, deep bowl mouthpiece fitted on a dinged 3/4 instrument is going to frustrate the beginner band pupil.
So how can you pick?
What to do?
Get to know your performance context, the playing style of yours, and your instrument’s tonal characteristics before handing a cashier hundreds of dollars for the sexy mouthpiece on a thirty % off sale.
Make the imminent marriage of mouthpiece work, musician, and instrument by planning, asking questions, and taking some time to complete a deliberate selection process.