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mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby pete » Sun Jul 02, 2017 8:29 am

About a year ago, I bought a Conn 12J BBb tuba and started playing it. I use it in a big band, where I play the bass trombone part and double on tuba. We play our own music only, and our composer/arranger likes the option to occasionally write for a tuba instead for a bass trombone.

It came with a JK (Josef Klier?) mouthpiece, marked 238-2. So far it plays and sounds well, but it's a bit dented and the shank isn't as round as it could be, so I would like to buy a new mouthpiece. I cannot find this mouthpiece listed anywhere. It has a cup width of about 31.4mm and a depth of about 32-34mm (depending on where you define the end of the cup to be). The outer rim width is about 50mm.
I asked a few local tuba players what kind of mouthpiece they would use. They said their playing situation was rather different and they weren't sure, but both suggested a Miraphone C4 for pretty much allround playing.

So my question is: What kind of mouthpiece would you suggest for big band playing? On bass trombone I quite like the Marcinkiewicz pieces, are those good options for tuba?
Something with a bit more direct articulation might be a good idea and I don't need the really wide rim that my current mouthpiece has.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby Donn » Sun Jul 02, 2017 11:19 am

Sure, Marcinkiewicz tuba mouthpieces are an option - the new owner of one of my tubas loved my H3. I still have an H1 and H4, but have kind of put them aside for when my technique is up to it, and am playing a Conn 7B that's close in size to what you have there. I think as a bass trombone player, you might do well to stay in that moderate size range - you know how to work the low range in a small mouthpiece, and that moderate tuba mouthpiece size is plenty to get everything out of a tuba that's in there.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 04, 2017 8:39 pm

IF
- 12J
- big band
- Marcinkiewicz

...I'd probably look at that N-whatever mouthpiece that had Tommy Johnson's name on it.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby quesonegro » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:25 pm

N4, I think...it's a great piece but might be a bit on the big side for bass bone players, unless they spend a lot of time on the tuba!!
I think the Loud #10(?) is supposed to be a copy of Tommy's mp...but like a said, it's easy to err on the big side when you are doubling (and you're not Tommy Johnson), which can make you lack clarity in a rhythmical context. Big sound without timing and definition is useless, in my opinion.

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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby Donn » Mon Jul 10, 2017 1:32 pm

Ha ha ha, the last thing I'd want to try is to put on Tommy Johnson's shoes! Or any really accomplished player. In bass trombonist terms, the Doug Yeo phenomenon.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:23 pm

yeah...
That's why I recommended a tuba mouthpiece.
Reportedly, what's being sought (at least I thought...??) is a mouthpiece that is going to be used to play a tuba.

Flute players doubling on playing piccolo...(virtually all flute players...??)
Are there special "regular flute lip plate and embouchure hole" head joints our there so that flute players do not need to adjust to play piccolo ?

...and yeah, I understand (not being a modular mouthpiece) that the mouth-opening of that mouthpiece's rim is towards the "large" range, but if the player has a fairly "flat" face, they should have no problem with it. (see pic. on the left, below...)

Image
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby Donn » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:59 pm

I think everyone would agree that the situation calls for a tuba mouthpiece, which would be different in every respect from a bass trombone mouthpiece.

To elaborate on my Doug Yeo remark - among the many production mouthpieces made for bass trombone, I understand there's a sort of family of them descended from the very large Schilke 60. Yamaha's Doug Yeo model may actually be one of the easier of these to play well, but I understand it still takes a lot more work to get there, than a more conventional size like the Schilke 58. That's fine for Doug Yeo, Boston Symphony Orchestra etc. who we may expect has indeed put a lot of work into it, and for sure, it's fine with a lot of bass trombone players. But if you were a tenor player doubling on bass trombone? Sure, bass trombone mouthpiece - how about a Schilke 58? (or Bach 1½G, whatever.)

There are smaller mouthpieces, say Bach 2G, that are also suited to bass trombone, and at some point you could get into the "special for doubling" range that you're trying to make this about. But I don't think anyone has suggested a really small mouthpiece for the tuba. It's just that the 33.6 mm published cup diameter for the N4 (and Loud LM-10) is more or less at the top of the chart, and if the N4 is anything like my H1, the rest of the playing characteristics are also relatively demanding. A good mouthpiece for big band, doubling, ___ ... for most players, is going to be one of the mouthpieces made for most players, not for the big dogs, that would be my theory if I were qualified to have one.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:25 pm

N is not a Helleberg, and "4" Marcikiewicz code for "shallower than those in this series numbered 1,2, or 3".
The N4 has a wide opening, but isn't particularly deep, and the "N" style is a more conservative-sized cup shape than their "H" (Helleberg) cup shape anyway. :wink:
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby Donn » Mon Jul 10, 2017 5:15 pm

I can tell the difference between H1 and H4, if I play one after the other, but wouldn't guarantee I'd be so accurate if I just played one of the two without looking.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby toobagrowl » Mon Jul 10, 2017 7:49 pm

pete wrote:
So my question is: What kind of mouthpiece would you suggest for big band playing? On bass trombone I quite like the Marcinkiewicz pieces, are those good options for tuba?
Something with a bit more direct articulation might be a good idea and I don't need the really wide rim that my current mouthpiece has.


Mouthpieces are a very individual thing. What kind of sound are you looking for?

I have a Marc. N3 mpc. I sometimes use. Has a wide diameter with a conservative back-bore, and what seems to me an almost hybrid bowl-funnel cup. It makes a surprisingly mellow sound for me. Not really "dark" or "bright", just warm/mellow. Similar to the "Tommy Johnson" N4, but slightly deeper.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby bloke » Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:42 pm

Donn wrote:I can tell the difference between H1 and H4, if I play one after the other, but wouldn't guarantee I'd be so accurate if I just played one of the two without looking.


sigh...ok...nevermind... :roll:

BUY A SELLMANSBERGER MOUTHPIECE !!!
THEY ARE GREAT.
NO OTHER MOUTHPIECES ARE ANY GOOD AT ALL.
YOU'LL LIVE TEN YEARS LONGER.
EVERYTHING ELSE IS PHONY.
YOU'LL BE ABLE TO FLY AND BECOME INVISIBLE...AND ~WITHOUT~ THE ANNOYING "ALLERGIC TO KRYPTONITE" OR "BECOMING INSANE" SIDE EFFECTS. :?

there...more typical of tubenet...
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby pete » Tue Jul 11, 2017 10:02 am

Thanks for all the discussion! The wide rim could be an issue, I already play a wide rim shallow sort of hybrid funnel/cup bass trombone piece, but that's seriously less wide than the N4 and the amount of time I can spent on tuba playing is also something to consider. And indeed big sound is not so important, clarity of articulation is.

Because I didn't have time to go to a place I can try mouthpieces during openIng hours yet, and because I decided it would be fun to do so, I found some profiles online and decided to design and 3d print what should be a pt-65 copy and a miraphone c4 copy. The material or surface of material makes the sound a bit different of course. The plastic-65 is easier to play, with a bit brighter and cleaner sound and I like the sharper bite on the rim that I put on it. I'll see what the c4-ish one will do, it's printing now :) I'll design one with a wider rim and a sort of funnel and if that works, the N4 might be a good idea.

And bloke: do you suggest a specific sellmansberger piece and/or do you have a place that sells them in The Netherlands? ;)
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby bloke » Tue Jul 11, 2017 11:34 am

pete wrote:Thanks for all the discussion! The wide rim could be an issue, I already play a wide rim shallow sort of hybrid funnel/cup bass trombone piece, but that's seriously less wide than the N4 and the amount of time I can spent on tuba playing is also something to consider. And indeed big sound is not so important, clarity of articulation is.

Because I didn't have time to go to a place I can try mouthpieces during openIng hours yet, and because I decided it would be fun to do so, I found some profiles online and decided to design and 3d print what should be a pt-65 copy and a miraphone c4 copy. The material or surface of material makes the sound a bit different of course. The plastic-65 is easier to play, with a bit brighter and cleaner sound and I like the sharper bite on the rim that I put on it. I'll see what the c4-ish one will do, it's printing now :) I'll design one with a wider rim and a sort of funnel and if that works, the N4 might be a good idea.

And bloke: do you suggest a specific sellmansberger piece and/or do you have a place that sells them in The Netherlands? ;)


sure...I can recommend a mouthpiece, and I've shipped more than a handful of them to Holland. Other than the silly previous post, I could talk to you via private message about that. All of my rims fit all of my cups, so there would not be a "don't like that rim" issue.
Basically, I was trying to think of a mouthpiece, though, that would offer some good clarity, features a high-resistance throat (to pair up with the small-bore tuba) with a medium-depth cup (ref: "commercial" type of sound) that might :arrow: cost you no more than c. $100 USD.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby BrooklynBass » Tue Jul 11, 2017 12:36 pm

bloke wrote:sigh...ok...nevermind... :roll:

BUY A SELLMANSBERGER MOUTHPIECE !!!
THEY ARE GREAT.
NO OTHER MOUTHPIECES ARE ANY GOOD AT ALL.
YOU'LL LIVE TEN YEARS LONGER.
EVERYTHING ELSE IS PHONY.
YOU'LL BE ABLE TO FLY AND BECOME INVISIBLE...AND ~WITHOUT~ THE ANNOYING "ALLERGIC TO KRYPTONITE" OR "BECOMING INSANE" SIDE EFFECTS. :?

there...more typical of tubenet...


Amazing. A++
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby pauvog1 » Thu Jul 13, 2017 7:28 am

The n4 or lm10 might be a really good choice. The Sellmansberger imperial might be another option (if it were me I'd use an imperial).
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby pete » Thu Jul 20, 2017 2:18 pm

I ordered an N4 - turned out to be quite hard to find around here. Got it today - thanks for the suggestions! It arrived in a nice looking plastic tube that smells quite badly when opened. I made sure to clean the piece well before playing :)

It's more shallow, but quite a lot wider, and more V-shaped than my former mouthpiece, but with a slightly smaller throat. Same outer rim diameter, feels more comfortable.

It's quite a different sound and way of playing than my JK mouthpiece - much more even and well-defined sound in the higher registers with better slotting and easier to play the low register. Easier to get a clearer and more centered sound. But also a bigger/fuller less light sound, with a less aggressive attack with the same effort, although still with clarity in a different way. Probably still with enough punch if I want it and more options if I don't. It also seems to need more and faster air - the faster air might actually make switching from bass trombone and back easier.

I'll see how it works after I practiced more on it, and after i tried it in a band.

Oh, i also made these:
Image
Image

If anyone wants to make those themselves, you can download them at https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:2444407" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank and print or order on something like Shapeways.
The silver/grey cup shaped one plays very easily and sounds rather good.
The pink one is more funnel shaped. It looks great. For me it easily plays with a lot of attack - but not enough tone after the attack. Perhaps it does work for other people.
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Re: mouthpiece for big band playing

Postby iiipopes » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:37 pm

I have a friend who plays a 12J in concert band. He has two mouthpieces: a Bach 18, which he prefers, and a Conn 120S Helleberg that sounds the best on it. I recommend the Conn 120S Helleberg. It is, after all, what it is. If you want shallower, then the shallower 7 will do the job very well indeed. If you don't like the diameter, but like the depth, then a bloke Imperial with your choice of rim would work well also.

That is, if you fall out of favor with the mouthpiece you did purchase.
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