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Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby raghul17 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:08 pm

Hi,
I have to ask the professionals for this since my trombone teacher doesn't know much about this. I play a King 4/4 4 piston valve BBb tuba, and this is my 3rd year of playing the instrument. I know that a mouthpiece does not immediately make up practice, and also that it will not immediately change things. I have two mouthpieces:
Bach 18
Conn Helleberg 7B
I notice that the Conn is better suited for the higher range, but for me personally, it sucks on the lower range :?: . The Bach 18( my current one) has a better tone quality, better on the lower range :D , but is pretty bad on high, and uses too much air. :evil:
So these are my predicaments. I want a mouthpiece that is good-REALLY good on range, and has about the same tone quality as the Bach.
If you are wondering, this mouthpiece will be exclusively used for Region/All-state tryouts, and maybe my junior high school band if it fits. :tuba:
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby raghul17 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:09 pm

Sorry, but can it also use less air than the Bach? Thanks!
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby happyroman » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:04 am

I would look at the standard Conn Helleberg (120S).

It has a slightly wider cup diameter than the Bach, but a smaller throat.

Here is a link to a mouthpiece comparison guide you may also find helpful.

http://www.dwerden.com/Mouthpieces/tuba.cfm

Also, what do you consider high range? For tuba, everything from low BBb to Bb on top of the staff are really considered middle register, or sometimes called the cash register, since most of what we play falls into this range. If you are having trouble with the upper middle register, it will come with practice. You just need to allow the lip muscles to develop through practice so that they can vibrate at faster frequencies. Just remember that high notes and low notes are just faster and slower vibrations.

When practicing the higher notes, make sure you start with a full breath, and think of a singer with a voice like a tuba singing the vowel OH while you play. This will keep the tongue low in the mouth and allow thick air to get to the lips. In order for the lips to vibrate efficiently, they must be provided with plenty of fuel in the form of thick air.

To see this for yourself, blow on the back of your hand with the syllable HO. Then say KEE, HEE, or TEE and try to blow on your hand. You should feel a drastic difference in the amount of air you feel. Make sure when you play you are using HO and not HEE.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby hup_d_dup » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:25 am

I don't have any particular mouthpiece advice, but I'm going to relay some remarks that Matt Walters said to me that I think were very wise. He works at Dillon and has seen thousands of people try out instruments. He says that when pros try out an instrument, they invariably very quickly will pick out the good ones. The horn may have characteristics they don't want (they want piston, not rotary; they want CC, not BBb; they want 5/4, not 4/4, etc.) but as far as the playability, one pro will generally agree with another pro; "this is a good horn." However, when a student or intermediate player picks out an instrument they like, it rarely is one that a pro has also liked. Matt's theory is that the student is always looking for an instrument that address his primary playing weaknesses, and consequently that instrument will never have all it's playing characteristics well balanced.

You may be in a similar position. You are searching for a mouthpiece that solves a problem you have, not a problem that is due to the mouthpiece. You may want to consider getting some advice from a good teacher or a pro in your area.

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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby Donn » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:20 am

Right - those are both great mouthpieces, that many tuba players play without encountering the problems you mention - so when we recommend our own favorite mouthpieces, that's just more mouthpieces you may very well have trouble with. That said, that 120S is also a good mouthpiece - or its inexpensive clones, the Faxx Hb and the Kellyberg (I have both.) Its internal diameter may be larger than the Bach 18, but the rim is flatter, like your Conn mouthpiece, with a better defined edge, which may more than make up for the apparently larger diameter.

But really, when you get to where both ends of the range are good for you, all of these mouthpieces will work fine for you, and until then none of them is going to do it. Honestly, for a long time the upper half of the bass clef was very awkward for me, and while I could easily make noises on the low end (i.e., below Bb below the staff), it wasn't a really musical sound. As suggested above, air has a lot to do with it. I'm no teacher, but something a trombone teacher mentioned to me once ... if you can whistle, then there's likely no reason you can't play. Don't know if that's true, and she didn't say this, but - notice how little strain there is, when you whistle.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby iiipopes » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:48 am

When I was a freshman in high school and volunteered to play one of the school's King fiberglass souzys, (original ones from the '60's and '70's) the mouthpiece we used was the stock King 25.
"Bessophone" w/ 2-piece Imperial Blokepiece,
Lexan 32.6 Modified Helleberg rim & modified .080 extender
Wessex BR115 w/ Wick Ultra SMB6
King Super 20 trumpet w/ Bach 3C/76
Fanned fret bass and electric guitars
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby Ace » Fri Oct 13, 2017 1:47 pm

IMHO, you have a great do-it-all mouthpiece in the Bach 18.

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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby Leland » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:36 pm

hup_d_dup wrote:I don't have any particular mouthpiece advice, but I'm going to relay some remarks that Matt Walters said to me that I think were very wise. He works at Dillon and has seen thousands of people try out instruments. He says that when pros try out an instrument, they invariably very quickly will pick out the good ones. The horn may have characteristics they don't want (they want piston, not rotary; they want CC, not BBb; they want 5/4, not 4/4, etc.) but as far as the playability, one pro will generally agree with another pro; "this is a good horn." However, when a student or intermediate player picks out an instrument they like, it rarely is one that a pro has also liked. Matt's theory is that the student is always looking for an instrument that address his primary playing weaknesses, and consequently that instrument will never have all it's playing characteristics well balanced.

You may be in a similar position. You are searching for a mouthpiece that solves a problem you have, not a problem that is due to the mouthpiece. You may want to consider getting some advice from a good teacher or a pro in your area.

Hup

This. This, this, this. Especially the bold part.

It took me several years (I'd say a decade of playing) before I started to really put together what problems were the horn's and what problems were mine.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby bloke » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:06 pm

something under $100
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby royjohn » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:12 am

I agree that when your technique is better you will produce better tone in the low register and reach the high notes easier with any mouthpiece. However, a mpc can make things a bit easier. One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that the Bach is more of a bowl shaped mpc while the Hellebergs are funnel cups. So you ought to decide which kind of tone you like better in the cash register where you can play fairly well. Then go for a bowl shaped mpc or a funnel shaped one. You might want to decide which problem you can work on best through technique. Maybe you'll find it easier to work on the high register, in which case you'd chose a mpc that helps you more in the low register (deeper cup, bigger backbore, larger diameter). Or if you find you can improve your low register easier regardless of mpc, then chose one which helps you more in the high register (shallower cup, narrower backbore, smaller diameter). One thing I would do is chose a mpc with a smaller throat, esp. if you are concerned about air management. The Bach 18 has a huge 8.84mm throat and the Helleberg 7B is not much smaller at 8.5mm. I would look for something in the same ID range of 31.5mm to 32.10mm, but with a throat of 8,2mm or maybe even smaller. Take a look at the Werden chart of mpcs and see what you see that would be close to what you'd like to try that might be common...Miraphones, Yamahas, Schilkes, Bachs (with a smaller throat), Kellys. You might see if you can get a candidate mpc from a private seller for trial or from Dillons or Mpc Express, who will allow trials if you pay with your credit card.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby raghul17 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 5:37 pm

Hello,
Thank you for your replies! I will now explain some things. I consider my low Bb to my high Bb my normal range. I can play up to trumpet range in my tuba, but I cant hold it long :x . As I said before, I do not think that a mouthpiece will immediately change things! Since i'm still a developing player, my shortcomings need to be worked out. I know this. But, would you rather have a mouthpiece that is suited for you or a mouthpiece that is not? most people would not go with the latter. My current mouthpieces do not fit as they should. The mouthpieces should fit the player, not the other way around. They hinder me in improving, and that is not good. This is why I need a new mouthpiece. Thanks again for the replies and please give more! :tuba:
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby The Big Ben » Sun Oct 15, 2017 1:55 pm

raghul17 wrote: My current mouthpieces do not fit as they should. The mouthpieces should fit the player, not the other way around. They hinder me in improving, and that is not good. This is why I need a new mouthpiece. Thanks again for the replies and please give more! :tuba:


Do you know all of your major scales (at least) all the way around the Circle of Fifths, at least in two octaves? Or, if not that, can you play six flats and six sharps equally well? Chromatic scales? How about minor scales? Spending long (often boring) time on this will pay off more in your tuba playing than deviating from a Bach 18 or Conn Helleberg. You do not have a teacher who is actually a tuba player. Find a way to take at least two or three lessons from a tuba teacher over the period of a few months. There may be a few things you need to change in your approach.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby MaryAnn » Sun Oct 15, 2017 2:30 pm

Get a Kellyburg. Most people end up with many hundreds of dollars worth of mouthpieces because we all go through a phase of hoping that just this tiny change in the mouthpiece will make this little technical thing easier, which it might. Until you get better at that technical thing and find you no longer need to use that $100 mouthpiece.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby Sousaswag » Mon Oct 16, 2017 9:35 pm

Hi! New user, first real post. I've played both the Bach 18 and the Helleberg. I like both. But for me personally, I like the low range I get from the Bach. It's not my main mouthpiece anymore, as the pt50 is my go to, but comparing Bach to Helleberg, they are both great, and I have a hard time choosing one or the other. If I had to pick one or the other, the Bach just feels better for me. Sure, I can make the same notes come out just as easily on the Helleberg, but I prefer the sound from the Bach. Just my two cents...
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby swillafew » Tue Oct 17, 2017 7:04 pm

The two mouthpieces you already use are popular and time tested. Neither one of them worked very well for me, either.

The regular Conn Helleberg did, for a long time and on different instruments. I moved over to a Yamaha 67C4 after it was provided with a horn I bought. 22 years later it is serving me well, and was a good fit on 4 of the 5 horns I used with it. They are inexpensive, and very "vanilla", nothing to be excited about other than very comfortable and very practical. The Kellyberg option is good too, I have 2 of those and they work well on instruments large and small.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby pauvog1 » Thu Oct 19, 2017 7:44 am

Just another option. This Helleburg option may be worth looking at if the 18 is too much. Also well under $100.

https://www.hornguys.com/collections/tu ... mouthpiece
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby Donn » Thu Oct 19, 2017 10:58 am

pauvog1 wrote:Just another option. This Helleburg option may be worth looking at if the 18 is too much. Also well under $100.

https://www.hornguys.com/collections/tuba-mouthpieces/products/faxx-tuba-mouthpiece


I have one of those. I don't have a Conn 120S to compare it to, only a 7B, but the I'd bet a quarter the Faxx is an improvement on the original. The rim is particularly nice, I've never seen anything quite like it.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby hrender » Thu Oct 19, 2017 1:14 pm

(following bloke's advice to keep cost <$100)
New: Conn 120S, Faxx FHB-120 (the bigger one)
Used: Canadian Brass Arnold Jacobs Heritage, Laskey 30H

Picking a mouthpiece is like picking a pair of shoes, there will always be personal fit/feel preferences, but the ones above all work for me and my Kings. I currently use the Laskey 30H, and it's been the most balanced for different kinds of playing.

You can also try a Kellyberg, Loud LM6 or LM7, maybe a PT48 or PT50 as they're all larger Helleberg variants. There are many others, some I've tried, some not. I have a silver Kellyberg I'll sell you if you're interested, but it's cheaper to get a plastic one.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby pauvog1 » Fri Oct 20, 2017 7:18 am

Donn wrote:
pauvog1 wrote:Just another option. This Helleburg option may be worth looking at if the 18 is too much. Also well under $100.

https://www.hornguys.com/collections/tuba-mouthpieces/products/faxx-tuba-mouthpiece


I have one of those. I don't have a Conn 120S to compare it to, only a 7B, but the I'd bet a quarter the Faxx is an improvement on the original. The rim is particularly nice, I've never seen anything quite like it.


The 7B didn't really work well for me either. Between the two, I greatly prefer the Faxx version.
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Re: Mouthpiece for Freshman

Postby Donn » Fri Oct 20, 2017 2:13 pm

pauvog1 wrote:The 7B didn't really work well for me either. Between the two, I greatly prefer the Faxx version.


To be clear, I like the 7B fine. I only meant to extoll the virtues of the rim on the larger Faxx Helleberg mouthpiece, which I unfortunately can't compare to its Conn 120S counterpart because I don't have one. But then, Conn changed that rim often enough that I don't feel too bad about that - whatever I say might be right about some version of it.

I'm having a little trouble with perceived ambiguity in the above - you prefer the Faxx version of the 7B? I wonder if its rim is similar.
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