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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby TheTuba » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:00 am

Thank you for the replies!

So to go further, I just don't like the Bach mouthpieces at this point. I used to around 2-3 years ago, and been using it for all that time, so I do know that it is making it harder for me to do stuff that is required of me. The middle to high range (c- Bb above staff) sounds whispery, and it is getting harder to get that dark sound that I desire. So I went back to my Conn 7B and the difference was immediate. Sure, its a bit harder to be flexible, but the sound was there. That's why I think I need a new mouthpiece. Is this a sufficient enough reason or do I just need to practice more.

(side note: I put about 1-3hours every day of practice.)
(other side note: not including school band stuff)

Thanks and keep the advice coming!
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby Mark Finley » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:30 am

Somebody at your school has got to have one of these or maybe even the band directors have one. Find one to borrow and if you like it buy it. It's pretty much the industry standard for students for a good reason.

Conn-Selmer, Inc. 120S Helleberg 120 Standard Tuba Mouthpiece https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0002DUPZ0/re ... GAbCCP8QEB
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby Donn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:37 am

TheTuba wrote:Is this a sufficient enough reason or do I just need to practice more.


Or, you might benefit from some work with a teacher who can see what's going on. Maybe even via Skype or something.

Mark Finley wrote:Here's the deal. The best mouthpiece in the world won't help you if there are other issues with your playing. We don't know if you play with tension in your throat, closed teeth, or anything else that would kill the tone before it ever gets to the mouthpiece
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby fenne1ca » Mon Feb 12, 2018 11:43 am

I'll second Mark on the Helleberg 120S. My #1 recommendation for all my students, and my go-to backup/horn testing mouthpiece.
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby Donn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:36 pm

Faxx Hb is like a Conn 120S with a particularly nice rim, and can be acquired from hornguys.com at a very reasonable price. If I were sending students, or me, to buy a standard Helleberg. Though the Kellyberg is nice (particularly the crystal blue) and even less expensive, last I looked.
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby royjohn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:54 pm

The elephant wrote:
Pardon my pontification, but, on average, about how many high school tuba players have you taught every week for the past three decades of your life? Asking for a friend...


I'm not sure what you're getting at...that, in your friend's experience, kids in band don't act this way? :o
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby Mark Finley » Mon Feb 12, 2018 2:02 pm

I had a really fine tuba student a couple of years ago that owned his own Thor. Made Texas all state as a sophomore (and a junior) and just sounded fantastic. He played on the much maligned Bach 24aw. We tried several different mouthpieces to see if anything was an upgrade, and never found one that was significantly better. He liked the 24aw, he had significant success with it, so he kept playing it, and as far as I know he's still playing it in college

Mouthpieces are no magic bullet. Period
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby swillafew » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:08 pm

Long ago, I asked a teacher (symphony player with long career) "how you do select a mouthpiece?", and his answer, "I use the one that plays best in tune".
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby the elephant » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:18 pm

royjohn wrote:The elephant wrote:
Pardon my pontification, but, on average, about how many high school tuba players have you taught every week for the past three decades of your life? Asking for a friend...


I'm not sure what you're getting at...that, in your friend's experience, kids in band don't act this way? :o


I think that was very bad advice and poor teaching, which is not the same as counseling.
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby PlayTheTuba » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:23 pm

I personally own a Bach 22, Denis Wick 2, PT-48, and a GW MMVI C EURO shank mouthpieces.
If the Wick 1L is anything like a Wick 2/2L then from your list I would say go with the RT50 or RT 48, assuming your buying a new mouthpiece. If you are not able to try between the RT50 and RT48 I would say get the 48. The 50, like a PT88 (bowl shaped instead funnel) I've tried the RT50 might be to big. I never tried Laskey's so I can't comment on them.

For solo playing I think that a 48 would be fine as long as you don't play a tuba bigger than a 4/4 with a bore bigger than .687/.689 . Eb's tubas, like a modern 3+1 comp like a John Packer 377, Miraphone, Besson, Yamaha, etc would probably work okay too. If you play tubas that are bigger than that you'll probably have to play so short that it would defeat the purpose of using a large mouthpiece for solos to begin with. Actually a 4/4 British style BBb might be okay with that large of a mouthpiece for solos too.

In conclusion, as long as no one complains then do what makes you happy. From your list and what I have tried I would vote for the RT48.
Note I think there is someone selling a PT48 in the for sale section.

But then again I do play a "D" tuba and own a very beat up King 1241. The King has way to many and deep ToneControlz® that where not professionally installed nor were tested to see if they are functionally beneficial. I am certain that its ToneControlz® were by accident. So what do I know :|
Good luck and happy hunting!
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby royjohn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:30 pm

The elephant wrote:
I think that was very bad advice and poor teaching, which is not the same as counseling.


I don't think that you and I and your friend have a disagreement here. I said 'the biggest, darkest mpc to me is X and I don't recommend it, but if you have to try it, have at it and see for yourself.' I learned a long time ago not to argue with someone whose mind is already made up, esp. a young person. Many of us learn by making costly mistakes. That's too bad, but that's the way it is. And then, as Mark said, there's the odd outlier...

I understand your friend's concern for this young player and I share it. It's just that after they can walk and talk, they have to make certain mistakes for themselves. :(
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby bloke » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:31 pm

The term "tone control" (meaning a dent) was made up by a life-long friend of mine when he and I were about 12 years old. :lol:
He played electric bass and tuba in an Army band in Germany for a few years (this is not the other guy in our section who went into Pershing's Own...This is someone else) and still plays. He owns a nice "gone over" (slides aligned / #1 piston vented / lower #1 slightly shortened / nylon guides) new-style King 2341. He bought it used, and removed all the ToneControlz from it.
Last edited by bloke on Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby the elephant » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:31 pm

Mark Finley wrote:I had a really fine tuba student a couple of years ago that owned his own Thor. Made Texas all state as a sophomore (and a junior) and just sounded fantastic. He played on the much maligned Bach 24aw. We tried several different mouthpieces to see if anything was an upgrade, and never found one that was significantly better. He liked the 24aw, he had significant success with it, so he kept playing it, and as far as I know he's still playing it in college

Mouthpieces are no magic bullet. Period


I detest everything there is to detest about that mouthpiece type. I just hate it. However, I have had some students who sounded great on them. Something about their dental structure just worked with that piece for some reason. Usually I have to get the student off of one of those. I let them trial a couple of basic types in front of me and then "assign" one for a period. Usually it takes one or two tries. The kids nearly always want some bucket thinking that big and dark is the shiznit, when it is just terrible for a kid with still-undeveloped chops. You sort of just fall into a big mouthpiece and it can mask so many playing problems.

I also hate the Helleberg 7B, but again, some students really do well with them.

I usually steer them toward something like a 7B, 120S or an 18 and then work very hard to get them to practice (and execute) their fundamentals properly. THIS makes a big tone that has some clarity. Shortcutting things with a big mouthpiece when you are still in school is a really bad idea, IMHO.

It is funny though, how some of the more common mouthpieces are ones that just hide your problems. Band directors love them since they can pass the kid off to someone else after four years after the bad habits are deeply engrained. It takes more time to teach a kid to play correctly than it does to hide them in a cloud of poof... :lol:

Regarding the 24AW style - I believe the old Warren Deck mouthpieces were just retooled 24AWs, or at least one was. I have one here. I will have to check it against my 24AW. Anyway, as bloke is fond of saying, "The 2165 was designed to favor how Deck plays, and not many humans are able to play like Deck plays." (Or something like that.) That mouthpiece is perfect for some folks, but they are in the minority, I believe. I keep one here in case I cannot help a kid with a face problem. I let him try it to see if it helps any. Only a few have benefitted from it. It is a weird mouthpiece.
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby the elephant » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:35 pm

royjohn wrote:The elephant wrote:
I think that was very bad advice and poor teaching, which is not the same as counseling.


I don't think that you and I and your friend have a disagreement here. I said 'the biggest, darkest mpc to me is X and I don't recommend it, but if you have to try it, have at it and see for yourself.' I learned a long time ago not to argue with someone whose mind is already made up, esp. a young person. Many of us learn by making costly mistakes. That's too bad, but that's the way it is. And then, as Mark said, there's the odd outlier...

I understand your friend's concern for this young player and I share it. It's just that after they can walk and talk, they have to make certain mistakes for themselves. :(


That is enabling, simply caving in to what the kid wants to do, and for counseling it may be great but it is the absolute worst thing a teacher could do to a kid. I get paid $75 an hour, so telling a kid to do whatever he wants and drop hundreds of dollars on mouthpieces that won't help much when directed, focused practice will save money and time and grief will is a quick way to lose students. They pay me for honesty, so putzing around like this is a bad idea, and telling them to do whatever is wrong.

This is the age when you are supposed to teach them to be an adult, not to cave to their whims. Honestly! In my studio if you are told to get something and you ignore me and get something else you immediately find another teacher. Period. I do not have time to waste on students who waste my time. It goes both ways. I need to perform and the kid needs to perform.
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby bloke » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:09 pm

Always the contrarian, me...

The most extraordinary young player (a "natural" - with no lessons, ever - who basically auditioned into Pershing's Own out of high school - and with a meteoric audition score...my buddy...and - in reality - my first real teacher-via-simply-listening-to-him) I even encountered, used a "Holton 52" (ridiculously large mama-jama...and he: certainly not a ridiculously large person) and obtained just about the more gorgeous tuba sound you can imagine...and pairing with a Conn 36K fiberglass sousaphone.

Later, admittedly, he moved to a Conn-Helleberg (120), but he sounded the same.

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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby royjohn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:11 pm

The elephant wrote:
This is the age when you are supposed to teach them to be an adult, not to cave to their whims. Honestly! In my studio if you are told to get something and you ignore me and get something else you immediately find another teacher. Period. I do not have time to waste on students who waste my time. It goes both ways. I need to perform and the kid needs to perform.


Maybe it's my personality, but I tend to pick up on the kids who are contrarians and work with them...actually that may be the difference between the kids in counseling and the [achieving] kids in tuba lessons. If it was one, two, three and you're out in counseling, you wouldn't help much of anybody. My guess is that there are some tuba kids (including the OP and several others who've participated here) who also fit this description. The one and done authoritarian approach is not going to work with them, but I'm sure you already know that.

Again, let me say that I don't think that you and I have a difference of opinion on the mpc. If I were working with this kid, I might allow the mpc trial and arrange a test where he could get feedback from some respected listeners or hear what others sounded like on a too big mpc. My wife would be amused at my being called an enabler. I had a good laugh, too. I'm really a pretty rigid old dude myself. :D :D :D
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby bloke » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:27 pm

<OFFTOPIC>

I do several things to avoid having to have a j.o.b. (something I've never really had, candidly).

One of them, though, that I ~can~ do and ~have~ done - but that I've decided to ~not~ do - is teach.
The percentage of those "students" who do not take advantage of the (and when I've taught, I've not been a "lazy" nor a "mean" teacher) coaching is overwhelming, and most everything else I do (other than teaching) ends up with some sort of positive result...so "teaching" (for the bloke) is crossed off the list. :|
...and the fact that so many of my pre-adult (grade school) wind-instrument-playing colleagues (who were truly motivated and curious) figured it all out for themselves...well, that life observation has "taught" me some things about "learning" as well.
OK...I DID (actually) study the guitar intensively with a couple of experts (experts in different styles)...but I paid for my own lessons with Coke bottle (later: gig) money, and rode my bike to the teachers' locations. In other words: NO, I did NOT waste THEIR time, either.

I DO, though, admire teachers who (I suspect) put up with "talking to the wall" with most students in order to ENJOY teaching one, two, or a handful of students who possess both curiosity and motivation.

</OFFTOPIC>
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby royjohn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 4:40 pm

bloke wrote:
I DO, though, admire teachers who (I suspect) put up with "talking to the wall" with most students in order to ENJOY teaching one, two, or a handful of students who possess both curiosity and motivation.


I think it might be a matter of personality type...I didn't want to bring this up and "pontificate" [incredibly bad choice of words] more, but teachers tend to be more black and white types whereas psychologists are more loosey goosey and relative. For me it's actually not a matter of putting up with the "talking to a wall" students in order to have the others, but a matter of being sympathetic to the contrarians and fascinated by the problem of how to reach and teach them.

I do notice on here that there are some folks for whom there is only one way... :shock: :shock: :shock:
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby royjohn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 5:27 pm

Bloke,
I think you'd be a GREAT teacher. Maybe not for ten year olds, who would, on first meeting himself and his penetrating gaze, pee their pants, but as a high priced (weeds out the unmotivated) Skype-ish consultant. Don't your colleagues seek you out for advice. Especially the masochistic ones [LOL]! :D :D :D

No, seriously, though...when I get past the beer maidens and the [ahem] noises, you really say some erudite and memorable things. :!: :!: :!:
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Re: FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade

Postby Donn » Mon Feb 12, 2018 10:03 pm

royjohn wrote:Again, let me say that I don't think that you and I have a difference of opinion on the mpc.


Nor is it clear that you even have a difference of opinion about the actual situation here, i.e., Tubenet topic "FINAL list of Mouthpiece upgrade." Which is neither a private teacher/student, nor a counselor/kid relationship, but rather a third completely different thing: an online opinion-fest. We don't have any responsibility whatever, beyond truthful and civil representation of our opinions, and even that's somewhat relative thing that doesn't mean on Tubenet what it could mean elsewhere. The reality of the situation is unknown to us - could be a disgruntled Tubenet member posting under a new ID, for all we know. In the absence of the knowledge needed to really help, it just has to be understood and maybe ought to be a disclaimer that everyone has to read: we aren't responsible for outcomes.
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