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Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpiece ( aka: blokepiece )

PostPosted: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:23 pm
by bloke
I hope this thread will answer most questions about my (tubenet-named) "blokepieces".

Basically, there are two versions which are extremely similar. Without getting into measurements, they are somewhat shallow bowl-cup mouthpieces with narrow rims, and are made of stainless steel. There are two slight variants of the rim (semi-flat and semi-rounded - both being fairly narrow) and two slight variants of the backbore (one opening up larger at the back-end, but both having the same exact throat style and dimensions). The cup diameter is large. These are two-piece mouthpieces with threaded rims.

Players seem to like these mouthpieces for F and Eb tubas and also to better "define" the sonority of 6/4-size grand symphonic tubas.

Parts available are:

rim #1 (medium narrow / semi-flat)
rim #2 (narrow / semi-round...particularly helpful for players with a small spacing between the upper lip and the bottom of the nose
blokepieces display.JPG

backpart #1 ("Atlas") medium large backbore
backpart #2 ("Mugsy") large backbore
backpart #2 ("Mugsy/Euro") with Euro shank

There are optional (special order) gold-tone and black-tone titanium coating for the rims. The gold-tone titanium has a subtle tendency to "anchor" the embouchure to the rim, whereas the black-tone titanium offers a more slippery surface. The vast majority of customers - including all professionals to date - purchase plain stainless steel. At some later date, we may offer these in one-piece silver plated brass (as many schools have asked about these), but we are only offering two-piece stainless steel at this time.

Current introductory (low) pricing remains at $140 as of August 2009, but will soon move to the regular price (competitive with other offerings out there) of $165.

web blurb, including comments from professional players who have purchased and use the Sellmansberger "Solo" mouthpieces wrote:The Sellmansberger "Solo" series low mass stainless steel tuba mouthpieces were originally designed primarily for use with F and Eb tubas, and for use with 3/4 size CC and BBb tubas. These mouthpiece feature a traditional Waldkraiburg (medium shallow) bowl cup, a narrow rim (either "original" semi-flat or "version II" semi-round), a wide embouchure area, and a unique reverse taper throat (starts oversize and tapers down to a traditional size throat down inside the backbore). The exit area of the backbore of the "version II" is larger than that of the original version, but these may be mixed and matched - as these are screw-rim mouthpieces. As of this time, these mouthpieces feature an "American" shank exterior.

Shortly after the release of these mouthpieces, several leading professionals in major symphony orchestras discovered that - in addition to F tuba applications - they preferred the Sellmansberger "Solo" mouthpieces over all others for use with their very large orchestral CC tubas. A typical comment has been that "core" is added to the sound without taking away from any desirable sonic or playing characteristics. To explain the use of the word "core", it is understood that these orchestral musicians have found the Sellmansberger "Solo" series to assist them in more effectively getting their sound heard with more clarity the mix of the brass section and into the sound of the orchestra as a whole.

Matt Good, Principal Tuba - Dallas Symphony Orchestra, is quoted as having written, "I felt the the identifiable core in my sound was more intense than any other mouthpiece that I have played on my F, and that I needed something of the same for my C. Ever since, I have been playing the F tuba and C with your mouthpiece. I never imagined using the same mouthpiece for both instruments."

Wade Rackley, Principal Tuba - Mississippi Symphony Orchestra, states, "What I have been using for the past few months [with my F tuba] is the Sellmansberger "Solo" (version 1). It gets a better tone and also keeps the thing playable in the upper reaches and way down low. It is NOT a style of mouthpiece that I would have tried out of my own volition. I tried it out because Joe designed the combination of specs and they sounded very well reasoned to me, and my success with it shows me that I had been looking in the wrong direction for mouthpieces for this tuba all along. I have not switched off the Sellmansberger "Solo" since taking it out of the box several months ago. (I have also started using it on my Holton 345, though not all the time. It works really well on my BAT and will probably end up becoming my only mouthpiece on that tuba as well.)

Don Harry, Principal Tuba - Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra & Professor, Eastman School of Music, is a very enthusiastic convert, stating, "Love the mouthpiece, please send two more. Bravo! I'd say the focus is so intense that it rattles the floor of our hall."

As this mouthpiece is a very recent release, several other high-profile players who have ordered Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpieces will soon be in receipt of them, and we expect similar positive feedback.

The original version sports exterior engraving of the mythical Atlas holding up the world, and the version II offers exterior engraving representing something valued very highly by many tuba players worldwide: a mug of beer.

Norman Pearson, Principal Tuba with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra said this about the Sellmansberger "Solo" series mouthpieces:

My [Sellmansberger Solo #1 and #2 mouthpieces] arrived yesterday and I spent about two hours messing around with them in the garage. So far I am very impressed with both of them. They seem to work best for me on my f tubas but I wouldn't rule them out for a larger tuba that has clarity issues.

On my B&S Symphonie F the #1 is very responsive and has a similar sonic impact as a C4 or 69 C4 but has more even response. Articulations are fast and clean and the low register, low C in particular, is most excellent. What I really like about this mouthpiece is the sound: my B&S Symphonie is a fairly dark tuba for a small bore instrument, the tuba really lights up with this mouthpiece. I wouldn't necessarily say it's bright, it seems to have a more complete rendering of the overtone pallet in the sound. There is a little frosty beer mug stamped on the side of #2, how could any tuba player resist that!

Highly recommended. Bravo Joe!

- Norm Pearson

Options in solid stainless steel include:

- original version (medium flare back-end of back bore / semi-flat thin rim) - version II (wide flare back-end of back-bore / semi-round thin rim)

Choice of finishes include:

- uncoated stainless steel (no extra charge) - gold tone titanium coating (extra charge) - black tone titanium coating (extra charge)

The Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpieces are screw-rim mouthpieces, and the original/version II back parts and rims are all interchangable.

Joe Sellmansberger performs regularly with Michael Stern's IRIS Orchestra, the Mississippi Brass, and the New Orleans Jazz Ramblers. He is known worldwide for his technical prowess in the repair and customizing of brass instruments. Joe developed this mouthpiece design in 1976, and has been using it without interruption since that time.

We do have another mouthpiece in development that should be available before 2010. It is a mouthpiece with a cup specifically designed to "tame" the "over-zealous" low range of a few of the 5/4 size tubas out there (without losing any "power" or "speed"). This mouthpiece will likely accept the same #1 and #2 rims, and will likely have the same throat design and backbore offerings. The cup shape and depth, however, will be markedly different.

Attached are pictures of the Sellmansberger "Solo" mouthpieces in its variants. If you are interested in ordering, simply contact me through TubeNet. We currently accept Visa & MasterCard.

Re: Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpiece ( aka: blokepiece )

PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2009 5:54 pm
by bloke
November 10, 2009: Craig Knox, Principal Tuba with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra is the most recent person to have purchased a Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpiece. Craig chose the #1 rim with the #1 underpart with an American shank.

Oct. 11, 2009: *Dr. Chris Vivio (Austin Peay State University) is the latest "blokepiece" convert. He has chosen a #1 rim and a #2 backpart.

*one of the band directors as well as the tuba/euphonium professor

Re: Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpiece ( aka: blokepiece )

PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2009 1:42 am
by bloke
Matt Good, Don Harry, Wade Rackley, and some others have claimed that my (designed for F tuba use) "blokepieces" really "focus" the low range on very large contrabass tubas.

I just had to take their collective words for it (though I really don't like to assume stuff is true - even if from very reliable sources).

Today, I had a chance to really test this out for myself. Currently in the shop is a tuba that has always been difficult for me to focus in the low range - a Rudy Meinl 5/4 BBb. ...OK, I tried some typical Geib/Helleberg/18/etc. stuff...classic "bloke can't steer it". ...and then the "blokepiece". ...The low range wasn't "to die for" but the improvement was marked and striking.

I am now a believer, and will now make the claim (about "focusing" the low range on very large contrabass tubas) independently of any advocates.

Re: Sellmansberger "Solo" tuba mouthpiece ( aka: blokepiece )

PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2010 1:04 am
by bloke
The most recent acquisition of a pair of Sellmansberger mouthpieces (one each: "Solo" and "Symphony" - with #2 rim) is by Mr. Jonathan Baker of the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra and current Head of Brass at The University of Auckland School of Music.