Mouthpieces Matter!

I think that as horn players we all knew that but I have found the mouthpiece to be an annoying game changer when it comes to the final balance of a horn. A horn that I am able to get playing really well with my Laskey, suddenly plays stiffer and stuffier with a different mouthpiece. This is a problem for customers who are unable to pick the horn up at the shop. So there are a few solutions:

1. Check your equipment. My horns love the Laskey 775F (only because its my usual mouthpiece and the one I do my play testing on.) This means that deeper, more funnel shaped mouthpieces play the best on my leadpipe. If you play a smaller one, its possible the horn might feel "tight". **Try to avoid a European shanked mouthpiece with my horns! They will not hit the right depth to meet the venturi.

or even better...

2. Send me a copy of your mouthpiece. All problems caused by a mismatch can be solved if I use your setup to balance the horn. This will make your horn slightly different, something you will want to mention should you (heaven forbid) ever want or need to sell the horn.

Since I am a horn specialist, I only 80% understand the intricacies of mouthpiece design. It is something that I am continuing to learn to optimize the mouthpiece to mouthpipe connection. For some good articles about mouthpieces try one by John Ericson.

Update 2017- I am now recommending the SF cup made by Houser Mouthpieces. Specifically, the standard cup with the 0-2 or 0-3 shank. The 0 series will fit the intended venturi, the 1 mm backout will leave you with an undersized venturi.

Update 2018- Tom Greer's article was originally listed, but the link was taken down. Another resource is authored by Colin Dorman at his webpage.


October 26, 2010