Playing the trumpet requires a good instrument, but the mouthpiece is just as important.
In this article, we’ll take a look at what goes into choosing the right mouthpiece for you.
Then, you can have the equipment you need to make progress as a musician.
Table of Contents
1. What Is the Best Mouthpiece for a Trumpet Beginner?
The best mouthpiece for a trumpet beginner is the one that comes with their beginning trumpet.
Using the gear that comes together improves the odds of getting a good sound from the start. While an upgrade is also an option, it can be expensive, so it’s not the best for trumpet players just starting.
However, upgrading to a mouthpiece, such as the Vincent Bach 7C, can be a good option. If you struggle to get the best sound on the mouthpiece that came with your trumpet, you should look at a different mouthpiece.
You won’t have to pay as much for it as you would if you decided to get a more advanced trumpet. The 7C isn’t too big or small, so it can offer a good response as you learn how to play the trumpet. It’s also a suitable mouthpiece for your entire journey as a trumpet player.
Another mouthpiece to consider is the Bach 3C, which is a bit bigger than the 7C. The 3C can give you a rich tone, making playing high notes a little easier.
Both mouthpieces are versatile, so you can use them for any style you might play.
2. How Much Difference Does the Mouthpiece Make?
The trumpet mouthpiece can make a huge difference when it comes to ease of playing and the sound.
That’s why it’s so important for trumpet players to test a few different mouthpieces. While recommendations may help, what works for one musician may not work for another.
Consider the following factors that affect how a mouthpiece plays:
The rim is the part of the mouthpiece that touches a player’s lips.
It can be either thin or thick, and that can affect how the mouthpiece feels and sounds.
When a mouthpiece has a wider rim, it can help with endurance. That makes it a great choice for a long rehearsal or concert since the pressure is over a bigger area.
On the other hand, a thin rim may help with articulation and tone.
It allows the player to focus their sound and get a good response from the instrument.
Cups can vary in both depth and diameter, and those factors can affect the mouthpiece’s sound. This is the part of the mouthpiece where the air hits first.
A shallow cup can make playing notes in the higher register easier, offering a brighter tone. Meanwhile, a deeper cup offers a darker tone, and you can play loud, but it can take a lot more effort to get a good sound with a deep cup.
Some mouthpieces have a cup shaped like a V, while other cups are shaped like bowls.
Depending on the other factors of the mouthpiece, one shape may sound darker than the other, though some players have different experiences.
The throat is the part of the mouthpiece just after the cup.
A mouthpiece with a large throat can help offer a rich dark tone, and playing loud can be easier. Larger throats can also lower the resistance of the mouthpiece.
On the other hand, a smaller throat can sound brighter and be easier to play in the upper range.
You also don’t need as much effort to play a mouthpiece with a smaller throat.
The backbore is the last part of the mouthpiece air hits before it enters the trumpet body.
In some cases, a steep taper in the backbore may give you a bright sound and provide a bright tone.
However, the effects of the backbore can depend on the other parts of the mouthpiece.
Be sure to consider those other factors to determine how the taper may relate.
Most trumpet mouthpieces use leaded brass as the primary material, and plenty of them have silver plating, but gold-plated mouthpieces offer a warmer sound than silver.
The mouthpiece material may not make a significant difference on its own, but if you combine it with the shape of the rim, cup, and throat, you may find the material affects the sound significantly.
3. How Exactly Does a Trumpet Mouthpiece Work?
A trumpet mouthpiece helps get the air from a player’s lips into the trumpet.
The player must buzz their lips and blow air into the mouthpiece at once.
After the air gets into the trumpet, it can continue to vibrate through the entire length of the tubing. As air escapes through the bell, the player and any listeners will be able to hear the notes of the trumpet.
Players can swap out mouthpieces depending on the genre or style. Then, they can get the right sound and amount of resonance they desire.
4. What Is a Double Cup Trumpet Mouthpiece?
A double cup mouthpiece appears to have a cup within the first cup.
John Parduba developed the shape in the 1930s to help players execute higher notes on the trumpet. At first glance, the cup looks shallow, but the lower section helps lengthen it, which helps trumpeters with the upper register.
The design of the double cup mouthpiece also offers plenty of projection throughout the trumpet range. That makes it easier for you to play high and low pitches on one mouthpiece.
If you ever need to play extremely high notes, this is a great type of mouthpiece to have. The shallow part of the cup helps you focus your sound on reaching those notes.
Double cup trumpet mouthpieces don’t look any different on the outside, but you can see a ridge that separates the upper and lower cups if you look on the inside.
5. What Is the Smallest Trumpet Mouthpiece?
The smallest trumpet mouthpiece is the Bach 20C model, with a diameter of only 15 mm (millimeters).
This model is great for players with weak or small lips. It can sound just as good as other mouthpieces from Bach and other makers.
That model features a medium-wide rim, which means you can play it for a long time. That can be nice if you want to practice a lot and learn the trumpet more quickly.
A mouthpiece that comes in at a close second is the Schilke 5A4A, which has a diameter of about 15.84 mm. It can be another excellent option for someone with weaker lips, which may be useful for beginners.
When you first start learning to play the trumpet, you might want to start on something small. Then, you can upgrade to a larger mouthpiece as you build up some stamina to play for long periods.
6. What Is the Best Mouthpiece for High Notes?
The best mouthpiece for high notes can depend on the player, but the Yamaha Bobby Shew Lead is a great choice.
It’s affordable and has a shallow cup to help get those top notes out. The narrow backbore can also help push the air into the trumpet to make executing high notes easier.
Another mouthpiece to try is the Bach3MV, which offers excellent response. It’s not too big or too small, so you can get a good tone when playing above the staff. Plus, the semi-shallow cup makes playing up high a breeze.
If you want to be able to cut through an ensemble, give the Schilke 14A4A a try. Higher notes speak very nicely on this mouthpiece, and it can help with endurance and articulation.
You might also want to test the Bach 3E mouthpiece. The cup is shallow to help focus your sound when playing high, and the cup diameter isn’t too big.
Be sure to try at least a few different mouthpieces when shopping for one. Then, you can determine which works the best for you so that you can play high notes.
While recommendations are helpful, you might not get the sound you want on what others prefer.
7. What Do the Letters on the Mouthpiece Mean?
Letters on a mouthpiece refer to the mouthpiece model, and the first letter tells you about the cup size.
The second letter can refer to the shape and size of the backbone of that particular mouthpiece.
You can use the letters to get an idea of the size to figure out if the mouthpiece may offer the sound and response you want. If you also look at the numbers on the mouthpiece, you can learn even more about the size.
Numbers and letters are equally vital for comparing different mouthpieces. If you don’t like how a particular model sounds, you can figure out why and use the model to help find a mouthpiece, you’ll like better.
8. What Are Trumpet Mouthpieces Made Of?
Most trumpet mouthpieces are solid brass, or they might use silver as the base material.
Either way, a lot of mouthpieces will then use silver or gold to plate the underlying material.
Current mouthpieces tend to use brass because it’s more affordable than silver. Old solid silver mouthpieces don’t appear to offer a much different sound from a brass mouthpiece.
9. How Do You Fit a Trumpet Mouthpiece?
Knowing how to fit a trumpet mouthpiece can make finding the right gear a lot easier.
Following the right steps is crucial for finding the right individual fit. Fortunately, a few factors can help eliminate specific mouthpieces to narrow the search.
Here are a few things to review when shopping for a new trumpet mouthpiece.
Consider Your Current Mouthpiece
First, it’s important to test the mouthpiece you currently use.
Consider the features you do and don’t like and how those features might affect your playing.
For example, maybe you don’t like that you can’t get a good sound in the high register. Or maybe your lips can’t make it through a long practice session.
On the other hand, you might love the sound you get in the low register. You might also enjoy how the mouthpiece feels against your lips. Use these factors to figure out what to look for in a new mouthpiece.
Think About Your Level
Your level of trumpet playing may also have an effect on the right fit for you.
For example, an absolute beginner needs a mouthpiece with an easy, fast response. They may not need one that offers a ton of endurance since beginners don’t practice as much as advanced musicians.
As you learn how to play the trumpet, you might decide to look for a mouthpiece that helps with endurance. Or you might prioritize being able to play high notes since you know that range a little better.
If you aren’t sure of your playing level, consider working with a teacher or another trumpet player. Then, you can figure out what type of mouthpiece might be a good upgrade for you.
Assess Your Favorite Styles
The trumpet is one of a few instruments that you’ll find in an orchestra, jazz band, and other genres.
If you prefer to play one type of music over another, that can help you narrow your choices.
Some mouthpieces work much better for playing jazz music, while others shine in a symphony orchestra. You might also find that one mouthpiece is better for playing as a soloist than as part of any ensemble.
Consider the genre or genres you like to play. Then, you can make sure to look for mouthpieces that will support the sound and response you need in those situations.
Decide on Your Needs
You should also figure out what you want to prioritize when choosing a mouthpiece.
Many factors can affect which model is the best choice, including:
- Tone color
Think about if you want to play a lead trumpet part or a lower part. Consider how long you plan to play in a day and figure out if you prefer a dark or brighter tone.
Then, you’ll have an easier time selecting mouthpieces that meet your needs.
Which Trumpet Mouthpiece Will You Choose?
Deciding on a trumpet mouthpiece isn’t always easy, but your choice can affect your playing for a while.
As a beginner, you may want to stick with the mouthpiece that came with your trumpet.
However, getting a separate mouthpiece can give you more flexibility. Then, you’ll be able to get the sound and response you want to help improve your playing.