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Different Mouthpiece for High Horn?

04 Dec 2015 15:06 #1562 by Ross Amkraut
Different Mouthpiece for High Horn? was created by Ross Amkraut
I play on a 1985 Conn 8D using a Shilke 30 mouthpiece. (Gold - if that even matters...)

My entire time playing horn I have struggled with upper range. I worked very hard to build what I have with multiple teachers. I'm working independently now and thought I'd throw this idea at the wall and see if it sticks...

Will a different mouthpiece make much difference in helping my upper range? If so, what are some recommendations?

My one requirement is that I really need to be able to get the mouthpiece in gold. Other finishes have too much friction, actually stop my lips from even producing a buzz, and give me a very tinny quality of sound.

If this is totally the wrong direction to go in: what are some good exercises or etudes that help build a good upper range?

Ideally, I'll win the lottery and can just pick up a triple horn... until that time I need to find a less expensive solution!


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07 Dec 2015 23:41 #1566 by Brian Blanchard
Replied by Brian Blanchard on topic Different Mouthpiece for High Horn?
Equipment is only going to do you a little bit of help, but it is my opinion that smaller throats and tighter backbores help speed the air column up a little bit. Depth is more about sound, and if you go too extreme on the throat and backbore, that can affect the sound as well.

If you want to try mouthpieces, try maybe a C12 cup with a Wedge rim. The Wedge won't automatically help your high range, but it will train you to use your corners more. You probably struggle with high range because you're using the inner part of your embouchure instead of the corners. The fact that some mouthpieces stop the buzz makes me suspect you are using too much pressure.

Exercises? Believe it or not, low (very low) etudes. Strengthening your low range will strengthen your high range. There are other tricks like hanging the horn by a string and playing with no hands (can't add pressure if no hands), but I wouldn't even know where to begin with that,

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08 Dec 2015 08:24 #1567 by Ross Amkraut
Replied by Ross Amkraut on topic Different Mouthpiece for High Horn?
Thanks for the input, Brian!

Corners may be a contributing factor for sure.

As far as stopping the buzz I have done so much anti-pressure work that I comfortably say it cannot possibly be because of pressure. I regularly do the tabletop exercise because pressure used to be an issue when I was a beginner. (I set the horn on a table top and blow the harmonic series without touching the instrument....similar to hanging it by a string but without the risk of catastrophe). I also doubt that is caused by pressure because my lips getting "stuck" and not buzzing happens throughout the entire range of playing, not just in the upper register. The day my gold mouthpiece came in the mail was the day I never had that problem again... it was a miracle!

I certainly can do more low work to build the upper range. Any suggestions on exercises?

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08 Dec 2015 09:57 #1568 by Brian Blanchard
Replied by Brian Blanchard on topic Different Mouthpiece for High Horn?
Trombone etudes, played as written (so they will sound even lower than the trombone would). Rochut is the one I work on, but I play them in concert pitch because I'm working on the mid-low range and not low or high.

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10 Jan 2016 17:38 #1573 by Michael Robinson
Replied by Michael Robinson on topic Different Mouthpiece for High Horn?
I can attest to Brians suggestion of using a wedge rim... I went to a wedge rim on my Cantesanu cup and within days I noticed a difference in my corners... very soon thereafter my range started to increase and now...about 6 weeks on this new rim I am much more solid in the high register and can play a M3rd higher than before... Check it out....and they can be ordered in gold too!

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