January 2, 2017

Selecting a Mouthpiece

Wood trumpet, flugelhorn, and cornet mouthpiecesThe shape and size of a mouthpiece can have a huge impact on performance and playability. Every player is different and brings with them their own skills, abilities, playing styles, and goals. Each player will also have their own preference of what a trumpet should sound and feel like.

Our two-piece system allows for multiple cup-and-stem configurations, allowing musicians to choose combinations best suited to their preferred style of music and playing ability. We offer custom manufacturing to match the design of existing mouthpieces, or to suit an individual’s specific needs.

This guide looks at the different components and variables available in a mouthpiece, and how these changes can affect overall tone, dynamics, playability, and comfort. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions regarding how to select the best options or how to match features to your own existing mouthpieces. Our free, no-commitment consultations are the best way to learn what you need.

Mouthpiece Features

  • Cup inside rim diameter: 15.4–17.4 mm
  • Cup profile: Extra Deep (XD), Deep (D), Medium (M), Shallow (S), and Extra Shallow (XS)
  • Rim profile: Round, Semi-Round, and Semi-Flat
  • Bite: 1.5–2.75 mm
  • Cup outside diameter: Standard or Custom
  • Bore/throat: Standard or Custom
  • Backbore (stem): #0–#5 (#3 being standard)

Cup Inside Rim Diameter | Select from 15.4–17.4 mm diameters

The cup’s inside rim diameter has the most significant affect on a player’s embouchure, as it controls the amount of buzz area. A small inside diameter supports a tighter embouchure, making it easier to achieve a higher tonal range. A large inside diameter can be more comfortable, supporting smooth, richer tones—especially at lower registers. A larger diameter also opens the mouthpiece for a greater range of possible diameters.

Cup Profile | Select from Extra Deep (XD), Deep (D), Medium (M), Shallow (S), and Extra Shallow (XS) profiles

Cup profiles refer to the internal contour of the cup, including its depth and shape. Shallow cups produce brighter, sharper tones and can help achieve higher tonal ranges. Deeper profiles offer greater resonance for rich, warm tones—especially at lower registers. Deeper cups are also more suited to achieving a bigger sound. Flugelhorn mouthpieces typically use a very deep cup to generate rich dark tones.

Rim profile | Select from Round, Semi-Round, Semi-Flat

Rim profile refers to the shape of the rim as it connects with a player’s embouchure. The trend for modern players has been toward a flatter profile, which can be less fatiguing on embouchures.

Bite | Select from 1.5–2.75 mm in 0.25 mm increments

Bite refers to the transition between the rim and the cup’s inside diameter. A sharp radius is more suitable for rapid articulation. A larger radius can offer more comfort, especially for longer playing sessions. Larger radii are more typical with deeper cup profiles.

Cup Outside Diameter | Standard or Custom

The outside diameter of a cup is often overlooked by custom mouthpiece manufacturers as a factor that influences performance and playability. A wider outside diameter can create a more comfortable playing experience. A wider outside diameter can also limit playing flexibility.

Bore/Throat | Standard or Custom

The bore or throat measures the size of the entry from cup to backbore. It is the narrowest point of entry for sound and air. Smaller bores offer more resistance, which can increase control—but this can also limit air flow. Larger bores offer more volume and projection. The typical, industry-standard throat size uses a #27-size drill (3.66 mm).

Backbore | Select from #0–#5 diameters (#3 being standard)

The backbore refers to the inside diameter within the stem. Small backbores offer more resistance and support a bright, crisp sound. Large backbores provides freer airflow for bolder, more projected tones.

  • #3 is the standard typical of a standard Bach 5C or 7C.
  • #5 is designed for the big, rich, full sound often sought by professional symphonic players.
  • #0 provides more backpressure, offering more control and sizzle for a brassier sound.