Trumpet Mouthpiece Theme and Variations

by Mary Galime


Finding the right diameter is the first step to finding the right mouthpiece. Our band directors and private teachers make this easier by suggesting a common size that is easily found at a music store. Let's observe this size as the Theme. Too many times though, this theme is mistaken as the law. The main difference between a Theme and a Law is a Theme has variations and a law does not. A theme has a variety of options that sit under its umbrella where variations on a law generally breaks it.

For example, a common step-up mouthpiece for trumpet players is the 3C. The 3 diameter is appropriate for the developed embouchure of intermediate to professional players. However, there are many variations on the 3 diameter with C cup that provide a wide variety of support options.



♦ Note the variety of rim width options. The structure of your teeth, jaw, and size of your lips make your rim contour and width needs unique to you. Trying a variety of rim options is key to finding the correct mouthpiece.

♦ American Classic and Ultra share the same sizing, but if you look at their images, you will notice one has more mass than the other, which means they will respond differently in your horn and produce different tone colors. Make sure to try both these options before you decide on one.

♦ Focus on what different types of resistance you are feeling from each mouthpiece as you compare your findings to the throat and backbore sizes. The V-type backbores will project
with more focus than the V-Barrel, however the V-Barrel may feel more open. 



A new mouthpiece will never be worth your time and money if you only try the theme. Find the variations on your theme and take the time to try them all!




As the Denis Wick Product Specialist and Artist Relations Manager, as well as a Denis Wick Artist herself, Mary Galime works together with performing artists, teachers, students, schools, and businesses, striving to promote music performance and education in communities across the nation.

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