Converting to a Wedge? Here's an Overview of our Tuba Mouthpiece Sizing
Are you thinking that you need a different size?
Do you want to do your own research on what size might be better for you?
Assessing Your Sound Profile
You will find that we talk a lot about range and endurance in this fitting guide. Why do we focus on them so much? It is because range and endurance are the two things most players say they are looking for in a new mouthpiece. The key is to improve range and endurance along with getting a better sound. Although they can be addressed separately, range and endurance are often linked. Range becomes much bigger issue when we are tired. That, basically, is the definition of endurance.
You can get good information about possible ways to improve your range and endurance by doing an honest assessment of your sound. That means asking yourself if your sound quality in all registers is ideal or at least acceptable, and if your range is ideal or at least acceptable.
Most players have one of the following three sound profiles, and very few have the "Ideal Sound Profile".
1) Do you have a "Pyramid Sound Profile"?
The most common problem players report to us is a sound that is big and fat in the mid to low register, but small, strained, and limited in the upper register. Their sound is shaped like a pyramid. It has a broad base, but does not extend as high as they would like, as depicted in the "Pyramid Sound Profile" graphic. Compare the breadth of sound between the lower and upper register, and note their range.
You can see that there is an imbalance. The sound is broader than what is expected or required, and their range is not optimal or even acceptable.
2) Do you have an "Ideal Sound Profile"?
A far more desirable sound profile is shown in the "Ideal Sound Profile" graphic. The breadth of sound and range are both in the ideal range.
3) Do you have a "Balanced Sound Profile"?
Unfortunately, there are few things that are ideal when it comes to brass playing, and especially when it comes to mouthpiece selection. Rather than playing the "perfect" mouthpiece we play the best mouthpiece possible based on a series of decisions we make and compromises we accept in the playing characteristics of a mouthpiece. Our goal should be to arrive at the best balance of sound and other playing attributes in a mouthpiece. The result is a sound profile that looks like the "Balanced Sound Profile" graphic.
Players switching to a Wedge mouthpiece will often get a more even response between the registers. In many cases players with a pyramid sound profile can balance their sound even more with a slightly smaller mouthpiece.
I want better range and endurance without changing my sound.
Most players will get better range and endurance with a similar sound when they switch to a Wedge mouthpiece. However, range is usually more of an issue when you are tired compared to when you are fresh. For that reason a good way to get an extra boost in range is to try a mouthpiece with a similar cup depth and slightly smaller diameter. This is especially true if you are using a larger than average mouthpiece and if you have significant problems with range and endurance.
The smaller diameter will usually increase endurance, and therefore range when tired, without having making the sound significantly brighter. A smaller diameter has more of an effect of reshaping the sound, making it a little less broad at the base and bigger at the top. Imagine changing the shape of your sound from a broad based pyramid to a narrower, but still strong based column that reaches higher.
Choosing a Mouthpiece Based on Cup Depth
- Similar to a PT65 cup
- Shallow, modified V shape
- Excellent balance of clarity and projection
- Even response in all registers and a round, full tone
- Similar to the Schilke Geib, Bach 7, Bach 12, and Yamaha 67C4 mouthpieces
- Cup shape is a modified funnel, which is slightly more bowl shaped than a Helleberg style cup
- Sounds is less dark than a Helleberg cup, with a bit more projection
- Excellent choice for rotary valve tubas
- Helleberg style cup similar to the Schilke Helleberg II, Conn Helleberg, and Laskey H series mouthpieces
- Deep funnel shape
- Dark, round sound that still has excellent projection when desired
- The Wedge D cup has a deep bowl shape similar to the PT50 and PT88 mouthpieces.
- In smaller diameter is an excellent choice for a player looking for the characteristics of a Bach 24AW on EEb tuba.
- In larger diameters produces a huge sound with a very even response in all registers.
How Do I Know Which Wedge is Right For Me?
**Pleast Note: Most tubas with a European receiver will accept an American shank mouthpiece, although some will “bottom out” on the leadpipe. However, pitch and slotting are often better with the correct shank. Tubas with an American Receiver will accept a European shanked mouthpiece, but the lack of correct penetration and increased gap will have also a deleterious effect on how it plays.
Shank Styles Compatible With The Wedge:
- End diameter .530 to .537″.
- Mouthpieces – JK Exclusive, “Normal” Perantucci, Laskey “E” shank.
- Insruments: Fits most Alex F tubas and some C’s, Amati, B&S, Cerveny, Kalison, Kurath, Meinl-Weston large models, Mirafone 191, Nirshl, Perantucci, Rudy Meinl, Sanders, VMI, Willson, Yamaha larger models, York large models, and other large receiver tubas.
Standard American Shank
- End diameter .520″ to .524″.
- Most common size in North America. Used on Bach, most Schilke, and Conn Helleberg tuba mouthpieces. Designated with an L in the Denis Wick line. Also called PT S in Perrantuchi line.
- Instruments: fits most Besson, Bohm & Meinl, Conn, Holton, Jupiter, King, Martin, Marzan, Meinl-Weston smaller models, Musica, Olds, Reynolds, Yamaha smaller models, York smaller models.
Shank Styles Not Compatible With The Wedge*
Small European Shank
- End diameter of .490″. Very similar to large shank trombone.
- Mouthpieces – Doug Elliott XS shank. Dennis Wick in the sizes 1 through 5, without L in the name.
- Instruments – Older Besson, older Besson and Boosey & Hawkes, American Eb tubas, some old German 3/4 size BBb tubas. Also referred to as the Eb tuba size.
Medium European Shank
- Fits most older Mirafone 184, 185, 186, 188; also fits some other European tubas.
- Halfway between American and European.
- Will fit in most horns made for an American or European shank.
- End diameter – about .550″.
- Mouthpieces – Dillon Music “L” shank mouthpieces.
- Instruments: Larger European tubas with especially horns with large diameter leadpipes like the “York” copies and most Alexander model 163 CC tubas.
- End diameter about .585″.
- Fits the largest Alexander model 164, a few ‘one off’ model 163’s, and some original York receivers.