20 Years of History - The Evolution of Unity Mouthpieces


The first hints of Unity mouthpieces took form twenty years ago in the early 2000's when we introduced our first Monette Prana mouthpieces. These radically improved mouthpieces incorporated a new approach to proportioning the mouthpiece cup and backbore that immediately made playing into the upper register much easier. At the same time, these new mouthpieces provided more brilliance in the sound, greatly improved intonation and more consistency in response though all dynamics and registers. One high profile client commented they felt like a little jet engine was built-in to the mouthpiece to speed up the air, making the response faster and energizing the sound.

As we started making more and more Prana mouthpieces, we were inspired to optimize rim and cup designs to get the most out of the enhanced pitch-center that Prana mouthpieces provided. The first Monette mouthpieces that employed cup design details that would eventually evolve into our new Unity mouthpieces were Maynard Ferguson’s MFIII, Charlie Schlueter’s B1-1S1 and Wynton’s B2S3.

The goal with these improved cup designs was simply to come up with mouthpieces that were an improvement in every way over the original Monette designs. We were looking for them to be faster but more stable in response, to feel more comfortable on the chops, to be more forgiving to play, to have a larger sweet spot on each note, and most notably to play with more freedom and flexibility when playing into the upper register. Maynard and the other top players we work with immediately took to the new designs and never looked back.


The results of these improvements were obvious; these new mouthpieces helped Charlie Schlueter, Wynton and others we closely work with to regularly play up to double C and above with relative ease. (Wynton’s “Magic Hour” CD, recorded in 2003, had ground breaking upper register pyrotechnics that were simply stunning. Charlie Schlueter’s solo CD “Statements” includes three world premier pieces that were written for him that have demanding extreme upper register passages that he brilliantly played on his decorated presentation Raja C trumpet—with its built-in Prana mouthpiece).


Another important development occurred in 2008 when we delivered Ron Miles’ new radical Sattva instrument, pitched in low G. We went through over 70 individual mouthpiece refinements before this instrument was ready for delivery! Ron’s final “Sattva” mouthpiece, with its unique, extra-large cup design, incorporated even more of the key fundamental design features that made Maynard’s MFIII and Wynton’s B2S3 a success. Ron told us repeatedly that the intonation and ease in changing registers was unmatched by any of his previous Monette instruments, and this would not have been possible without the radical new Sattva mouthpiece we designed for him.


In 2012, we made Wynton a new, updated RAJA P3 trumpet. This new instrument inspired our B2S5 mouthpiece, which Wynton immediately found played with even more ease in all registers and at all dynamic levels, compared to his previous B2S3.

The next big contribution to Unity mouthpieces came along in 2018, when we made Itamar Borochov’s Raja four valve quarter tone trumpet. When Itamar arrived at our shop, we could “hear” the new custom mouthpiece he needed as he played his first notes on the new trumpet. We got on the computer and drew up his new mouthpiece design on the spot—incorporating cup design elements that we had built into Wynton’s, Ron’s and Maynard’s mouthpieces.



Within the first few minutes of playing his new quarter-tone trumpet and matching new integral mouthpiece at our shop, Itamar was consistently playing effortless D’s over double C - his first notes ever in that extended range of the trumpet. At our shop, Jason Gunderson (the Monette shop's Operations Manager) referred to this new mouthpiece that had so wildly extended Itamar’s range as the “Itamarsalis-ferguchov” model!

In 2020, we started incorporating design details from all these sequentially improved mouthpiece designs into more and more custom Raja “integral mouthpiece” instruments. The trend continued with dramatic improvements in the extreme upper and lower registers, more brilliance and projection, and a bigger, cleaner sound with more pronounced slots on every note.

The culmination of this work has been realized in even more refined mouthpiece designs in 2021 that we have built into Wynton’s new Raja XLT PLUS trumpet, Ron Miles’ new Raja Infinity trumpet, and just a few months ago into Theo Croker’s new custom Raja Tantra P3 trumpet. Ingrid Jensen, Charlie Porter and Patrick Hession now also play new Unity mouthpieces that we custom designed for them based on the core improvements we developed for Wynton, Ron, and Theo.




With these radical new mouthpieces being used with such success by so many of our most well-known clients, we finally decided to extend these design refinements into a new line of mouthpieces specifically developed for use with popular, mass produced, non-Monette instruments.


After a tremendous amount of prototyping and refinement, we now have all-new designs in our 15 most popular rim and cup sizes. This brings the same improvements that the famous players we work with have been enjoying to a much larger field of players.



These new mouthpieces include new rim designs for Charlie Porter and Ingrid Jensen (B2-7), and Mike Thompson and our own Jason Gunderson (B1-7). We also came up with a new Maynard-style lead trumpet mouthpiece called the Unity MF VI. It has all the advantages of the other new a unity lead mouthpieces with an updated rim contour. Finally, Patrick Hession got a new update to his BL-4 size lead mouthpiece that incorporates the same musical improvements of the new MF VI and other updated Unity lead sizes. (Check out Patrick’s wild video on the main Unity Mouthpiece page).


UNITY MOUTHPIECES ARE DESIGNED FOR USE WITH THE MOST POPULAR

MASS PRODUCED, NON-MONETTE TRUMPETS!

The importance of these new mouthpiece designs for use on non-Monette instruments really hit home in June 2021 when local jazz trumpeter and educator Derek Sims visited our shop. He asked if there was anything we could do for him in a mouthpiece upgrade for use on his mass-produced, production trumpet. His timing was perfect; we had a mouthpiece already made up and gold plated made with Wynton’s new Unity cup design and backbore as an in-house shop sample.


As Derek played it for us - from the very first notes - every possible aspect of sound, response, projection and intonation was improved. He described it as magic - an unbelievable upgrade - a dream come true. At that point in the year we were all a bit exhausted from developing three ground-breaking new Unity Raja instruments for Wynton, Ron Miles and Theo Croker. But it was clear we needed to move full steam ahead to finish up the work we had started to adapt this all-new mouthpiece design concept into our other popular mouthpiece sizes. We needed to optimize them for use not only with Monette instruments, but also to figure out optimal configurations that any trumpet player can use and enjoy with their non-Monette, production trumpets.


All of us at the shop are trumpet players. We all wanted to see how the latest equipment improvements we developed for Wynton, Ron, Theo, Itamar and more could be optimized for the most popular, non-Monette production trumpets. So we brought out a few conventional, non-Monette trumpets and started fine-tuning cup designs and backbore configurations for use on those instruments - the first time in the history of the company that we went out of our way to design a mouthpiece series specifically for the most popular types of mass produced trumpets.


After we all agreed on what we liked from weeks of extensive in-house play-testing, we started sending batches of the new mouthpieces in various sizes to Mike Thompson at Thompson Music in Omaha for him and others in his shop to test on his large inventory of production trumpets.

We sent Mike the same variations in cup designs, mouthpiece blank weights and backbores we had play-tested - without telling him what we had all unanimously picked as our favorite weight and backbore configurations for each new rim and cup design. In every case, Mike agreed 100% with our own in-house selections. With that, we started writing up text, taking pictures of the new mouthpieces, and preparing for the grand introduction of this revolutionary new line of Monette mouthpieces.




UNITY MOUTHPIECE TESTIMONIALS


“This mouthpiece has changed my life. It has made everything so much easier… the upper register is so much easier… I can play high G’s effortlessly now - and back and forth from jazz to classical is completely seamless. I can sound better on a quintet gig than I ever have in my life—and then turn around play lead parts or jazz solos effortlessly. The notes slot easier in every register than ever before. The sound is so much cleaner… don’t even have to think about articulation - the beginnings of notes just speak effortlessly - something that I have always had issues with. The sound is what I have always wanted but never had before. This mouthpiece is a dream come true!”

“OMG!!! Dave—IT REALLY IS WHAT YOU SAY IT IS. I buzzed it first and knew right away. Huge sound! So easy to play! AMAZING!! Bless you for sending this marvelous new miracle!!!!!”

“I received my Unity B6M about 4 hours before a concert with my symphony. First, I’m amazed at how accurate all the Unity claims are. Everything that was said to be improved or new is. First, the sound is immediate and fully formed. It’s resonant, clear, and can easily be modified to sound softer, darker, brighter, etc. Second, the upper register is CRAZY easy. I’m playing arpeggios to Double G and beyond, over and over again. I’ve never been able to play like this up there. Third, the notes are so evenly spaced and placed. It feels familiar. All the registers are extremely even, have the same resistance and feel seamless, connected. They no longer feel separate. It’s finally one spectrum of notes! Third, I’m able to play at all dynamic levels and still feel anchored and carry a full sound. From pp to FFF, the resistance is the same. During my concert, I didn’t have to worry about what I’ve had to in the past while playing other mouthpieces. I could focus on the music, and that changed everything. I truly felt ‘unified’ with the music I was playing, and that my instrument was now just apart of me instead of an obstacle to overcome of fight with. I don’t know how you’ve done it, but you’ve created a masterpiece. Bravo to Dave Monette, his team, and all those who helped bring these game changing pieces to life!"

“When I received my Unity B2, I was expecting a small improvement over the Resonance B2S3 I was playing previously. From the first notes I played I was shocked at how much better the Unity is. Chin on the floor stuff..! Thicker, warmer sound, all the notes feel so secure, almost impossible to miss! I had managed to get my chops up to quite a squeely double C on the older Resonance mouthpiece, but on the Unity it's popping out loud and clear—and slotting! The low register is just barking out of the horn...sounding somewhat close (I think) to the great players who are playing Monette horns on the shop videos you put out. Plus all this is at least 10 times easier and less effort than the Resonance. But of course, you know all this already! I'm dumbfounded, I don't know what you've done or how you've done it!”

“The Unity B2’s response is STUNNING! Such crispness—it allows for much more resonance in the horn. Above the staff F to G and G to A trills were always difficult for me… They LEPT out of the horn after one try. You guys are magicians. Bravo!”

“I think the note, and the note just pops! I don’t have to do anything. It’s just lovely...”

“When I go for the note, it’s loud and big and wide and I love the sound of it. It just feels good to play. The D above high C is as easy as the D above middle C. It just pops. It’s wonderful.

“The new Unity B1-7 mouthpiece… plays INSANELY well! Wow! As I spent some time with it, I could immediately sense all of the attributes that you've described. The overall playability of this new design really is a dream to play in so many ways...“

”This mouthpiece is so insane… it feels so crazy-easy to soar over the band. It’s so easy to play on - it has such a beautiful, even feel!”

”Playing the Unity mouthpiece is better in all aspects than my previous Monette mouthpiece. I am not sure how Dave and everyone at team Monette did it, but the sound, articulation, and intonation throughout all the registers is even and impressive. Most days I feel like I need to warm up a bit to get to high C and above, but with Unity I can get everything fired up in about ten minutes. I haven't experienced this before and hope to continue the trend.“

“The connection between the dynamic extremes feels closer and more like an honest connection between the extremes, rather than having to play softs one way and louds another way. It’s more unified.”

“This UNITY B3 mpc is SICK!! Cats on the band stand were diggin’ how much core there was to my sound. ‘Thick and Creamy’ were the exact words. Up stairs felt really great and easy and the response is INSANE!! Coming off of the Monette Resonance, this mpc is a game changer for sure. Thanks for all you cats do!!”


CLICK HERE FOR UNITY MOUTHPIECE INFO AND VIDEOS

CLICK HERE TO PLACE AN ORDER FOR A UNITY MOUTHPIECE



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