How to Select a Monette Mouthpiece
Because of the inconsistent playing qualities found in conventional mouthpiece designs, players have become accustomed to accepting compromises in mouthpiece size in order to maintain a given range and endurance in their playing. Monette mouthpieces are designed to eliminate these frustrating compromises and to promote an easier and more consistent approach to equipment selection.
The Old Rules Don't Apply!
Monette constant-pitch-center mouthpiece designs negate the old rules of choosing equipment, including how to pick the best size mouthpiece for a given musical task. One of our primary goals in working with clients is to help them let go of old ideas about how
they listen to themselves as they play, how they choose instruments, and how they choose mouthpiece sizes.
If brass players only had to play in the middle register and for no more than an octave in range, most players would be using a larger mouthpiece than they currently use. When choosing your first Monette mouthpiece, we generally suggest trying a size that is at least a little bit larger than you may be accustomed to. A slightly larger size in Monette equipment will actually enhance one’s upper register and fill out one’s sound because it encourages the player to play down into the center of the equipment in a way that is not possible on conventional equipment.
Not only do players find that using larger sizes is advantageous when using Monette mouthpieces, but
they also find they can more easily change mouthpiece sizes for different styles of playing without suffering the usual acclimation problems.
Suggested Monette Trumpet Mouthpiece Sizes for the First-time Buyer
Beginner and Adult Amateur B6, B4S, B2
Small Group Jazz B2, B4S, B115M
Classical Orchestral Players B1-1, B112, B115M, B2, B4
Classical Chamber Players B2, B4, B3, B1-5M
Lead Playing B6L, B5L. B4L, BL, BL2 and MF II
Tips for Mouthpiece Selection
When selecting a new mouthpiece, the size that feels most comfortable and that allows you to play with the most easy, natural embouchure and in the most resonant, centered way is usually the best size for you!
If you are playing lead trumpet, use a lead mouthpiece! You would not run a marathon in wing tips, and you should probably not try and play the scream book in a big band on a B1-1 mouthpiece!
If your sound shape is too narrow, you miss too many notes and you have difficulties playing “down into the center” of the equipment, try a wider inside-rim diameter with a comfortable cup depth.
If your sound shape is too wide and you find yourself “swimming” in the equipment, try a narrower inside-rim diameter with a comfortable cup depth.
Flatter rims, or rims with more “bite” on the inside edge may provide more control and security in articulation, but too much “bite” or “grip” can inhibit flexibility. If you often “splatter” articulations, try a sharper rim. If you feel the rim constricts you, try a wider inside-rim diameter, a rounder rim contour, or both.
If a mouthpiece feels good, sounds good, provides better range and endurance, and plays more in-tune, you have found your new mouthpiece—even if it is not what you are used to!
How Long Will It Take to Adjust to a New Size?
The more muscle memory a player has built into his or her playing, the longer it may take to “loosen up” enough to enjoy a larger-size mouthpiece. Also, players who have less external stress in their lives often acclimate faster. For example, amateur players who play just for their own entertainment often find the transition to our equipment to be very quick and easy. They can often switch to a considerably larger Monette mouthpiece and experience positive results immediately.
A player experiencing more stress may find a larger size feels good in the practice room, but produces less favorable results in performance. The mouthpiece and instrument are made of metal, so what has changed? The obvious answer is the amount of physical tension in the player’s body that kills resonance. The more consciously aware the player is of interaction with the equipment, the faster an intelligent choice in new equipment can produce results that feel good in the practice room and in performance.
Having said all of this, it may be best for someone playing in stressful situations to initially play a Monette mouthpiece of a similar or identical size to the one they are used to. Over time and/or during the off season, the player may realize that he or she has out-grown the original-size mouthpiece and is ready for a larger size. This is very common!
Tips for the Very Confused
If you cannot decide which Monette mouthpiece best suits you, then just stop for a moment and ask yourself some very simple questions.
1. Does the mouthpiece you are trying feel too wide or too narrow?
2. Does the cup feel too shallow or too deep?
3. Does the rim contour feel too round or too sharp?
4. Do you need to take a break and come back to the process with a fresh perspective?
In our experience the answers to these simple questions will help pull almost anyone out of the abyss of mouthpiece size-selection purgatory! If after following these tips you still need help, we suggest finding a teacher whose advice you trust, and then forget mouthpiece sizes and practice making music!
In the long run, players should always make a good mouthpiece selection based on what equipment helps them to sound better and make more music. If the process seems more complicated than that, you are making it more complicated than it needs to be!