I wrote a post on a mouthpiece experiment back in 2011. It’s now 2014, summer just finished, and I’d like to follow up on that article.
I was surprised by how much attention that particular post got among trumpet players. I guess a bunch of us think about mouthpiece issues. A few months after I wrote that, a friend of mine, (who happens to be a fantastic trumpet player, Chuck Lazarus, check him out!) sent me a couple of mouthpieces to try. He had just got endorsed by GR Mouthpieces and sent me a couple of his signature pieces. I had wanted to try GR’s for years but had never gotten around to it so I was very happy to check these out. We all know the advantages and disadvantages of playing smaller mouthpieces. (Certain things like range/endurance get easier but your sound gets smaller.) These Lazarus GR’s physically felt smaller than what I was used to playing. So, at first I was leery. After a couple days, though I felt like my sound was pretty much where it was with my larger pieces but had more colors. Plus, my endurance and range increased! This was really interesting, all the advantages of playing smaller equipment with none of the drawbacks!
I’ve been talking plural because Chuck actually sent me two mouthpieces. They are the same inner dimensions, just the outside blanks are slightly different. One is called commercial and the other orchestral. There is a little more mass around the rim of the orchestral and the commercial is slightly longer. I’m amazed here too, but there is a noticeable difference between the two and they are named completely appropriately.
So now I’ve been playing the GR Lazarus mouthpiece(s) for a couple years and have been really happy with the results. It’s easily the most efficient mouthpiece I have ever played. Comfort, articulation and endurance have been the three things that have been most noticeably improved upon for me.
HOWEVER, since I have recently begun this new love affair with Bach Artisan trumpets, I couldn’t help but notice there are now Bach Artisan mouthpieces! I bought a couple for curiosity and while they are beautiful to look at, they are not as easy to play as the GR’s. But, what a sound! This is the sound I want in my classical playing. I’m not sold on the jazz or commercial side yet. I just got these during our orchestral break in the summer, so I am very curious to hear how they work in my section.
So stay tuned, there may be a third edition of this mouthpiece experiment…