Does Your Mouthpiece Matter?
We make a better mouthpiece so you can be a better player.
That's a pretty radical statement and will probably produce some strong responses. It raises the issue of whether or not better equipment actualy can make a difference to your playing. Some say that equipment does't matter, and that the key to being a better player is practice. Believe it or not, I agree. Well, I half-agree.
"Technology can - and does - improve performance in many fields of human endeavour. Why would a brass mouthpiece be any different?"
It's true that there is NO substitute for practice, but better equipment does make a big difference. If we define being a "better player" by the quality of what comes out of the end of your horn, then equipment undeniably plays a role. If equipment didn't matter we would all be playing $100 trumpets and cheap mouthpieces from Walmart. Elite athletes would not bother using state of the art equipment. Surgeons would shun technology and perform operations with same instruments they used 100 years ago. The truth is that technology can - and does - improve performance in many fields of human endeavour. Why would a brass mouthpiece be any different?
So this leads us to examine the evolution of the brass mouthpiece. The basic design of most mouthpieces has not changed in decades. Why is this, and why should we accept it? Why would anyone believe that brass mouthpieces were perfected 40 or 50 years ago? I don’t think they were, and I have spent the last 13 years developing better and better versions of the Wedge mouthpiece as as proof that any idea can be improved upon if one has an open mind, a bit of imagination, and lots of determination.
Basically, there is no such thing as perfection. There is only excellence, and to believe in perfection leads to frustration, followed by resignation, and finally stagnation. The brass mouthpiece was not perfected 40 years ago. The Wedge mouthpiece does not embody mouthpiece perfection either. But it does represent real progress. It's an important step towards excellence. For many players the Wedge is a better tool. Better equipment. Is it a substitute for practice? Absolutley not. Having better gear does not mean you practice less. In fact, many players tell us that the improved comfort, increased endurance, and better results from time in the woodshed with the Wedge encourages them to practice MORE.
"Why not play a mouthpiece that encourages you to practice more?"
What does this mean for the average player? Let's use me as an example. I am not a professional trumpet player - I'm a medical doctor. I learned to play trumpet in high school band class. I had a few lessons as an adult, but I have essentially no formal training on the trumpet after high school.
When I invented a Wedge my reliable range (on a good day, when rested) was a high C. There was nothing above that. With a Wedge of a comparable size, my reliable range is an E or F above high C, and my sound is better in all ranges, with improved endurance and flexibility, as well as cleaner multiple tonguing. Of course, playing a brass instrument is not all about range and endurance. But more range and endurance along with having so many other aspects of my playing improved by the mouthpiece did free me to make better music. That's what matters.
Some of these benefits might have resulted from more practice, but to be honest, I have less practice time now than I used to. The fact is that most players get the benefits of a Wedge right away, not after weeks or months of more practice. About 80-90% of players will have an experience similar to my own.
So yes, a mouthpiece can make you a better player.