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Why NOT Try a Wedge?

On this page - five reasons why doubters say you should NOT try a Wedge - and why they are wrong.  

 

"The oval mouthpiece is not new. It has been done before"

There have been oval mouthpieces before, with a rim that followed shape of the lips, increasing contact. The long axis of the oval was oriented side to side and curved around the embouchure sideways. 

This is exactly the opposite of the Wedge. The Wedge oval goes up and down. The rim curves away from the corners of the embouchure, not around them. The idea is to decrease pressure and surface contact at the corners. The result is better circulation to the lips within the mouthpiece rim, greater comfort, less swelling, and a greater ability to adjust the central embouchure aperture. This is a new approach to the oval mouthpiece. 

 

"Mouthpieces should be round. Using a rim that is not round will ruin your embouchure"

There is no magic in the conventional round, flat rim design. That contour evolved from the shape obtained from cutting the end off an animal horn, and later from what could be made with an old fashioned lathe. The shape is more by accident than by design. 

So, can the Wedge screw up your chops? 

Anyone who spends a long time fighting an unsuitable mouthpiece, or who keeps changing mouthpieces in search of the holy grail that will solve all of their playing challenges, is bound to have, or develop, some issues. 

On the other hand, trying any new mouthpiece few days will not cause permanent chop problems any more than trying out a new pair running shoes will cripple you for life. 

There is no credible evidence that playing a rim that is not round and flat will ruin your embouchure. What possible scientific explanation is there for such a thing? Are we genetically programmed and designed to only play on flat, round mouthpieces? 

Thousands of players have used the Wedge for many years without problems. In fact, we believe that by reducing pressure at the vulnerable points of the embouchure at 10 and 2 o'clock, and by discouraging the use of excessive pressure, the Wedge has the potential to decrease embouchure injuries.

"The Wedge is a cheater mouthpiece"

Most people think of a cheater mouthpiece as one that is used as a shortcut to better range and endurance while greatly compromising things like sound, low register, and flexibility. These mouthpieces are usually small and shallow. There is nothing wrong with small, shallow mouthpieces for some players and some situations. The problem arises when the mouthpiece is used for a type of playing other than for which it was not designed, as an alternative to practice. That is when it gets labelled a “cheater” mouthpiece. So there are no “cheater” mouthpieces, just poor mouthpiece choices.

Choosing a balance between playing characteristics is always part of mouthpiece selection. When done wisely these choices mean the player is using the right tool for the right job. When done unwisely they do not serve the player well in the long run, because overall performance suffers, and players do not develop proper skills. That is NOT a good idea, and not what the Wedge is about.

The Wedge is not designed to make up for poor range and endurance with a smaller, shallower mouthpiece. It comes in a full range of diameters and depths with models to meet every player and playing situation. We take great care in providing personalized fitting advice by email, phone, or in person at no charge, for any player who needs it. We don’t care if you are a young beginner or a seasoned professional. Everyone gets treated the same. We want to make sure you get the best mouthpiece for you.

It is true that for many players the Wedge gives an advantage over players using a conventional rim. Is that cheating, or is it just smart?

"It's the player, not the equipment. It does not matter what mouthpiece a player uses. Use anything, and practice more.” 

If this were true, 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 endeavor. Why would a brass mouthpiece be any different?

The basic design of most brass mouthpieces has not changed in decades. Why would anyone believe that brass mouthpieces were perfected 40 or 50 years ago? I don’t accept that as true, and I have spent the last 10 years developing better and better versions the Wedge. Basically, there is no such thing as perfection, only excellence, and to believe in perfection only leads to stagnation.

Having better gear does not mean you practice less. In fact, if you get better results from practice, and have improved comfort and endurance so you can practice more, most players will do that. So why not get a better a mouthpiece AND practice more?

"The Wedge costs too much"

The Wedge costs more than some other mouthpieces and less than others. The reason it costs more is because it is more expensive to make. The complex rim and cup shape require more sophisticated equipment and far more time to machine and polish than a conventional mouthpiece.

In the end one has to distinguish between price and value. For most players the investment in a Wedge mouthpiece will provide better results than spending the same amount on a comparably priced conventional mouthpiece, and better results than most players would get from a much more expensive instrument upgrade. What would it be worth to you to add 2 to 3 notes to your range and 30% to your endurance, along with better sound?

We understand that that paying over $200 for a mouthpiece you have never tried seems risky. That is why we offer free shipping and a 90 day return policy.

The bottom line

At the end of the day there are NO shortcuts. There is no substitute for disciplined, dedicated practice. But it makes sense that if you are on a path to  a certain destination you should take advantage of a vehicle that will speed the journey and make it easier and more enjoyable, especially when there are no down sides.

Is there a risk in trying a Wedge? We try to reduce risk as much as possible. That is why we offer our 90 day guarantee.

If you do not play better on a Wedge mouthpiece, I want it back… and 90 days is extreme overkill. It does not take 90 days to figure out if the Wedge is a better mouthpiece for you. Most players will know right away. Return rates are about 10%. 90 days is just so players won’t worry. How many other mouthpiece manufacturers stand behind their product with a guarantee like that?

Try a Wedge. The proof is in the playing. 

 

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