|O.J.'s Trumpet Page||Interview|
The last two
FoKus models are
much darker in timbre than the LEAD, ARTIST or SYMPHONIC.
The ALL AROUND has a deeper cup than the SYMPHONIC, also a #26 (3.7mm) hole and the same hole length, but the back bore is a different shape which lends itself to the darker sound, but will get some edge if played to do so. The PRINCIPAL has a different shaped cup than the ALL AROUND. It has a #22 (3.98mm) hole and the length of the hole is only .4cm long. The back bore is very large (similar to a Schmidt). The result is that you can play very loud on this piece and it has maximum spread to the sound.
The FoKus Models are made in four inside cup diameters, 1.5, 3, 7, and 10.5 which are similar to the Bach widths of the same numbers.
This allows the modern player to choose the correct timbre for the genre.
Lastly we have just finished the work on the FoKus Cornet and Flugelhorn models. Those should be ready by the end of the summer.
What advice can you offer to someone searching for a new mouthpiece?
The mouthpiece can only give you a different timbre and will not correct bad playing habits. I have seen many players over the years think that you can play higher on a certain mouthpiece but once they get it, discover that “IT”, the mouthpiece doesn’t work. Playing high is not a function of the mouthpiece; I have the same range on all of the FoKus models, from the 3rd pedal C to E above Double high C. The mouthpiece with not increase you range, only correct playing will do that. The mouthpiece WILL change the intensity of the sound and the timbre and projection. That being said, look for a mouthpiece that will give you the sound that you need, or the intensity of sound, or projection, to fit with the groups that you play with.
Can you use the FoKus mouthpieces on different horns like the C and Piccolo?
Yes, as I mentioned earlier the FoKus ARTIST is a great match for Piccolo, whether it is a .460” bore, or a .412”. The C trumpet matches up very well with the SYMPHONIC, ALL AROUND, and PRINCIPAL. But it depends on what size group you will be playing with and which composer's music you will be playing.
If a person is playing on a Bach 3C what type of FoKus should he try?
I would first ask this person what he wants to sound like that is different from the sound he already has. IF Brighter with more projection, the FoKus LEAD, ARTIST, and even the SYMPHONIC. If a darker sound with less projection, so he blends well with the group he plays in, the ALL AROUND and PRINCIPAL would be the best choice.
A lot of people don’t know much about mouthpieces, so they think that if Adolph Herseth gets a great sound on a Bach 1C - that is what they should use too? In other words Large vs. Small.
Good question and I have a good answer. First, Adolph does not play a Bach 1C, he plays, the last time I talked with him, a Bach 1B with a #22 (3.9mm) hole, and a Bach 24 back bore and he plays C trumpet most of the time. But when he played his audition in 1947, the same year I was born, for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra he played a Bach 7B!
I asked him, why he plays a 1B now, and he said, “The rim is the same size as my beer bottle”. But, the real reason is that he was in a car accident and got hit in the mouth and had to find an inside cup diameter size that would keep the rim from sitting on the scars. Please remember that the difference in cup diameters between a Bach 1 and Bach 20 is only 2.5mm (0.09”). Mr. Herseth also told me that he regularly changes under parts, by unscrewing his rim, and putting on a different under part that will accommodate a Guest Conductor's ear, or to play a certain composer, or to play a horn of a different bore, like piccolo. Giving the correct timbre each requires. But I think that is side stepping your question about larger vs. small mouthpieces. I take your question to mean the inside rim diameter size, but also the cup, hole and back bore size. I will address each by starting with the history of the trumpet. Most know that the trumpet was first invented by Gustav Besson in his Paris workshop in 1888, and that Victor Mahillon, the 18th century Belgian acoustician, was given credit for inventing the trumpet Lead Pipe. To give you some bearing of the time, the cornet had been KING of brass instruments since about 1825, which was the same year that Joseph Jean-Baptiste Laurent Arban was born. He had been the cornet instructor at the Paris Conservatory of Music since 1880. This position was open to him after the death of Maury. Arban fell into disfavor when he advocated the use of a shallower cupped cornet mouthpiece to achieve more brilliance for the soloist.
It took quite a number of years for this new instrument ( the trumpet) to find its way to the U.S.A.
When it did, there were not many making mouthpieces for it. Most were still making cornet mouthpieces with hole sizes from about #14 (4.6mm) to #18 (4.3mm). This #18, is the same size hole that Friedemann Immer uses for his Salzburg model made by Rainer Egger in Basil, for his Baroque trumpet, even today. Only a dozen years from the birth of the trumpet and in the same city there was the great world's fair of 1900, which attracted top bands and players from all over the world. Included in that group was the John Philip Sousa band from the U.S.A. The First Cornet player was Herbert L. Clarke. Cornet was still KING. However, with the newly invented trumpet, mouthpieces were needed and in the U.S.A. most trumpet mouthpieces were from Germany made by the Schmidt Company. The holes in these mouthpieces ranged from about #18 (4.3mm)-#24 (3.8mm). The cups were deeper, and the back bores wider too. There was no standard to the hole size at all. By the time Vincent Bach started making trumpet mouthpieces there were so many different hole sizes being used that he made his mouthpieces with a #27 (.144” or 3.65mm).
Mr. Bach believed that this was a small enough size to allow the players of the day to enlarge the hole size to what they were accustomed. That is why Bach mouthpieces do not have a straightaway. Because when you enlarge the hole with a straight fluted reamer it cuts into the back bore and creates a straightaway, which gives more projection than before. The top players of the day used narrow cup diameters about equal to a Bach 6 or 7, but the cup was deeper and the hole larger and the back bore was wider. That is why, as I said before that Adolph Herseth used a Bach 7B in 1947 for his audition with the CSO.
In the early 1950’s Adolph Herseth was involved in an automobile accident. Because he was hit in the mouth, he changed to a wider rim diameter to avoid the scare tissue. Shortly afterward, players in Boston, and New York started using wider inside rim diameter sizes also.
I cannot be sure this was the only reason we play wider rim diameters today. But when you were playing a mouthpiece with a rim diameter of a Schmidt mouthpiece (Bach 6 or 7) that not only has a narrow rim diameter, but also a deep cup, large hole and large back bore, and when you change to a Bach mouthpiece of the same rim diameter size, the Bach will have a smaller cup, smaller hole and smaller back bore, to get the same tonal volume as the player had on his Schmidt, the easy solution was to go to a wider rim diameter like a Bach 3, or Bach 1, instead, of keeping the rim diameter the same, and making an adjustment in some other part.
I have a customer in Atlanta, Georgia that was playing on a Bach 3C, and wanted to increase his endurance. I recommended that he play a mouthpiece with a slightly narrower rim diameter but a slightly larger hole too. It worked for him.
The old players knew that when you use a narrow cup diameter you will have more endurance, and that means you can play higher longer.
So by way of summarization, large is not good, nor bad. And small is not bad or good. Each has its own playing characteristics.
Trumpet playing is hard enough with the wind power needed to play it, why add more strain with a mouthpiece that is making you work EVEN harder to get the results you want?
I remember one teacher putting like this, “it's the easiest way”.It would be interesting to see what size cup diameters we would be playing now, if Adolph Herseth had never been injured.