Brass Instruments

The Best Mouthpieces for Brass Instruments

Brass mouthpiece

Carefully evaluating mouthpieces for all brass instruments to find the best of the best is no easy feat. However, we were able to scrutinize every last detail to finally choose the mouthpiece we felt deserved the title as our top pick. We can promise it has nothing to do with the instrument.

The right mouthpiece can perfect your music, while the wrong mouthpiece can ruin your music. We realize the mouthpiece you choose for your brass instrument is something that should be selected carefully. We share both the positives and the negatives of any product we share, so our readers are never unpleasantly surprised.

After narrowing down to nine top choices, we have included something for every brass instrument with the exception of the Helicon. This was very tedious, but we want to help our brass musicians with finding the best mouthpiece.  Sharing our recommendations for the best mouthpieces for brass instruments is meant to help our readers while taking the guesswork out of the equation.

How to Choose a Mouthpiece

As a brass musician, it is important to carefully select a mouthpiece that is suitable for your music, style, and skill level. You want to be sure your mouthpiece provides good projection while maintaining a good tone. It is also imperative that you choose a mouthpiece that is comfortable.

Performances can get to be lengthy and using something that doesn’t fit will wear you out very quickly. Thankfully, mouthpiece manufacturers are aware that lips and mouths differ in size and shape. There are many different mouthpieces available to meet the needs of virtually any musician.

Understanding How a Mouthpiece Works

Regardless of your skill level, it is important to know how a mouthpiece works. As you gain an understanding of how your mouthpiece works, you will be able to grasp what you need from a mouthpiece. This will be helpful when you’re in the market for a mouthpiece.

Knowing the parts of a brass mouthpiece is a great starting point. Most of the brass family mouthpieces differ in shape and size, but the elements and components are often very similar. Gaining an understanding of how these affect the tone and functionality of your instrument are vital to gaining a full understanding of mouthpieces.

There are four main elements to a mouthpiece: the rim, cup, throat, and backbore:

Rim – the round edge where your lips are placed to play your instrument. The rim can be either flat or rounded. A flat rim allows even lip pressure, a good air seal, and feels comfortable. The only downside to a flat rim is its lack of flexibility. Rounded rims require more intense lip pressure, but are very flexible allowing the lips to move back and forth in order to achieve a variety of different tones.

Cup – the area inside the rim where the musician blows into. The larger and deeper cups provide a darker sound while the smaller and more shallow cups provide a brighter tone. Large cups require the musician to have a lot of control, while smaller cups require less effort.

Throat – the opening that leads out of the cup. The throat allows you to push air from the cup in an effort to provide tone control. Bigger throats will provide you with the ability to blow harder to produce more volume. Bigger throats also require more air. A throat that is too small may diminish your tone and produce a less comfortable back pressure.

Backbore – the chamber where your air is transferred to the horn. The shape and size of the backbore will define the tone, volume, projection, pitch, and intonation. A medium sized bore will produce an all-around good sounding instrument.

Other Considerations When Purchasing a Mouthpiece

When you’re in the market for a mouthpiece, one of the most important things to consider is your skill level. Some attributes of a mouthpiece are meant for more skilled musicians while other options are equipped just fine for beginners.

You should also decide if you are looking for a dark or a bright tone. The size of the cup is the deciding factor when it comes to the tone your mouthpiece will produce. You need also to be honest with yourself as to how much air you can comfortably provide whereas certain aspects require more air, while there are other options available for if you can produce a ton of air.

Look at mouthpiece brands that are well-known for producing high-quality mouthpieces. You want a good mouthpiece that will satisfy your needs and last.

The Competition

After hours of testing and research, here's the final competition.

InstrumentRatingCurrent Pricing
Glory Silver Plated Euphonium/Baritone Mouthpiece
can be used on both a euphonium and a baritone$9.99
120S Helleberg 120 Standard Tuba Mouthpiece
offers better tone control$83.15
Paititi Gold Plated Bb 7C Trumpet Mouthpiece
produced a very smooth soundOut of stock
Glory Professional Silver Plated Trombone
for any skill level and long-lastingOut of stock
System Blue Mellophone Mouthpiece
the perfect blend of sound of volume$82.60
Blessing MPC5CCR Cornet Mouthpiece 5C
Perfect for a beginner looking for the perfect sound$19.00
Bach A3373 Alto Horn Mouthpiece
high-quality and long-lasting$69.95
Blessing MPC3FL 3FL Flugelhorn Mouthpiece
produces a great sound while helping to maintain endurance$29.45
Glory Silver Plated French Horn Mouthpiece
easier to achieve higher notes otherwise nearly impossible$9.99

Euphonium/Baritone
Glory Silver Plated Euphonium/Baritone Mouthpiece

Credit: Amazon.com

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Probably our favorite aspect about this mouthpiece is its versatility with its ability to be used on both a euphonium and a baritone. We loved the big sound produced from this mouthpiece. It definitely provides the sound you would expect from a baritone. We also found that this mouthpiece will also work for a trombone.

We were happy with the quality, especially given the cost. This mouthpiece can be found for around $10 ( Current Amazon.com price: $9.99), which is a true deal when you consider how good this mouthpiece is. We found it compares well to the Bach 6-1/2 AL, which was surprising considering the price difference between the two.

While the quality is good for the price, it’s not quite as high quality as we might like. It does work and function well. We just aren’t sure about how long-lasting it will be. Overall, we were very pleased with this mouthpiece and are confident in recommending it to our readers.

Tuba
Conn-Selmer Inc. 120S Helleberg 120 Standard Tuba Mouthpiece

Credit: Amazon.com

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We really liked how this mouthpiece offered better tone control. The tone produced from this mouthpiece is exactly how a tuba should sound. We were satisfied with the volume and projection provided by this mouthpiece. We also found this mouthpiece extends your range while also improving the quality of your intonation.

This mouthpiece came with a brush cleaner, but we were disappointed that it didn’t come with a case. Outside of that, we were very pleased with this mouthpiece. You can find this mouthpiece available for purchase for $83.15.

Trumpet
Paititi Gold Plated Bb 7C Trumpet Mouthpiece

Credit: Amazon.com

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We were very impressed with the sound quality as it produced a very smooth sound, and easy to blow. We found that these compare well to the Bach equivalent, but at a much lower cost. These can be found for around $20 (Current Amazon.com price: Out of stock). We were also impressed with the overall quality.

We would classify these mouthpieces as being long-lasting. We believe they should only need to be replaced every 3-4 years, which gives you a lot of bang for your buck given the cost involved. We did notice that this mouthpiece seems to produce more spit as the spit valve needed to be emptied much more. Outside of that, we were very satisfied with this mouthpiece and are confident in recommending it as a top choice.

Trombone
Glory Professional Silver Plated Trombone Mouthpiece 12c

Credit: Amazon.com

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The quality of this mouthpiece matched our expectations for a Glory mouthpiece. We like how their mouthpieces can be used by anyone regardless of their skill level. This is nice with the quality they are because they can last a few years. You don’t want to have to replace based upon your skill level when the mouthpiece isn’t worn yet. It fits well and is very comfortable to play.

We were pleased with the sound quality coming from this mouthpiece. But plating was done poorly; we noticed some discoloration right out of the box. The discoloration seems to be a sign that it will quickly discolor entirely, but we hope that isn’t the case. We were happy with how affordable this mouthpiece was (Current Amazon.com price: Out of stock).

Mellophone
System Blue Mellophone Mouthpiece

Credit: System Blue

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The sound produced by this mouthpiece really impressed us. It has the perfect blend of sound of volume. We were also impressed with the flexibility offered by this mouthpiece.

We did feel that this mouthpiece was a little on the pricey side (Current Amazon.com price: $82.60), but with the quality of sound we also feel that it is a validated investment.

Cornet
Blessing MPC5CCR Cornet Mouthpiece 5C

Credit: Amazon.com

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We were pleased with the sound produced by the mouthpiece. The sound is deep, just as you would expect from a Cornet. We were also really happy with the response offered by this mouthpiece. This mouthpiece is perfect for a beginner looking for the perfect sound, comfortability, and fit.

And it comes at a good value. (Current Amazon.com price: $19.00). We will say is the finish was poor, with some blemishes on the silver plating. Other than that, it satisfies what our readers look for in a cornet mouthpiece.

Alto Horn
Bach A3373 Alto Horn Mouthpiece

Credit: Amazon.com

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Although any skill level could use this mouthpiece, we think this would be a good mouthpiece for a beginner, because of the ease of use. We were overall satisfied with the sound produced by this mouthpiece and feel it is high-quality and long-lasting, as to be expected from a Bach.

We did feel the cost was a little steep at $69.95. But you’ll be happy with the quality and serviceability of this mouthpiece.

French Horn
Glory Silver Plated French Horn Mouthpiece

Credit: Amazon.com

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Glory is a very well-known brand that is known for creating high-quality mouthpieces that are suitable for all skill levels. This mouthpiece made it easier to achieve higher notes that otherwise seemed nearly impossible.  It feels comfortable, which makes it easier to play for longer periods of time as well. The sound is not only perfect, but the volume and projection are also very nice.

We like that it is made for any skill level because it won’t need to be replaced when your skill level increases. The quality of this mouthpiece is superb, and we found it to be long-lasting. We believe this mouthpiece should last the standard musician for a few years.

At $9.99 on Amazon, we feel this mouthpiece is very well worth it. We will say that this mouthpiece is geared more towards a beginner, so highly advanced musicians may not be as satisfied. It’s affordable, functions well, and will last for years regardless of your skill level.

Flugelhorn
Blessing MPC3FL 3FL Flugelhorn Mouthpiece

Credit: Amazon.com

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While we were very pleased with the Glory French Horn Mouthpiece, we did have a very close runner-up. The Blessing MPC3FL 3FL Flugelhorn Mouthpiece came in as a very close second choice. While it may be made for a completely different instrument, we were very impressed with the features of this mouthpiece. The size is perfect.

It produces a great sound while helping to maintain your endurance. We were very pleased with how easy this mouthpiece was to use. A beginner won’t strain when using this mouthpiece. The response is easy, which is also nice. The sound produced was nice offering a bright, warm tone.

This mouthpiece can be found for $29.45on Amazon. We were overall very pleased with this mouthpiece and are confident in selecting it as the top flugelhorn mouthpiece.

Featured image credit: Sadie Hernandez

Sources:

  • Brass Instrument Mouthpiece Buying Guide. (2016, January 15). Retrieved from The Hub – Musicians Friend, http://thehub.musiciansfriend.com/band-orchestra-buying-guides/brass-instrument-mouthpiece-buying-guide
  • Brass Instrument (2016). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brass_instrument

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