General Mouthpiece Questions
Year after year the 4M is the best selling top. The #4 diameter (.660") appeals to the greatest number of trumpet players, but diameters 3 and 5 aren't far behind. The M cup is popular because of its versatility and well balanced blend of highs, mids, and lows. The best selling backbore has consistently been #7. This medium-large backbore produces full bodied sound, yet is compact enough not to fail you in the upper register.
Believe it or not, this is a frequently asked question but is founded mainly in curiosity. Don't be fooled into thinking that you will be more normal if you play a 4M/7. Choosing a Warburton mouthpiece should be based upon play-testing combinations in a logical manner. And come to think, have you ever seen a family with 2.2 kids?
Yes. Some that we often hear about include:
|Upper register goes sharp when chops are tired||Backbore too big, inside walls of rim are too angled, not enough gap|
|Flat Upper Register||Backbore too small|
Sharp low register
Bore (throat) size too small
Backbore too small or cylindrical
If your trumpet plays a bad scale, you could "fix" the problem by choosing a mouthpiece with such a lack of focus that you could place the pitch just about anywhere, but this is not an acceptable solution. When a few selected notes are flagrantly out of tune, it is likely due to valve misalignment, assembly error, or flawed instrument design. In this case, the mouthpiece can help only by allowing your chops more leeway to "flirt" with the pitch. Remember, whenever you have to place the pitch in defiance of your instrument, more involvement of the lip musculature will be required and endurance will suffer. The best mouthpiece will be much easier to find if you have first chosen a well made trumpet that compliments your playing style.
Use the Approximate Comparison Charts to find the Warburton mouthpiece diameter that is the closest to the diameter of your current mouthpiece. This is a good starting point, assuming you are happy with the diameter you're using now. After choosing a comfortable diameter, try one diameter size up and down to confirm the diameter selection.
||Try these cups|
|Studio Lead||ESV, ES, S, SV, M|
|Piccolo||S, SV, M|
|Brass Quintet||M, MV, MD, MDV|
|Orchestral||MC, MV, MD, MDV, D, XD|
If you have thick or fleshy lips and the feeling that your mouthpiece doesn't seat as securely as you would like, Warburton Anchor Grip Tops may be for you. Our Anchor Grip tops feature an external rim profile that allows the fleshy part of the lips to “grip” the outside of the rim.
A gold plated mouthpiece offers the following advantages:
A mouthpiece has no moving parts! If this happens to you, the top of your cup may descend at an flatter angle, which creates an effectively smaller diameter as more lip tissue gets wedged into the cup...
- Immediate increase in range
- Works well for first hour
- Arm pressure seems to extend range
- Sound becomes thinner and more piercing as you ascend
- Not enough room to accommodate normal swelling of the lips
- Mechanically closes aperture; you are not in control
- Diameter does not shrink as lip tissue is introduced
- Sound stays full and open in the upper register
- Won't become stuffy when normal lip swelling occurs
#27 is the standard bore size of Warburton trumpet mouthpieces. The designation corresponds to standard drill bit sizes, with the size increasing as the number decreases. #27 (.144") has long been the standard of the industry and has proven to be a good choice for most players, but there are cases in which opening the bore size does make sense.
If you are experiencing a "bottle-neck" or stuffy feeling, it is necessary to first consider other factors which may be the root cause such as:
- Rim diameter too small.
- Wrong backbore choice for you - see below
- Wrong cup depth or style for you.
- Too large of a gap.
If you have fine-tuned to your preferred resistance via the backbore system only to result in a sound which is just too dark or unfocused, a larger bore size may be in order. Opening the bore size will increase the maximum flow of air per second that the mouthpiece can accommodate without significantly changing its characteristic sound. If you choose to do this, have it done on a lathe by a qualified repairman or at the Warburton factory. You will need to alter both top and backbore. Remember, there is some risk involved, so never open the bore size by more than one step at a time.
Yes! Some players find that a bent mouthpiece results in reduced top lip pressure and a more natural playing posture. The most commonly requested angles are 8, 10, and 12 degrees. Note: We only bend new mouthpieces, because after plating there is higher risk of damage to the piece.
Put down the pliers!!!
In almost every case a well placed "whack" will do the trick. Grasp the mouthpiece firmly with the rim facing up, and strike the face of the rim with a rawhide mallet, or, if one is unavailable, a scrap piece of 2x4. The rawhide or wood helps to prevent damage to the mouthpiece, but it is nevertheless advisable to use a rag to protect the brass. In most cases the components will now unscrew easily by hand, but may occasionally need some additional gripping power. Lid grippers or a piece of rubber can help with this. The best way to prevent this happening is to regularly unscrew the two pieces, and apply a small amount of slide grease.
The backbore regulates resistance and helps you achieve your desired sound quality.
Fine tuning resistance with a backbore relates to your own physiology (air capacity, coordination of chest, back, and abdominal muscles, elasticity of the lips) and your personal musical goals (maximum required volume, tone color, broadness of sound, intensity, and technical efficiency). Each and every backbore that you play-test will score slightly differently in each of these categories. Your own trumpet and choice of cup style will set the parameters for this balancing act.
I think we would all agree that there are as many sounds as there are musicians. In my conversations over the years with seasoned trumpet players, I hear an often recurring theme: "No matter what the mouthpiece, the player will find a way back to his own sound if given enough time."
Where the Warburton System becomes so effective and valuable is in this area of concern. Rather than having to make physical adaptations to achieve your musical goals, your equipment is "customized" to enhance your most natural approach to trumpet playing. The result is the elimination of tensions which serve to work against efficiency and progress.
For more information about our backbores, see here
Each standard backbore has a cylindrical section at the top where only the #27 reamer has passed. This cylinder is of varying lengths depending on the overall size of the backbore. (#1 has the longest cylinder, #9-12 the shortest). On Star backbores, this section is altered to be conical (tapered). Players report the following general characteristics:
|Slots on each pitch are more defined with tighter center.||Slots are roomier - easier to lip pitch up or down without changing timbre or chipping attacks.|
|Notes will "pop" (sound like du tongue) when slurring rapidly up a chromatic scale.||Notes tend to smoothly glide together on chromatic scale.|
|Broadness of sound is limited in order to favor projection.||Produces broader, more blending sound, less projection.|
A "B" designation means that the outside dimensions of the tapered shank are 0.005 inch larger. This will increase the "GAP". Increasing the gap adds resistance in its own unique way, much differently than by simply choosing another backbore. Make no mistake - RESISTANCE is a healthy and vital part of maintaining a successful upper register!
Be sure to check out our GAP CHEK tool for an easy way to compare the GAP measurement between your various mouthpieces and trumpets.
Try a "B" backbore if:
- High notes are easy at first, but soon tend to "wash out" or "air-ball"
- There is little definition to the notes above high C
- Low register is unusually free blowing
- There is nothing to "lean on" when coming back down from a high passage
Our standard shank size is designated as "C". We offer "A" through "E" size variations:
- "A" is 0.010 inch larger than "C" (increases the GAP by 0.2 inches)
- "B" is 0.005 inch larger than "C" and is most often used to correct the typical gap problems as described above. (increases the GAP by 0.1 inches)
- "C" is the standard size shank which properly fits most horns.
- "D" is 0.005 inch smaller than "C" (decreases the GAP by 0.1 inches)
- "E" is 0.010 inch smaller than "C" (decreases the GAP by 0.2 inches)
It should be noted that sizes "A", "D", and "E" are made to order. If your horn needs one of these, chances are something else is wrong with the horn such as the receiver being extremely worn.
Series 80 backbores have been well received by trumpet players wishing to increase their maximum controllable volume, and by those seeking a denser, more authoritative core to their sound.
Series 80 backbores are so named because the large "barrel" section measures .80" in diameter. In developing a high-mass backbore for use with Warburton tops, Terry Warburton designed a series of blanks ranging from slightly more mass to a full 7/8 inch (.875") diameter (Series 65, 70, 75, 80, 87). These were sent to well respected trumpet players around the country for comment, and were tested in the factory by Orlando's top call players. In universal accord, the "80" series was singled out as the most effective and vibrant. Because there is not an excess of mass up around the rim and cup, we did not find it necessary to install a larger bore (throat) as was done by other manufacturers of a heavy one-piece model.
Series 80 Playing Characteristics
- Increases maximum volume potential. Test this with a crescendo on a long tone - chances are you will be able to bo beyond the point at which sound would normally break up or reach its limit.
- Locks in unstable partials in the extreme upper register.
- Requires more use of the large skeletal muscles of the body without added burden to the lips. Functioning at increased volume levels will draw more energy from your body, but the rewards are often impressive.
- Generally not preferred for softer playing as they require a certain minimum amount of energy to be effective.
Highly efficient - The player's buzz is amplified to a vibrant sound, even in the mid and low registers. This makes it possible for lead players to remain authoritative in these registers without having to overly-loosen their chops. This pays off big in the endurance department.
Resistance - similar to our #4 backbore, but the increased quantity of sound requires less physical drive to sustain dominance. An entirely new reamer was created to make the Q backbore so more specific comparisons aren't possible.
Slightly lower pitch center - The Q is .050" longer in length overall than our standard backbores. This added a unique type of resistance resulting in firmer "walls" around the slots. If you are playing at extreme volumes, this type of security can make the difference between a guarded performance and a boldly dynamic one. Most players who use the Q have found that their tuning slides can come in as much as a quarter inch, resulting in a more consistent timbre and better intonation.
Commercial sound - the Q was designed for verve and projection.
Why the funny name? - The designation "Q" was used during its development as a working name because the letter Q was not used in any other product that we make. Later, we learned that the "Q" factor is used by pollsters to describe someone's immediate likeability. If someone has a high Q factor, most people like them upon their first encounter. Serendipitously, this is precisely what happened with this backbore, so we kept the name!
The main difference is weight - The plastic model is much lighter than the plated brass models. The extra weight of the silver/gold version, for most people, enhances the workout when supporting the small end of it in your chops. On the other hand, many people simply prefer the look of the silver or gold models - and in fact - silver is the most popular model. The plastic and gold models also appeal to players with an allergy to silver.
What time of day should I use the P.E.T.E.?
Time of day to use the P.E.T.E. depends on your individual practice and playing schedule. There are several things to consider:
- Your muscles need time to recover from the exercise in order to gain strength and endurance from the conditioning process.
- You should avoid the regular exercises using the P.E.T.E. for a period of time before practicing or performing. Note that many players find that a very gentle and short exercise before playing actually helps with their warm-up.
- Best results will come from establishing and following a regular exercise routine.
Just as with any other exercise program, your developing embouchure muscles need time to recover after exercising to ensure that the muscles are ready for practice or a performance. Depending on your level of conditioning, the recovery time before playing for most P.E.T.E. users varies between 2 hours and 48 hours. Someone with well conditioned and developed embouchure muscles may be comfortable playing within a couple hours after a moderate to aggressive level of muscle workout. Someone just starting out with the P.E.T.E. probably needs more resting time before they feel ready to play.
Each player is different in this regard. The important thing to remember is: Don't try to do too much too soon!
How long should the P.E.T.E. exercise session last, and how aggressively can I use it?
First time P.E.T.E. users should limit the length of time for the exercises (described in the inscructions) to 2 or 3 repetitions of each exercise lasting somewhere between 15 seconds and 45 seconds each. This may not sound like much of a workout to begin with - however many new users users discover noticeable results within the first couple days of P.E.T.E. usage.
In the instructions we describe Exercise #1 as a "tug of war" between using your embouchure muscles to hold the P.E.T.E. in place while pulling it in the opposite direction. The harder you try to hold it in place, the harder you can try to pull. Start out gently with this - such that you are starting to feel the muscles get tired and lose grip on the P.E.T.E. after 15 to 30 seconds.
Then stop using it and let the resting, recovery, and conditioning process take place.
After using the P.E.T.E. for several months, many users report being able to perform each exercise for several minutes - and of course, with that level of conditioning, they also report that their endurance, control, and power has also increased very substantially.
The P.E.T.E. is effective as an isometric strengthening tool. Do not attempt to adapt the P.E.T.E. for motion (bulk building) exercises as results may be counterproductive. For trumpet players wanting a complementary isotonic workout, use the Warburton Advanced Training Visualizer (A.T.V.) with the same rim size as your trumpet mouthpiece.The keys to success using the P.E.T.E. are simple:
- Pace yourself - You can't get 6 weeks worth of results from 6 days of training - however it is very likely that you WILL notice improvements within the first week of use.
- If it feels like you're overdoing it, then you need to back off a little and let the rebuilding and conditioning process happen.
- Stick with it - Even after you've been using it for 6 months and your chops are strong enough to endure the most challenging performance, you should still use it enough to maintain that high level of conditioning.
With our introduction of the new A.T.V. (Advanced Training Visualizer), we need to better explain the differences between ISOMETRIC and ISOTONIC muscle building exercises.
The following is an excerpt from a longer article written about the P.E.T.E. by our good friend and dealer in Japan, Taijiro Takeura:
Generally speaking, there are two methods for training your muscles: isotonic exercises and isometric exercises.
Isotonic training (a.k.a. dynamic training) involves repeating a fixed set of movements while placing strains on a particular muscle, for example by using weights. In isometric training (a.k.a. static training), on the other hand, you strengthen a particular muscle by exerting a fixed amount of force over a certain period of time.
Both training methods have their advantages and shortcomings.
Isotonic training is very effective at training large muscles and easy to understand. It's also easy for the trainee to notice its effects. At most gyms that cater to the general public, muscle training is based on isotonic training methods. Its drawback, however, is that you can injure yourself if you choose the wrong parameters-- for example, by lifting weights that are too heavy for you, or by training for too long a time.
Isometric training is based on the theory that you can most effectively train your muscles by exerting about 60-70% of your maximum strength and holding still for about ten seconds. The most widely known isometric exercise, perhaps, is to press your palms together in front of your chest and hold still. Your muscles will always be working within their limits, so you can't injure yourself this way. You can also use isometric training to strengthen smaller muscles which may be difficult to train isotonically. On the other hand, the effects of isometric training are never as spectacular as those of isotonic training, which leads some people to overwork themselves; it can also be difficult to maintain your motivation when the results are difficult to see. In order to effectively train yourself using isometric methods, you do need a certain amount of knowledge. Isometric training can be seen in some of the more advanced gyms, especially those that cater to professional athletes.
Now let's see how all of this relates to brass playing.
Practicing on your instrument, including routines (such as long tones and scales) and etudes, consists of articulating various notes repeatedly, where the force of the air varies according to the height of the note, volume, etc. This can be thought of as a type of isotonic training. By going through the routines and etudes (which hopefully has been chosen to match your level of expertise) in a consistent manner, you can expect to significantly improve your playing. The visible improvement will give you great satisfaction. On the other hand, if you become impatient and tackle advanced materials too early, you can cause your muscles to degrade; caution is required.
Practicing using the P.E.T.E. is a type of isometric training; you exert a certain amount of force and hold still for a certain amount of time. It's possible to isolate and strengthen just those muscles that work in the way (explained above) that is unique to the embouchure. You can also strengthen the muscles that surround and support the embouchure. There isn't much chance of injuring your muscles, because you should be able to keep the strain on your muscles within bounds; you should, however, still be watchful. You should also note that isometric training using the P.E.T.E. can't improve all aspects of brass playing. You still have to use your instrument to practice the techniques that involve the air stream.
For warranty information, please see here.
Proposition 65 is a California law requiring manufacturers to provide a warning if their products contain even trace amounts of potentially harmful substances. Brass typically contains a trace amount of lead within its structure - typically around 2%. However, once it has been silver or gold plated, the brass is sealed away and no longer comes in contact with the player's skin. Nevertheless, all brass containing products require a "Proposition 65" warning sticker.
As you may already know, in June 2005 the Warburton factory burned to the ground. Nearly everything was lost - all the machinery, tooling, computers, inventory - all gone - except for our stamping machine which we use to stamp our name and model designation into most of our products.
From 1974 through 1981 we stamped the products with "WARBURTON-TORONTO" because the factory was located in Toronto, Canada. During this time all the mouthpieces were cut from form tools created by Terry Warburton back in the 1974 era. Form tools are simply cutting tools that are precision ground in the shape of the part to be made. In this case, the many form tools were made in the shape of our different mouthpiece sizes and designs.
In 1981, Terry moved to Ft. Lauderdale, FL and changed the stamp to "WARBURTON-FT. LAUDERDALE". The original form tooling from 1974 was still being used.
From 1987 through the time of the fire in June 2005 the factory was located at several locations in the Orlando, FL area and the stamp was changed to "WARBURTON". The original form tools were still working perfectly - and produced countless thousands of great mouthpieces over the years.
After fire in June 2005, Terry Warburton rebuilt the factory in Oviedo, Florida and ordered all new stamps for the stamping machine (which thankfully was not destroyed as it is nearly impossible to replace). In order to differentiate pre-fire pieces from the later ones, the new name stamp was "WARBURTON-OVIEDO". Prior to the fire, we had accumulated a number of computerized CNC lathes for mass production of all the outside shapes but we were not using the CNC lathes to cut the mouthpiece cups and rims because the form cutting tools were still doing a good job. However, the heat from the fire had damaged the precision ground form cutting tools. Panic!
At this point, it made sense to make the transition to fully computerized machining processes for all of the mouthpiece cup and rim shapes. This also meant that Terry had to create CAD drawings of each size and shape which could then be used to create the CNC code needed to control the newly purchased CNC lathes - a process which took many months to fully complete. At the same time, Terry had accumulated 30 years of experience in the business and took the opportunity to put that experience into various subtle refinements to the mouthpieces.
In a nutshell, our new fully computerized machining processes consistently produce cup and rim shapes based on Terry's 35+ years of experience (and may be slightly different than the prior models) - and we sleep better knowing that each of the CNC code files is automatically backed up off-site in several locations on a daily basis.
Fast forward to 2009 - when we moved the factory to Mims, FL. Now that we're no longer in Oviedo, FL, the "WARBURTON-OVIEDO" stamp had to be replaced. The new stamp is "WARBURTON-USA" and proudly reflects the fact that we're actually manufacturing products in the USA and shipping them to an ever-growing worldwide customer base.
Therefore, the design of the pieces stamped "WARBURTON-OVIEDO" and "WARBURTON-USA" is the same as they were all produced using the same computerized machining processes.