Many years ago I was experienced and occasionally substituted for a symphony bass trombonist.

When learning, I remember a major breakthrough in sound came when starting with a smaller mouthpiece (e.g. 6 1/2 AL), becoming proficient, and then opening up the embouchure with a 2 or 3G and ultimately ended at with 1.5 to 1G with a big round sound.

Should I do that again or just start with the 1.5 or 1G?

  • Why not just grab a couple mouthpieces and try them out? If you don't still own your old stuff, go to a decent music shop and play before you buy. Commented May 24, 2019 at 11:18
  • 2
    Actually... that makes perfect sense. Silly me putting the cart before the horse, assuming the worst, and imagining there would be some protocols. Thanks for the suggestions. Really.
    – JerryG
    Commented May 25, 2019 at 14:19

1 Answer 1


The common wisdom I got from the brass faculty at my university was:

You won't be able to make an informed choice on a mouthpiece until you're skilled enough that you can tell whether it's the mouthpiece making the difference.

In other words, a mouthpiece might make a 5% difference to your playing (within reason—we're excluding very unusual mouthpieces here). So until you're skilled enough that 5% is going to make a real difference to your experience, you won't know whether it was the mouthpiece that made the difference, or any of the posture, embouchure, technique, etc. changes that you inevitably make while learning.

I would suggest going with the most middle-of-the-road mouthpiece you can find—just ask someone at a music store, or give a quick phone call to a local player or teacher!

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