Resistance and efficiency. Do they matter?

Of course they do!  When determining the ideal amount of resistance, the first factor to consider would be which style, ensemble, or musical direction that you have in mind. Whether you're performing lead in a jazz band or 2nd trumpet in the local symphony, your mouthpiece choice plays an integral part in your approach. Once you identify your musical needs, you can then begin the mouthpiece search. 

In a perfect world, you would be using a mouthpiece that fits beautifully into the musical setting of your choosing, with ease. 

How do you get there?  

Image of businessman in black suit against dark background

In this blog, I'm not comparing models or looking at mouthpiece specifications. Simply, I'm going to briefly discuss how the efficiency of your mouthpiece setup impacts your every day trumpet playing. Mouthpiece specifications are important, they really are, but knowing how a mouthpiece fits in a certain musical setting efficiently is of extreme importance.

The key factor in finding the right resistance is “Efficiency."  Efficiency is a paramount when directly discussing the optimal mouthpiece choice for you! Quoting one of my closest friends, Vince DiMartino, “Efficiency is what each note costs to move between notes."  This is interesting, as a balanced trumpet and mouthpiece setup can lead to efficiency, and in-turn will cost less endurance to move between notes.

Let's say you're practicing and you notice yourself over-blowing, or working harder than needed to produce basic lip slurs, the resistance would be the first element to address. During a shop visit and mouthpiece fitting, we almost always address this topic. If you're using an instrument that is too free-blowing then an adjustment of the mouthpiece resistance may be needed. The opposite can apply when an instrument that is too restrictive needs a more open mouthpiece setup to achieve a more ideal balance of resistance.   

One simple exercise to test efficiency is to work on basic lip slurs throughout the range of the horn. Did you notice lip/body strain, or some notes were too hard or didn’t want to come out?

This may be an indication for a need to increase beneficial resistance from the mouthpiece or trumpet. Although, be mindful not to mix-up resistance as being tight or restrictive.  Beneficial resistance is a term I use to simply describe the balance between the equipment and the player.  If the balance of resistance is optimized, then body tension and lip tension tends to be minimized which is the ultimate goal in efficiency and flexibility.  If your setup does not offer enough beneficial resistance then your neck, throat, or shoulders will naturally create the resistance; this is what we are striving to avoid. 

After reading the above paragraph, does your current mouthpiece setup feel efficient? 

Does your current mouthpiece fit your style, ensemble, or musical role?

If the answer is “No," then a mouthpiece adjustment may be necessary. We have many Pickett mouthpiece variations of the rim, cup, throat and backbore that can directly impact the efficiency that you feel as well as the balance of beneficial resistance between the player, instrument, and mouthpiece.

We consider it a privilege to be able to serve you by providing equipment that will allow you to reach your full potential.

Business person looking at road with question mark sign concept

We’re here to help!  Feel free to send a message, or send an email our direction!

Leave a Comment