Are you looking to upgrade you trombone mouthpiece? Want to get a better sound and something to suit your playing style more? Maybe your’s doesn’t let you hit those top notes so you want to know what type will be better. Well, you’ve come to the right place.
In this post, we review what we think are the 5 best trombone mouthpieces currently on the market as well as walk you through everything you need to know before purchasing one. Let’s get started.
Quick Answer: The Best Mouthpieces for Trombones
The Top Trombone Mouthpiece Reviews
Before we get on to our trombone mouthpiece buying guide to help you choose which one is best, first we’re going to review 5 of our favorite mouthpieces to help you narrow down which one to go for.
1. Vincent Bach 6 1/2AL Trombone Mouthpiece
Vincent Bach mouthpieces are beloved by musicians for taking ordinary instruments and making them extraordinary.
The Vincent Bach 6 ½ AL has a medium cup with a diameter of 25.4 mm. It’s also slightly larger than your average medium cup because of a standard size throat and backbone.
It produces a clarity of sound that unites high and low registers. However, it requires a well-developed embouchure and, for that reason, it may not be suitable for beginner players.
Reviewers say that it’s perfect for playing jazzier music. They warn, however, that it may take a few weeks for players to acclimatize to the new mouthpiece and to allow several weeks’ adjustment before deciding how they feel about it.
This is especially true of players planning to use this trombone mouthpiece to play higher registers.
However, they add that for players who like the lower registers, it’s an excellent choice. All reviewers agree the Vincent Bach 6 ½ AL is a high-quality mouthpiece with a softer sound than other trombone mouthpieces and makes for incredible playing.
2. Schilke Standard Large Shank 51D Trombone Mouthpiece
- The Schilke line of trombone mouthpieces offers a very comprehensive line of equipment to meet any playing needs by trombone players, baritone horn...
- Great care has been taken to provide as many functional products as possible
- All models in this listing are silver plated large shank mouthpieces
The Schilke Standard Large Shank is another first-rate mouthpiece.
It’s well suited for euphonium, baritone hone, and trombone players. It has a slightly larger throat and backbone than other trombone mouthpieces, and the result is a warm, rich, and darker sound than players get from a standard piece.
The wider rim helps create a more full-bodied tone, especially in lower registers, and this means that while the trombone mouthpiece size fits a tenor trombone, it also suits the Euphonia.
However, some Euphonia players report that this trombone mouthpiece wouldn’t fit their instrument. But many trombone players say they love the fullness of tone and the ease with which they can play lower notes.
They say the resultant sound is powerful and excellent for bands. Reviewers warn it may take several days or even weeks to get used to the new size and shape of the mouthpiece. But, they say once you get used to it, the playing is rewarding.
3. Vincent Bach 3416HAL 61/2AL Large Shank Trombone Mouthpiece
- Medium deep cup depth
- 25.40 mm cup diameter
- Medium wide, well-rounded rim
The Vincent Bach 3416Hal 6/2 large shank is another one of the best trumpet mouthpieces.
Its rim is medium width and well rounded. It has the same cup, throat, and backbone structure as Bach trombone mouthpiece models in the same size.
The cup is also large and deep, creating a rich, rounded sound. For the best results, this mouthpiece needs a well-developed embouchure, which may make it difficult for beginners to learn on.
It’s ideal for intermediate or advanced players. However, while reviews are generally positive, several report issues receiving the wrong size trombone mouthpiece when ordering.
But customers who received the piece they asked for love it. They say it’s a high-quality trombone mouthpiece and enjoy the deep, resonant sound it lets them produce.
4. Yamaha YASLL48 Large Shank Trombone Mouthpiece
- The 48 trombone mouthpiece has a well-balanced rim and cup that make this a great utility mouthpiece for all-around playing.
- 25.25mm inner diameter, standard cup
- Standard rim, semi-narrow backbore
The Yamaha 48 large shank is a well-rounded, all-purpose trombone mouthpiece that gives players musical flexibility.
It has a standard cup and rim but a narrower backbone.
All Yamaha 48 large trombone mouthpieces are silver plated. This gives the mouthpiece additional longevity and durability. Players will find it stays looking like new despite long and frequent playing sessions.
It’s also a versatile trombone mouthpiece and fits various instruments.
While one reviewer said the mouthpiece they received featured dents and nicks in the cup, they said it still played and performed at a high standard. However, this was the exception, not the rule, and the majority of reviews are positive.
5. Blessing MPC65ALTRB Trombone Mouthpiece
- Brand: BLESSING
- Designs based on input from professional players Buff Dillard, Robert Dorer, and Dominick Farinacci.
- Blessing a household name in the world of brass instruments.
This trombone mouthpiece used input from professional trombone players to combine musicality and practicality for the ideal trombonist experience. The result is a trombone mouthpiece that has a bright, versatile mouthpiece.
It navigates upper registers with ease and fluidity while rounding out the lower notes.
It’s also one of the more affordable trombone mouthpieces. However, customers are quick to say that this doesn’t affect the quality. Instead, it has the professional make, design, and aspect of a Bach trombone mouthpiece but
Some reviewers say that this trombone mouthpiece is prone to pitting. This is particularly true of the mouthpiece’s shank and backbone.
However, they stress that this is a small thing compared to the readiness with which it responds to free playing and register changes.
They also say that the Blessing trombone mouthpiece produces a much louder sound than other mouthpieces, and this is ideal for marching bands and brass ensembles.
How to Choose a Trombone Mouthpiece: A Buyer’s Guide
If you’re looking to upgrade your trombone’s mouthpiece then it can be a bit confusing known what everything means and what you need.
There’s so much jargon like the shank size, rim width, cup depth, back bore and other confusing words.
In this part of our guide, we’ll explain what everything actually means so that you can pick a trombone mouthpiece right for you.
Parts of the Trombone Mouthpiece
To begin, a trombone mouthpiece has several parts. These include the rim, cup, throat, and backbore.
Each of these has a vital role to play in producing the type of sound you’re looking for. And each is sized slightly differently.
Let’s take a look at each one so that when you’re choosing mouthpieces you know what everything means.
You may have come across the term shank size when looking at trombone mouthpieces. But what does it mean, and why is it important?
The shank of a brass instrument mouthpiece is the part that goes into the mouthpiece receiver (the part of the trombone that holds your mouthpiece).
There are three sizes of shanks:
- Medium (tenor/European)
What size shank you need depends on what size your trombone is. Standard tenor trombones will most likely use a small shank and you could probably use the same mouthpiece on a beginner euphonium too.
But, if you have a bass trombone, it’s more than likely you’ll need a large, and even some large bore tenor trombones will use large shanks too.
Before you buy any trombone mouthpiece, make sure you know what size shank your trombone needs as otherwise it won’t fit and you’ll need to buy a new one.
Rim Width (Cup Width)
The rim is the part of the trombone mouthpiece your lips are in contact with.
Types of rim vary depending on the material use but, as a rule, a brass rim allows for a tight air seal, creating an even tone across your range.
However, that seal can also limit your musical flexibility. Consequently, players looking to explore more musical variety favor a rounded rim. However, it’s worth noting that players need strong lips to make the best use of a rounded rim. That means it may not be the best place for a novice player to start.
Another important measurement to consider on your trombone’s mouthpiece is the cup depth. The depth of the cup refers to the distance from the top of the mouthpiece to where the throat begins.
You’ll see mouthpieces marked as either:
How deep or shallow the cup is will affect how bright or dark the sound your trombone produces and how easy it is to play notes in different ranges.
Shallow cups produce a more bright tone and you’ll find it easier to play higher pitched notes. They’re often popular with jazz trombonists.
Deeper cups however will be easier to play lower-pitched notes on and they will have a darker sound.
Another thing that cup depth affects is your control.
Larger cups require more breath control from the player, whereas smaller, shallower ones need less air. For that reason, many beginners favor a shallower cup when starting to play.
The throat of a mouthpiece is where the cup narrows and the air flows through into the lead pipe of the trombone.
They range in diameter between 0.23 inches to 0.3 inches.
The larger the throat the bigger the sound and tone of the trombone as more air can pass through. This can make playing quieter dynamics harder.
But, the narrower the throat the smaller the sound and tone as less air can pass through. This can make playing louder dynamics harder.
While there’s less variation in throat size, there is some. Larger and deeper throats help increase trombone volume.
Usually, the cup size of a trombone mouthpiece gives you a sense of its throat. The two parts of the trombone work in tandem, and the throat helps balance the sound the cup creates.
After the throat, you have the backbore which is the tapered inner section of the mouthpiece that goes to the end of the mouthpiece.
The backbore can affect a number of things such as volume, tone and even intonation. Larger backbones can mean that the pitch is sharp when you’re playing in the top range.
And vice versa, narrow backbores can play flat in the lower ranges.
Using Multiple Mouthpieces
Because the size of the mouthpiece you use can affect how easy you find playing in certain musical registers, many musicians prefer switching to a smaller trombone mouthpiece to expand their high range.
But practically, switching trombone mouthpieces can be awkward, especially during a concert.
With that in mind, many trombonists prefer mouthpieces that give them access to high and low ranges quickly and easily.
A well-sized and balanced trombone mouthpiece should let you do this, though you may not have access to the extreme ends of the musical spectrum.
However, not every piece requires those extremes and whether or not you need them is dependent both on how you play, the way you improvise, and your ability.
And that brings us to another crucial aspect of determining the right trombone mouthpiece for you, and that’s style.
Style of Playing
Sometimes the best trombone mouthpiece comes as much from what and how you play as it does from the mouthpiece you use.
Players who like sliding up to High B flats need instruments that can reach those notes without screaming. If you play in a brass band, then stylistically speaking, you need a trombone mouthpiece that gives you a louder, brassier sound.
So, when you’re trying to decide on a trombone mouthpiece, consider what you want to do with it.
Comfort and Embouchure
But these aren’t the only considerations when you’re looking for a new or different mouthpiece.
You can buy the best trombone mouthpiece for playing high notes, and it won’t be any good to you if using it is uncomfortable.
All players have different embouchure or lip shape, and finding a trombone mouthpiece to accommodate yours goes a long way to evening out your playing.
It’s also worth considering that you adapt embouchure as your playing advances, so what was the right trombone mouthpiece when you started may not suit you ten years later.
The other thing to remember when picking out a new trombone mouthpiece is that it may not feel comfortable immediately. When you’re used to playing with a particular brand or size, changing mouthpieces may require an adjustment.
So, if the trombone mouthpiece you choose initially causes discomfort, give it a couple of days while you acclimatize to it. This is also why an in-person examination of trombone mouthpieces can help.
A bit of experimental playing or an opinion from your teacher can help you decide if this is a trombone mouthpiece you could grow comfortable playing with.
The material your trombone mouthpiece comprises is another consideration. Different materials will impact the sound and tonality you create with your trombone.
Primarily trombone mouthpieces are brass or silver plated. But you can also get stainless steel, plastic, and titanium mouthpieces.
Material type, like size, will affect the sound you create.
Silver trombone mouthpieces have a distinctive sound that is heavier and deeper than other mouthpieces. Whereas stainless steel results in striking musical clarity. That makes it the favorite choice with lead trombonists.
Titanium offers a lighter sound, but it’s also consistent across the trombone’s range.
But, you need to consider more than sound when deciding on the material you want for a trombone mouthpiece. Many players find they are allergic to raw brass. And there’s nothing like an allergy to cause discomfort while playing.
And while silver trombone mouthpieces create a lovely sound, they can also trigger allergic responses in some players.
That means you need to think about how different materials will affect you, as well as the sound you produce.
Best Brands of Trombone Mouthpieces
Different brands of trombone mouthpiece size their mouthpieces differently.
That means that finding the right one can be complicated since each brand has its own jargon to describe the sizes of its mouthpieces.
When you consider different trombone mouthpieces, make sure you take a minute to get to grips with each brand’s individual number and lettering system. These carry valuable information about cup and rim size.
They also let you know what kind of backbore and throat the mouthpiece you’re looking at has.
Some of the best brands include Yamaha, Vincent Bach, Schilke, Conn-Selmer, Dennis Wick among lots of others.
Be sure to check reviews and customer feedback about the brand you end up choosing.
Conclusion: Which Trombone Mouthpiece Should you Buy?
When looking to replace a trombone mouthpiece it helps to know why you’re replacing it.
Did your last model not do what you wanted? Did it not fit your instrument? Maybe it worked fine but produced a tone that was bigger or smaller than you were looking for.
Ultimately, nothing beats going into a store and experimenting with trombone mouthpieces.
It helps give you a sense of what the mouthpiece can do and determine if it’s right for your embouchure type.
So, come armed with a favorite piece, play a little and find one that works.
But, if you can’t get out or prefer the convenience of ordering online, we recommend the Vincent Bach 6 ½ AL Mouthpiece. It’s a reputable brand for a reason.
And while the cup is slightly larger than normal, it creates what musicians agree is an even and balanced musical sound with a rich and warm tonality.
And remember, whatever mouthpiece you opt for, getting used to playing with it will take a while.
So, find the trombone mouthpiece you like, relax and give yourself time to adjust.