Best Trombone Mouthpieces in 2020: Ultimate Guide

Best Trombone Mouthpieces reviews

A mouthpiece is a bridge between the instrument and the player. You practically cannot play the instrument without this component, which largely influences your playing experience.

Actually, in quite a number of ways, the mouthpiece critically determines what sound will come out of the trombone’s bell; therefore, making this a very complex subject.

In my earlier years of playing the trombone, I never gave much thought to the mouthpiece. As long as it felt comfortable and was consistently playable, then that’s all that mattered.

Well, as my playing skills advanced, I got round to experimenting between different mouthpieces. I must admit that it was an expensive endeavor. However, this elevated my playing experience to a whole other level.

I could see that using different mouthpieces on the same trombone brought about changes in my range and the sound produced.

This made me want to dive deeper into the science and physics behind mouthpieces, and years down the line, here I am.

I’m eager to guide you through the selection of the best trombone mouthpieces, so shall we?

Best Trombone Mouthpieces In 2020 Reviewed

Best Overall Mouthpieces 

1. Vincent Bach Trombone Mouthpiece (341-5G)

Bach 341-5G is an excellent choice for players who would like a quality mouthpiece that will never disappoint.

Every part of this mouthpiece has been hand-hammered, ensuring quality construction, so you play correctly and comfortably.

The wide shank is suitable for bass trombones, while the deep cup makes it easy for the player to reach the low register.

The instrument produces a big, dark sound suitable for playing orchestral music.

Cup diameter is 25.50mm, throat is .276” in diameter, and backbore is #429.

The semi-flat rim of this mouthpiece allows for more endurance and increased stability. However, the trade-off is that flexibility and response are reduced.

Not to worry, though. Part of this has been compensated for in the medium-thin thickness of the rim. This rim thickness also allows for more accurate lip placement.

Pros
  • Ideal for large bore trombones.
  • It has a broad, wide sound.
  • It makes it easier to reach a low register.
Cons
  • It requires more air to play.

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2. Blessing MPC65ALTRB Trombone Mouthpiece, 6.5AL

Blessing MPC65ALTRB would best suit the trombone players who are looking for a quality mouthpiece that’s affordably priced.

Right from the silver plating to the comfortable design, it is pretty evident that a lot of thought was placed in making this mouthpiece.

And rightfully so, seeing as the design of this mouthpiece was based on input from professional players Robert Dorer, Buff Dillard, and Dominick Farinacci.

The small shank is ideal for tenor trombones, whereas the medium-deep cup allows you to hit both high and low notes with ease.

The bright sound produced has an excellent projection, ideal for playing symphonic music.

With a cup measuring 25.40mm in diameter, this would be an excellent mouthpiece for someone playing in the 1st or 2nd chair in a jazz ensemble.

It would also be perfect for anyone who plays a lot of leads and solos.

Pros
  • Affordably priced.
  • Small shank ideal for tenor trombones.
  • It has a bright sound with impressive projection.
Cons
  • The low register leaves a little to be desired.

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3. Blessing Accordion Accessory (MPC65ALLTRB)

Similar to the previous Blessing trombone mouthpiece reviewed above, the MPC65ALLTRB is also a perfect option for players who may be looking for high quality, affordably priced mouthpiece.

It is often easy to dismiss a lower priced item as being of inferior quality, but do not make that assumption with Blessing mouthpiece.

If you give this mouthpiece a try, you will find that it performs just as well as a premium-priced Bach.

You wouldn’t expect anything less from a mouthpiece whose design is based on input from top trombone players, now would you?

This is a large shank mouthpiece designed to fit on large bore trombones having a bore size of .547”.

Thanks to the medium-deep cup, the player can reach both high and low registers with relative ease.

The small cup measures 25.40mm, meaning this mouthpiece would be perfect for trombonists who play many leads.

Pros
  • Affordably priced.
  • Large shank ideal for bass trombones.
  • It offers excellent value for money.
Cons
  • Shank is too large for a tenor trombone.

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4. Yamaha YACSLL48 Trombone Mouthpiece

Plated with silver, this mouthpiece produces an amazingly deep sound that’s sure to be noticed, whether you’re playing in a band or performing a solo.

This large shank mouthpiece has a well-balanced rim and cup, complete with a fairly narrow backbore.

The small inner rim diameter measures 25.25mm, and this offers a great fit for small embouchures. Not to mention that it makes it easy to reach high registers as well.

This Yamaha mouthpiece delivers optimal performance and comfort desired by any trombonists, and it just goes to show why the brand is held in such high regard.

Using unique production techniques, the company has managed to uphold the consistent quality of their mouthpieces, delivering precision every time for reliable playability.

Pros
  • Durable and precise.
  • Very comfortable.
  • Easy playability.
Cons
  • It cannot be used on a small-bore trombone.

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5. Denis Wick DW5880-5BL Trombone Mouthpiece

Perfect intonation in all registers is precisely what you get with the Denis Wick DW5880-5BL. Being good in all registers is the primary reason this trombone mouthpiece is such an all-around bestseller.

Well, besides, the registers, there is also the fact that this mouthpiece gives a clean articulation response.

Players get a clear, warm, beautiful sound every time, and this consistency is quite impressive.

Constructed with close attention to detail, the intonation and flexibility of this large bore trombone mouthpiece are nearly perfect.

Even the best mouthpiece isn’t a magic wand that you can place on your trombone and immediately belt out perfect tone and range.

However, if you need something that will significantly improve your performance, consider this Denis Wick mouthpiece.

Pros
  • Perfect intonation in all registers.
  • Clear warm tones.
  • Clean articulation response.
Cons
  • Projection isn’t very impressive.

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6. ammoon 6 1/2AL Alto Trombone Mouthpiece

The unique thing about this mouthpiece is that it is a Nickel-plated copper mouthpiece.

It’s stunning how the exterior is Nickel, but if you peer inside the cup of the mouthpiece, you get to see the underlying copper.

Because copper is slightly denser than standard brass you’d find in most mouthpieces, this copper mouthpiece offers more core and solid response.

Copper is just as durable as brass, though.

So you don’t have to worry about the structural integrity of the piece getting compromised.

Better yet, this mouthpiece is very inexpensive. Therefore it can be a great high-quality option for beginners.

Being an alto trombone mouthpiece, this is a small shank accessory designed to go on small bore instruments.

The inner diameter is 1”, meaning this would be an ideal mouthpiece for playing symphonic music.

Pros
  • Very fairly priced.
  • Durable and comfortable.
  • Plays impressively well.
Cons
  • Might not be the best mouthpiece for an E flat alto.

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7. Andoer 6.5AL Alto Trombone Copper Mouthpiece

This Andoer is another copper mouthpiece only that this one comes with a gold plating rather than a Nickel plating.

If you have a kid who’s just started playing the trombone, I’d suggest you get this mouthpiece rather than going for an inferior-quality plastic mouthpiece.

This would also be a suitable option for players who want to buy a spare mouthpiece.

Designed to be used on alto trombones, the small shank mouthpiece produces a pleasantly loud sound with a smooth tone.

Exquisite workmanship, coupled with the copper body construction ensures that this gadget will durably uphold its shape even when used intensely.

There is really no reason why you should part with a ton of money for a mouthpiece that performs just as well at a fraction of the cost.

Pros
  • Affordably priced.
  • Has a good tone and feel.
  • A higher register is easier to reach.
Cons
  • It is not befitting for players with a larger embouchure.

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8. Glory Professional Trombone Mouthpiece, 12C

How cool is it that this versatile product can appeal to beginners and professionals alike, all without breaking the bank?

Having been approved by both teachers and professional trombonists, this gadget meets the worldwide standard to ensure you get the quality you need.

Each mouthpiece is built precisely so that you can play consistently every single time.

Consistency is a huge factor when playing any instrument, so this is a great advantage.

Weighing 6.4 ounces, this mouthpiece is a bit heavy. However, it has been solidly built to ensure it can survive drops without getting scratched or damaged in any way.

At the same time, the heaviness contributes towards the intense, dark tone produced by the horn.

Pros
  • Affordable.
  • Professional-grade.
  • Heavier than standard mouthpieces.
Cons
  • Reduced response.

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Best Trombone Mouthpieces for Jazz

1. Denis Wick DW5880-12CS Trombone Mouthpiece

This excellent jazz model is actually modeled after a unique 1930s Bach 12C that Mitch Muller owned.

The round rim contour of the Denis Wick 12CS provides a better response as well as more accurate lip placement that comes in handy when improvising while playing jazz.

Another desirable feature of this mouthpiece is the perfect intonation in all registers, which allows for more expressiveness during jazz leads and solos.

The specially balanced throat, backbore, and cup allow the player to get different tones, thereby providing exceptional flexibility easily.

Besides being an excellent model for playing jazz music, this mouthpiece would also work well on an alto trombone.

Pros
  • Clean articulation response.
  • It allows for good expressiveness.
  • An excellent jazz mouthpiece.
Cons
  • Lack of endurance.

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2. Blessing MPC65ALTRB Trombone Mouthpiece, 6.5AL

Do you play in the 1st or 2nd chair in a jazz ensemble?

If you do, this would be the perfect mouthpiece for your trombone.

How often do you come across a trombone mouthpiece that was designed using input from 3 amazing trombonists?

Robert Dorer, Buff Dillard, and Dominick Farinacci worked towards this piece’s design, so it’s not surprising that this is such a high-performance gadget.

Blessing MPC65ALTRB best suits the trombone players who hope to find a quality mouthpiece at an affordable price.

The silver plating looks beautiful, and the design is very comfortable even after hours of practicing on the instrument.

Jazz players desire an instrument with a bright sound, and that’s just what you get with this mouthpiece.

At the same time, the device allows a player to hit both high and low registers with ease, thanks to the medium-deep cup. This would be a desirable feature when playing improv in jazz.

Pros
  • Very affordable.
  • It has a bright sound with excellent projection.
  • Perfect for jazz music improvisation.
Cons
  • Bass players cannot use it.

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Are All Trombone Mouthpieces the Same?

No, they are not.

While you may only play on one or two instruments throughout your trombone playing life, it’s likely that you’ll find yourself in the market for a mouthpiece dozens of times.

Part of the reason why trombone mouthpieces are such an overwhelming topic is that these accessories widely vary in shapes, sizes, weight, materials, and types.

The differences between different brands and models might be subtle, yet amazingly impactful.

All these differences arise from the fact that selecting a mouthpiece is a very personal choice. So, while one player may prefer a particular mouthpiece, another player will prefer the other.

It isn’t a matter of which mouthpiece is better than the other. Instead, preferences are based on a variety of factors, such as the concepts of sound, range, natural embouchure, etc.

Let’s assess some of these mouthpiece differences a little deeper so that you can get a general idea of what I’m talking about.trombone mouthpieces anatomy

 

Differences in Trombone Mouthpiece Sizes

          Rim Width

The rim is the part of the mouthpiece that contacts the embouchure (lips). The inner diameter of the rim is the rim width, and this determines flexibility, range, and comfort.

A smaller rim width allows you to play higher registers easier and is a better fit for smaller embouchure.

A larger rim width lets you play lower registers easier, and is a better fit for larger embouchure.

          Cup Depth

The cup is the inner part of the mouthpiece where the lips vibrate, and sound is carried through the mouthpiece and eventually out the trombone bell. The cup depth determines tonal quality.

A shallower cup gives a brighter tone and makes the high register easier to reach.

A deeper cup gives a darker tone and makes the low register easier to reach.

          Throat

The throat is the smallest opening in the mouthpiece and is found at the bottom of the cup.

Throat size affects airflow through the mouthpiece and instrument, therefore determining volume, breath control, and tone control.

The smaller the hole, the better the projection and the more resistance you’ll have. Meaning you can play with less air, playing longer phrases on the same breath, and likewise, you’ll fatigue slower.

A large throat has less resistance, letting you play louder and fuller more easily. You’ll run out of air faster and need more lip strength to play for long periods.

As a result, therefore, larger throats are recommended for more advanced players.

          Back Bore

The backbore is the opening behind the throat of the mouthpiece. This part is shaped like a funnel, and the bore increases all the way to the end of the mouthpiece.

Back bores vary in both shape and size, and this can affect pitch and tune in certain registers.

          Shank

The shank is the part below the cup. It looks like a cylinder when viewed from the outside.

A trombone mouthpiece could have either a small shank or a large shank. The shank determines which instrument the mouthpiece will fit into.

What Do the Letters and Numbers Mean?

The letters and numbers are a nomenclature system used to size mouthpieces. This is known as the Bach Nomenclature System, and it is commonly used.

The number refers to the relative size of the inner diameter of the rim. The lower this number is, the larger the diameter of the mouthpiece.

The letter after the number corresponds to a relative size of the cup (cup depth). Most small shank mouthpieces correspond to letter C, while large shank mouthpieces correspond to a G.

These are generic rules, but they don’t apply to every brand.

No two brands use the same number/letter system between mouthpieces, which complicates the selection process even further.

Your best bet is to look up charts published by the companies themselves for numbers and to try them out.

Differences in Shapes

          U-Shape

This is also referred to as C-type cup or bowl shape.

A U-shape cup has more air turbulence at the bottom, as the air travels around the curve and back towards the lips.

This turbulence creates a coarseness or brilliance of tone and projects well.

A shallow U cup will have more brilliance and projection, but then it might also cause the player to ‘gas out’ (fatigue) from working harder to move the air into the throat.

A deep U cup has more cup volume, and this will allow the airflow to slow down. With this cup, the tone darkens, but the sound may become dull and less responsive.

          V-Shape

A V-shape cup will not have a lot of turbulence near the throat.

A shallow V cup lets the player move air quickly and freely into the throat, which is much needed when playing in the upper register.

The disadvantage is that as a result of the small cup volume, the tone could be thin. Also, the player’s lips might ‘bottom out’ if the V is too shallow.

A deep V cup gives off a smooth, mellow sound with lots of core.

On the downside, because of the effort required to move the air quickly without a lot of resistance, the player could struggle with the upper resister.

Differences in Weight

As you look through and test out different mouthpiece brands, you may find that there are heavy mouthpieces and standard mouthpieces.

The weight of a mouthpiece affects your playing experience and the sound and responsiveness of the instrument.

A lighter mouthpiece would have increased projection and response, resonating with the instrument as you play.

This would provide a width of sound and a broader partial feel for natural playing experience.

Because every tone and timbre can be manipulated, a light mouthpiece can be very expressive, but with a thinner sound.

A heavier mouthpiece wouldn’t feed the instrument’s vibrations back to the player. Such a mouthpiece is very free blowing and can provide a bigger, darker sound than mouthpieces with less weight.

Additionally, a heavy mouthpiece provides stability, giving more security in the high registers. This can help define partials on those trombones where extra focus is needed.

At the same time, the added weight would be great for large bass trombone mouthpieces that may have thinner walls due to larger inner cup diameters.

Mouthpieces may vary in mass distribution, i.e., where the heaviest part of the mouthpiece is located.

If the weight is distributed evenly around the bottom of the cup, then this would result in an even core of sound with overlapping overtones.

The tone quality created would be thicker than conventional mouthpieces, thereby providing the midrange overtones that are often lost with other mouthpieces.

Differences in Materials

The material of a trombone mouthpiece affects the sound produced.

Many trombone mouthpieces are made of brass. However, since many people tend to have a mild allergy to raw brass, it is not uncommon to find such mouthpieces plated in another metal.

Silver mouthpieces produce a darker, heavier sound.

Stainless steel mouthpieces produce a brilliant sound appropriate for a lead solo performance.

Titanium mouthpieces produce a solid and bright tone. However, the sound is lighter than that provided by other materials.

How Do I Choose A Trombone Mouthpiece?

There is no general rule that will guarantee how your particular mouthpiece, embouchure, and instrument will interact.

So here are a few tips to abide by when shopping for a new trombone mouthpiece:

          1. Try A Few Different Sizes and Models

If you’ve only ever played on one mouthpiece before, then do not shy away from seeing what else is out there.

Comparing differences can be a helpful way to establish what works for you and what doesn’t.

You can do this at a music store, or you may also try different mouthpieces from other trombone players in your band.

If you opt for the latter, be sure to clean any mouthpieces you borrow!

          2. Bring Your Own Trombone

Having your trombone with you will mean that the only changing factor is the mouthpiece. This way, you are in a better position to make a more informed judgment based on the results produced.

          3. Carry Your Current Mouthpiece

This way, you can quickly compare the new against the old so that you don’t have to rely on memory when distinguishing how the two play.

          4. Play Different Types of Music and Passages

The idea here is to test the tone as well as the extremes of dynamics and range. This will give you a better idea of how the mouthpiece fares in a range of situations.

Can you hit a couple of screamers? How about some slow, soft passages? Also, try out something with a lot of moving notes and fast articulations.

To get a good feel of the mouthpiece, the boring stuff is just as important as the faster, louder stuff.

          5. Zero in On the Most Important Thing You’d Like to Change

We all wish to play higher, louder, and with a good tone. However, even the best mouthpiece isn’t a magical accessory that will immediately give you all these things.

The reality is that you’re probably going to have to compromise a little to find the right balance of characteristics.

What is the one thing that you’d want to change?

Is it hitting that D above the staff? Improving your endurance so you can play longer without fatigue? Do you hope for a warmer, fuller sound? Do you want something that will help with your articulation?

Different mouthpieces can help with all these things. So, having a more focused goal in mind will help you find a good fit faster.

          6. Consult Your Coach or Teacher

It would help to listen to what your private coach or teacher suggests.

This is because such a person already has a ton of knowledge and insight into how you play.

So, they are in a perfect position to make recommendations that can help you correct a particular issue or achieve a specific sound.

          7. Comfort Trumps All Else

It is okay to use other people’s opinions and experiences as a starting point in the earlier stages of your search.

Ultimately, however, the mouthpiece you choose needs to fit you, and comfort is the paramount thing to go for.

In some instances, it might make sense to go for a mouthpiece that feels difficult to play.

Such scenarios are like when you’re trying to build your endurance, for instance. Or if you need to fix your embouchure after a period of using a cheater mouthpiece.

That aside, the safest bet is always to select a mouthpiece that feels the most comfortable for your style of playing.

FAQs About The Best Trombone Mouthpieces

What Is the Best Trombone Mouthpiece for High Notes?

The two factors that most affect the pitch of a trombone note are the speed of the air and the size of the embouchure aperture.

Therefore, the best trombone mouthpiece for high notes has a shallow V-shape cup, ideal for a brilliant piercing tone.

It also helps if the mouthpiece has a smaller rim width, a smaller throat, and is a little heavy.

What Size Trombone Mouthpiece Should I Get?

The trombone mouthpiece size you get should be informed by the sound you want, the type of music you play, and your trombone bore size.

That being said, physical comfort should always be your primary goal when choosing a mouthpiece based on its size.

The right trombone mouthpiece size and shape should fit the player’s face. It should accommodate all embouchure adjustments needed to cover the trombonist’s full range of notes, dynamics, and articulation.

Is A Baritone Mouthpiece the Same as A Trombone?

The major difference between a baritone and a trombone is that a baritone is a conical bore instrument, whereas a trombone is a cylindrical bore instrument.

Do the two instruments use the same mouthpiece? Well, yes and no.

You may have instances where the shank sizes coincide, and you can use one mouthpiece on the other instrument. However, just because the mouthpiece might fit, doesn’t mean that it’s the correct playing setup.

Baritone mouthpieces tend to be larger, having a deeper, more conical cup and more shank size options that trombones.

A baritone player may be tempted to use a trombone mouthpiece because the latter is more readily available in music stores.

Well, don’t.

Using a baritone mouthpiece on a trombone and vice versa won’t give you the same control, and range comfort. Using the proper playing setup is much easier and more fulfilling.

What Is A Trombone Mouthpiece Made Of?

Trombone mouthpieces are often made from brass, that’s then plated with another metal such as silver, stainless steel, titanium, or gold.

Alternatively, trombone mouthpieces may also be made from plastic. These are more inferior to their metal counterparts when it comes to performance and durability.

How Do You Use A Trombone Mouthpiece?

When using the mouthpiece correctly, you will experience the following when the lips meet the mouthpiece:

  • Pressure from the mouthpiece as it’s pushed against the lips.
  • Pressure in the other direction as air is forced between your lips.
  • Tension in the lips as the muscles are tightened.
  • Backpressure from the mouthpiece and the trombone resulting from resistance to the flow of air.

Playing the trombone will involve positioning your lips on the mouthpiece coupled with tongue movements, jaw movements, tilting, changes in posture, breathing, etc.

How Do You Clean A Trombone Mouthpiece?

Conclusion

Without the correct mouthpiece, a trombone would be virtually unplayable and non-functional.

With the right mouthpiece, you would get elevated playing experience, and your sound, tone, range, and dynamics will also be positively different.

It might be tempting to get overwhelmed by all the options out there, thereby causing you to give up on your search and settling for what’s good enough.

I’ve been there before, so I get it. My advice to you, however, would be this: don’t give up.

Finding the perfect mouthpiece for you will prove to be the most rewarding thing you’ve ever done in your entire trombone playing life.

Good luck!

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