from the Schilke mouthpiece brochure
Editor’s note: The Schilke mouthpiece labeling system was invented and developed by Will Scarlett, one of the first employees of Schilke Music Products, Inc. He worked primarily in the office until he secured a position in the trumpet section of the Chicago Symphony, where he played from 1964 until his recent retirement.
The first letter refers to the cup volume.
In switching from one instrument to another, i.e., B flat trumpet to D trumpet, it is usually good to use a mouthpiece that is .025 inch shallower in the cup volume with all other dimensions remaining the same. The higher the instrument is, the shallower the cup should be.
A player who needs primarily a good range without sacrificing much tone can consider a shallow mouthpiece with a widened second cup. The shallow first cup affords support in the top register and the widened second allows a full tone.
The second (last) number refers to the rim contour.
The second (last) letter refers to the backbore.
The fit of the mouthpiece
The shank of every brass mouthpiece when in the instrument should touch the end of the mouthpipe to insure an even taper from the backbore of the mouthpiece to the inside of the mouthpipe.
Dirt in the mouthpiece
Dirt inside the throat or backbore of a mouthpiece can greatly alter the intonation of the instrument on which it is used. Mouthpieces can only be kept clean with a mouthpiece brush used every week.
The first is a very narrow backbore labelled the “aa,” and nicknamed “the zinger” around the Schilke shop for obvious reasons.
In addition, the flugelhorn cup can also be ordered on a trumpet or cornet mouthpiece blank. These are designated “F” cups, a deep V shaped cup, for those wishing the darkest mellowest trumpet (or cornet) tone available. I happen to have a 15F that I found on eBay one day.
There is also a star (*) cup design, it has the approximate depth of an “A” cup, very shallow, but the it is more radically bowl shaped and maks it more difficult for players to ‘bottom out,’ where they lips hit the bottom of the cup and cease vibrating. I believe that Scott Laskey designed the star (*) cup and he has continued it as part of his mouthipieces designs for the Laskey Company.