Editor’s note: Lots of people damage their horns and mouthpieces trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece. The safest course is taking it to the repairman or music store and letting them use their special tools for this purpose. However, this is one method that is unlikely to cause any damage to the horn and has a good chance of succeeding. If this doesn’t work, don’t even think about using any other method, just take it to the shop.
This suggestion is from Arie van der Reijden, a trumpet player in The Netherlands.
This works in 95% of all ‘mouthpiece-is-stuck’ cases.
Tools: hair dryer, nylon or rawhide hammer (essential–your conventional hammer will not do), 1 metre (yes, this is european technology) of thin rope, piece of thin wire, adhesive tape, penetrating oil, and trumpet stand.
Take off the main tuning slide, put the wire through the bore of the mouthpiece till it protrudes from the end of the lead pipe. Tape the rope to this wire on the bell end and pull it through: the rope should come out nicely from the mouthpiece. Make a couple of firm knots on the bell end of the rope and pull the rope gently until it’s stuck in the backbore of the mouthpiece.
Heat the receiver (the piece of the trumpet in which your mouthpiece is stuck) with a hair dryer, but not with an open flame.
When it is fairly hot (takes some time) put a few drops of penetrating oil or a common lighter type of oil (WD-40, etc.) on the joint between the mouthpiece and the receiver.
See if it works in, repeat a couple of times.
Tap the surrounding of the receiver gently and heat, oil, tap, heat, oil, tap ….
Then put your trumpet on its stand, pull the piece of rope so that it’s stretched with one hand, and then give a more than firm upward stroke under the ring of the mouthpiece with the hammer using your other hand. The mouthpiece comes off and the rope will hold it in the air.
Your bell is saved (or saved by the bell, dunno…) and there are no scratched, twisted lead pipes, braces (oui mon cher) falling off, etc.
© 2001 by James F. Donaldson
All rights reserved