Schilke makes a wide variety and large number of stock mouthpieces, all of which are included the chart below. They are readily available and are remarkably inexpensive given their consistency and quality. They make stock mouthpieces to fit cornet, trumpet, euphonium, and tuba.
Schilke also does fine custom mouthpiece work, some of the best in the business. Custom made mouthpieces can be made in either the standard trumpet blank or in one of two heavyweight blanks. All of the heavyweight mouthpieces, even in stock sizes, are considered custom. The initial Schilke heavyweight trumpet mouthpiece (christened irreverently by Lew Soloff, as I understand it, the “CO2 cartridge”) was a very long heavy blank. It is still used by Jon Faddis, and is available from Schilke as a special request at no additional charge beyond the usual custom rate. However, a newer lighter heavyweight blank, with a body that tapers toward the receiver, has been used the last few years as the “standard heavyweight.” This has a shape more similar to the Bach Megatone blank and was felt to be compatible with more trumpet mouthpiece receivers. This newer modified shape is what you get if you currently order a Schilke heavyweight mouthpiece without specifying the older heavier blank.
Although not advertised much, Schilke has introduced a heavyweight sound sleeve which would thread on the conventional mouthpiece, having extensive contact at the point on the threaded shank and on the exterior of the cup when fully threaded on the mouthpiece. This is a superior design to sound sleeves that are attached by way of set screws, etc. The sound sleeve was made of polished and lacquered nickel or gold plated. The gold sleeve seemed to provide a warmer sound than the nickel plated.
Also available as a custom order is a very narrow backbore labeled the “aa,” and nicknamed “the zinger” around the Schilke shop for obvious reasons.
With the exception of the 14F4, a stock flugelhorn mouthpiece built on the rim of the very popular 14A4a, all other flugelhorn mouthpieces are considered custom and are made one at time to match the customer’s desired rim with the appropriate flugel cup, bore, backbore, and specific tuning bit shank. The 14F4 is priced the same as a stock trumpet mouthpiece and comes in either the Morse taper which fits Yamaha, Benge and most American made flugels (except Bach) or the French taper which fits Couesnon and other French made flugels (except Courtois–go figure). The flugelhorn mouthpieces all come stock with a #20 bore.
The flugelhorn cup can also be ordered on a trumpet or cornet mouthpiece blank. These are designated the “F” cup, a deep V shaped cup, for those wishing the darkest mellowest trumpet (or cornet) tone possible.
Schilke also offers mouthpiece alterations. Oftentimes a stock mouthpiece can be modified (e.g., cup deepened, backbore enlarged), which is quite a bit less expensive than ordering custom mouthpiece, especially if you can pick up a used model upon which to do your alterations. Replating the mouthpiece in silver runs $16.50 in addition to the mouthpiece modification charge.
The bore/throat of most Schilke mouthpieces is #26 (0.147 inch). This is true except for those Schilke mouthpieces with shallow A cups. They have a slightly smaller #27 (0.144 inch ) bore which is the standard bore for Bach and most other manufacturers. The number increases as the size gets smaller, e.g., a #24 bore is larger than a #26.
Below is a chart of all the stock mouthpieces made by Schilke. The descriptions and the three cup diameter measurements are taken from the Schilke Mouthpieces for Brass brochure.
Column 1 is the cup diameter as measured in millimeters.
Column 2 is the cup diameter as a decimal fractions of an inch (i.e., thousandths of an inch).
Column 3 is the cup diameter shown as a fraction of an inch (i.e., 40/64th of an inch). The same fraction applies to the mouthpieces below until the next fraction appears.
Column 4 is a measurement of the cup depth as a decimal fractions of an inch (i.e., thousandths of an inch), the same as column 2. These measurements were made by Gerald Endsley, are used with his permission, and are contained in his 1992 book, Comparative Mouthpiece Guide for Trumpet, published by Tromba Publications. It can be ordered through the Tromba web site or by phone at (303) 388-0183. It is also available through Giardinelli, Brasswind, etc., and contains measurements of the inside diameter of the cup, outside diameter of the cup and rim, and the cup depth, for Bach, Benge, Black-Hill, Bush, Callet, Endsley, Getzen, Giardinelli, Jet Tone, Marcinkiewicz, Purviance, Sanders, Schilke, Stork, Wick, Warburton, and Yamaha mouthpieces. One can hardly consider him- or herself as Truly Mouthpiece Obsessed without a copy of this book.
Mr. Endsley describes his methodology as follows: “The method employed was to lay a depth micrometer with a spindle, the diameter of a .22 drill over the rim and extend same until stoppage. The depth then is actually from the top of the rim rather than from a less distinct spot lower on the mouthpiece. It is important that the reader understand that neither the total cup volume or shape is measured, only the distance from the top of the rim, to the base of the cup on a plumb line (emphasis supplied).”
Blank areas in Column 4 indicate that the measurement is not available.
|Small cup diameter, aids the upper register. A popular piccolo mouthpiece, and available only in cornet shank.|
|Developed for Bill Chase. A small shallow “A” cup with cushion #4 rim for extremely high register work.|
|(Formerly Model “K”) Excellent for the player with thin lips. A #4 rim provides good endurance with a brilliant tone.|
|The slightly funnel shaped cup at the entrance to the throat provides a good tone and the #4 flat rim gives superior endurance.|
|A deep funnel-shaped cup provides a mellow sound, very flexible in all registers.|
|(Formerly Model “B”) Designed for Edward B. Lewellyn, former principal trumpet player of the Chicago Symphony. Standard characteristics allow for full penetrating tone quality.|
|Like the #9, however the #4 semi-flat rim provides excellent endurance.|
|The combination of the shallow “A”: cup, semi-flat #4 rim and tight “a” backbore aids an extremely high register. An ideal piccolo mouthpiece, available only in cornet shank.|
|Same as the above 10A4a, but with a standard “c” backbore. Only available in cornet shank.|
|A medium-small funnel shaped B cup makes for a good sound and additional support in the upper register.|
|An excellent piccolo trumpet mouthpiece. Rim size and contour similar to the #11, but with a shallow “A” cup.|
|This model has been developed for the Schilke piccolo trumpet. The ‘x’ backbore both improves the ease of playing and opens up the sound for our piccolo trumpets. This model is available as a standard mouthpiece only in cornet shank.|
|Similar to the #11 featuring a slightly rounded #2 rim contour.|
|(Formerly model “H”) A superior mouthpiece with average standard characteristics for free blowing.|
|Slightly deeper than the 11 with a #4 semi-flat rim, providing a definite cushion feel for endurance.|
|The large funnel-shaped cup encourages a big round tone, ideal for cornet.|
|Similar to the #12B4 but with a shallow “A” cup, tight “a” backbore, adding both endurance and range.|
|Same as above, but with a larger standard “c” backbore.|
|The medium-small conical “B” cup provides a full tone and the #4 semi-flat rim allows for more endurance. excellent for modern jazz.|
|(Formerly Model “J”) With the standard medium characteristics of the “C” cup, #3 rim and “c” backbore, this mouthpiece produces a brilliance sought by the studio player.|
|Shallow “A” cup, semi-flat #4 rim and tight “a” backbore. An ideal trumpet mouthpiece for playing lead. [ Formerly the Mike Vax model until he bacame a Yamaha Artist —ed.]|
|Same as above, except of the standard “c” backbore that makes it a freer blowing mouthpiece.|
|Has a “B” cup slightly deeper than the above and a narrow rounded rim, used by Frank Lisanti.|
|A somewhat sharp inner-edge combined with a funnel-shaped “C” cup insures good clear tone and the #4 semi-flat rim adds to endurance.|
|Developed for Forrest Buchtel, formerly with the Woody Herman Band, the shallow “A” cup, semi-flat #4 rim and tight “a” backbore permits a good upper register with a large tone.|
|Same as above except for a more open standard “c” backbore|
|Based on the popular 14A4a and 14A4, this mouthpiece was also developed for use with our piccolo trumpets. The ‘x’ backbore both improves the ease of playing and opens up the sound for our piccolo trumpets. This also is available as a standard mouthpiece only with the cornet shank.|
|Similar to the #14 but with a “B” medium-small, shallow cup.|
|(Formerly the Model “V”) With a standard “C” cup and semi-rounded #2 rim. This mouthpiece produces a rather large tone with a good center.|
|All the Schilke standard characteristics make this an excellent mouthpiece for the legitimate musician to produce a full orchestral quality.|
|Corresponds to the #15C4 but with a shallow “A” cup and tight “a” backbore for extreme upper register playing.|
|Same as the above but with a more open free blowing “c” backbore.|
|Same as the #15 except the shallower medium-small “B” cup produces a brighter quality of sound.|
|An excellent mouthpiece with Schilke average standard characteristics for free blowing and all-around playing.|
|Similar to the above #15. The semi-flat #4 rim provides for greater endurance.|
|(Formerly Model “S”) Has a definite “bite” on the inner edge of the #2 semi-round rim, permitting greater flexibility.|
|(Formerly Model “W”) With all the standard characteristics, this medium-large diameter mouthpiece produces a full free blowing quality.|
|The bowl-cup and the #4 semi-flat rim has proven a comfortable cornet mouthpiece. Now available again in both trumpet and cornet shank.|
|A compromise of all the medium characteristics, this is an excellent medium-large diameter mouthpiece.|
|Similar to the #17 with a “D” medium large cup and #4 semi-flat cushion rim.|
|Same as above, with a slight curved-out “d” backbore.|
|(Formerly Model “R”) The high point of the rim being nearer the center makes this mouthpiece feel much smaller. The standard characteristics produce a rich brilliant tone.|
|Similar to the #18 model but with a large “d” backbore, producing an even larger more “Teutonic” sound.|
|The “C” cup, #3 rim and standard “c” backbore are similar to the #20 model but has slightly smaller diameter.|
|(Formerly Model “R10”) This large diameter is for the robust embouchure. Used by the symphony orchestra player.|
|Designed for Georges Mager, formerly principal trumpet with the Boston Symphony. Like the #20 except a medium large deep cup, #2 semi-round rim, and a “d” slightly curved backbore.|
|(Formerly Model “R20”) Like the model #20 with a slightly larger cup diameter, producing a somewhat greater potential in sound.|
|(Formerly Model “R30) Extra large cup diameter for the well trained trumpeter. Provides a huge volume of tone|
* Artists Model
Personal notes and observations from the author:
Motto: The obvious purpose of hunting for a new mouthpiece is to find one that helps you make the sound in your head the easiest on the trumpet, working with the mouthpiece, not against it.
Rims. The standard #3 rim on Schilke mouthpieces are considerably different from those made by Bach. If you find the rim on your Bach is uncomfortable, or wish to see what an alternative feels like, try the standard Schilke #3 rim. It is narrower than the Bach, and a little rounder which causes the “bite” on the inner edge to be less prominent. Some find that a more comfortable combination The Schilke #4 rim is a bit wider and flatter than the #3, and is therefore more similar to the rim found on most Bach mouthpieces. Yamaha mouthpieces, which adopt the Schilke labeling convention, virtually all employ the Schilke #4 rim. For those who like some of the Schilke sizes but would like to try them with a greater mass, Yamaha’s GP (gold plated) series offers some common Schilke sizes, size as the 14A4a, 14, 16C4a, 17C4. Although I have not done any serious experimenting with the exact dimensions of the Yamahas, there does seem to be some consensus that the Yamahas run a little smaller, perhaps a size, than the Schilke equivalent, i.e., a Yamaha 16 is closest to a Schilke 15.
For those wishing to experiment with narrower rims, which are desirable because of their tendency to promote flexibility, Schilke makes the following stock mouthpieces with the #2 rim. They are made near the commonest Bach sizes so it should be easy for one to try a Schilke mouthpiece with a narrower rim that has a similar diameter to the Bach rim to which you are accustomed. In addition, because these are stock mouthpieces, they are readily available and less expensive than any custom configuration.
The following chart is consistent with my own Bach/Schilke Equivalency table. So as to avoid being baffled by the chart, you should know that the current Bach 3C and 7C are essentially the same diameter (but with very different rim contours, cup shapes, and cup depths) and that the 5C has a larger diameter than the 3C. Older or Mt Vernon Bach 3Cs are larger and would be closer in size to the Schilke 14C2, though not as large.
The cup depth measurements are intriguing and I’m working on an extended meditation on them, the beginnings of which are available for your review here, but I stand by nothing said until it is complete.
There are a couple of additional cup designs that can be custom ordered. A 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, i.e., the walls are straight down as opposed to sloping into the bottom and makes it more difficult for players to ‘bottom out,’ where their 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.
Backbores. My experience is that the standard Schilke C backbore tends to be a bit more open than Bach, which combined with the typically deeper cup results in Schilke mouthpieces, in general, having darker less edgy sounds. A whole band of trumpet players playing Schilke 14’s as opposed to Bach 3C’s will be immediately noticeable, as, of course, will each the quality of each player’s individual sound, at least for a while.Although if the player has the prior sound in his head as the ideal, sooner or later, working either with or against the mouthpiece, he will return, more or less, to his previous sound.
There is also available a very narrow backbore labelled the “aa,” and nicknamed “the zinger” around the Schilke shop for obvious reasons.
A note about Artist Models: These mouthpieces were developed by Schilke for particular players. In some cases, these mouthpieces were thought to be sufficiently attractive that they were added to the catalog as a stock item. They are, however, first a custom mouthpiece for a particular player, and not necessarily made in response to a recipe and assembled of the various parts. Rather there may be some individual touches that may betray some of Schilke’s superior consistency. For example, one would assume that the 14A4a is merely a slightly wider version of the Schilke 13A4a, but that cup depth, bore backbore and rim would all be the same. Not so: the cup contour of the 13A4a is very different from the 14A4a. The 14A4a is a gentle bowl shaped cup, the cup on the 13A4a drops quickly straight down from the rim and there meets a shallow V shaped bottom cup; very different from a 14A4a. There are other similar examples. The point is that the Artists Model may disrupt your attempt to logically evaluate mouthpieces because the predictability of the Schilke system is fractured. Good luck anyway. Speaking of the 14A4a, it is the most popular of Schilke mouthpieces. It was originally designed as a collaboration between Forrest Buchtel, Bert Herrick, and Conrad Gozzo, but the current production piece has a a more rounded rim than the original. The 14A4a is so popular that Schilke makes a stock flugelhorn mouthpiece with the same rim because the demand was so great. That is the only stock flugelhorn piece they make.
If the player has the prior sound in his head as the ideal, sooner or later, working either with or against the mouthpiece, he will return, more or less, to his previous sound.Thus the obvious purpose of hunting for a new mouthpiece is to find one that helps you make the sound in your head easiest, working with the mouthpiece, not against it.
For a brief comment or two on the author’s more recent mouthpiece experiments, go here.
© 1999 – 2004 by James F. Donaldson
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