How to choose a flugelhorn mouthpiece
A trumpet mouthpiece and a flugelhorn mouthpiece are different beyond the depth and shape of the cup. The biggest difference is that trumpet mouthpieces from every manufacturer will fit most any trumpet. Nice. Not so for flugelhorn mouthpieces. That would be too easy. The shank or taper is the narrow part of the tubing that is inserted into the flugelhorn’s receiver. They are different and will fit different flugelhorns. Great. So if you’ve found the perfect trumpet mouthpiece, it’s counterpart for your flugelhorn, it may/may not fit your horn. Flugelhorn mouthpiece manufacturers will specify what shank type each mouthpiece will fit. This is the first thing to look at to make sure the mouthpiece will fit your horn. Then try to match your flugelhorn mouthpiece to your trumpet mouthpiece.
The three main types of flugelhorn mouthpiece tapers:
Identify your flugelhorn manufacturer and that will specify what taper you need for your mouthpiece. The two main things to consider are the cup diameter and cup. Using your trumpet mouthpiece as a guide will help you find a flugelhorn mouthpiece that will let you go between the two instruments easily.
Couesnon (No Taper):
These will fit flugelhorns from: French Besson, Couesnon, Flip Oakes, Kanstul, and Miraphone.
Bach (Small Morse Taper):
These will fit flugelhorns from: B & S, Bach, R, S, Berkeley, Besson, Courtois, Eclipse, F. E. Olds, Holton, LeBlanc, James , Trevor, Kanstul, Miraphone , Phaeton, Reynolds, Schilke, Selmer, Shiller, Taylor, Van Laar
Standard (Large Morse Taper):
These will fit flugelhorns from: Adams, Benge, Blessing, Callet, Conn, Eclipse, Gerd Dowids, Getzen, Josef Lidl, Kanstul, King, Lawler, Miraphone , Orlando Wind Instruments, Stomvi, Thomas Inderbinen , Weril, and Yamaha,
The Best Flugelhorn Mouthpiece?
Our top picks are based on years of experience, talking with other players, and what mouthpieces we are currently playing. A flugelhorn mouthpiece is as personal a choice as your trumpet mouthpiece so the same things apply. Feel, range, and timbre are all affected by the depth of the rim contour, cup, throat entrance, backbore, etc. The cup is the biggest difference you’ll notice when moving to a flugelhorn mouthpiece. They are much deeper than you are used to playing on your trumpet. The “rules of thumb” for flugelhorn mouthpiece selection are:
- Rim Diameter. Get as close to the same rim diameter as your trumpet mouthpiece. Your lips will notice a big difference and it’ll feel odd. You can get used to anything, but if you like your trumpet mouthpiece, this is the first thing to try to match.
- Rim Contour and Width. Get as close to the same rim contour and width as your trumpet mouthpiece. The “bite” from the inner rim will definitely be noticeable if there is a lot of difference here. Manufacturers typically make models for your trumpet and flugelhorn. Unlike a trumpet mouthpiece, flugelhorn mouthpieces have different shanks that don’t fit all horns.
- Shank. As noted above, if it doesn’t fit your flugelhorns receiver it’s not a good “fit”. Yes, adapters could solve the problem, but they introduce more places for the sound wave coming from the mouthpiece to be disturbed, altering your sound.
- Cup. Cups depth and size are really to support the timbre you are trying to produce with your flugelhorn. Richer, warmer, deeper for the regular deep cups or a more shallow cup for ease of transition from a lead trumpet mouthpiece. The upper register on a flugelhorn isn’t much above high C so the shallowest of cups may not be what you are looking for. The warmth of a flugelhorn can be built upon with a deeper cup.
- Brand. By staying with the same brand, you’ll be matching other small, but important design features of their mouthpieces. Of course, finding a matching flugelhorn mouthpiece to your trumpet is easy if the shank fits, but if they don’t, then trying to match everything above will help you move between horns more easily.
Best Flugelhorn Mouthpieces – Large or Standard Taper
Like our top pick for Lead trumpet playing, the Denis Wick 4BFL is a great choice. It’s got a Medium deep cup in Denis Wick terms which means it isn’t as deep as their regular ones that have have the “FL” designation at the end. The “FL” series have “Very Deep Cups” and deliver a much warmer sound. The 5BFL gives you more support with the shallower cup for the upper register playing for your Jazz quartet and a bit brighter timbre. The cup diameter is 16.5 millimeters which is the same as the Denis Wick 4E lead trumpet mouthpiece. The wide rim of 5.3 millimeters will support lead flugelhorn playing with increased endurance and comfort. This will make going back and forth as easy as possible. If you play the Denis Wick 4E Trumpet Mouthpiece, you know it has a flatter rim and more squared outer rim contour. This 4BFL will feel very similar to your 4E. NOTE: This flugelhorn has a “Large” shank which is also called “Regular”. See above to ensure it will fit your flugelhorn.
Yamaha Bobby Shew Flugelhorn
If you are playing the Yamaha Bobby Shrew Lead Trumpet mouthpiece, thankfully Yamaha makes the same mouthpiece for your Flugelhorn. This mouthpiece was also designed by and for the legendary Bobby Shrew. It has the same Rim diameter of 16.54 millimeters, similar “semi-thick” rim width, similar “semi-round” rim contour, and a “standard cup” which will make the cross over between the two easy. The rounded inner and outer rim contours will feel very similar to the Yamaha Bobby Shew Lead, Bobby Shew Jazz, and their 14A4a. The Bobby Shew Jazz trumpet mouthpiece does have a larger Cup Diameter at 16.85. If you haven’t already seen them, here’s our side by side review.
Best Flugelhorn Mouthpiece – Small Taper
The Vincent Bach 1 1/2 C Flugelhorn mouthpiece is the top pick of many players. The Cup diameter of 17.0 millimeters is similar to many lead trumpet mouthpieces like the Schilke 14A4A (17.09 millimeters). It has a Medium deep cup which produces a great balance of resistance and freedom. Like all Bach mouthpieces, they have a semi rounded rim contours which helps with comfort. It produces a warm, velvety texture.