The trumpet mouthpiece is how you connect yourself to your trumpet. Your lips form an embouchure (om bah sure) which allows your lips to buzz when you blow air through them.
Trumpet mouthpieces sizes vary as it seems everyone likes something different. Mouthpiece sizes are based on the specifications by the maker. Unfortunately, one makers “Medium” cup is likely very different than others “Medium” cup. A trumpet mouthpiece has different parts. The two that have the most impact on your playing are the cup and the diameter of the cup. The other two are the rim and the back bore.
Your trumpet mouthpiece is a highly personal choice. It is based on the size of your lips, your experience, and the type of music you are playing. When comparing or looking to make a change, please look up your mouthpiece in the guides what we’ve posted below or online. Then you know exactly what you have, and what you want to try to change.
Trumpet Mouthpiece Specifications
The specifications you’ll see describing a trumpet mouthpiece have 4 main parts. They are listed in the order you may see them.
For example, a 14A4A has :
- “14” inner rim diameter (this is the number assigned by the manufacturer, not the actual size in millimeters.
- The “A” is the Cup.
- The “4” is the Rim Contour.
- The last “A” is the backbore.
- The Rim Diameter. This is the inner diameter of the mouthpiece. This is often shown in numbers which may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. It is usually described in their literature in millimeters. These usually range from 5 millimeters to 68 millimeters.
- Cup. This is the half round, inner section of the mouthpiece.
- Cups are described as
- “A” shallow to very shallow. This produces a brighter tone and is often used to support the upper register for lead trumpet playing.
- “C” medium or standard. This will produce solid tones and is the most common.
- “E” deep. This will produce a warm, darker sound.
- Cups are described as
- Rim Contour is the flat part of the rim that touches your upper and lower lip. These types are usually described as:
- Round may feel more comfortable. This is often called a “1”.
- Standard is the most common which is a good starting place. This is often called a “3”.
- Wide (often called Flat) helps you play longer, increases your endurance. This is often called a “5”.
- The Backbore and the throat combine to affect your sound.
- Narrow or “A” increases the resistance you’ll feel. This may support upper register playing and produce a brighter tone.
- Medium, Standard, or “C”.
- Wide, Broad, or “E” this may produce a darker sound and reduce the resistance. It allows more air through for a powerful airstream.
What Is a Trumpet Mouthpiece Made of ?
Trumpet mouthpieces, Flugelhorn mouthpieces, and Cornet mouthpieces are all made of brass. They are most commonly finished with a silver plating. Many manufacturers offer mouthpieces plated in gold. The silver or gold plating can be shiny, matte, or a combination of the two finishes. The most common part of the mouthpiece to be plated gold is the cup and rim areas. Gold is a softer metal than chrome so the plated surface of the rim helps you stay positioned better as it is less slippery. There are special, plastic trumpet mouthpieces made but are used in special circumstances. Learned this the hard way the first time in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York. It was really cold, almost freezing and a brass mouthpiece was hard to play and stay in tune.
Making a Trumpet Mouthpiece
Beginner Trumpet Mouthpieces
or What is a 7C Trumpet Mouthpiece ?
The most common trumpet mouthpiece we all started on is the 7C. The “7” refers to the rim diameter and the “C” is the cup. This mouthpiece is “Average” and “Medium” in cup volume.
Top Pick: The most common one that most of us all started with is the Bach 7C trumpet mouthpiece. It’s the mouthpiece most of us started on in elementary or middle school. It’s got a “smaller” rim diameter for younger players. It’s a high-quality mouthpiece that is a good compromise of quality sound volume and range. It’s 16.20 millimeter rim diameter is considered “medium wide”. It’s rim shape has a well rounded edge to fit most players. It’s far and away the most widely used model. If you are an older than elementary or middle school age, a 1 1/2C may be a better fit. It has a little larger rim diameter at 17.00 millimeters and a bit more room in the cup. It will provide a slightly deeper tone than the 7C. If you find the 7C trumpet mouthpiece a little too big for you, or you have thinner lips, consider the 10 1/2C. It has a slightly smaller rim diameter of 15.90 millimeters than the 7C and a medium cup. It will provide a brighter tone than the 7C does. Some find this smaller mouthpiece helps their upper register as their embouchure continues to develop.
Here is the Vincent Bach Trumpet Mouthpiece Chart.
If you aren’t sure, just starting out, or would like to try different options, Cecilo makes a 7C, 5C, and 3C Trumpet mouthpiece very inexpensively. They are silver plated too.
Best Lead Trumpet Mouthpieces
As an advanced player or one that wants to continue improving can greatly benefit from changes to your mouthpiece. Lead trumpet mouthpieces are designed to accommodate the higher volume of air and increased demands of lead trumpet playing.
Top Pick: Yamaha YAC Shrew Lead. This is a Signature Series mouthpiece designed by legendary trumpet player Bobby Shrew. The Rim diameter is a little smaller than the Shilke below at 16.54 millimeters and slightly larger than the Denis Wick model below. It has a very shallow cup. The back bore is tight which allows for high note clarity and focus. The rim shape is considered Semi-thick with a Semi-round contour. This mouthpiece is a favorite of many professional trumpet players using it for their professional trumpet playing duties.
Here is the Yamaha USA Trumpet Mouthpiece Comparison Guide.
Denis Wick 5E. This is an excellent high register mouthpiece. It’s Rim diameter is the smallest on this list at 16.00 mm. It also has a extra shallow cup which provides a bright, crisp sound. The V-type back bore is a signature of Denis Wick designs. This helps you deliver the lower register with a rich tone even with the shallow cup. The rim width is 5.30 millimeters which is fairly wide for comfort and endurance. Some note that it feels like the Bach 10 1/2C above with a shallower cup and more open backbore.
Here is the Denis Wick Mouthpiece Guide.
Shilke 14A4A. This Shilke trumpet mouthpiece has been around for decades and is a proven performer. Most every manufacturer produces a mouthpiece similar to this one. The Rim diameter is medium large (17.09mm) and a shallow “A” cup. The “4” means the rim is “semi-flat” and the last “A” is a tight back bore which will support you with just the right amount of backpressure. The larger rim diameter and very shallow cup allow for a greater volume and high note performance.
Here is the Shilke Mouthpiece Guide. The trumpet sections sprinkled throughout the guide.
Yamaha GP Series 14A4A. This is very similar to the Shilke 14A4A but with a rim diameter of 16.68 millimeters. The shallow cup, and backbore is designed for lead players. Where it differs is the greater mass which warms up your lower register. This would be a good alternative if you need to go low as well as high. A nice touch is the gold plated cup and rim.
Over time you may find yourself with more than one mouthpiece. Keeping them protected from each other and more importantly, from dinging your horn is a must. This Protec case has soft sleeves for 3 mouthpieces.