How to Select the Best Trombone Mouthpiece
As any experienced trombone player knows, the way to find the best trombone mouthpiece is to find one that fits both the instrument and the player. Every brand will differ slightly between manufacturers, as do the instruments themselves—whether it's an alto trombone, a tenor trombone, or jazz trombone.
The mouthpiece design plays a critical role in the way the player handles the brass instrument, so it is important that you take the time to find the perfect fit.
There are several different types of mouthpiece designs and they range in depth and size with different rim sizes, or a shallow or deep cup, which results in a different tone quality and produces a low or high register.
The labeling for each mouthpiece also differs between brands and can mean something different when it comes to size from company to company. There is no industry standard and that is why finding the best trombone mouthpiece takes time. Hopefully, the following information will help.
Best Trombone Mouthpieces for Tenor, Bass & Alto Trombone
Shank / Bore
Trombone Mouthpiece Sizes
Trombone mouthpieces come in a variety of sizes and shapes to produce different sounds. Below are some common sizes and uses.
Commercial and big band work
Good for all work
M Cup with small shank
Deeper and richer tones
M Cup with large shank
Deeper and richer tones
G Cup small shank
Standard with a variety of tone colors
Orchestral tenor and bass trombone
G Cup large shank
Standard with a variety of tone colors
Throat and Backbore
- Throat: The cylindrical section between the cup and the backbore
- Backbore: The expanding and tapered interior section of the mouthpiece that is after the throat and extends to the mouthpiece.
Trombone Mouthpiece Materials
Trombone mouthpieces are made from a variety of materials. The attributes of some of the most common materials are discussed below.
Mouthpieces are made from several different types of materials including brass and plastic and can have either a silver or gold plating. The most common mouthpiece material is brass, and these brass pieces are plated with silver or gold to protect the musician from any possible chance of brass poisoning.
If the mouthpiece is plastic, it is most likely made from Lexan plastic and can come in a variety of different colors. They have greater durability and will not dent or bend like brass mouthpieces. They are also one of the least expensive options but may come with an inferior tone.
Less Common Materials
There have been other materials that have been used such as wood, titanium, and stainless steel, but few manufacturers produce these types of mouthpieces, so they are far less common. They require less care and produce a better sound because they do not absorb vibrations but they are also far more expensive.
Silver plated mouthpieces are the most common and cost effective and produce a better tone quality. They are ideal if you are trying to achieve improved clarity and projection. Gold plated mouthpieces create richer tones but are more expensive and wear with continued use.
7 Steps To Finding the Best Trombone Mouthpiece
- Decide what kind of tone you are looking for
- Narrow down the rim size and cup depth
- Select which material you want your mouthpiece to be made from
- Make sure that the mouthpiece fits your trombone
- Test the rim size and be sure that it fits perfectly
- Decide which mouthpiece produces the best volume and sound
- Once you make you purchase, be sure to maintain its condition
Larger mouthpieces are best suited if you are looking to play in lower registers while the smaller mouthpieces are best for higher registers. The cup depth will determine how deep of a sound you will produce—the deeper it is, the darker the sound. A shallow cup will produce a brighter and higher sound. Always check comparison charts and be aware of the differences in size and depth from one brand to the next. They are not all the same.
Dark and heavy sound
Solid and bright sounds
Trombone Mouthpiece Reviews
Below are reviews of some the top rated trombone mouthpieces for tenor, bass and alto trombones. Also reviewed are some of the best value trombone mouthpieces for beginners and marching band.
Best Inexpensive Trombone Mouthpieces
Glory Trombone MouthPiece
The Glory trombone mouthpiece is an Amazon best seller. It's a high-quality, precise 12 C small shank mouthpiece that is inexpensive and a great option for beginner trombone players.
Best Trombone Mouthpiece for Marching Band
Faxx Trombone 6.5AL Clear All Weather Mouthpiece
The Faxx trombone mouthpiece is great a option for marching band due to it's all-weather polycarbonate construction. Not only is it durable it won't freeze your lips during those cold football half-time shows! It is also an economical and affordable option. It is a 9mm standard 6.5AL short shank.
Best Tenor Trombone Short Shank Mouthpieces
Bach Trombone Mouthpiece 6 ½ AL
The Bach 6 1/2 AL is one of the best selling tenor trombone mouthpieces. Bach mouthpieces provide the trombone player with a uniform timbre and resistance that is calculated to increase endurance. It has a 25.40 mm diameter and a medium depth cup size with a medium wide and well-rounded rim and is a small 6½AL shank.
Blessing MPC65ALTRB Trombone Mouthpiece, 6 1/2 AL
The Blessing MPC65ALTRB is a short shank 6 1/2 AL trombone mouthpiece that provides much better tone in beginners than the common 12C mouthpiece that comes with many trombones. It is also a good choice for jazz players wanting a bright sound and more accessible high range.
Schilke Small Shank Trombone Mouthpiece
The Schilke 51D is one of the best mouthpieces for the tenor trombone player who is looking for a deeper sound. It has a great feel on the lips, a solid weight, and an amazing deep cup. Highly recommended for the advanced high school student or college student, and for the price it's a steal.
Best Tenor Trombone Large Shank Mouthpieces
Yamaha Large Shank Trombone Mouthpiece
The Yamaha YACSLL48 trombone mouthpiece boasts of a well-balanced rim and cup and has been specially designed to offer consistent quality high performance and comfort. It is a size 48 with a standard large shank.
Schilke Large Shank Trombone Mouthpiece
The Schilke 51D trombone mouthpiece is a standard large shank mouthpiece made of silver. It has a large D cup and is ideal for a more powerful player and produces a darker tone.
Conn-Selmer Christian Lindberg Trombone Mouthpiece
The Lindberg Trombone Mouthpiece has a 4CL large shank and produces a rich and full sound. The cup is a bit smaller than other brands but makes flexibility easier. Available in silver or gold plating.
Best Bass Trombone Mouthpiece
Denis Wick Large Bore Trombone Mouthpiece
The Denis Wick large bore trombone mouthpiece is a bit more expensive but is a great option for bass trombone. It is designed to be perfectly balanced and create flawless intonation in all registers.
Best Alto Trombone Mouthpiece
Andoer Alto Trombone Mouthpiece
This alto trombone mouthpiece allows for a big sound with smooth tones. It is made of a high-quality brass so that it is sturdy and durable. It is also affordably priced and does not lack in quality. Good value for the money.
Looking for more essential trombone accessories? Check out the BIG Trombone Buying Guide.