Several mouthpiece makers catering to the North American market now produce mouthpieces with a European shank. It is a topic a lot of horn players and teachers still seem somewhat unaware of and is actually quite important to consider depending on the model of your horn. Some horns will certainly play better with a mouthpiece with a larger diameter shank.
Laskey, Moosewood, and Osmun all make European shank mouthpieces–I own examples by all three makers–and probably others also offer a European shank (feel free to comment). A student looking at mouthpieces recently pointed me to the text Laskey now has in their website, which gives a good overview of the situation and what the shank change can do for you as a player.
With the increased number of German-made horns, The Laskey Company is now making many of our horn mouthpieces with J, G and F cups available in a larger shank. Players using Schmid, Hoyer horns, etc. now have Laskey mouthpieces made specifically for those instruments.
Because the shank is slightly larger in diameter, it will not go in as far as the standard shank.
This modification adds more “presence” to the sound, increases the quality of attack and improves intonation and response.
Mouthpieces made with this larger shank are visually different from the standard models in two ways:
* A smaller letter “E” follows the model number (ie 775GE)
* There is a pronounced ring cut into the top of the shank
If you are presently playing a horn with a larger receiver (Schmid, Hoyer, Alexander, etc) you will find the changes we have made to be a significant improvement.
In short, if you play a horn where it looks like your mouthpiece might be fitting in too far compared to other horns, it probably is fitting in too far and you should consider trying either a European mouthpiece or a mouthpiece with a European shank. It can make a huge difference in some cases and, as I have heard remarked several times (and have certainly experienced), a change to a better mouthpiece can make for a huge change in your outlook on everything.