Review: Houser Stainless Steel Horn Mouthpiece Rims from Houghton Horns

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After having played on the same mouthpiece rim for about 15 years I recently decided to try out something totally different – stainless-steel rims from Houser Mouthpieces (as provided through Houghton Horns). This is the main benefit of owning a screw-rimmed mouthpiece –  it allows the owner to use and try out different rims.

The most important aspect of this story to pass on is that a mouthpiece rim can make a big difference. At first I only wanted a replica of my current rim, but I ended up making a pretty big change (more on that later).

Profiles

Over the years I have tried out a number of rim thicknesses and contours. My old collection is pictured below, with the old rims stacked onto a mouthpiece underpart. The remaining rims are the trial models provided by Houghton Horns.

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Underpart and current rim

My mouthpiece underpart is a Megamoose D6 from Moosewood. It is a very deep-cupped mouthpiece (28.5mm), but it is also a heavy-weight model; those two elements seem to balance one another into a sound and feel that is comfortable and practical on my current horn and professional playing duties.

My mouthpiece rim for the past decade has been a Moosewood M2. It has a medium rim thickness with a medium curved-contour. Its inner diameter is 17.25mm.

It is a comfortable rim profile that served me well for many years. (Most of the stacked rims in the picture above in fact are M1s or M2s.)

Wants and needs

At first, I only wanted to try out a solid, stainless-steel mouthpiece rim simply because the idea of a rim without plating seemed interesting.

Later, I started looking for different profiles – something that gave more “bite” on the lips and a more open feel without sacrificing endurance or accuracy. With an embouchure change last year (and perhaps also with time and age), I owed it to myself to at least try out some different rims, especially those with wider inner diameters.

After consulting with the customer service at Houghton Horns and looking at this spec sheet from Houser Mouthpieces, I decided to try out six rims:

  • M1 Moosewood
  • Myron Bloom 17.75mm
  • Myron Bloom 17.75mm + .03mm
  • Myron Bloom 18.00mm
  • Jon Ring
  • Gail Williams

While there are options for titanium plating on some of these models (H-Kote), I decided to stick with bare, stainless-steel.

The trial period quickly came down to three candidates:

  • Myron Bloom 17.75mm
  • Myron Bloom 17.75mm + .03mm
  • Jon Ring

The winner

The final choice came down to the Myron Bloom 17.75 rim. I like its semi-flat surface and harder “bite.”

When compared to the Moosewood M2, the Myron Bloom 17.75 is a thinner rim with a flatter surface and a wider inner diameter. While a mere half of a millimeter increase in diameter may seem minor, it has introduced a noticeable improvement in response and flexibility.

Another, more noticeable difference is the exterior underside area of each rim. This new Bloom rim is probably the thinnest on which I have ever played. It is noticeably thinner than the Moosewood M2. This too seems to have had an impact.

To my own lips, the tactile sensation of the raw stainless-steel feels as supple as gold plating. It in fact feels to be even more slippery (and cold) than gold plating, which is something I like. Players that might prefer a warmer feel in a mouthpiece rim may wish to consider the H-Kote treatment.

An inexpensive way to upgrade your horn

Are you looking to make an easy improvement to your playing?

Switching rims is yet another cost-effective way to do that without having to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on a major upgrade. I am very pleased with the results of my own experimentation and highly recommend trying out Houser rims from Houghton Horns or from any other reputable distributor in your area.

After all, one half-of-a-millimeter may be all that stands in the way between you and a higher performance level!