Brief Review: The Jupiter Hybrid Horn/Mellophone Mouthpiece
Back a few years ago I wrote (at some professional risk) a number of items on the mellophone, including an article on mellophone mouthpiece options in my Horn Articles Online site.
Following up on that, I very recently had the chance to try the Jupiter 7CH mouthpiece, which seems to be only sold packaged with their Quantum mellophone. From the website, this is “a unique Hybrid mouthpiece with French horn cup that is perfectly suited for warm ballads and ensemble use.”
I located one this past week, and it feels great to my French horn chops. When this was being developed a source indicated to me that it was based on or similar to a Schilke 31 horn mouthpiece blended into a mellophone cup/shank, and was based on a mouthpiece that had been used by horn doublers at the Disney theme parks.
In the photos with the horn mouthpieces a Schilke 31 is on the left and a classic Schilke FARKAS MODEL on the right. The #14 bore of the Jupiter is just fractionally smaller than the #13 bore of the Schilke 31, and the rim is essentially identical. The cup of the Jupiter is however a good bit shallower than either Schilke mouthpiece.
The second pair of photos compares the Jupiter to a standard Dennis Wick E-flat tenor horn mouthpiece and the IYM hybrid mouthpiece. Note the length of the Jupiter is similar to the Wick but of course the rim and cup are much wider on the tenor horn mouthpiece. (What is a tenor horn? See this article). The IYM rim is somewhere between the two rims in width. As noted in yet another article, I personally like the sound and feel of the IYM, but the rim does not interface well with my chops.
For some horn players it won’t matter a lot but for me, the way I set up on my lower lip, I need a horn rim to play comfortably. Overall I really like how the Jupiter hybrid mouthpiece feels and plays on first impression. It fits the “grooves” on my lips very well, producing a smoky flugelhorn or descant horn sound on the mellophone. This is to say also that it will never catch on in drum corps, their brass techs mostly seem to strongly favor a sound that “cuts” and come to everything from more of a trumpet playing angle. But perhaps it will catch on in marching band use and I certainly would hope that it or a similar clone by another enterprising maker could be more widely available for horn players who double on the mellophone (or tenor horn, it works fairly well on first impression).
With a final footnote being at Arizona State, where I teach, due to a recent curriculum change marching band is no longer a required course in any degree program! So if you or prospective students you know are thinking about music education and don’t want to play in marching band at all, ASU is an option to consider.