On Testing Mouthpiece Rims

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As noted in the recent article on mouthpieces and metal allergies, my current working theory is that may I have developed a sensitivity to my gold rim. This has led to the testing of a number of rims, Houser with their H-Kote finish and also Moosewood in Delrin. A few notes.

rims1Initial trials can be very taxing. Any practice session where I tried several rims was killer. You just are not used to the rim is a big part of it, switching around rims works the muscles a bit differently.

Contour and width make huge differences. Early on in the first selection I had available of Houser H-Kote rims the two leaders were the Jon Ring rim and the Bloom rim. The Ring rim was very similar in inner diameter and overall width to what I had been playing but has bit different peak shape. What I found was, for me, that different peak made my high range go flat! The Bloom rim is very similar to the very first screw rim I ever used, early 1980s Giardinelli that I was told then was a Philip Meyers rim. It is a bit narrower than what I have been playing in the recent past, with a smaller inner diameter too, but on it the high range came back into focus. And that the Bloom rim was very similar to something I used to play yet again proves the “Mouthpiece Wheel of Doom” theory, which basically states after any mouthpiece trials you will end up back where you started.

They sound different. What I also found especially interesting was just how audible the difference is between different rims. On a rim similar to a Laskey rim my articulations are OK but with a narrower rim they tighten up right where I expect them to be. Also with a wider rim the tone is certainly a bit more dull overall. At one time I played a Farkas rim, but at this point that rim width negatively impacts my sound to such an extent I could never go back to it.

rims3Speaking of “big names”… As noted, some of the rims I tried were those of big name players, and several of those not mentioned I can’t imagine playing on ever! What their designs prove to me is either they are quite different in lip structure than I am or they are hugely strong or both. If the XXXX model rim doesn’t feel any good to you, just move on. Don’t feel like a wimp or whatever, it is just not for you.

I could go on and on. This topic is a hugely important one and I am sure there are many fine horn players who do not adequately explore it. Rim choice can hold you back from your potentials and is a topic well worth looking at closely. I am still exploring it now in fact, and soon will have more on cups and bringing everything into focus.

FOR MORE QUICK READING I highly recommend this article from a few years back where Bruce Hembd is trying out H-Kote rims as well. The photos above are actually photos by Bruce from his earlier Horn Matters article.

University of Horn Matters