How to select a mouthpiece that fits your leadpipe?

How to select a mouthpiece that fits your leadpipe?

This is my Advanced Method of choosing a mouthpiece for your horn

Please read How a mouthpiece works and How a mouthpiece relates to the horn before starting to select one for your horn. Once you understand my philosophy of mouthpiece function, you will be ready to match one to your instrument.

If you are trying my mouthpieces, ideally you have access to some models that are appropriate for the size horn you are fitting. I’ll continue to add to the number of models available since my goal is to offer the perfect model for every horn. (It’s a large task but you deserve it.) If you have a box containing at least 4 variations of a model that is suitable for your instrument, then you will find that one of these variations meshes perfectly with your particular leadpipe. This is the advanced method for fitting a mouthpiece to your horn.

If the box you have doesn’t contain at least 4 variations of one model, then go to How to select a mouthpiece – Basic method to help you decide which model in your possession is best for your horn.

Here we go! There are three steps.

Step #1:

Let’s find out to which Leadpipe Group your leadpipe belongs – using natural slurs.

Keep in Mind

Each mouthpiece in the box will make the instrument play, respond, sound and feel differently


The mouthpieces in the box are organized into four Groups.

Only one of these Groups of mouthpieces will fit your leadpipe.

So in each box of graduated model will contain only three mouthpieces that properly work with your leadpipe.


The following exercises are designed to focus your awareness upon the interaction and relationship of a mouthpiece with a trombone leadpipe and these instructions will steer you toward the optimal match for your instrument.

In a box of 12 mouthpieces, usually there will be three rows across and four down. Each row across is a specific model – four mouthpieces, only one of which will work optimally with your leadpipe! A, B, C or D

For example, let’s say the top row is model 625, the middle row is 640 and the bottom row is 570

Row 1 (Top Row) will include, from left to right:

625 A, 625 B, 625 C, 625 D

Row 2 (Middle Row) will include, from left to right:

640 A, 640 B, 640 C, 640 D

Row 3 (Bottom Row) will include, from left to right:

570 A, 570 B, 570 C, 570 D

Start with the middle Hartman mouthpiece from leadpipe Group A

Play this slur pattern:  

(click here to open it in another tab – it will be larger)

Notice how it feels to slur – both in first position and when you move back and forth between 1st, 3rd and 4th positions. Keep in mind that when you slur between Bb/C/D, you are switching between the same harmonics (partials) as when you are slurring between Bb/D/F – so ideally, it should feel the same to play both slur patterns.

The affect that each mouthpiece has upon slurring helps demonstrate the parallel relationship between embouchure movement and slide movement. This is important to notice again later, in Task #3, when we will zero in on the proper power level. 

Next, play these exercises using the adjacent mouthpiece from Group B, then Group C, and finally from Group D.

One of the Groups - A, B, C or D - will be more comfortable to play than the others. One of the three mouthpieces within the best group will be easiest and most comfortable to play of the twelve in the box. This is because of the venturi effect discussed in How does a mouthpiece work - we've identified the best group for your leadpipe - plus, given that the different models each have a different power output, one of the models will better match the requirements of your instrument.