The Philosophy of Mouthpieces By Ian Bousfield
Over the past four and a half decades I have searched for the right trombone/mouthpiece combination. This led me to have over 100 mouthpieces in my personal collection.
With the advancement of modern manufacturing techniques we are now able to do things in mouthpiece design that were not available when most traditional mouthpieces were created. This means that proportioning in many cases, is now different to which you may expect. This allows, for example, width and depth of sound to come from a mouthpiece that is not necessarily as deep as traditional Bachs.
What I've observed is that mouthpieces tend to fall into two categories, as do the people that play them. To put it into singing parlance, some players play with a chest voice and some players play with a head voice. We can think of examples of modern heavy duty trombone players that throw air at their equipment, this style of playing is towards chest playing. These players tend to like less resistance in the system (trombone/mouthpiece/leadpipe/etc.).
Think then of the most beautiful ballad players you know. These players tend towards playing with a head voice style. These players prefer more resistance in the system. In my opinion we need to be both. This whole range of mouthpiece is aimed at giving you the ability to do both styles of playing which I have continually worked on over my career.
My goal in creating these mouthpiece was to provide to you what has been in my possession these past few years. Custom one off mouthpieces should be available to you, and my clear design process led me to further improve upon my earlier concepts.
We have made discoveries through this process and have changed manufacturing to the USA with GSI LLC (Griego Sound Inventions, LLC).
The journey that this design process has taken me on has revolutionized my playing, and I'm delighted to bring you a range of mouthpieces I only wish I had available to me 30 years ago!
Regarding the numbering system. Try to look at the numbering system different than than typical mouthpieces. For me the 4 has always been an anomaly and has not fit correctly in many series. My 4's will not feel as big as you might expect. If you are after a more traditional 4 feel, then you may consider the 3's as they will "feel" more like the traditional model 4's.
The V series will give the piping clear projecting, radiance which sounds so good on top of a section, or in front of the ensemble playing solos. You can float in the high register or throw as much air as you want.
The below V series pieces are listed in order from largest to smallest cup diameter.
The O Series will tend towards being more free, while retaining the ability to sing with the head voice. With the O series has the ability to play with both head and chest playing, but the color, and weight of sound is more towards a blending darker sound, when pushed the O series is still alive and clear.
The mouthpieces designed in this series are deeper than the V series which are designed to be a solo mouthpiece. The O stands for Orchestral and will provide you with a deeper voice, richer sound, more weight of sound, and a sound that will blend easier with your colleagues.
The below S series pieces are listed in order from largest to smallest cup diameter.
I have spent decades playing alto mouthpieces. My conclusions are, that for me, something around a conventional size 9 (my Model Alto) is perfect for most classical repertoire both orchestral and solo. These mouthpiece have the same rim and cup profiles as the rest of my range and is again a great balance between freedom and compression.
For larger orchestral repertoire like Brahms and Schubert symphonies I choose to play the V5 in the small shank.