Common Mouthpiece Problems

After I had worked with Jerry Hall for a while learning the basics of mouthpiece measuring, geometry and facing techniques, he told me “You know everything that I know.  Now go screw up about a thousand mouthpieces and you’ll be ready”.  Needless to say, I learned a great many of the below issues and remedies while destroying those thousand pieces.

What a great many players don’t realize is that most of these common “troubles” (as Erick Brand called them) can be remedied in less than an hour at the bench.  The most common problem I run into is a crooked facing, especially on older mouthpieces that have warped or twisted reed tables.

Squeaks / Chirps

  • Tip rail too thin
  • Crooked facing
  • Hollow or bump on the tip rail
  • Facing curve is too straight near the tip

Stuffy / Overly Resistant

  • Tip rail too wide
  • Too long or too sharp of a curve near the tip rail
  • Facing too short
  • Tip to open
  • “Break” too short
  • Side walls too narrow

Plays Sharp

  • Chamber is too small or short (Usually from over-facing).

Plays Flat

  • Chamber too large or long

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