Introducing the NEW Steven Mead "UltraX" Euphonium & Baritone Mouthpieces !!
It's been a couple of years now since we launched the Ultra series of mouthpieces for euphonium and baritone. I'm really thrilled to see that these mouthpieces have gone on to become much loved and established amongst leading players as well as amateur musicians. The com-
bination of positive response, rich tone, extended range and the comfortable rim has made it one of the most popular mouthpieces around.
Does that mean that I as a professional soloist sit back and stop looking to improve? Well anyone that knows me knows that this is impossible! What more could I want from a mouthpiece?
The demands of new music that I'm working on continue to grow, and the challenge of touring and playing virtually non-stop can also take its toll on the lips. I thought long and hard about these challenges and also listened to some comments from people who currently enjoying the
current Ultra range, who would tell me that they love the sound, tone and the response but sometimes they get a little bit tired, perhaps earlier than they would wish!
When I combined these two thoughts I began to imagine small but significant modifications to the existing range and so we set about experimenting, not with the outer shape and comfortable rim edge, but with the interior. Was there a way to harness even more response,
without sacrificing what we already love about the existing mouthpiece? Due to the skill and expertise of the people at the Denis Wick factory we were able to transfer these ideas into a precise design, thereby transforming the current design into something that I now regard as
even more special.
We redesigned the internal shape and depth of the existing models, in a combination of rim size and cup depth that has not been experimented with before in the world of euphonium and baritone mouthpieces. Almost always a large rim has meant a deep or very deep cup depth, and a small rim has implied the need for a very shallow depth. It was time to break one or two conventions!
It may be that the Ultra X for euphonium (Model size 3 and 4) and baritone (Model size 4) will not be for everyone, but I have a feeling, a very strong feeling, that it will give performers of all ages and experiences added confidence and improve performance.
You will undoubtedly feel an improvement in stamina.
You will find much greater clarity and stability in the high range. This means that not only are the high notes a lot more achievable, and for a longer time, but will also be much more controllable dynamically and tonally.
It also helps to stabilise the embouchure, requiring less movement from the lips, especially with flexibility, slurring and playing right across the range.
Articulation seems to be generally more reliable, especially at soft dynamics.
It also enables you to play slightly longer phrases.
For some, you may even feel that you don't need to practice quite so much to keep up your stamina.
Denis Wick Products have launched a new range of euphonium mouthpieces designed by virtuoso euphonium-player Steven Mead. The new ‘Ultra’ range was launched at the National Brass Band Championships at the Royal Albert Hall.
Steven Mead designed his original SM series for Denis Wick back in 1995, but recent changes in instrument design and Steven’s desire for perfection, have been the spur to create this new design. After many prototypes, the Ultra SM3U was finally given Steven’s consent, and was met with universal approval at both Music China and the Brass Band Championships.
The new mouthpiece has a different, heavier outer shape, a slightly more rounded cup and a slightly sharper inner edge to the rim. The sound is powerful, with a beautiful singing high register.
Steven Mead said "From an initial concept drawing we started to get closer to the desired goal. Each prototype was subjected to rigorous testing in different acoustics, using ‘blind’ judges listening to the new mouthpiece in relation to others. Each time following the tests we were able to make it a little better, then again a little better. Finally, we arrived at the finished version and I’m delighted with it!"