Denis Wick Steven Mead Euphonium Mouthpieces 101
Learn everything you need to know to get started on Denis Wick Steven Mead Euphonium Mouthpieces

Denis Wick Steven Mead Euphonium Mouthpieces 101

Learn everything you need to know to get started on Denis Wick Steven Mead Euphonium Mouthpieces

Denis Wick offers a wide variety of Euphonium mouthpieces developed specifically for Euphonium. There are 3 different shank sizes, multiple styles, and variations within those styles. The below is a quick guide to the many options.

Shank Sizes:

There are three shank sizes; small, medium (sometimes referred to as European), and large.

· Small – For the Wick Classic Euphonium range the small shank is identified with a “Y” in the nomenclature i.e. 6AY. In the Wick Steven Mead range the small shank mouthpieces are actually classified as Baritone mouthpieces. This is because small shank is not often found on Euphoniums the exception being some beginner models. The Mead range of baritone is identical to their Euphonium equivalent sizes but with a small shank.

· Medium/Euro – Medium shank mouthpieces can be identified with an extra “m” in the nomenclature. For classic; 4AM. For any Steven Mead range; SM4MU, SM3M. Medium shank is extremely rare at this point and is typically only found on vintage models. A quick way to test this is finding both small shank and large shank euphonium or trombone mouthpieces, if neither fits it’s a medium shank.

· Large Shank – This is the standard for the Steven Mead range. Unless otherwise notated in the nomenclature with an “M” or “Y” the mouthpiece with be large shank i.e. SM2, SM4U.

· Trombone – Some people still like to use a Denis Wick trombone mouthpiece. In this case small shank is identified with an “S” (4BS), large shank with an “L” (4AL).

Mouthpiece Style:

There are several Euphonium mouthpiece styles: Classic, Steven Mead Classic, Steven Mead Ultra, Steven Mead Ultra with Variations.

· Classic – The Euphonium Classic range was one of the first purpose designed mouthpieces for Euphonium and Baritone. Where trombone bore is cylindrical Euphonium is conical. The mouthpieces are very similar to the Classic trombone range but with a modified throat and backbore section for better performance in the conical bore of a Euphonium. It is available in limited sizes and only in small and medium shank.

· Steven Mead Classic – Designed over 30 years ago, Mead Classic was the first full range Euphonium mouthpiece line offered by any manufacturer. Unlike the more bowl shaped cup design of a trombone mouthpiece the Mead Classic has very deep “V” shaped cups and more open back bores. It creates a rich velvety tone that really enhances the Euphoniums unique sound.

· Steven Mead Ultra – The status of Euphonium over the past 10-15 years has changed from section instrument to main event. It is often used as a featured soloist, has increased concerto rep, and is often used in recitals. As such the demands on the instrument have increased requiring more musical acrobatics, faster articulation response, and overall increased performance and efficiency. Wick and Steven Mead created the Ultra series as a solution to the growing performance demands. The Ultra series has a modified “V” cup that is a cross between a trombone bowl shape and the traditional deep “V”. This modified cup still provides a very rich traditional Euphonium sound but gives the player the extra support they need for upper register response, articulation, and endurance.

· Steven Mead Ultra X and XR series – Recently Denis Wick has offered a couple variations on the Ultra series. These are limited to jut a few sizes within the line at this time. The Ultra X series offers a sharper inner rim and a tighter back bore. It makes for a brighter sound but with increased response particularly in the upper register. The Ultra XR series utilizes the tighter backbore from the X series but has a rounded rim. The rounded rim adds flexibility for lip trills and interval slurring.

The world of mouthpieces can be difficult to sort out especially when there are less and less places that have stock to play test. A great option to utilize is our DF Music trial program. Not only can you try out several mouthpieces but you will also have the opportunity to take advantage of a free comprehensive mouthpiece consultation with long time Denis Wick and brass specialist Richard Galime. Contact us at [email protected].