51B, day one

So, after playing on a 4CL almost exclusively since 2004, I have decided to try a new mouthpiece.

I like the 4CL a lot -- it really mellows out my naturally bright tone, I have great endurance on it, and my middle range sounds fantastic. However, I seem to have hit a wall with it -- some notes in the staff (particularly G and Gb) have a "spread" sound that I can't get rid of, and I can't seem to get my high register to function past C with any success. (Note that I have always had this trouble with my high range, but I've been working harder and smarter at it lately with little-to-no actual success.)

Jon loaned me a gold-plated Schilke 51B. The diameter is a little bit smaller than my 4CL and the cup is definitely shallower and more round. And so, I have decided to present to you all a day-to-day diary of my work with this bad boy... starting today, and going until whenever I feel like I don't have anything interesting to add.

April 7, 2010: Day One
  • Initial reaction: responds MUCH differently from my 4CL -- faster, easier. Switched back and forth a few times to compare. 4CL sounds muddled on initial attacks compared to the 51B. 
  • Middle range sounds thin at first, but warms up. 
  • Vibrato is easy -- almost too easy. I feel like I'm doing it when I don't mean to.
  • Ten minutes into playing mid-range scales and simple articulation patterns and my lips are tired. Taking a five minute break.
  • Post-break: Staff notes are markedly less "spread" sounding. My pedal range is gone. Hard to slur between the D partial and the fourth line F for some reason. Lasted about 15 minutes before having to take another break.
  • Post-break 2: Sounds like ass. Chops are unaccustomed to this new object invading their space. Did long tones until I felt tired again. Should have given myself 45 minutes for the day, but crossed off an hour for effort.
Tune in tomorrow for another installment!

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