Solo cornet – Utah Premiere Brass, USA
I recently ordered three Sparx mouth pieces from Ted himself – Cornet 4, 3 and 3B.
First I just tried all of them, without looking at the sizes. The first mouth piece I tried had a comfortable rim and played very solidly and smoothly. I was very happy with the more easily extended range, (and was sure this was the 3B) however; I was most surprised to hear the lowest F# just as pronounced as the mid range. There wasn’t any fuzz or airy sound anywhere from low F# or to high “e” above the staff…(actually was playing the sparx cornet 4!).
The next mouthpiece I played felt a bit wider, and I was stunned at how much more projection was produced. I played louder on this mouthpiece with the same amount of air as the previous mouthpiece. I thought, “Wow, this is the one!” The higher range was almost as easy as the first, but the sounded even better…(sparx cornet 3)
The final mouthpiece was shocking. I put it up to my lips and immediately realized that this was the more shallow of the cups. So I slurred down to the low F# to see if the tone was thinned or fuzzy like it is with my Bach 3C. It wasn’t! The note was full, round and resonated like the 2nd line “g”! I chromatically slurred up to high C and it was even easier than the other two, with a massive amount of overtones. The tone was a bit more brilliant and so I put my DW4-gp back in to compare tone color. The DW sound was the wide, warm sound I remembered, but it took much more muscle, and air for the higher range, and I noticed how much harder it is to articulate on the DW. Back to the Sparx 3B, my tonguing was crisp, but not overbearing. On the DW, double and triple tonguing used more articulating for something that sounded much softer.
Over all, the Sparx cornet 3B is my mouthpiece of choice, on the Besson Sovereign 928 and King Legend 2220 cornets. For solo cornet line music it showed to be much easier on my chops for the 2 1/2 hour Saturday morning rehearsal. The tone was full and dark from low to high and I didn’t feel like I was swaying my intonation like I sometimes do this early in the morning.
Great job Ted Sparks! I’m the fourth on my line to own and play a Sparx. We owe our sound to you!