Andy Carter

Amesbury, Wiltshire, UK

Having recently returned to serious banding after a layoff of some 20 plus years I had been experiencing a number of difficulties most notably endurance and range. Though these problems were anticipated they persisted despite disciplined practice. I just could not get along with the Yamaha 16E that was provided with the Maestro cornet, it cut terribly and I experienced the usual problems with intonation in the upper register on this instrument. The top A was also very thin and unsatisfactory, though using third valve did give some improvement. As a result of these difficulties I reverted to and old Parker – Jim Shepherd Special that I played with years ago and there was an immediate improvement.

However, as the mouthpiece was old it had started to develop a few pits in the rim and I really wanted a new mouthpiece. I felt sure that over the last 20 years there must have been major improvements in mouthpiece design and manufacture and I was keen to try something new. So I decided to do a bit of research. Though there is a lot of information out there it is largely anecdotal and highly subjective and not really much help. I was also disappointed to see that Wick and Bach were still producing essentially the same mouthpieces they were producing years ago.

Then I came across Sparx and GR. GR claimed that they had developed a mathematical model that reliably predicted the effects of mouthpiece geometry and design parameters on brass acoustics. As a practicing engineer I was intrigued by this and keen to give a Sparx mouthpiece a try. After some correspondence with Ted, because of the kind of playing I do, he recommended that I try the Sparx 3DV.

The first time I offered this mouthpiece up I was immediately struck by the comfort and grip. Once I had stopped smiling I launched into my standard warm up routine, which I accomplished without difficulty. This was the easiest transition of any mouthpiece I have tried. After playing on this mouthpiece for a few weeks now I am thrilled with the quality of tone, the accuracy in pitch and the immediacy in response of this mouthpiece. The upper register is also coming along nicely and the problem with the top A has disappeared. I can’t see myself changing mouthpieces in the future unless it’s to a 2DV!

Thanks for a great mouthpiece Ted!

Andy Carter

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