pertaining to Chasons Hybrid Crossover Mouthpieces
My name's Jonathan Tan and I'm a recent University graduate, freelance trombonist, brass tutor and high school band director based in Auckland, New Zealand. I'm really interested in the Hybrid Mouthpieces you guys are selling. Unfortunately, because they are a fairly new product, not many people seem to be talking about them yet so I thought I'd explain what my situation is and see if you can give me some advice on whether you think it would work for me. I can tell you though, it sounds like a Godsend for brass tutors!
At present, all of my playing work is done on the trombone, however, I would love to be able to double on trumpet (and perhaps eventually flugelhorn and French horn as well) as well. As a brass tutor and band director in a small place like New Zealand, it also helps to be able to play trumpet as well as trombone. I've been learning trumpet for about a year now and the main difficulty for me has been adjusting to a trumpet mouthpiece from a 6 1/2 AL trombone mouthpiece. I was wondering:
How long it takes most trombonists to get used to a Hybrid Mouthpiece?
Myself, Wycliffe Gordon and quite a few others could play on the Hybrid Mouthpiece immediately. Others take awhile (couple weeks of dedicated and committed practice). Many low brass players do not play with the abdominal air support which is needed to play a trumpet or cornet. If you don't have a good solid tone on your trombone, it will never happen on a trumpet. A trumpet takes even more breath support than a trombone. Even though you use the exact same embouchure as you would on your trombone, it's the breath control that makes or breaks whether or not a player can make it happen with the Chasons Hybrid Mouthpiece.
You mention that you guarantee all products 100% - is there an approximate time you would recommend trialing a Hybrid Mouthpiece before making a decision on whether it's "right"?
We offer a 60-day return policy and believe this is adequate time to trial our products. Refunds are contingent upon the condition of the mouthpiece or product when it's returned. We won't give a full refund for a damaged, dented or scratched up piece. If the piece is in great condition and it can be buffed out, then a full refund has been earned. For deeper scratches or gouges, we may have to send the mouthpiece back to the client. Players know it works (or eventually will work) pretty much the first day. Players who truly want to double ...make it work.
Do many trombonists end up returning a Hybrid Mouthpieces and decide to try to learn to adjust between a trumpet mouthpiece and trombone mouthpiece instead?
If a trombonist has good success doubling on a trumpet why buy a Chasons Hybrid? It's not needed. But if you have embouchure problems switching from your trombone to your trumpet several times in a set, then the Hybrid is your horn doubling answer. Wycliffe Gordon says, “I LOVE this mouthpiece!…its THE answer for the crossover musician.” As it stands right now, We estimate about 1 in 9 return the piece for a refund. Most players who end up returning their Hybrid Mouthpiece for one of two main reasons: 1) They haven't learned how to blow their trombone/baritone/euph/tuba with real breath support and the problem is greatly exposed when they try to play trumpet. 2) They already have fair to good success on a trumpet with a regular trumpet mouthpiece but they are looking for magic: lead trumpet range, perfect comfort while switching instruments and no practice time required. If you can switch like Morrison, please don't buy the Hybrid Crossover just to try it out. It is a waste of everyone's time.
Would using a Hybrid Mouthpiece eventually create limitations in the upper register on the trumpet? How difficult is it to develop range above C (in the stave) on the trumpet with a Hybrid Mouthpiece?
When you play the Hybrid Crossover on a trumpet, it absolutely sounds like a trumpet. Flip Oaks, the creator of the "Wild Thing" trumpet (this is the trumpet Arturo Sandoval plays) heard Chasons play one of his trumpets with the Chasons Hybrid Crossover Mouthpiece with the trumpet backbore, and he said, "I can't believe it! I can't believe it! I can't believe it!." We asked Flip, "Can we quote you on the Chasons website?" He said, "Sure." If you play with our cornet backbore, it sounds like a cornet. The Crossover has great intonation and sounds right.
The range of the Hybrid Crossover mouthpiece has obvious limitations. The physics of the aperture size created in the embouchure by a small rim vs a large rim is academic. A smaller rim (trumpet) automatically creates a smaller chops aperture, thus a higher potential tonal range. The larger Chasons Hybrid Crossover rim (now available in Schilke 40B (.886"), Bach 6 1/2 (1.000") as well as the standard Bach 11-(.994"), creates a larger chops aperture, thus range has limitations. Some can play the high C (concert Bb 932 Hz) and a bit higher, but we would be hard pressed to play it in a performance. Some play their trumpet or cornet reading off of bass clef lead sheets (Real Book) and this works fine. Our working range is high F above staff. Of course the actual tone is an octave higher.
How is the Wycliffe Gordon Hybrid Mouthpiece better/different to Chasons Hybrid Mouthpiece?
Wycliffe Gordon found the Hybrid Crossover mouthpiece in Peter Pickett's shop, where we have them made, and he played it and loved it. His agent called up Chasons and said he wanted to be a part of the Hybrid and make one that would be a single, Signature piece. The cup, throat and backbore are the same. He shaped the rim a bit flatter, reshaped the outside design (looks great), and added .1 oz of mass. Which is better? We don't know. We like our rim better and he likes his rim better. The Wycliffe signature piece comes in either pure silver or 24K gold. Mr. Gordon uses the gold version in his recording sessions and performance.
Are there other benefits to using a Hybrid Mouthpiece other than being able to double?
Practicing and playing with the small throat creates more back pressure than the trombonist is used to. Playing with this back pressure, we believe, helps develop top end tonal range on the trombone.
I would enjoy hearing back from you as soon as you have the time to answer my questions! Thank you very much for your time! It definitely sounds like an awesome concept and product!
More info below:
"I work with a 7-piece Dixieland band playing Tailgate Trombone on a King 3-B. On occasion I have to fill in on my Benge trumpet. If I’m doing ONLY trumpet I can lead songs for about an hour or 2 with that smaller mouthpiece (and smaller embouchure). However if I have to switch back and forth between trumpet and trombone I’m in bad shape after just a few songs.
I was referred to Dave Chamberlain in San Diego. Dave said his company (Chason’s Music) is manufacturing a Hybrid Crossover trombone to trumpet mouthpiece similar (so I understand) to the early Al Cass models except you can interchange shanks for Trumpet, Cornet, or Flugelhorn. It has a very shallow cup and Bach size 11 rim. The workmanship is excellent (see www.chasonsmusic.com for more details).
I demoed it on a Dixie gig at the Lawrence Welk resort. I was able to switch back and forth effortlessly between trombone and trumpet for the whole evening and it sounded great!
I had tried just using a smaller trombone mouthpiece in a trumpet but it was hard to blow and had a very dark sound. Dave’s mouthpiece, on the other hand, produces the bright conventional trumpet sound and is extremely easy to blow! Needless to say I kept it and I highly recommend it to trombonists who want to double on trumpet, cornet, or Flugelhorn. " -Lee Fugal (with this mouthpiece I now have a Fugal-horn)
And Chasons responses
Hybrid Trombone to Trumpet Mouthpieces?
Here's my situation. On a Daily basis I'm constantly switching from Trumpet to Euphonium (I play trumpet for 1 & 2 jazz bands at my school, then Euphonium for Concert Band and Baritone for Marching Band) and as you well know that creates embouchure issues. As of now I have no choice of not playing trumpet but my original plan was to drop trumpet when I get to college and focus strictly on Euphonium. But then while asking for advice on another forum somebody brought this to my attention:
It's essentially a trombone cup with a trumpet backbore for trombone/baritone/euphonium players who wish to double on higher brass instruments. This is not quite true. The Hybrid Crossover Mouthpiece has a trombone rim (not cup). The cup on the Hybrid Mouthpiece is very shallow (trumpet mouthpiece shallow.) This is what Al Cass discovered. The secret for the great crossover tone is the depth of the mouthpiece. This seems perfect for my case as I feel that I am stronger on Euphonium than Trumpet but the price is what hurts me. So does anyone know a company or brand that sells the same type mouthpiece or mouthpiece system at a lower price? Our standard Hybrid Trombone-to-Trumpet (top with one backbore) goes for $155 with our very special Wycliffe Gordon signature one-piece Hybrid selling for $175. Our pieces are precision lathed on CNC machines at Peter Pickett's shop (Pickett Brass) and then sent to Anderson's of Indiana for pure silver plating or 24-karat gold. They are both the best in the business. Our pieces are among the best pieces in the world. Entry level Monettes go for $195 with the Prana trumpet mouthpiece going for $337. The Wedge pieces start at $180. Giddings and Webster have some titaniums at $350. Our prices are below typical price for custom production pieces. They are the only ones like them in the world. If we made them in China we could sell them for $35 to $70 and make it worth our while. Better mouthpieces cost more. You need a great mouthpiece for your horn. Bachs are the standard and they are fine pieces, but you will be surprised what you can do with a better mouthpiece.
Does anyone as well know how they feel in response to a trombone or baritone player?
These pieces use your exact embouchure but take more support and air pressure. See my response in the left hand column.
Also: My normal set-up is Vincent Bach 3C for Trumpet and Denis Steven Mead Ultra SM3U for Euphonium/Baritone
Even the maker couldn't say anything better than, "They don't sound bad".
We did say that, but we were speaking about the French Horn backbore only. (and it doesn't sound bad :-) The trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn backbores sound wonderful. A large part of an instruments tone comes from the style of mouthpiece. Putting a big ol Tbone cup on a trumpet, or even (horrors) a French horn sounds all wrong to me. It may help to preserve your embouchure, but will it be a trumpet sound? Yes! It does have a trumpet sound. Once again, it doesn't have a "big ol Tbone cup". It has a Tbone RIM and a trumpet CUP (very shallow).
At the present time Chasons Music is the only company which sells Crossover Mouthpieces for instrument doublers. "It may help to preserve your embouchure, but will it be a trumpet sound?" The answer is: "Yes, it sounds just like a trumpet." The trumpet, cornet and flugelhorn backbores all sound great! The horn backbore, however, does lack that complete full rich French Horn tone. The Horn backbore is for sale primarily for the band/orchestra director as a tool for band/orchestra room horn technique demonstrations.
I recently purchased your acoustic personal monitor for trombone and have been pleased with it. While on your web site I noticed the Hybrid Crossover Mouthpiece. I am interested, but cannot afford to squander $155 if it turns out to be something that doesn’t work well for me. Is it possible to try one out?
Thanks for your interest in our products (and your APM purchase). We don't have a loan program for trying out our Hybrid Crossover Mouthpiece. We do give a full money back guarantee. Just mail your mouthpiece back to us within 60 days, and we credit your PayPal account. We did have a return which came back in very rough condition and we couldn't give a refund. That happened just once. If you take care of your Hybrid Mouthpiece and decide it doesn't work for your purposes you will have no problem getting a full purchase price refund.
Take care and thanks for writing. -Chasons
This isn't a question....but a very nice note you might like to read.
Thank you verrrryyy much for the mouthpiece and meter. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner, but I am back looking for work after my nursing job only lasted six weeks [I was probably hired just to cover employees desiring vacation time during the Holidays]. At least I got some excellent experience out of the ride. Your generousity is uplifting. I have been so busy playing with the mouthpiece that I haven't tried the meter. That will soon be remedied. I don't want this to sound insulting, but knowing what I do about businesses and equipment costs, I was amazed that such a small machining operation as you have assembled could produce such a high-quality mouthpiece. The thing is absolutely beautiful! I don't know if I ever mentioned it to you, but I once took a Schilke 38D Altohorn mouthpiece and press-fitted-while-heating a larger trombone shank over the Altohorn shank so that I could use it on a trombone. I also drilled the backbore out. I have had some fun with it and I have gotten some exercise out of it, but I could see how extended time spent on it would screw-up my ombuchure.
As you have already foreseen, use of your mouthpiece on a trumpet or cornet could become a new standardized technique for trombone players working on strengthening their ombuchure and advancing their breath control (valved instruments offer resistence that the free-blowing trombone does not).
Success may force you to grow much faster than you would like, so I don't know whether I should wish you success or stagnation. In any event, it is more than refreshing to see a 'nice guy' hit one out-of-the-park, I wish you the very best and look forward to following your companies' growth into the future.
Admiration and Respect, Bob.
We thought you might be interested to read this letter from Johnny Haig Echow (a lead trombonist and famous Vegas band leader) to Al Cass who invented the crossover mouthpiece. Haig had Al Cass make him a Trombone-to-French Horn crossover mouthpiece. This letter shows the true quality and viability of the Hybrid Crossover mouthpiece concept. We believe Steve Cass (Al's son) is selling some of the original crossovers on eBay.
September 14, 1968
Jack Dougherty is still using your trumpet piece and is very satisfied. Dating back to 1940 he has played with the following bands: Jan Savitt, Jan Garber, Jimmy Dorsey, Tommy Dorsey, Ziggy Elman, Ray Noble, Horace Heidt, and in Las Vegas with Garwood Van, Jack Catheart, Nat Brandwyn and Bill reddie. He is very happy to endorse your piece.
As for myself, up to December, 1967, I have played 1st trombone and horn with Bill Reddie for 8 years at the Dunes Hotel in Las Vegas. Bill Reddie received a 1968 Grammy Award nomination for his arrangement of West Side Story for the Buddy Rich Orchestra. He was extremely pleased to have the horn color added to the band at very little added cost, and used it extensively in his arrangements of the Casino de Paris show and record dates.
As a result of your trombone-to-horn mouthpiece, I was able to increase my income $2000-$3000 per year. I formed and play horn with the Nevada Las Vegas Symphony, horn on record dates (Tommy Vig -Sound of the Seventies, other horns were top Hollywood Studio players), and worked with top horn players such as Vince de Rosa and others in local concerts.
I have also taught French Horn at Nevada Southern University. All of this without any loss or discomfort to my "Trombone Chops." I have what could be termed a normal embouchure and no special adjustment was required. The trombone piece is the best I have ever played on, and would recommend it for any type of work. The trombone to trumpet piece also "works" and a range up to trumpet high "C" was achieved very quickly.
You have my permission to quote any of the foregoing.
Sincerely, Haig Eshow
We want to impress on the reader that our Hybrid Crossover Mouthpieces are not a gimmick to make some quick money. They are superior well-crafted tools which will lift the musician to a new level of flexiblility and musicianship.
Here at Chasons, we have used the Chasons Hybrid mouthpiece professionally in Hot Jazz, Casual Jazz, R&B and Rock genre.
Here is a letter from someone who ordered a hybrid and is learning to adjust to the Hybrid in a trumpet:
I put a good amount of time in on it today with a Schilke trumpet I have. The biggest problem I had was getting the partials in tune. I read the paper you put in the box, used more support. I was giving it all I had and I still played flat. My biggest concern was how much time I had, some places to 7 days, etc. I want to give this a good try, but I want to know what my time frame looks like.
Schilke trumpets are great. In our experience, there is no mouthpiece or horn that plays all partials in tune. It's bad with trombones and worse with trumpets. On a typical trombone 1st postion partials: low Bb, F and Bb above staff are close but still have to be lipped in a minor bit. D is flat and must be lipped up quite a bit. High F plays in tune. Ab is really flat so most play it in 3rd..etc. When you play euphonium or bass trumpet (really out of tune). We work a long time with tuners and lip it in, like you are doing, until muscle memory automatically compensates for intonation issues. The Hybrid in a trumpet is no different. Obviously you get the horn in tune (tuning slides) first, this takes awhile to find the best compromise with each combinations of valves. Then practice with your tuner to get squared away and your muscle memory takes over. This is what we had to do with our low brass instruments when we all first started. We are all so used to lipping up or lipping down partials, we don't even think about it because of embouchure muscle memory. You are starting all over with a new genre of horn and a hybrid mouthpiece.
Thanks for writing.
If you can't make it work....send it back.
Thank you very much for the response and the advice. This makes me feel much better!