Welcome to a new dimension of tone!
Your trombone, tuba, euphonium, or bari sax has never had the kind of flexibility of timbre that you are going to get out of a nu mouthpiece. These instruments can sustain vocal multiphonics, but haven't been able to produce a satisfactory range of formant harmonics. Formants are created by shaping the tongue and throat into a series of distinct, discrete forms that emphasize certain harmonics. It is the much larger bore of the didgeridoo that makes loud formant harmonics possible. We believe that a merger of didgeridoo and low brass techniques presents a lot of potential, and we are dedicated to helping the world realize that. We hope that you are as excited as us to hear what lies ahead! Follow us on facebook, instagram, and twitter to stay up-to-date!
How it's designed:
The nu mouthpiece obtains its didgeridoo-like sound by utilizing the widest bore possible. The shank will be stabilized by a press-fit brass ring. The prototypes in the photos show this ring and the shank in brass, but the production and Kickstarter models will have silver plating. In addition to formant overtones didgeridoo players also extensively utilize the technique of circular breathing, which the flat rim of a traditional brass mouthpiece doesn't exactly facilitate. The nu mouthpiece is crafted with a contoured rim to help curb the escape of air while circular breathing. This is similar to the mouthpieces made by William Thoren for his incredible drop octave didgeridoos.
About the wood:
You will have a choice of Mopani, Honduran Rosewood, and African Blackwood. These are beautiful hardwoods that with proper care can last a lifetime.
The African Blackwood (aka Grenadilla) is the same wood used in clarinets. It's color runs from very dark brown to black. It is one of the most stable woods once dried.
The Honduran Rosewood is a deep reddish brown with a distinct grain. It is often used by luthiers in guitar fretboards because of it's strength and beauty. It is the most abundant of the South and Central American rosewoods.
Mopane is another African hardwood that is less widely known but is starting to gain favor among the handmade flute market due to it's beautiful blond color and grain.
These are three of the twenty hardest woods known to man, which allows me to cut a thin wall for optimum sound, and to turn them with delicate and beautiful ornamentation as well. These woods are not listed as endangered by the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species, or CITES for short.
Will it fit my trombone or baritone/euphonium?
I will make both standard and large bore shanks for trombone and baritone/euphonium. After you pledge we will ask you what size you require. If you require a custom shank size I will consider building you a custom order after the completion of the Kickstarter.
Here's Eric Budd on tenor and contrabass trombone!
Will it fit my tuba?
Our tuba mouthpieces are the standard American shank size. If you need a custom shank size I will consider making this to order after the Kickstarter orders have been fulfilled.
Here's John Baylies on tuba!
Will it fit my baritone saxophone?
Yes, it will fit your bari.
Here's Erik Nugent on bari!
Our one-year warranty:
We offer a one year 100% warranty against cracking. If it cracks in the first year you can ship it to us and we will ship you a brand new mouthpiece. With my 17 years of experience making handmade flutes, many from wood, I have found that the few that do crack almost always do it in the first year. Many cracks can be repaired, so if a crack happens after the first year send it in and we will determine if it is fixable. Exotic woods are not meant to be washed with soap and water. This removes the natural oils from the wood, leaving it unprotected. This would void the warranty. They can be cleaned and sterilized with an inexpensive blended whiskey. This will not damage the finish, will leave the mouthpiece smelling pleasant, and is non-toxic.
Care and maintenance:
The Tung Oil is the same finish that has been used in high quality flutes for hundreds of years. We are using only the purest ingredients. This keeps the natural beauty of the surface of the wood and will never chip off like a surface finish such as lacquer, epoxy, or polyurethane. Never wash out your nu mouthpiece with soap and water as this will quickly degrade the finish of the mouthpiece. When you are done playing just simply use a lint free cloth or paper towel to wipe out the moisture and other condensates. If you play it daily you should wash it out once a week or so with a cheep blended whisky. Once a year the mouthpiece should simply be recoated with 100% tung oil for 15 minutes, wiped off, and allowed to sit on a paper towel for 24 hours to dry. In this way we can maintain the quality of finish for a lifetime! By the end of our first year we will offer small bottles of tung oil for this purpose. 100% tung oil is available at high end wood working stores (don't trust the stuff at the big box stores, it is always diluted with chemicals that don't appear on the label). For those who do not wish to re-apply the tung oil themselves they could ship their mouthpiece back to me and I could do it for them. This would also give me the opportunity to re-polish to a high luster.
You can support us by picking something from the list of rewards to the right. If you’d like to be so kind as to support us with a small donation then we will send you an exclusive, original, one-minute tuba solo as a token of our gratitude. There’s also a sweet T-shirt available for $25 or more: Purchase a mouthpiece for yourself, or get some friends together to join in for a Studio Discount! If you are interested in becoming a dealer, the Dealer Pack at the bottom of the list is a great way to start!
Q: If I don't like it could I get a refund?
A: I am convinced that once people spend time with this mouthpiece they are going to love it. Give it one to two weeks while you learn how to switch from one technique to another, and if at the end of that you still don't like it then ship it back for a full refund, not including shipping. Returns will be accepted for the first 30 days.
Q: What will be the price for a nu mouthpiece after the campaign is over?
A: At this point we are anticipating that Suggested Retail Price will be $219.95
Q: I have a standard shank trombone and a large shank euphonium. Could I get a small shank mouthpiece and an adapter?
A: My shanks should fit any instrument with a standard American shank of that size. If the adapter is good, it should work. That being said in order to optimize the formant harmonics I have made each size of shank the largest bore I could. Each mouthpiece is made to work best in its own shank size.
Risks and challenges
Finding the best fit for a trombone will take a little knowledge from the player. They'll have to know if they have a standard or large bore trombone. Tuba players will need to know if their tuba is a standard American shank.
My biggest challenge is finding sources of dried, stable wood. I have already found and ordered African blackwood, Honduran rosewood, and mopani in sufficient numbers to fulfill the kickstarter. Unfortunately I couldn't find a satisfactory source of decent eucalyptus that was dried and prepared for turning.
Most of the tooling I already own or can make when I have the funds. Some of these will be the reamers. I will have to turn a high speed steel cone on my lathe that is the negative of the bore shape of each instruments mouthpiece. I will then have to grind a flat edge with precision. This process could require repeating several times before the precise bore shape is realized, and could create delays of a few days for each instrument.
I will order the shanks to be turned on a CNC machine lathe at a "job shop". My quantities will be very low for these shops that are used to producing minimums of 5,000-10,000 parts. I have found a few instrument makers and repair shops willing to do the work for me in the 200-300 part range.
- (29 days)