Trumpet Mouthpiece Gap AdjustmentLet’s face it, the trumpet can be a beast sometimes — stuffy low notes, tight high notes, quirky notes that just don’t settle or play in tune. While there is no substitute for diligent practice, there are always ways to make the trumpet easier. Maybe even a lot easier! What if we told you that with this one simple trick, you could make one or more of the following improvements to your trumpet playing immediately:
- better intonation
- more open feel
- better projection
- cleaner articulation
- more secure slotting
The Bob Reeves Brass Paper TrickHere’s how to do the Bob Reeves Paper Trick yourself:
- Take a sheet of paper and cut off a small piece. It should be about 3/4″ long and only about 1/8″ wide. Set the piece of paper aside.
- Play an exercise that covers your comfortable range. It should include some articulation.
- Remove your mouthpiece and place the paper length-wise on the side of the shank of the mouthpiece.
- Put the mouthpiece and the piece of paper into your trumpet receiver.
- Play the exercise again.
- Note what changes you hear in your sound, articulation, slotting, and feel.
“I’ve Done The Paper Trick – Now What?”One of three things will happen:
- It will play better with the paper.
- It will play worse with the paper.
- You won’t notice a difference.
How Does the Gap Work?How can this simple trick improve your trumpet playing? The short answer is that it allows you to experiment by changing the gap between your mouthpiece and the leadpipe, which is an often neglected, yet crucial element of your playing setup. Some tips on doing The Paper Trick:
- record yourself and listen back
- have someone else listen to you in front of the bell
- use the paper trick on all your mouthpiece and trumpet combinations
Exploring Deeper into the Trumpet GapIf you would like to learn more about the gap, here are some additional blog posts you can read:
- History of the Mouthpiece Gap & Bob Reeves Sleeve System: Part I (coming soon)
- History of the Mouthpiece Gap & Bob Reeves Sleeve System: Part 2 (coming soon)
- 3 Inherent Problems with Gap Formulas and Studies (coming soon)
- Gap and the Player-Trumpet-Mouthpiece System (coming soon