Trumpet “Jazz”cup concepts


So What is a “jazz” cup?

Basically a “Jazz” cup is a cup that gets a good sound and is easy to play high and long. Playing long solos and building energy while playing with a drummer on one tune and then sounding velvety and intimate on the next song is a tall order for a mouthpiece. A “lead” type mouthpiece is too bright, and although many players do it on an orchestral mouthpiece, most of the time a little less cup volume works better.

Jazz cup #1

One of the most famous mouthpieces for jazz players was the Heim 2, and also there was a very similar mouthpiece made by Joe Gustat that was played by Miles Davis. Kanstul makes two versions of the Gustat and they it call it G1 and G2. Those are copies of Miles’ actual mouthpieces. Miles studied with Gustat when he was in high school. Joe Gustat had a Conn trumpet named after him, and was in the St. Louis Symphony. One of the most famous teachers and players of that era.

    The Gustat has a short shank, and a small throat and a big long backbore. The Heim #2 is a long shank. The cups are very similar. The Heim and the Gustat both have very unconventional rims, and are very small diameter cups which made them incompatible with most players.

The people that got them to work sounded great though (Later recordings by Enrico Rava ((sweet!)) Wallace Roney, Roy Hargrove and of course Miles. I saw Wallace play at the belly up one time and he could play solos ten minutes long, building like crazy and then wind it right down to pianissimo without hardly taking it off his chops. That was when I decided to see what the Heim was all about. I actually had one at the time but could not play it. Too small.

Too weird. But with a “normal” rim and the correct cup diameter, a player can find it surprisingly easy to play, with a really good jazz sound. The mouthpiece is not shallow, but it has a pretty High alpha angle to give support in the upper register. It’s also NOT a “V” cup. The cup walls have a nice slow curve to them. For a deepish cup it has low cup volume, and gets a smoky jazzy sound. It also works great for piccolo trumpet by the way.

As the cup gets wider, it also gets deeper, and pretty much the whole range of diameters gets the same kind of sound. Choice of rim contours of course. The originals are about .635.

This is a really nice mouthpiece concept.


I have made a couple of variations on this cup.

The J1B is an exact copy of the diameter and cup shape of the “gustat 2”. It can only be .637 in diameter.

The J1C uses a very slightly different way of projecting out the cup to the bigger diameters. The result is that the bigger diameters are a tiny bit shallower than the regular J1 cup. More noticable the bigger you go. I made this variation because bigger than 655 I felt it was maybe too deep some people who want to play burning long solos. At 645, the difference is barely noticable but you do notice it at 655 for sure. Depending on what people think regarding this, I may make this the standard J1 cup.

Jazz Cup #2

This one is based on the Heim #1 which was the deeper of the two Heims that were made by Holton. It is really deep. Deeper than a bach cornet cup. Again this one is not a “V” shaped cup, but is not bowl shaped either. It is just a much deeper version of the Heim #2. The way I make this one, the mouthpiece does not get deeper as it the diameter gets wider. That is because the alpha angle is too low to make that arrangement work. This mouthpiece still has a pretty good upper register. It also makes a VERY nice cornet cup, which may be Heim’s original intention. It sounds really good close to the mic, and plays great soft. I use it as a cornet cup for jazz and legit cornet playing. All the diameters work fine also with this cup concept.

Jazz Cup #3

Ok, this one is pretty much a bach 3C. The 3c is the only mouthpiece that Bach makes with that cup shape that so many jazz players use. It is fairly shallow, with some nice room in the top of the cup. Probably the most versatile cup shape out there. Trouble is Bach only makes it in one diameter, .655.

The way this shape works, it can only really be a pretty small range of diameters. If you keep it proportional, when you get to .665 it is exactly the same as a Bach 1 1/2 C. If you go smaller than about .645, it becomes too shallow. (at ‘645 it is almost exactly the same as a Monette B4L but you have to widen it a little at the top). If you don’t keep it proportional, you lose the vibe of the cup shape.  I say it works at .645, (pretty much a lead piece at that size though) 650, .655. and .660.