Trumpet Orchestral Cup Concepts


There are a few cup shapes that work well for “Classical”, or “Orchestral” or “Legit” trumpet playing.

More cup volume is desirable for this kind of playing, and bowl shaped cups give the right characteristic to the attack, and ring to the tone. You don’t want your legit cup to sound “smoky”. You want it to project with clarity, with a kind of rounded off brightness. There are a few different ways to get that. Here are some concepts that work.

Orchestral Cup concept #1

If you study the kanstul comparator, one thing you start to see is some clues to how Vincent Bach made his series of cups. The 7C, 6B, 2C,  and 1C (among others) are all bowl shaped cups with the same depth, and the top half of the cup is widened to make the bigger diameters. The approach to the throat or “throat entrance”, or “shoulder of the throat” are all very similar. These mouthpieces all work the same way and sound very much alike. The alpha angle is very close to the same (pretty low) because the whole top half of the cup is wider on the Bigger diameters. The smallest I make this cup is a .645. For this cup shape I like the throat entrance from the Mount vernon 7C/1C which is a little tighter. It gives more core and density to this cup. Most GR cups have throat entrances like this. "GR" is a registered trademark of GR Technologies, LLC

Orchestral cup #3

I am leaving holes in my numbering system here for a couple of reasons.

I may add in-between models at some point, and it also seems to be easy to grasp the #1 cup concept as being like the 1C.

Orchestral cup #3 involves the Bach 3C shape, even though I call the 3C shape a “jazz” cup.

If you study the comparator you can see that for the, 1-1/2C, 3C (and 1-1/4C) you could use the exact same cutter. The 3C and 1-1/2C are maybe the most popular cups in the world, so there must be something good about for many players. The 1-1/2 is shallower than the 7C/1C depth, and the throat entrance is more opened up. With this cup I like the more open throat entrance. It balances it shallower cup. The 3C is a cup that many people have tried to play legit on and they usually go to a 1-1/2 to get more cup volume. Still, if you find a great player that can make a 3C work for legit playing it really has some sparkle to it. Like Steven Burns back when I saw him in the 80’s. Bach only made one mouthpiece with this cup shape, and it only came in one diameter, 3C.

You could make a case for the 1B being an extension on the same sup shape but it’s a stretch. My cutter goes all the way up to the diameter of a 1C. (.685) and there it is really close to a 1B. This is a very versatile cutter. If you only run it in to a .635 diameter, you have a real nice lead cup! At .645 it’s very similar to a Monette B4L cup.


Many players have suggested that I try making the 3C shape in different diameters, but without changing the depth as drastically when the diameter changes. That way the classic 3C sound stays closer to the same in the different diameters. Bach and other makers don’t do this for some reason, and it makes sense to have this cup shape in different diameters. Check out my “Standard models” page at the top regarding mass production models

Orchestral Cup Concept #5

Easy to remember this one. It’s based on the Bach 5C. The 5C has a real nice sound. The throat entrance is about halfway between the two concepts above, and the cup has a more gentle bowl shape (very slightly) which you can see on the comparator. The way I use this shape, the depth always stays the same (deep like a 1C). The cup volume is a little less because the more gentle bowl shape also means a slightly higher alpha angle. Good for players that play lead set-ups with high alpha angles and switch mouthpieces for classical playing.

Gerard Schwartz played a 5C. It’s a great sounding cup shape. Unfortunately, the 5C usually (not always of course due to “variation”) had a pretty weird flat sharp rim on it unless you got a “magic” one. That turned lots of players off to the 5C I think. Choose your rim contour of course.