Nouveau and Tuba Mouthpieces

Posted May 20th, 2009 by Christan Griego in Company News | No Comments »

We’ve been pretty busy lately with the web site and shopping cart relaunch, new invoicing software, shopping for a new CNC, developing the Nouveau blanks, etc., but I wanted to take time to answer some common questions we’ve been receiving lately.

Nouveau Model

Right now we’re only offering a few mouthpieces in the Nouveau blank, but we will eventually offer every model in our newest design.  It won’t be all at once, so please be patient with us.

Tuba Models

You’ll also notice a lack of tuba mouthpieces on the new site. We temporarily removed them as our inventory was really low. We’re also going to make a few modifications to the line before we re-release them. They should go back on sale sometime this summer.

I am excited about getting the new CNC machine set up so we can add to our existing line. Thanks for all the support over the years.  I’m looking forward to continuing to make great mouthpieces for low brass musicians.

We’ve Remodeled

Posted May 15th, 2009 by Joshua Brown in Company News | 2 Comments »

Things were starting to look a little dated around here, so we decided a new design was in order.  While we were at it, we ditched the Miva shopping cart and moved to Paypal. It will help us reign in some costs as we buy a new CNC and unveil some new models. Plus, Paypal is a better ecommerce solution for a small shop like ours. You can still pay with credit card, but Paypal members have some extra options.

You’ll also notice some new product shots in our gallery. Ron Knaflic has taken some great pics that better show off the leather accessories, in particular. Take a look around and let us know what you think.

Add It Up

Posted March 2nd, 2009 by Christan Griego in Tips | No Comments »

Hi, this is Ron Knaflic. This is my first of many blog posts to come for Griego Mouthpieces.

Being one of the original guinea pigs for Christan I have witnessed first- hand the evolution of Griego Mouthpieces and their impact on trombone players. As many of you may know I work as the Production Coordinator for Edwards which is such a broad title and includes fitting trombones and trumpets to players.

I frequently get the question at fitting of “will I need a different mouthpiece?” The answer is always “maybe”. The reason for this is quite simple. The final product (i.e. your sound) is culmination of…

You + Mouthpiece + The instrument = Your overall sound

  • You = Body mass, breathe support, oral structure, mental state, sound concept and many more things.
  • The mouthpiece = The outside shape, where mass is located, the quality of the machining, and all of the internal shapes and dimensions.
  • And then the actual instrument.

Each component needs to be complimentary to get out of the way. If one element changes, others may need to adjust to compensate.

For those of you who are audiophiles will understand that the best sound comes from the right amp, preamp, cables, connectors, crossovers, speakers, the room they are in. The best setup is one that accurately represents the source, the recording.

Sometimes it’s practice or a lesson, sometimes it’a a new horn, and sometimes it’s a mouthpiece.

Plastic Containers

Posted February 16th, 2009 by Christan Griego in General | No Comments »

Okay, the blue containers that we use to ship mouthpieces are perfect for just that, shipping mouthpieces.

Unfortunately, they are not made for daily use.

The foam reacts with your spit and will erode the silver plating. Please use any standard mouthpiece pouch. If you are going to use the blue container remove the foams and use a soft cloth to cover the mouthpiece to protect it from the chemical reaction that can occur.

Shirt Size vs. Throat Size

Posted July 15th, 2007 by Christan Griego in Tips | No Comments »

So we all know that the shirts we buy have to fit our throats or else we get constricted airflow when playing our instruments (besides being uncomfortable in every day life). Working with instruments, mouthpieces, and musicians has given me insight into the overall picture more than any one element. I do believe all three are connected and when one is not in balance with the other two… life becomes more difficult.

It is important to be able to isolate issues in your playing so you can know if they are the mouthpiece, the instrument, or you physically. If the fit is not correct in the mouthpiece or instrument these issues can lead to physical issues which is also important to know and be able to diagnose. Quite often I see musicians playing huge mouthpieces because they are trying to get the air flow to be more free, open feeling as their facial muscles have become tighter as they have developed their embochure through their season. You can reach a point where you can pretty much play anything and sound good and this is the scary point where you can pick a bad piece of equipment and have it effect you later when you are not in good form. To get good air flow you do not have to always go to a larger diameter mouthpiece with more cup volume which probably has the same throat and backbore as your smaller mouthpiece. While the aperture of the face becomes larger with the larger mouthpiece, (cup diameter) and there is more cup volume, the venturi (throat) of the mouthpiece is the same size giving you the same compression point as the smaller mouthpiece you were on. This is one of the most often made mistake that I see.

Proceed with caution at this point as you could just get another mouthpiece (same as the one you are on) with a larger throat and often be content with the air flow but not mess with the balance of face/cup volume. When attempting change I never use the mouthpiece I am on currently. Leave it as a control and compare always back to it. If you change the mouthpiece you are on you will never have the “one” to compare to and only have the memory of what it was.

Muscle memory is an important aspect of playing one should consider when making changes so do not change three things and not be able to tell what did what. If the larger throat does not achieve what you are after you can then proceed to the next logical step which is, backbore, cup diameter and then last cup volume. All this being said, if the mouthpiece just has a terrible feeling rim then obviously your first step is a new mouthpiece with different style rim.

The more in tune you are with yourself, and your playing, the healthier you will become in your playing and your music. Approach change methodically and carefully and you will find yourself knowing why the new mouthpiece works for you.

Chick’ a’ Bone Checkout

Posted June 27th, 2007 by Christan Griego in Compositions, Performances | No Comments »

I know… it’s been a while since I promised a review of Christan Lindberg’s “Chick’ a’ Bone Checkout” for alto, tenor & bass trombone as premiered by Charlie Vernon of the Chicago Symphony. The dust has settled, but I’m still impressed with the freshness and vitality of the composition.

Written as a collaboration between Lindberg and Vernon, “Chick” is a piece that could only have been played by Charlie. It’s a long overdue addition to the trombone repertoire and is so much more than a novelty. Accessible tunes, soaring melodies combined with neat, rhythmic interludes and an excellent orchestration make this an enduring work. Although the standard of playing continues to push the envelope of range and technique, this piece will always be Charlie’s due to the fact that he is one of only a handful of players that offers such a transparent glimpse into his soul.

From the opening double-tongue passage on alto (bass trombonist, CSO, remember!!), to tenor playing that evokes memories of the most expressive players, to his bass playing (still the standard in my book), he does it all! I can only imagine what it would have been like if Mozart, Beethoven, Mahler, et al, had ever heard him play. We can dream. Kudos to “C” and “C”!

Slide Service Up and Running

Posted June 27th, 2007 by Christan Griego in Company News | No Comments »

Griego Mouthpieces is proud announce that, beginning immediately, we will be offering a trombone slide service.

There is nothing worse for a trombonist than a slide that hinders our creativity and musical growth. If there is one thing Christan has taken away from his decade in the business, it’s the fact that we need more quality technicians taking care of our trombone slides. He’s seen all manner of slide abuse and neglect — and not always by the owner. He only trusts a handul of slide technicians throughout the world, Scott Tomaske being one of them.

Scott joins GSI with over two decades of slide work experience. Overseeing Edwards and Getzen slide production, he has amassed a wealth of knowledge that he feels is best used serving the entire trombone community and not just the Edwards/Getzen lines.

How it Works

First, call (262) 949-1924 to schedule an appointment. After setting up a date and time, you will need to ship your slide to us. Upon receipt, Scott will examine the slide and determine the best course of action, at which time we will contact you before beginning any work. You can expect an honest appraisal of the problem.

Our goal is to provide you with the best slide action possible using your instrument’s original components. If that is not possible, some slide tube replacements are possible for certain brands and models.

Pricing

Slide Tune Up: $100.00
Shipping $9.00
Total: $109.00

Charlie Vernon Solos with the Chicago Symphony

Posted October 8th, 2006 by Christan Griego in Compositions, Performances | No Comments »

I will be giving a complete review of the premiere of Christian Lindberg’s “Chick’a’Bone Checkout” written for Charlie Vernon, alto, tenor and bass trombones!

Short version – amazing & inspiring!

Buzzing, part 2

Posted April 20th, 2006 by Christan Griego in Tips | No Comments »

First things first… get a pencil and paper and make a list of at least 20 songs that you know. Start with simple melodies like Pop Goes the Weasel, When the Saints, Take Me Out to the Ballgame, etc. before venturing into other idioms — just be sure the tune is melodic in nature. (Excerpts come later) Larger “classical” music is fine if you buzz, for example, the horn solo from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth or Bruckner’s Seventh. Hymns are also a great source of material.

At Christmas, as busy as it is for everyone, it can also be one of the times that your playing improves the most! All that time traveling (safely, of course) can be used to buzz carols. Let’s look at the process using Silent Night. Starting on the fourth line F, buzz the tune once. On the second time through, buzz the melody down an octave while still maintaining the sense of phrase as the first time. On the third pass, try it up an octave (3 spaces above the staff), once again maintaining the phrase — Jake would always stress singing through the mouthpiece. Next, try buzzing the tune down 2 octaves from the original octave. If that’s not possible, try playing it in tenor clef and down 2 octaves. Using this exercise, you’ll realize that in order to create a beautiful sound in all registers, phrasing the music is essential.

After playing a lyrical melody like Silent Night, try something contrasting and more articulate – Jingle Bells. Before buzzing, take a moment to clarify your articulation syllable by speaking clearly the following: Tah Tah Tah (or whatever syllable you wish to use). Then buzz the tune a few times. Players have different strengths and weaknesses. Some can maintain a wonderfully connected legato, while others can play in a Marcato style with great clarity and articulation. Jacobs always stressed a balanced approach to playing — legato, marcato, classical, jazz etc. In other words, don’t buzz the same Rochut, the same way, every day.

Now it’s up to you. Start this week by buzzing 15 – 20 minutes a day. After a week, add a second session of 15 – 20 minutes. I bet you will be surprised at the results after just a few weeks.

In my previous post, I mentioned that Jake said to NEVER buzz without a mouthpiece or rim. He maintained that without the physical properties of the rim to conform the aperture, then one could do harm to the resonating aspect and tonal applications that are necessary for a good tone. Good enough for me!

Next time: An approach using singing and buzzing to learn ANY excerpt.

Buzzing

Posted April 11th, 2006 by Christan Griego in Tips | No Comments »

One of the best ways to get in shape, stay in shape, or improve is by buzzing your mouthpiece. Arnold Jacobs was an advocate of buzzing and had specific ideas about it, stemming from his own experience in his youth. He was hospitalized at a young age for a period of time. After he began to feel better, he decided he needed to do something to alleviate the boredom of sitting in a hospital room all day. Being a cornettist, he knew that praciticing the cornet was out of the question, but he wondered about just playing the mouthpiece. So he had his mother bring it from home one day. He played anything that he could think of — melodies, bugle calls, fanfares — just to pass the time! When he got out of the hospital, he found that every aspect of his playing had improved — tone, endurance, range, sound — everything. He realized that he had made an important discovery.

Jacobs always stressed the importance of buzzing music. He would not hesitate to tell a student STOP if that student was mindlessly buzzing ditties, glisses, etc. He was always after the art form of telling a story (or as he said, Wind and Song!). His students would perform Pop Goes the Weazel, When the Saints Go Marching In, and nursery rhymes. He wanted his students to think of the product and not dwell on the process. He would then refine his comments by saying (to a trumpet player, for example): “Imagine how Bud Herseth would play that. Now buzz THAT on your mouthpiece.” Most players would not get through the entire excerpt without stopping to marvel at their own improvement.

Over the next few days, I’ll share some of my ideas about practical buzzing. I’ll also discuss why Jake said to NEVER buzz without a mouthpiece or a rim/visualizer.

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