Steven Mead on the SM-Ultra X line from Denis Wick:
The demands of new music that I'm working on continue to grow, and the challenge of touring and playing virtually non-stop can also take its toll on the lips. I thought long and hard about these challenges and also listened to some comments from people who currently enjoying the Ultra series, who would tell me that they love the sound, tone and the response but sometimes they get a little bit tired, perhaps earlier than they would wish!
We redesigned the internal shape and depth of the existing models, in a combination of rim size and cup depth that has not been experimented with before in the world of euphonium and baritone mouthpieces. Almost always a large rim has meant a deep or very deep cup depth, and a small rim has implied the need for a very shallow depth. It was time to break one or two conventions!
It may be that the Ultra X for euphonium will not be for everyone, but I have a feeling, a very strong feeling, that it will give performers of all ages and experiences added confidence and improve performance:
- You will undoubtedly feel an improvement in stamina.
- You will find much greater clarity and stability in the high range. This means that not only are the high notes a lot more achievable, and for a longer time, but will also be much more controllable dynamically and tonally.
- It also helps to stabilise the embouchure, requiring less movement from the lips, especially with flexibility, slurring and playing right across the range.
- Articulation seems to be generally more reliable, especially at soft dynamics.
- It also enables you to play slightly longer phrases.
- For some, you may even feel that you don't need to practice quite so much to keep up your stamina.
But please don't just take my word for it, test it for yourself!
Note: These mouthpieces are now available in standard and medium/Euro shank models. Please be sure you choose the correct shank.