How to fix a stuck trumpet mouthpiece | Instrument Repair at Home

The infamous stuck mouthpiece. This
will happen to every brass player at some point in
their life. And unfortunately, their dad, their friend, the trumpet player, will want to try to
take the mouthpiece out. And like I said, you can't hide from me-
I know that you've been here. So, telltale signs. Look around the
mouthpiece here-it's all scored up, there's big gouge marks on this part the
mouthpiece. I've got plier marks on the trumpet. I can see, if you look at it, that the lead
pipe has been twisted to the point of
breaking this brace here. All of this because somebody thought, thought that a pair of pliers was the best way to take this mouthpiece out. No. Throw the pliers away, get rid of the vice
grips. Daddy, you can't touch my horn. Mouthpieces generally
get stuck for two reasons. Number one is just in playing, you've left the mouthpiece on there; the natural acids in your body have worked a little bit and have created
a little bit of corrosion, and the mouthpiece just won't come out.
The other one is some sort of, it's been dropped, a lot of players like
to put the mouthpiece in and do that thing; they like the way that it
sounds.

Over time that tends to be a bad idea. So as we remove the
mouthpiece we'll cut, we'll start with the least invasive and up to the the more difficult ones. So, one of the first things is, just a gentle
tapping that has to be gentle has to be something that is not
gonna mar the instrument, that doesn't have enough
force to break any braces. This is called a
Delrin hammer I've got this in my shop. We went to our
budget store, and we got this little brass hammer.
Metal is a bad idea, so we're going to take one of our little silicone bumper dots that we found,
probably in the framing/photography section of the store.
We'll put one on there I'd like a little bit more cushion so I'm
gonna put a cork dot on top of that. That kinda
gives us a little bit more the protection of the
silicone and the resiliency at the cork, and so, first thing, a little bit light tapping around the rim and primarily this little spot here, where the
mouthpiece goes into the mouthpiece receiver.

A few attempts, and you too gentle twist and see if it comes out. Typically it won't. But if it will, that's
about as much hammering things as you should
do in an environment like that. If you can't
get it out with just a a moderate amount of tapping, then you're just gonna have to put this into a bag when you're done with the job; take it to
a repair shop. That's not one of those things that's helpful by having more force
by, well let me tap and somebody else pulls. There are special mouthpiece pullers that I'll show you in a sec, that work for that reason.

The problem is just
knowing exactly what direction. It's easy to pull the instrument apart, it easy to bend it, it's easy to twist it. Again, on this one, somebody used a motion in that direction. So, bending and twisting; somebody had used some pliers on this instrument to try to
twist it. In doing that, they've twisted the first brace, they've made the mouth pipe wrong, and
then finally in the end here, they broke this brace lose and this brace loose. So, that's just a bad deal. So let me show you; there are a couple of commercially available products, that if you're a band
director, or you know, you're the section leader, or
in charge of something with the band that you may want to invest in.

They're not
particularly expensive. This is called, I think it's pretty much
called the Bobcat mouthpiece puller. Yep, Bobcat. Says it right here. This is available from a
number of your different suppliers. It's very reasonable. This mouthpiece puller is fairly easy to use. All them work on a principle of having
something that pulls the cup of the mouthpiece that way, while resting on the trumpet itself going this way. So, slide that over; this holds on the
cup of the mouthpiece; these things here get adjusted so that they rest firmly on the mouthpiece, I mean on the
mouthpiece receiver. We tighten these down, and then, gently from both sides, we tighten these, and the mouthpiece comes right out. On a really bad one, you'll hear this
really distinctive *PING*. That's the point when the corrosion, or
whatever, finally let's go. It's a very satisfying ring when that
happens. Sometimes it's with so much force that it even kinda shoots the mouthpiece
out a little bit, and then it dents the bottom which is another problem.

Another product that's quite a bit
more expensive than that one but is, works very, very good, is, and I mean it's available from one of the
major suppliers; see if you get an idea what this looks
like; you'll be able to find this. The thing about this, is this covers a
much wider range of mouthpiece sizes, of instrument
sizes. This one here is pretty much gonna be
good for your small tenor trombones, trumpets, French horns.

It's not gonna really work
well: bass trombones, tubas, euphoniums-things like that. Again, it works the same
principle. This engages the cup of the mouthpiece. These two arms have- they've got some little places cut out of it, to make/match the radius of the mouthpiece, and they will rest on
the instrument on these jaws. (this here) Hold these together while we get this in place. Once it's in place, we'll start to pull
this. At this point, while it's under tension, you may need to then put a couple of hits, and then it'll come out. As a general rule, when you're using any
kind of a hammer on a brass instrument, it's the number of blows that are
effective, not the force.

So, you're much better to just tap really
lightly, just you know, have a conversation somebody (tap,tap,tap), than to wail
away on it. That's where the big damage occurs. So we have the mouthpiece off. Typically, you may have a mouthpiece brush or or q-tips to clean the inside. The outside-take like a
finger nail buffing file. These kind tend to have three
different surfaces; they feel very smooth. You don't want one that feels like it's
sandpaper. These kinda work real well, especially in the area where it was
stuck.

We'll buff those areas out. Work yourself
through the different grits until it's nice and shiny, and just do a
final wipe down. And of course I would make that a lot
nicer, but this isn't gonna stick. Whatever corrosion you had is gone. When you put your mouthpiece in, put it in, just a little gel twist. That's it. When you take it out-a little gentle twist out that way. That should prevent most of the sticking that you'll get on your mouthpiece..

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