On a regular basis, we receive a call or email at the shop that takes on the same basic form:
“Hi, I play on a ABC mouthpiece on a XYZ model trumpet. What sleeve would give me the best gap.”
Usually, our customers are shocked when our answer is a resounding, “I don’t know!” After all, Bob Reeves invented and patented the adjustable gap receiver and sleeve system 40 years ago. How the heck couldn’t we know?
The answer is simple – we only know two of the three variables needed to determine the best gap and really, we don’t know any of the three variables unless we have your mouthpiece and trumpet here in the shop for analysis.
The Player-Trumpet-Mouthpiece System
It is critical to realize that there are three elements that must be analyzed in assessing your equipment – the trumpet, the mouthpiece, and you, the player. It seems silly, but most players forget the most important element – you!
How The Gap Relates to the Player-Trumpet-Mouthpiece System
Think of the gap as a fine tuning device. It is a way to dial in your trumpet, with your mouthpiece, to the way you like to play. Let’s say we know the exact size of your trumpet mouthpiece shank and the receiver on your trumpet. There is still no way we (or anyone else in the world, for that matter) can know what you like to feel in your trumpet equipment.
The Shoe Analogy
Think of it like shoes. Imagine you wear a size 9 shoe. Let’s go one step further and say you wear a 9 Wide shoe. I could send you 10 pairs of size 9W shoes and I would bet that some would feel more comfortable than others. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that there would be some shoes, despite being your measured size, will feel downright uncomfortable to walk around in. The best shoe salesman in the world cannot blindly tell you which brand will feel comfortable to you until you try them on.
Put Yourself First!
Just like the shoe analogy above, only you know what feels comfortable to you. Put another way, no one can tell you what will work for you (if they do quickly run the other way!).
So how do you find what works for you? Experiment. Our paper trick is a great way to discover what role the gap plays in your unique Player-Trumpet-Mouthpiece System.