Alliance Brass : Mouthpiece Review

Alliance Brass mouthpieces were launched in 2006 by Roger Webster, former principal cornet with Black Dyke and Grimethorpe. Initially these were for the brass band world to accompany Besson instruments but in more recent times, there have been some significant developments with their trumpet range.

Stephen Wick from Alliance Brass and Denis Wick Products was kind enough to send me two different models to put through their paces. Before I let you know what I think, here is what Stephen Wick has to say about them:

“The Alliance trumpet mouthpieces were designed with bodies considerably heavier than the standard Bach shape to create a mouthpiece which delivers a powerful sound and can project well. The mass is carefully distributed to achieve this effect without losing responsiveness. Some mouthpieces with extremely heavy bodies can feel very ‘dead’ and lacking in response. The idea behind the Alliance mouthpieces was to have just the right weight for the power and projection needed, but still be responsiveness enough to be enjoyable to play. The cups, bores and backbores are carefully designed to create a harmonious blend and optimal performance.

The rims are designed to be super comfortable – round enough to be very easy to play but with a gentle curve which is enough to spread the pressure evenly. The mouthpieces are machined using specialist tooling so that minimal polishing is needed before plating. This ensures that the exact contours of the rim are preserved and not altered at all in the polishing process. The taper of the shank is carefully checked so that optimum ‘gap’ is achieved, resulting in a mouthpiece that produces a resonant sound that is immediately noticeable to the player.”

In this play-testing review, I chose to go in blind without knowing anything of the specifications of the two mouthpieces:

Alliance 4 (WAGR11-4)
The initial feel on the chops is that this is a nice ‘roomy’ classically orientated mouthpiece, reminiscent of a Bach 11⁄2C in feel, but perhaps with a slightly wider inner rim. There is a very quick response with this, and I find myself having to recalibrate my approach having been sucked into the Bach feel of the rim! Though brightly responsive, there is still a depth to the sound that I really enjoy. And after playing for a minute or so, I discover that I do not need to make as many adjustments to compensate for tricky intonation. I am also struck by the great balance of resistance in this mouthpiece, allowing ease of control in timbre and volume.
This is a nice balanced mouthpiece, suitable for classical all-rounders, offering a depth of sound for orchestral playing as well as the flexibility and brightness for chamber or solo contexts.

• Inner cup diameter: 17 mm
• Rim: 5.35 mm
• Bore: 3.7 mm
• Medium deep cup

Alliance 8 (WAGR11-8)
Now this immediately has a classic 7C feel. The rim is extremely comfortable with a medium deep cup. My initial reaction is that this would be the perfect mouthpiece for a beginning player as it is so easy to play and make a nice full sound. However, this is clearly not a typical ‘beginner’ mouthpiece. The sound is full, the intonation is even across the range, and there is an ease of flexibility especially in the upper registers. There is a nice character to this mouthpiece, probably offered in part by the extra outer mass compared to a standard beginner mouthpiece. The
I tried the model with gold rim, but I will certainly be recommending the slightly cheaper all-silver model to my beginner students!

• Inner cup diameter: 16.25 mm
• Rim: 5.63 mm
• Bore: 3.7 mm
• Medium cup


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