Woodwind & Brasswind Contributing Writer - Tony Guerrero
Wayne Bergeron is one most well respected musicians alive today
and is currently setting the standard for how to be a consummate studio and
live player. I could use up all my space here just listing his stunning resume,
but instead I’ll refer you to his website at http://www.waynebergeron.com. I had the chance to interview Wayne and ask him about the gear
he’s using these days.
TG: I decided
to leave your mouthpieces to their own article, since mouthpiece choice seems
to be most trumpet players favorite subject. What are you playing on these
WB: Well, I’ve been working with Gary Radke of GR Technologies. I
basically stumbled on one of his mouthpieces after I went through some lip
issues. The mouthpieces I had was hurting my lip and once I found his
mouthpieces we connected, that’s how our relationship started. So, we’ve made a
custom mouthpiece. I think it’s going to be called the Studio Standard.
There’ll be four different mouthpieces – that one, plus a deeper version, then
a flugel piece, and there’ll be a piece called the FD, which is basically the
same rim as a trumpet mouthpiece, but is basically a flugelhorn mouthpiece for
the trumpet. It will basically create a cornet kind of sound. It should be
great for exposed solo-ish kinds of things.
TG: Wow - that
WB: Yeah! So, that’s what I’ve been playing for the past couple of
Since we have
a lot of newer players reading, how about telling our audience what they should
be looking for in a mouthpiece.
I’m kind of particular about mouthpieces for young players.
There’s a reason that a 7C comes with every new trumpet and that’s because it’s
a size that’s right about in the middle of the extremes. When a student gets to
a place where they’re getting some results on the trumpet, then their lip size,
their physical build, all of that has to do with the size rim they should have
and how deep the cup should be. I’m kind of against the idea that, “you have to
play this to play lead, or this to play classical.” It’s not an across the
board thing. If someone has really big, fleshy lips and they put a lot of lip
in that mouthpiece, it’s going to take up a lot of that cup volume, so that
deeper mouthpiece becomes shallower. There’s more compression created. And that
same person may not be able to play a real shallow mouthpiece.
I’ve always sort of gravitated to a middle-of-the-road mouthpiece,
something I could get a good sound on in all registers, but still have enough
compression to play in the upper register. If all I did was play high notes,
and I have yet to find a job that only required that, then I might choose
something that would just make that easier.
A young player should always look first for what sounds best -
what am I getting the nicest sound on? And what feels best. If something feels
overly large - someone has really thin lips and their trying to play a “1” rim
- it might feel gigantic to them.
I’m kind of against teachers who just say “you have to play this”.
I was at a Master Class one time and this young girl approached me and said,
“Mr. Bergeron, our teacher says we all have to play 1-1/2C Bach Mouthpieces
because that’s orchestral standard.” And I’m looking at this little girl, she’s
like four feet tall, with a real tiny face and little thin lips and I’m
thinking to myself, “That thing is going to cover her whole face!” I would have
put her on a 10-1/2C, you know?
So, that’s my basic thought on mouthpieces. It’s always about
what’s going to give you the best sound in most situations. And if you’re at a
place where you have to switch between, say, playing in a brass quintet and
playing lead in a jazz band, and it can’t be done on the same mouthpiece, then
I would just find the right tool for the job. Something with more vibrancy and
color for the brass quintet, then something with more zap for the lead chair to
get over more players.
I assume you
have a particular mouthpiece that you favor most of the time?
Yes, the one I’m playing kind of does all that stuff. I can cover
a lot of ground on my main mouthpiece. If it gets real extreme I’ll pop one of
my other mouthpieces in. Maybe I need something a little deeper or broader
If I don’t see you soon, I have no doubt I’ll hear you somewhere!
You’re welcome, see you later!