Removing a Stuck Mouthpiece From Your Brass Instrument
If you're a brass player, you've probably had to deal with a stuck mouthpiece. It could have been from an accidental drop, a little too aggressive mouthpiece placement including twists or slaps, or just a buildup of gross stuff in the lead pipe leading to the binding of the mouthpiece.
Brass mouthpieces are made to taper perfectly into the lead pipe of your instrument. They have to fit snug to prevent air from leaking out or the mouthpiece from falling out during a performance. This taper is what causes the mouthpiece to become stuck if it gets put in too far.
Things You Should Never Do When Removing a Stuck Mouthpiece
- Don't ever use pliers or vise grips
- no hammers
- no brute force
All of this can cause damage to the mouthpiece or the instrument. Forceful tugging or twisting can actually break the bracings of your instrument.
Tips to Remove a Stuck Mouthpiece
The easiest way to remove a stuck mouthpiece is a special tool called a mouthpiece puller. We sell them here at Amro and your band director may have one as well.
- Start off by making sure the two plates are even with each other. Each side of the puller turns independently, so line them up as best as you can, making sure they aren't too far apart.
- The movable plates on the bottom of the mouthpiece puller should be secured around the mouthpiece in front of the receiver of the instrument, and the cup of the mouthpiece fits in the cutout of the upper plate.
- After you've secured the puller in the right position, begin tightening each slide one turn at a time to keep the plates aligned.
- Make sure not to aim the mouthpiece at anything fragile. It could pop out under pressure.
- Once enough pressure has built up, the mouthpiece should break free from the instrument, causing no damage.
If the mouthpiece still is not coming out, I recommend that you get a professional technician to take care of it for you. But, if that's not an option, you can try lightly tapping the receiver. Make sure you're hitting the receiver, not the mouthpiece. A lot of small taps are much more beneficial than any amount of hard hits with anything. The smaller taps help vibrate the tapered mouthpiece back out of the instrument. As a last resort, you can apply a small amount of braking oil and then heat and let the instrument sit in the puller overnight.
If you have any questions or want to see anything else about instrument maintenance, leave us a comment below. That's all for now! Have a musical day!