Kurun & Gilbert are the designers and manufacturers of K&G Mouthpieces, a complete professional line of brass mouthpieces for trombones, baritones, euphoniums, tubas, tenor horns, flugels, trumpets and cornets.
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I started using a K&G 4D mouthpiece in February 2019. I am not a fan of swapping mouthpieces and have happily played on the same brand ever since I started learning the euphonium. However, in more recent years, before using K&G, I seemed to need to purchase a new mouthpiece a lot sooner than I would have expected due to considerable wear and tear on the rim and the newest mouthpiece I had at the time, even started developing holes in the rim as you can see in the photo.
Other Brands Had Problems?
After lengthy conversations with a representative from the mouthpiece company, I eventually did get a replacement, but the whole process took a very long time. My feeling was that the quality of material being used was perhaps not as good as it used to be with this particular brand. I am not attempting to sell you a mouthpiece here and I will receive nothing for writing this review. It is just my honest opinion based on my experience and I would always advise any brass player to test a new product before buying.
Opportunity to Test K&G
In the meantime, between problems with my old mouthpiece, I was given the opportunity to test the K&G by Dennis Kurun Camilleri, the owner of K&G Mouthpieces. The euphonium models have a range of sizes which you can find on the website. I selected to try the size 4D as it was the closest to the previous mouthpiece size I used. As I didn't have a mouthpiece at the time, I did not engage in any testing back and forth between different mouthpieces. I find this is best anyway when swapping mouthpieces, just commit to the change and don't look back. I did have a euphonium recital in Pune, India approaching so I was committed to using the mouthpiece for this performance.
To start with, I found the mouthpiece a little sticky on the lips but from speaking with Dennis it seemed that this was from the heat perfecting process and it would just fade. The mouthpiece felt like it had real quality and craftmanship to it. After a few days the mouthpiece started feeling really good but it is worth baring in mind that this settling in period takes a while, but it could have just been a unique situation to me. The improvements I felt instantly with the 4D was in the pedal register. I could play with more power and punch which was something I really liked. I used it for my recital and it just felt perfect for me.
Moving forwards, I swapped to the new 4D+ version in May 2021. This is the 'Masters Range' and again I felt it enhanced my playing. This time however, I decided to do a test between the 4D, the 4D+ and another well known mouthpiece model. I played the same things for a listener to hear on each mouthpiece without them knowing which was which. The 4D+ came out on top by a long way, confirming my initial feelings.
How good is the 4D+?
The 4D+ allowed me to play with more clarity. My first note production, legato movement between notes and any rapid tonguing was enhanced greatly and were clearly audible over the other two mouthpieces in the blind test. This is simply the best mouthpiece I have ever used.
In the recording below I used excerpts from the Frank Wright brass band arrangement of Le Carnaval Romain by Berlioz. I was working on this piece for an upcoming performance where I was a guest with the Fairey Band so I thought it would be a nice example to use for this review. To me, the combination of my custom Sterling Virtuoso euphonium and the K&G 4D+ really help achieve the quality, clarity and accuracy which is required for this sort of music.
Thanks for reading. If you have any questions about the K&G range please drop me a message.