Precision mouthpieces

According to the 1969 issue of Conn Chord magazine, the period involving these mouthpieces lasted from 1932 to 1949. The start date of 1932 is questionable: the 1934 Conn catalog has an extensive list of mouthpieces, but the Precision mouthpieces aren't mentioned anywhere. So a start date of 1935 at the earliest is more likely. I will hazard a guess and say these started around 1936. The end date of 1949 is also most certainly not accurate. The "Precision" mouthpiece was by far the most common style of mouthpiece Conn made at the time, and was produced until probably 1958. While the Conn Chord magazine article states that the Improved Precision mouthpieces started in 1955, the Conn's 1956 accessories catalog still shows Precision mouthpieces (recongizable by the different styling). The year 1958 is likely for this changeover, since this 1958 saw major changes in models. Precision mouthpieces were the default mouthpieces of the day.

There is evidence to suggest that at first Precision mouthpieces went by the same naming convention as previous series of mouthpieces had: First letter same as instrument letter (A=cornet, B=trumpet), then the letter "I", followed by a dash and in this case the number "5", and two more numbers. I have a picture of what is obviously a precision trumpet mouthpiece, with "BI-520" stamped lengthwise along the shank.

After 1955 the Precision mouthpiece evolved into the "Improved Precision" mouthpiece. See separate entry. There are two ways to tell a Precision mouthpiece from an Improved Precision mouthpiece. First, a precision mouthpiece has vertical lettering, running lengthwise along the shank. An Improved Precision mouthpiece has horizontal lettering, running across the cup. Second, Improved Precision mouthpiece have a rim around the shank; precision mouthpiece don't have this rim.

The Mouthpieces

Most of the following information is from the 1938 Conn catalog.

Cornet/Trumpet Mouthpieces

"Conn cornets and trumpets are now equipped with new mouthpieces of modern design and scientifically accurate proportions. Both trumpet and cornet mouthpieces are made in five models with different cup shapes and sizes and either medium or wide rims to meet any and every playing requirement. All models are heavily silver plated with hand burnished shoulders.

Model 1 - Fairly deep, fat bowl with wide rim. Gives full round tone especially on low notes. Comfortable, popular model.
Model 2 - Same style as bowl No. 1, but with medium rim. A fine model for players who want plenty of volume.
Model 3 - Fairly shallow bowl with medium rim. Gives bright quality of tone in all registers. Good all around model.
Model 4 - Same bowl as No. 3, but with wide rim. Especially recommended for players with large lips.
Model 5 - Small, shallow cup with medium rim. Gives bright quality of tone, especially good in high register. An excellent model for those who want to hit the high notes easily.
Model 6 - Extra wide bowl, shallow cup. Rim is narrow and has small throat diameter. Recommended for professionals. (From the 1956 Conn accessories catalog, but known to have existed before 1955).

"Standard" Mouthpiece sizes
Cornet and Trumpet
Size Inside dia.
Inside dia.
Outside dia.
Outside dia.
1 0.652" 16.56 mm 1.055" 26.79 mm
2 0.646" 16.41 mm 1.048" 26.62 mm
3 0.646" 16.41 mm 1.046" 26.57 mm
4 0.646" 16.41 mm 1.055" 26.79 mm
5 - - - -
6 0.646" 16.41 mm 1.046" 26.57 mm

A mouthpiece scan by Kanstul shows that the number 4 is very close to a modern Bach 2C or Schilke 16C4, with the Conn 4 (by the looks of the picture) having a sharper and slightly narrower rim and being slightly more V shaped (narrower at the top of the cup and wider at the bottom) than the Bach 2C or Schilke 16C4. See (Improved) Precision 4 mouthpiece comparison.

Harry Glanz

Conn produced a version of the Precision mouthpiece called the "Harry Glanz" after the famous trumpet player. These were available in cornet and trumpet versions, although the trumpet version is more common. Like the "Simone Mantia" trombone mouthpieces, these have "Harry Glanz" engraved in script diagonally across the outside of the cup. So far I have come across these in three sizes: 5M, 6M, 8M, 9M and unmarked. The numbering suggests the existence of a 7M.

Note that cornet mouthpieces from this period are different from modern mouthpieces. These are so-called "short shank" cornet mouthpieces. They are ¼" shorter than a modern mouthpiece with a different outside taper of the shank. The modern standard taper is 0.050" per inch. These have a tape of 0.060" per inch."

I have found that while Precision trumpet mouthpieces do have a Morse taper of 0.05" per inch, the diameter of these mouthpieces is different. I had one measured by Kanstul, and they tell me that they are 0.005" larger in diameter, resulting in a gap of 0.1" more than of a standard Bach mouthpiece. This, I feel, explains why original Conn mouthpieces work much better on Conn trumpets from the 1930's and 1940's than modern mouthpieces do; a modern mouthpiece will sit too deep in the receiver of a 1930's or 1940's Conn trumpet, giving the same effect as having too little gap. This is not due to the receiver of the trumpet being worn out. One way around this is to use a Warburton B backbore. Alternatively, a single layer of taper around the end of a modern mouthpiece is a good temporary solution.

Trombone/Baritone/Euphonium Mouthpieces

"All models heavily silver plated with hand burnished shoulders.
Model 1 - Fairly deep, fat bowl with wide rim. Gives good clear tone in all registers. Especially suitable for large bore trombones and symphony work.
Model 2 - Smaller bowl than No.1 and more shallow. Gives big tone, very bright in all registers. Excellent for solo work and for players who want to obtain the high notes with ease.
Model 3 - Slender, deep bowl with wide rim. Gives exceptionally full and round tone in all registers. Especially fine for musicians with large lips. Ideal for all kinds of band work.
Model 3A - Slender, smaller bowl with narrower rim. Gives good, round tone in all registers. All around mouthpiece. (From 1956 Conn accessories catalog. I have seen these as a precision mouthpiece).
Model 4 - For bass trombone. Bowl similar to No.3, but somewhat larger to give full, rich, deep tone quality. Wide rim."

Simone Mantia
A special mouthpiece for trombone, baritone or euphonium, modeled after Simone Mantia's own personal mouthpiece. Model after model was made and thoroughly tested by Mr. Mantia. Finally one was developed which not only won his approval, but in a blindfold test of four mouthpieces -including his own- was selected as being unquestionably superior. With it he was able to play high Ab, A natural and Bb in perfect tune and with absolute certainty and ease.
Model No.10 - Used by Mantia and recommended for symphony and opera.
Model No.11 - Narrower cup and shallower bowl; otherwise proportioned the same as No.10. For all around work.

Apparently trombone mouthpieces from this period have a "Remington" taper, while modern mouthpieces have a "Morse" taper.

Bass/Sousaphone Mouthpieces

"All models heavily silver plated with hand burnished shoulders.
Model 1 - For BBb bass. Large, deep bowl with wide rim. Produces exceptionally full, deep, rich tone.
Model 2 - For BBb bass. Large bowl, not quite as deep as No. 1 . Gives full, rich tone in all registers.
Model 3 - For large Eb bass. Deep bowl with medium rim. Produces full, round tone in all registers.
Model 4 - For small Eb bass. Rather shallow cup with medium rim. Gives full, rich tone.

French Horn Mouthpieces

Both models have the Conn special rim which is especially comfortable and adds greatly to the ease of playing, and each has a specially designed cup to bring out the full, clear colorful tone of the horn.
Model 1 - Deep cup.
Model 2 - Shallow cup.

Alto Horn Mouthpieces

Model 1 - Deep cup, medium rim.
Model 2 - Fairly shallow cup, medium rim. Somewhat brighter than No. 1.

Mellophone Mouthpieces

Model 1 - Mellophone model with deep cup.
Model 2 - Mellophone model with shallow cup.