Visit to Wedge Mouthpieces (Vancouver)

Posted: October 10, 2009 in The Business
Tags: , , ,

Seeing as I am in Vancouver this week…….. I figured I’d try and track down some local stores/manufacturers.

Vancouver does have the products &  services of Dr Dave Harrison (Wedge Mouthpieces) based not far from the city.


I pre-arranged a meeting with Dr Dave a few weeks back and I have to say I am glad that I did!

Not only is Dr Dave an incredibly nice and helpful guy, he is really very passionate about what he does and will go out of his way to ensure that you get good service and the right ‘fit’ of mouthpiece.

Best of all if it’s not in stock he can pretty much make it for you on the spot with his CNC and scanning units onsite.

This is the kind of one-on-one service that is ultimately lacking in a lot of retailers and manufacturers and goes a long way to ensuring a positive experience and that you get it close to perfect first time round.

Not bad for a practicing physician who knew zero about mouthpieces, running a small business or even what a CNC machine was just less than 2 years ago.

Luckily, I caught Dr Dave on a free day (he doesn’t have a lot from our discussions) and I went over to check out the shop and how he does custom pieces etc.  I think I ended up being there 4 hours talking about his mouthpieces, business concepts and horns all-in-all.

During this time I got to see a custom rim being machined from essentially first rough cut to the time that we both tested it out in his sound proof studio on site.

Custom Mouthpiece Machine

Custom Mouthpiece Machine

Of course I tried out a few Wedge’s for myself also.

I have to say I was very happy with my Al Cass pieces before trying these and went in with the thought that they would stand up to the Wedge’s no problem. It was interesting for me when he measured my pieces too that I found a recent purchase of mine (Al Cass Cornet 1-2) which should have been a standard size was in fact an Al Cass Cornet 1-24 size. This one I was preferring – so that gave a good base to choose a Wedge setup from.

After doing some side by side though – the Wedge’s do come out on top in a lot of respects.

  1. They are even more comfortable
  2. There is definitely more ‘Core” to the sound in all registers. i.e. the sound is fuller and more solid on attacks and long notes (in fairness I was testing with a heavyweight backbore and I suspect a lot more of the sound wave get’s transferred to the leadpipe with the added mass.
  3. You can change the backbores etc to suit your sound and style of play – and they come in heavyweight or standard weight for the same price.

With regards to point 3 above – this was proved in a fairer comparison on the piece you see Dr Dave working on on these pics.

This piece is a Custom piece that he made from the original mouthpiece and converted it to a Wedge Rim. (Oh yeah – he can take your existing mouthpiece and make you a Wedge Custom based on this – and craziest of all – if you don’t like it then you can still send it back for an exchange/refund!!)

Custom Wedge Mouthpiece ready for cleaning and finishing

Custom Wedge Mouthpiece ready for cleaning and finishing

From this we went back to his studio and both had a go play testing the piece side by side and in different horns to check the response and tone.

Dr. Dave testing the original piece's response prior to the Wedge

Dr. Dave testing the original piece's response prior to the Wedge

The Wedge certainly won that battle hands down – attacks were crisper – sound was fuller and it gave it a lot more power and what I like to call ‘rip or sizzle’ (this was a custom lead piece after all).

Now that we’ve covered Dr Dave. the custom pieces etc – let’s talk about the options I boiled down to.

I ended up walking away with the following:

– Gabriel ED 24 with a 25 ML Heavy Weight Backbore for trumpet

– Gabriel FLX with trumpet backbore and flugel

The FLX is an interesting piece in itself. You can either play it in you trumpet – and sound rather flugelish – or you can swap shanks and play it in your flugel exclusively.

The Testing Bench

The Testing Bench

All in all – these pieces are worth checking out!

Dr Dave has a lot of stock ready to go right off the bat – so if you are ordering a stock piece it shouldn’t take long at all. Even his custom work is fast once you are on the schedule.

I’ll be looking into bringing in a batch of these into New Zealand for sure – so be sure to contact us via the website if you want to give a wedge a go.

In the interim give Dr Dave a call direct and ask him about the Wedge – you won’t be sorry that you did.

(P.S. Don’t forget to mention that you read about it on Trumpetgear – and that Shawn sent you!)

  1. Derek says:

    I can hear all the Al Cass mouthpieces in your collection sobbing at your traitorous actions, shame on your lack of loyalty! (-:

  2. trumpetgear says:

    Thanks Derek 😛
    Just so we are clear…..I still have and play Al Cass mouthpieces.

    I was only able to compare to the 2 mouthpieces I brought along with me.

    Actually, if things go according to plan I am on the list to ‘test pilot’ the brand new line of Al Cass mouthpieces also. Hence it would pay to keep an eye here if you’re wondering about the Al Cass Version 2 line that will be coming in the next 2-3 months.

    For now though I am giving the Wedge mouthpieces a good test as they seem to work well.

    Rgds, Shawn

  3. Lole Nunez says:

    I have an Al Cass 1-26 I purchased in 1970 for my Getzen trumpet, it still plays and sounds great. Can I send him my mouthpiece (scared) and have him make a wedge mouthpiece like my 1-26 but for my Connstellation Cornet that my dad purchased for me in 1965? I want to play this cornet but I cannot find a mouthpiece that compares to my trumpet mouthpiece.

    • trumpetgear says:

      Hello, best you talk to Dr Dave himself about this. He has scans of all my Al Cass collection on file so you should be in luck. If not I have a 1-28 trumpet or Cornet I will gladly drop off to him so he can make you a direct wedge version. Call him on 604 269 0290. Rgds, Shawn

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