TOP 3 Best Plastic Mouthpieces For Trumpet

Plastic mouthpieces feel softer on the lips because they have more “give” to them than metal. This can be very helpful for trumpeters with braces.

Many people find the “Kelly Screamer” mouthpiece to be a phenomenal plastic mouthpiece for high notes. Click image to check real user reviews on Amazon

Best Plastic Mouthpieces For Trumpet

Plastic mouthpieces feel softer on the lips because they have more “give” to them than metal. This can be very helpful for trumpeters with braces. In fact, if you are using braces I would recommend a plastic mouthpiece over a regular, metal/brass, mouthpiece.

Some other benefits of using a plastic mouthpiece are

  • They respond better, making it easier to play softly
  • Easier to do delicate, soft and clear attacks
  • Darker sound (not always a benefit, depends on your preference, of course)
  • Superior for outdoor gigs and colder weather
  • Increases endurance for some people, due to better “grip” (this does not work for everyone though!)

Of course there are some negative sides as well. Read about those and more about the benefits, further down, in the end of the article. 

Best Plastic Mouthpieces For Trumpet

Of course “the best plastic mouthpiece for trumpet” is a matter of personal preference. However there are a lot of really bad quality plastic mouthpieces that no one should waste their money on so, with that in mind, I made a list of what I consider to be the best plastic mouthpieces for trumpet on the market today.

Kelly Screamer
Lead Trumpet Mouthpiece

Click image to check current pricing on Amazon

Specs:

  • Very shallow cup
  • Lexan polycarbonate and ABS material
  • Rim size close to a Yamaha 13a4a   (close to 16.15 mm depending on exactly how it’s measured)
  • Backbore close to a 3E

Pros

  • Easy high notes
  • Great response
  • Great sound in the upper register
  • Cheap price
  • Good for endurance demanding music (for some people)

Cons

  • Not really suitable for soft, low register playing
  • Performing hymns in church? Don’t use this mouthpiece

About the Kelly Screamer mouthpiece

I tried this mouthpiece a couple of years back and even though I’m a guy who is all about building the embouchure, instead of relying on mouthpieces, I have to admit that the Kelly mouthpiece did actually add a couple of notes to my high register. The only reason I did not buy it is because I love my current lead mouthpiece so much. I talk more about that in my article what are the best trumpet mouthpieces for high notes.

In my opinion, the “Kelly Screamer” is indeed the best plastic high note mouthpiece on the market today. It is very affordable and many trumpet players swear by it and love it. If you would like to learn more about it you can click here to read real user reviews on Amazon.


Kelly 7C Plastic Mouthpiece

Click image to check current pricing on Amazon

Specs:

  • Medium deep cup
  • Lexan polycarbonate and ABS material
  • Modeled after Bach

Pros

  • Good for all around use
  • Brilliant tone
  • Great response
  • Cheap price

Cons

  • Most people would not use this mouthpiece for playing lead trumpet in a big band. It can be done, however, and some people actually play lead on a 7C mouthpiece.

About the Kelly 7C mouthpiece

I tried one a while back and found the sound to be brilliant and clear and I have to admit, it would be kind of cool playing on a chrystal clear plastic mouthpiece. I’m considering ordering one for myself as a backup mouthpiece. Many players say that this mouthpiece seem to increase endurance, which is great. Personally, I did not play it long enough to be able to confirm that though.

All in all, it’s a very good plastic mouthpiece for all around playing. Pricing is cheap, so it’s hard to go wrong with this one. (you can click here to check the price on Amazon)


Mutec MTC 3C -CL
Plastic mouthpiece for trumpet

The 3c Mutec mouthpiece is very popular. Click image to read real user reviews on Amazon

Specs:

  • Made in USA
  • 3C Cup and Rim Size
  • Made from polymers engineered to provide a dimensionally consistent product

Pros

  • Very good response
  • Pleasant sound
  • The 3C cup makes it possible to use as a lead mouthpiece even though it is perhaps more suitable for “regular” playing.

Cons

  • Personally I like brass mouthpieces better but that’s not really a “con” as this article is about plastic mouthpieces for trumpet.

About the Mutec MTC 3C -CL
Plastic mouthpiece for trumpet

This is the mouthpiece I would personally choose as my all around trumpet mouthpiece, if I had to play on a plastic mouthpiece. Well, I might perhaps go for the Kelly 7C as I  prefer the sound of the Kelly, just a tiny bit more. However the 3C cup makes it great for all kinds of playing, and don’t get me wrong, the sound is not bad at all.

This is a great mouthpiece and it is very affordable. It is even cheaper than the Kelly mouthpieces  (you can click here to check the price on Amazon) If you want to own a good all around plastic mouthpiece and you like the 3C cup, like I do, then this mouthpiece would be an excellent choice.

Plastic Vs. Metal Trumpet Mouthpieces
What’s The Deal?

Let’s take a look at some of the differences between plastic vs. metal trumpet mouthpieces, as this is something that many trumpeters are interested in.

How the mouthpiece is responding

Trumpet mouthpieces made of plastic responds better than brass mouthpieces. This means it is easier to get the vibrations going and the tone to “speak”. In other words, it takes less energy input from the player.

One benefit of this is that it’s easier to play softly, with delicate, soft and clear attacks. Trumpet mouthpieces made from stainless steel is a bit similar to plastic, when it comes to how the mouthpiece responds, but the steel mouthpieces have a brighter sound than plastic mouthpieces.

The benefit of easy respons comes at the expense of other things, however…

…which we will get into now…

The sound and the carrying power

The plastic mouthpieces sounds darker than both regular brass mouthpieces and mouthpieces made from stainless steel. While it’s easier to get the plastic mouthpieces to “speak” they lack the same, robust, “carrying power” that metal mouthpieces have. In addition to this, mouthpieces made completely out of plastic somewhat lack the “core” in the trumpet sound. Or the density, if you will.

The fact that the sound of a heavier mouthpiece, made of brass or stainless steel, will have more core and density than a very light plastic mouthpiece is very logical when we think about it. The heavier metal needs more energy to function but in return it will put out more energy as well and this in form of density and an “energetic core” to the sound.

Loudness and quality of projection

Although trumpet mouthpieces made out of plastic lack some of the core, that metal mouthpieces have, they can be very loud, if the player steps on the gas and wants to play fortissimo. However, since the sound is different, the projection will not be the same as with metal mouthpieces.

This means that it can become more difficult for the sound to cut through a bigband, with that brilliant power that lead trumpet players want to have. They can still be used as good high note mouthpieces though but there is a risk that the player will find himself working a bit harder to make the sound cut through. Of course, if the band are using microphones, this will not be an issue.

Plastic Vs. Metal Trumpet Mouthpieces
The Feel On The Lips

Plastic is of course softer than metal and have more “give”. This is something that the trumpet will feel instantly as the plastic mouthpieces will feel softer on the lips…

…are you a trumpet player with braces? Well, then using a plastic mouthpiece can be a good choice for you exactly because of that fact.

The “Grip”

Plastic mouthpieces are easier to “grip” with the lips because metal mouthpieces tend to be more slippery. This will perhaps change the way we approach playing a bit, and for some people it can take some time to get used to.

Endurance

Trumpeters that can get used to this increased grip that the plastic mouthpieces offers because of the less slippery surface, often experience an increase in endurance. This is because the rim is more “locked in”, which means it holds the lips in place in a way that does not really happen with a more “slippery” mouthpiece.

Temperature

Perhaps needless to say, trumpet mouthpieces made of plastic is superior to use outside, in cold weather. This is because they transfer heat less quickly, making them feel warm on the lips. This is not the case with brass mouthpieces and I think everyone who has had to play gigs outside, in the winter time, can attest to this. An interesting fact is that a metal mouthpiece, the same temperature as a plastic one, will always feel colder.

Feedback to the player

The feedback is “faster / quicker” than with metal. This makes the relationship between the player and the horn more intimate. Some people say that  it’s easier to change and “manipulate” the sound with the plastic pieces because of that immediate feedback.

I learned some of these facts from the skillful mouthpieces maker Dr Dave, who makes the “wedge mouthpieces” in Vancouver. This guy really knows what he is doing and I recommend checking him out.

What other trumpet players are saying about using plastic trumpet mouthpieces

I did a bit of research and asked around a bit to find out what trumpeters using plastic mouthpieces say about them and what they think is good/not so good about them.

Trumpet guy #1: I have been using the Kelly 7C for about a year now and I love it. The sound is a bit darker but that is totally fine for me. I like the soft feeling on my lips and something that’s even better is that I have greater endurance with the Kelly compared to my brass mouthpieces.


Trumpet guy #2: The plastic pieces seem to have a little better player-feedback. You’ll probably end up with less edge on your sound, because they tend to soften your sound a bit, but you may feel like you hear yourself better. These things are so damned cheap, I’d say go for it. You won’t know if you like it until you try it


Trumpet guy #3: I use the kelly screamer and I really like it. I don’t know if I last longer on it, than on my other lead pieces, but I really like the feedback and the feeling on my lips. It’s not a magic mouthpiece though, and it won’t suddenly give you an extra octave of range.


Trumpet girl: I use the Mutec MTC 3C for my outdoor gigs. I think it’s great because I no longer have to worry about keeping my mouthpiece warm. The sound is also good, so yeah, thumbs up from me.


Plastic mouthpieces for trumpet
Final words

Some people like them and some people hate them. I guess there is no way of knowing in which category you belong before you try one for yourself. One thing is for sure though…

…they are pretty cheap.

Personally I prefer brass over plastic because I love that special “core” in the sound that my favorite mouthpieces help me produce. We are all unique and have different preferences and at the end of the day, you should be playing the mouthpiece YOU like the most.

Thank you for reading this article.

Keep practicing and remember to have fun while doing it!

-Robert Slotte-

P.S. While we are on the subject of trumpet mouthpieces, perhaps you would be interested in reading the article what is the best mouthpiece for a beginner