Mouthpiece Stuck In Trumpet – HELP!
How Do I Remove It?
Is the mouthpiece stuck to the trumpet and now you can’t get it out?
If so, this is the article for you!
Most of us have been there, not being able to close the horn case because the mouthpiece is stuck to the trumpet. So how to remove a stuck mouthpiece from the trumpet? This article will give you four easy tips on how to do just that and I hope at least one of them will work for you. Whether or not depends on exactly how hard the mouthpiece is stuck to the receiver.
Trumpet Mouthpiece Stuck
Tip #1: Using a mouthpiece puller
Let’s start with the best and most effective way as tip number one. It is also the safest way and this is what you are going to have to do if everything else fails. But by all means, be sure to try out every tip first before you waste any of your money…
…because with a little luck, you won’t have to.
A trumpet mouthpiece puller!
If everything else fails this is what you are going to have to invest in. There’s just no way getting around that, because the mouthpiece has to come out. You won’t be able to clean your horn OR the mouthpiece itself if it stays stuck….
…NOT GOOD because If we keep playing with a lot of dirt and debris inside the trumpet it can even become dangerous and cause a form of lung disease from the bacteria and mold we are inhaling. This is something I write more about this in the article how to clean the trumpet.
The mouthpiece puller will remove the stuck trumpet mouthpiece safely every single time
Unlike the rest of the tips you can find on my page, and the rest of the internet, the mouthpiece puller will almost guarantee that the mouthpiece comes out. Not only that but it will remove the stuck mouthpiece in a safe way with no risk of hurting the horn. It is also very simple to use.
I personally own a mouthpiece puller and I recommend this one you can see here. I have been using it many times, not just on my own horn, but more so on my students horn…
…young students have a tendency to get their mouthpieces stuck, almost on a regular basis, it seems. If you are a parent, brass instructor or a music teacher in a school or if you are a band leader then let me tell you, the mouthpiece puller is almost a must have for you…
…investing in one will save you from many future headaches, trust me on this! =)
If you want instructions on how to use a mouthpiece puller then here is a video showing you how to do it. He demonstrates the mouthpiece puller about two minutes in so hold tight…
The mouthpiece puller the guy uses in the video is the BobCat 5366. It is available on Amazon for a pretty decent price. You can click here to check current pricing as it’s always changing a bit. The BobCat is also the one I personally recommend.
But keep reading and try the following tips out, as they might be able to do the job…
Removing a Stuck Trumpet Mouthpiece
Tip #2: Use a Good Gripping Glove
When trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece from the trumpet a tight fitting glove, that has a good grip, might be able to do the trick. There are some risks involved though, so proceed with caution!
- Find a tight fitting glove
- Place the trumpet, bell down, on the floor
- Get a good grip on the stuck mouthpiece
- Alternate between rapid, extremely small, clockwise and counterclockwise movements while you at the same time pull the mouthpiece outwards.
- Start with using just a small force
- Increase the force a bit if the mouthpiece won’t come out
WARNING: NOT too much force and do not go more than about 1-3 millimeters in each direction with the twisting!!!
Keep an eye on the leadpipe while you are doing this…
…we are using very small movements, alternating between clockwise and counterclockwise, because if you take a good grip and use all your force, turning it only in one direction, you might end up with the whole leadpipe in your hand!
I’m being 100% serious, it really does not take an incredible amount of force to rip the whole leadpipe off your horn, so keep an eye out if you see or feel the leadpipe move the slightest, yet the stuck mouthpiece does not loosen, then…
Mouthpiece still stuck in the trumpet? It did not work?
Well these tips can indeed work if the mouthpiece is not stuck really hard, but if it is, the mouthpiece puller is probably the only way to go, unless you take the whole trumpet to a repair tech, of course.
But don’t give up yet because there are still a couple of things that you can try…
Trumpet Mouthpiece Stuck
Tip #3: Ice and Warm Water
1) Take two or three ice cubes and put them on a cloth:
2) Tape the cloth with the ice inside around the mouthpiece backbore
Place the ice cubes in a way that they come pretty on close to the trumpet lead pipe but NOT ON the leadpipe. A half inch (about 1 cm) from the trumpet leadpipe is perfect.
3) Put the trumpet leadpipe / MP receiver under running WARM water
Don’t let the water touch the mouthpiece. Keep it on the trumpet, running DOWN towards the bell.
WARNING: If the water is too hot it might damage the lacquer, so make the water warm, but it should not be so hot that you’re not able to hold your hands in it!
Ok but exactly how does this work?
Materieal that are heated expands while things that are cooled will contract. So the idea is to get the mouthpiece as cold as possible so that it contracts, leading to the backbore getting a tiny bit smaller. Then we want the mouthpiece receiver on the trumpet to expand from the running warm water over it. The combination of these two things are sometimes enough and when you grip the mouthpiece and pull it right after the “water therapy”…
…you can hear a pop, and the mouthpiece is free. This works about 50% of the times so good luck!
Removing a Stuck Trumpet Mouthpiece
Tip #4: Use a Wooden Mallet Or a Plastic Hammer
When you are trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece from the trumpet you could try using a wooden mallet. This can help to loosen the grip that the receiver has got around the mouthpiece just enough for you to get it out when you try to twist it after the taping is done.
Gently give the mouthpiece receiver small rapid blows from all sides and then see if you can get the mouthpiece out after that.
Warning: I don’t have to tell you to not use a steel or metal hammer, do I? Also do not use force with the wooden mallet. Just very rapid, gentle taps, while you are being careful not to damage the horn.
Do NOT Do Any Of The Following To Get The Mouthpiece Out
Pliers or similar tools
Do not use any kind of plier, or something similar, when you try to remove the stuck mouthpiece from the trumpet. At best you are going to leave very nasty marks on the mouthpiece backbore, and at worst, you will pinch it so hard that it makes a dent in the pipe. This will destroy the mouthpiece. In addition you could rip the whole lead pipe of your trumpet.
The twisting movement is dangerous and if you want to try that then using the glove is a much better option and risky enough. Just forget about the plier…
…seriously, put it away!
Tying a rope around the mouthpiece and yank the trumpet
The idea is to tie a rope around the trumpet mouthpiece and then tie the other end to something strong, like a tree or something. Then use force and try to yank the whole trumpet, getting the mouthpiece to pop out.
Please do not do this either! I saw someone suggest this tip on the web but I would strongly recommend against doing so. This is just too dangerous for the lead pipe. We do NOT want such a sudden force applied on the leadpipe in that direction. Besides, what do you think could happen when/if the mouthpiece suddenly looses its grip when you are yanking the trumpet?
So no, this is also something that I would advice against. It has bad news spelled all over it.
Twisting movements in general
I was a bit hesitant to write about the “glove tip” in the beginning of this article because twisting in general is dangerous. This is why I, again, want to remind you that you never want to twist/turn in one direction, using a lot of force since this is almost a guarantee for the leadpipe to come lose from the soldering.
I want to remind you, that when trying tip #2, and using the glove, you are mostly pulling up while you at the same time use VERY small twisting movements, alternating between clockwise and counterclockwise. You do not go more than about 1-3 millimeters in each direction with the twisting.
The First Thing You Should Do When You Get It Out
So you finally got your mouthpiece out, that’s great! Now here is what you should do right away…
- Take a fingernail buffing file or a super fine sandpaper and work on the mouthpiece backbore
Just a few scrapes until the mouthpiece backbore is nice and shiny again. This is to get the sticky corrosion off and to prevent it from getting stuck again. A fingernail file is perfect but if you don’t have one then using a very fine sandpaper will also work. Just make sure it is not the regular, coarse sandpaper. Choose a super fine sandpaper with 360- to 600-grit
- Wipe it off with a cloth
After making it shiny with the fingernail file, then wipe it of with a cloth. Now it’s free from corrosion and the nice surface will decrease the risk of the mouthpiece getting stuck once more.
So How Does The Mouthpiece Get Stuck In The First Place
- The natural acids in you body is to blame here and if you leave the mouthpiece in the trumpet for a period of time, without taking it out, they can form sticky corrosions between the mouthpiece backbore and the mouthpiece receiver.
- The owner like to tap the mouthpiece with his hand when putting it in. This is completely unnecessary and will only increase the risk of getting it stuck.
- The trumpet has been dropped in a way that made the mouthpiece go a bit too far into the receiver.
Those are pretty much all the reasons why it happens, unless you have some band colleagues that’s not thinking straight and are trying to be “funny”, by using glue on your horn and if that is the case…
…well, this article is not about how to go kick someone’s ass, so I’ll just leave it there.
How to Prevent The Trumpet Mouthpiece From Getting Stuck In The Future
If you invest in the mouthpiece puller you won’t have to be that worried but even then it’s good to take a precautions, and make a habit out of doing the following pointers…
- Always keep the backbore of your mouthpiece clean and shiny
- Remove the trumpet mouthpiece from your horn after the practice session is done
- Never tap / pop the mouthpiece in with you hand. Just place in gently into the receiver
I think all trumpet players have had their mouthpiece stuck to the trumpet at some point in their lives. This is of course most likely to happen early, in the beginning years, but sure, it can happen at any time. Sometimes it even happens to professional trumpet players who are taking good care of their equipment.
I have to admit that I have personally ripped of a leadpipe a long time ago, trying to get the mouthpiece to come out while using way too much force. Well, it did not come off completely but the solders broke and I had to take it to a repair tec. Embarrassing indeed and it’s pretty easy for you to figure out at what point in my playing career I decided to invest in a trumpet mouthpiece puller…
…haha, yup, right after the incident =)
Thank you for reading this article and I would love to hear from you if you have any stories about messing your trumpet up. Also, perhaps you have a few additional tips on how to get the MP out, that I have not thought about in this blog post. If so, please let me know and share in the comment section below. I would love to hear your point of view, where you live, have long you have been playing, what happened to your trumpet, and just in general hear from my readers =)
As always, keep practicing and remember to have fun while doing it!
P.S. While we are on the subject of taking care of your horn, perhaps also take a look at my article “How to clean the trumpet” or consider reading my article “26 trumpet playing tips to become a better trumpeter”