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Houghton Horns mouthpieces possess a special external profile and a uniquely-balanced rim, cup, bore, backbore, and shank. The entire line was designed by Mark Houghton and Derek Wright and manufactured by Dave Houser. All Houghton mouthpiece cups (underparts) are made of either raw brass or surgical-grade stainless steel. Houghton mouthpiece rims are exclusively stainless steel, with optional H-kote. Houghton mouthpiece cups are available in four distinct models and a variety of configurations when paired with various rim diameters, contours and coatings. The intent was to design a line of mouthpieces that addressed the needs of real-world players by combining proven design concepts with the latest in technology and materials. Ultimately, the emphasis was on balance, focusing on the versatility and functionality that most modern players require. Between the four models any horn player, high or low, orchestral or commercial, solo or section, should be capable of finding a mouthpiece that provides a sense of comfort and identity.
Many players have formed strong opinions about equipment and materials with regard to their sound, effect and allergenic properties. Brass has been the conventional alloy for mouthpiece production for centuries, and brass mouthpieces tend to produce a sound that is familiar, traditional, and warm. However, brass has downsides as a material: it can be highly allergenic for some players, and it is fairly soft and not very durable (even when plated with gold or nickel silver). Stainless steel mouthpieces are known for having a more direct, responsive quality, and therefore they feel and sound less traditional. Stainless steel is one of the most advanced manufacturing alloys in use today. It is corrosion-resistant, hypoallergenic, lightweight, scratch-resistant, and more durable than raw, silver-plated or gold-plated brass. Ultimately, the decision on materials rests with the player, as we are happy to provide cups (underparts) in both raw brass and stainless steel. Houghton Horns welcomes and encourages your experimentation and feedback!
The exterior of the mouthpiece was designed to provide exceptional playability along with unmatched beauty. The uniquely positioned “knurled bulb” adds increased mass to the middle of the mouthpiece, aiding in efficient resonance, projection, response, and weight balance. The knurl also provides helpful traction for assembly of the cup and rim, and a handy grip for mouthpiece buzzing. The outside of the mouthpiece is “bead-blasted” for a durable satin finish.
Houghton rims have an ultra-smooth, comfortable feel, with special bites and contours to accompany each model. All rims are crafted in surgical grade stainless steel, with optional H-Kote.
H-Kote is a very thin, hard layer of vaporized titanium/ceramic composite that is deposited on the surface of our stainless steel mouthpiece rims. It is commonly used on implantable medical devices and surgical tools because of its biocompatibility. H-Kote can be a good option for those looking to go one step further in terms of hypo-allergenic equipment, and has a slightly different feel on the lips than uncoated stainless steel.
The cup designs are largely sourced from successful designs of the past, with modifications for enhanced performance. The H1 and H2 cups are bowl-shaped for excellent response, with maximum resonance and life. The H1 has a slightly larger volume than the H2. The H3 cup has a combination funnel/bowl shape that is based on the original 1960’s era “block-letter” Farkas mouthpiece. The H3 is relatively less resistant, and produces a rich, velvety sound. The H4 is another combination funnel/bowl in which the cup is a bit more shallow and the bore a bit larger than the H3, thus shifting some characteristics while still maintaining balance.
Bores and backbores
Each of the models is mated to a bore and backbore that complement their individual characteristics.
The mouthpiece shanks are sized for optimum fit and response in most horns with a Morse (American) or similarly tapered receiver. European shanks are also available.
All Houghton rims and cups are equipped with standard Giardinelli threads and a .660″ junction, making them compatible and completely interchangeable with one another and with the vast majority of rims and cups on the market, including the entire line of standard Houser mouthpieces. This compatibility extends to our Verus VX two-piece cups, and nearly any other ‘Giardinelli-threaded’ parts.
*Raw brass, polished brass, and unlacquered instruments and mouthpieces will tarnish quickly and may not arrive with a flawless finish. This is a natural property of raw brass, which will develop a rich golden-brown patina over time.