Your mouthpiece is stuck in your trumpet and all your wiggling, pulling and cursing is not helping? Before you break out the WD-40 or pliers and cause hundreds of dollars worth of damage to your instrument, here’s what really helps when trying to remove a stuck mouthpiece from a trumpet!
1. The ‘Twist and Pull’
Hold your trumpet close to your stuck mouthpiece and apply a firm grip. With the other hand, grab the mouthpiece tightly, twist slightly and pull. Don’t overdo it if this has no effect to avoid accidentally ruining your leadpipe by popping off a brace.
2. The Wooden Hammer
If you have a rubber hammer or mallet lying around, use that to gently tap just below the stuck mouthpiece and against the receiver. This will sometimes loosen the mouthpiece enough to pop it back out.
It is important to use a rubber hammer or rawhide mallet* for this to make sure you don’t damage your instrument. Never do this with an actual hammer used
Also interesting: How to Fix Sticky Trumpet Valves
3. The Mouthpiece Puller
The easiest way to remove a stuck mouthpiece from a trumpet is by using a mouthpiece puller or mouthpiece remover. These are specifically designed to remove stuck mouthpieces without damaging your horn.
The lower part gets secured around the mouthpiece just in front of the receiver, while the upper part fits around the mouthpiece. By turning the screws of each side evenly, the mouthpiece will eventually be forced out. This is the safest way to remove a mouthpiece.
Mouthpiece pullers don’t cost the earth for something you’re likely going to use many times, so I recommend them as part of your trumpet maintenance kit – but if you’re on a tight budget, take your trumpet to a music shop. They will sometimes remove your mouthpiece for free.
Bonus Method – The ‘Hot And Cold’
As a bonus method, applying heat to the area around the mouthpiece receiver via hot water can also help get your trumpet mouthpiece unstuck. Similarly, sticking your horn it in the freezer for 30 minutes might also help (remove any excess water first!).
The idea of both is to either widen the pipe through heat, or shrinking the mouthpiece through cold so it can slip out easily.
Both removal methods are a bit messier, though (or require a big freezer!), plus there is always a risk that water that is too hot will damage your lacquer.
A mouthpiece puller* is therefore your best tool in my eyes. And if you don’t have one, your teacher likely does!
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