Guess the Embouchure Type – Steve Wiest

I’m overdue for another “Guess the Embouchure Type.” This time I’m going to take a look at trombonist and jazz educator Steve Wiest’s chops. Take a look in this video and see if you can guess his embouchure type. My guess after the break.

I have to admit that I had already heard about Wiest’s embouchure type from my teacher, Doug Elliott, who told me that Wiest was an example of the low placement embouchure type. You can get a pretty good look at his mouthpiece placement in this video and see that his lower lip predominates inside the mouthpiece, so he is almost definitely an upstream embouchure.

What’s interesting about Wiest’s chops is that he has the less common receded jaw position and lower horn angle. Doug’s teacher, Donald Reinhardt, classified upstream players into two distinct types. The more common upstream type (but still less common than the downstream types) has a jaw position where the teeth are more aligned and the horn angle is close to straight out, which Reinhardt called the “Type IV.” Players like Wiest (and myself) who have a lowered horn angle are less common and Reinhardt called this the “Type IVA.” Look here for a simple conversion chart to understand how Reinhardt’s embouchure types and Doug’s embouchure types relate.

Both Doug and I feel that from a standpoint of teaching and practicing it’s not really necessary to differentiate between low placement/upstream types with the straight out horn angle and the lowered horn angle. When you get down to the actual playing mechanics both these types essentially function the same way. Still, it’s interesting to find upstream players with this lowered horn angle because it’s not so common.

Wiest is not only a fantastic trombonist, but also an excellent composer and arranger. Back when I was an undergrad at Illinois Wesleyan University he visited a couple of times to perform and clinic at the annual jazz festival and he was willing to take the time to look through some of my big band writing and offer some comments and encouragement to me.

Steve Wiest

Hi Dave!

Well, thanks to the beauty of the Internet, I came across this article and really enjoyed it. How cool is that? I remember those Illinois Wesleyan days fondly and hope that you are doing well.

In the early stages of my embouchure development, I was completely self-taught. Years with Vern Kagarice (now my colleague), Maynard Ferguson and Jay Friedman helped to sort out my home-made recipe, but I still have to struggle for pedal notes. Your analysis seems spot-on to me, and explains a great deal. And, now I know that I am a “Type IVA.” I think there is a chart title lurking in there someplace 🙂

All the best and keep doing what you’re doing! Thanks.

Dave

Wow, thanks for stopping by! As I mentioned in my post, your encouragement back when I was an undergrad at IWU has stuck with me all this time.

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