I’ve been checking out trombonist Wes Funderburk for a while now. He has a really neat podcast called Blog Sounds full of great trombone playing and composing. He also posts sometimes over at the Trombone Forum.
The other day I came across one of his YouTube videos that provides a pretty good close-up look at his chops. Embouchure geek that I am, I thought I’d play one of my favorite games – guessing a brass players embouchure type. Check out his “Pavilion Improvisation” and see what you think.
What a great player!
Because of the camera angle, it’s a little hard to get a good look at the ratio of upper to lower lip inside the mouthpiece, but I think it’s a pretty good guess to say his embouchure is one of the downstream types because there is more upper lip inside.
The real clue in this case is the apparent direction of his embouchure motion. It’s especially noticeable when he jumps from the middle or upper register down to low notes (usually in conjunction with the multiphonics in his video) and back up again. It appears he’s pulling his mouthpiece and lips down to descend and pushing them up to ascend. There’s only one basic embouchure type that does this, the Very High Placement embouchure type.
That’s my best guess for now for Wes Funderburk’s embouchure type. If you find other videos of other brass players floating around that also provide such a close look, let me know about it and I’ll take another guess. Learning to work out a player’s embouchure type isn’t all too difficult, but it does take some practice and I find it interesting to note the differences that you even find among brass players with the same basic type.