General Information

The Zottola Mouthpiece Story

In his quest for the ultimate in brass mouthpieces, Frank Zottola, accomplished instrumentalist, arranger, conductor, manufacturer, and design research engineer explored the gamut of acoustical variations. His goal; to achieve a significant improvement in sound production, which would allow the brass player to create a full, yet focused and brilliant tone with less effort and without any of the harshness, nasal quality and distortion inherent in so many earlier mouthpiece design "innovations." Strangely enough, his research led him out of the machine shop and into Nature's own laboratory.

Nature's Laboratory

In 1952, while walking through a quiet New England woods he came upon a smoothly flowing stream. Subconsciously, his musician's ear noticed that it was producing a dark and diffused tonal quality. As he wandered along a little further where periodic rock obstructions on the stream's bed interrupted the water's flow creating turbulence, he became aware of the increase in brilliance and a compactness of sound. When the stream finally broke into a waterfall, crashing on the descending steps, the pitch, intensity and volume reached its maximum. At that moment, he had a realization that this natural phenomenon could be extended to a practical application in mouthpiece design. He postulated that a stepped back-bore design might very well be what contemporary brass players have been searching for to solve their problem of ever increasing range and endurance demands.

Features of the Zottola Mouthpiece

One of the greatest achievements of this design is the one to two tone increase in the upper register without additional effort. The range/endurance boost that players have reported is analogous to the dramatic power surge a turbo-charger or fuel injector has on an engine. In many cases this breakthrough coupled with the comfort design rim has actually eliminated swollen, cut lips and even allowed players to move up to first chair!

On Interchanging Mouthpieces

It is commonly known that by interchanging mouthpieces of different diameters you risk upsetting the balance in the training patterns of your embouchure. The exceptions are; (a) if the mouthpiece is employed for a relatively short period of time - for example an extremely high or low phrase that may be easier with a change of diameter or (b) if you make a decisive change and stay with it through the adaption period. The Zottola Mouthpiece system makes it easy to play any mouthpiece within a diameter series. For example, suppose you're playing 64B (good for all-around work): If you would like to favor the high register you can change to 64C which has a more shallow cup. Or if you need to favor the low register the 64A with a deeper cup would be a good choice. In other words, all of the 64 models are of the same diameter and rim "feel." However, a change from 62 to 64 or 64 to 66 etc. would not be recommended as this could create confusion and make for an unstable, unreliable performance. The Zottola Mouthpiece, with its unique patented stepped back-bore is manufactured in limited production under the supervision of the Zottola family. Their concern with precision, quality, and personalized service, almost things of the past in this age of computerized mass production, has led to world-wide acclaim for this fine musical instrument.