Conn-Selmer, Inc. 120S Helleberg Tuba Mouthpiece Review

I was looking to generate a powerful sound through all the registers of my tuba, but there was a blaring sound when I would play the low notes. There were many tubas mouthpiece issues amongst the players in my band section, and mine didn’t fit right when I played. This might have been the reason why I wasn’t sounding as good as I could. I searched for a narrower piece to help improve my performance.

Things to Consider when Buying a Tuba Mouthpiece

When shopping for a new mouthpiece for a tuba, it is important to consider the size of the rim. A tuba mouthpiece must fit the player’s lips. Although a tuba player can choose from three different mouthpiece placements, the rim still needs to be the correct size. Another important thing to keep in mind is the plating of the mouthpiece. Look for a silver-plated brass piece that was coated all around to help the player see if it needs to be cleaned.

The Conn-Selmer 120s Helleberg

Conn-Selmer, Inc is a company based in Elkhart, Indiana. They specialize in manufacturing band and orchestra instruments. Their 120S Helleberg 120 standard tuba mouthpiece is a standard piece with a narrow bell shape. This mouthpiece will work well for young beginners as well as older and more experienced players. The mid-range size of the rim will fit most players and will help them reach a large dynamic range. Players with large lip sizes might have issues while using this mouthpiece, so they should consider a larger size.

You will notice the improved tone while practicing with the 120S. It also feels lighter in weight than other standard pieces. Since it is smaller, you may want to consider getting a pouch or mouthpiece case to store it properly in the case.

  • star
    narrow shape
  • star
    Comfortable fit
  • star
    Lighter than most other mouthpieces
  • star
    Can scratch easily
  • star
    Needs an additional pouch or mouthpiece holder to keep secure
  • star
    Mid-size fits most, but not best for large lips

Features and Benefits

Designed to Perform

120S Helleberg 120 standard tuba mouthpiece

The 120S Helleberg 120 standard tuba mouthpiece has a unique slender, narrow design. This mouthpiece is ideal for players of all ages and experience levels. Your goal as a brass player is to have that wonderful sound that you imagine in your head be heard out of your horn. However, many beginner players cannot determine whether any odd or unflattering noises are due to the quality of their instrument. Most of these newer players will likely receive a recommendation from instructors or professional performers to change the mouthpiece of the horn. You’ll start to hear a difference in your sound immediately after trying it.

Lighter Weight

As I held it, the 120S Helleberg 120 mouthpiece feels much lighter than other mouthpieces. It is still made of the same silver colored brass metal that is standard for brass musical instruments. Since it is so light, I was concerned that it could easily scratch or dent. Therefore, you should look into keeping this mouthpiece in a pouch or mouthpiece case to protect it. Also, some type of case would help you to keep track of your instrument pieces and prevent you from losing it.

Great Value for the Price

Most tuba players will have a heavier and wider mouthpiece that will be included with their horn when purchased. However, many of those mouthpieces will be too wide or uncomfortable for the player, which will result in sour notes. I think It would be worth buying this additional piece to help with your performance and use the factory piece as a backup for mouth exercises. It seems to not make a lot of sense to spend money on a whole other mouthpiece when one was already in the tuba. However, this piece is comparable with the prices of other Con-Selmer mouthpieces with a range of $79 to $89.

Rating

Design

4

Performance

5

Construction

4

Value for the Money

5

User Satisfaction

5

Alternatives

Glory Standard Tuba Mouthpiece Silver Plated 22

Glory Standard Tuba Mouthpiece Silver Plated 22

The Glory silver plated 22 mouthpiece has excellent tone and projection. It is comfortable to play on and would be a good option for a tuba player of any level. Retailing at $24, It is much cheaper than the Conn-Selmer 120S. However, the finish on this piece can tarnish easily and look dirty most of the time. I would rather practice than keep cleaning my mouthpiece.

Compared to the Conn-Selmer 120s:

  • Lower in price
  • Comfortable fit
  • Tarnishes easier


Conn-Selmer, Inc. 1207B Helleberg Tuba/Sousaphone Mouthpiece, 7B

Conn-Selmer, Inc. 1207B Helleberg Tuba/Sousaphone Mouthpiece, 7B

This Conn-Selmer 1207B mouthpiece is a standard shaped heavy brass piece. It is comfortable to play on and would be a good option for a tub player of any level. Retailing at $89, It is slightly more expensive than the Conn-Selmer 120S. This model does not fit European models of tubas, so you will need to measure carefully before choosing this piece. The manufacturing is very durable, so it won’t dent and scratch much from an accidental drop.

Compared to the Conn-Selm​er 120s:

  • Higher in price
  • Comfortable fit
  • Does not fit European models

DN Tuba/Bass Horn Mouthpiece

DN Tuba/Bass Horn Mouthpiece Silver Plated Musical Instrument Accessories

The DN silver colored tuba mouthpiece is made of a heavy gauge metal. It is a very expensive piece, averaging about $10 in cost. In my research, I had read that there have been instances where the piece does not stay in the horn and it can get dented or misshapen easily. Many novice players have been satisfied with the sound that is played with this piece.

Compared to the Conn-Selmer 120s:

  • Lower in price
  • Good for beginner players
  • Dents and tarnishes easier
  • May not fit correctly or fall out of horn

Final Thoughts

Tubas are the baseline of the brass section, so the low notes need to sing out beautifully. This Conn-Selmer 120S mouthpiece will help you play in a high dynamic range with minimal blaring noise. Play your tuba with confidence as you practice so you can sound your best during your performance.

Stephanie Su
 

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