A High Alpha Angle can support the chops.
- It can hold the chops and support them.
- It can assist in keeping the buzzing area small.
- If two mouthpieces are the exact same diameter, the one with the higher alpha angle may feel smaller.
- All of this can be good for you if you do not have much lip engagement into the cup.
- If you do, or if the alpha angle is just too high for you, you could experience lack of control, high blow resistance because the chops are being held too closed, poor articulations, intonation may suffer, thin sound, your chops could feel like they are "thinning out", and you could actually "bottom out" stopping vibrations completely.
A Low Alpha Angle will give you more chop room at the top of the cup.
- The lower the Alpha Angle, the greater the lip room will be in the first cup.
- If it is too low, it may feel like you have no support or lack of compression, articulation will suffer and you may experience what we call an "air biscuit".
- An Air Biscuit occurs when your lips are pinned open, the air keeps flowing, but the vibration stops.
- If the Alpha angle is too low, intonation, endurance, attacks, flexibilities, brilliance, and upper register may suffer.
Some mouthpiece manufacturers refer to alpha angle as "relief" or "undercut". This tells you nothing because it has no "physical quantity" that is defined mathematically. For instance, you know you can play on a GR Mouthpiece with an alpha angle of 15 degrees. What happens when you try one with a 17 degree alpha angle?
Let's say that you bottom out on it. Now we have defined parameters and if you wish to have a smaller volume cup, we know that 15 degrees works for you, and there is no guesswork when it comes to your next mouthpiece. If you just play another mouthpiece with an "undercut", how do you know if the next piece you try with a different "undercut" or "relief" will work? This is one reason why GR Technologies has defined the Parameters of the Mouthpiece.