I am very proud that RS Berkeley has released a copy of my trumpet mouthpiece, the “Glenn Zottola Trumpet Mouthpiece” as part of their their “Legend Series” now available at select retailers around the world. By the way I was with my dad as a young boy in those New England Woods that day as this story tells. You can hear the quality of the sound of this mouthpiece with this track from my Clifford Brown tribute album.
Memories of You
The story behind the mouthpiece
In 1952, while walking through a quiet New England woods Frank Zottola 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 believed 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.
I used my dad’s mouthpiece my entire career. I loved the way his patented “step back bore” assisted the upper register. In 1979 I went to him and asked for some slight modifications. I wanted the same ease in the upper register that the step back bore gave me but with no resistance and a very free blow for a very fat sound. He worked on this and came up with a modification to the tunnel leading into the back bore. The result was spectacular and exactly what I wanted. He stamped it January 1979. This became my signature sound for the rest of my career and was not available in his standard line. My dad was a beautiful man and master mouthpiece maker and was loved by all. I would like to thank Les Silver and RS Berkeley for helping me to pay tribute to my dad Frank Zottola with the release of this mouthpiece.