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TESTIMONY

john shields wrote:

I have one; a dizzy model- it is very helpful if you have laid off for avera month. however, they were made of cheap materials, and have a tinny soundquality. still; it boosts the range a little bit; sort of like jet-tone, only better. I'm surprised they never caught on. I'm very surprised the price they bring on ebay. mine was 25.00 in 1977.

Bob Beagle wrote:

Al Cass mouthpieces really gave me better stability. It wasn't one of those things where you walk into his shop in Milford, MA and pick one off the shelf. It was more like an 8 or 9 hour session in his back room playing countless descending chromatic scales from low C to F# on a wide array of mouthpieces. After finding the right one judged on what he thought sounded best and what was most comfortable to the player, then he would take a raw brass mp of the same size and then silver plate it while you waited. At the end of the day, Al would reach under the counter and offer you a slug of Four Roses Whisky which after 8 or 9 hours of his fitting routine both Al and the customer really needed. Nowadays, I'll settle for club soda.
Al really did have his act together and had a wide range of players of every genre' as shown by his rogues gallery on every wall in his shop.

It was really an interesting day. And Al put his heart into what he did, even though it was a Sunday.

LEE C from Trumpet Herald

A short suggestion for Al Cass mouthpiece usage:

1-28 Excellent beginner mouthpiece and commercial jazz mouthpiece. Full compliment of overtones considering that it is on the shallow side. very comfortable.

1-27 and 1-26 have bigger throats than the stock 1-28. On the "1" series the last number is the throat size.

3 (screamer!) series: The 3x4 is the quintessential lead trumpet mouthpiece. This piece is your lead player's best companion. Even when you're burnt out at the end of the gig you'll still get a piece of that last high note. Good for high school stage band lead players. Everyone in the section will develop a solid High C. A very rare condition is schools.

3x5 is very slightly shallower than 3x4. Just by a hair. Almost indistinguishable from the 3x4.

3x3, 3x2 and 3x1: All variations of the screamer depth cup but progressively deeper the lower the second number is. I use the 3x3 on my cornet in both big band and R & B group as it plays fuller than the trumpet on the lower tones. The cornet mitigates some of that shallow mouthpiece edge. 3x1 sounds beautiful on cornet.

4-28: The "symphony" model. Designed as "training wheels" to help the new Al Cass user to adapt to the smaller/shallower design. Al's words were to use the 4-28 if the 1, 2, and 3, series are "too radical a change from your former mouthpiece". The 4-28 plays a lot like a 3C but the rim is more comfortable. It is a fine mouthpiece in it's own right even if you don't want to go shallower as Al suggested.

I use the 4-28 on cornet for an occasional symphonic or church job. And will stick it in my flugel horn half the time so as not to lose a lot of register. Cornet mouthpiece in flugel is a good fit for someone who doesn't want to have his High C suffer. Al did make some nice flugel m/pieces too.

I don't know much about the "2" series. Have played them but not much more.

ERLING KRONER

I had the amazing luck to find an original Al Cass T3 Milford, Mass. mouthpiece. Bought it from the son of the late Al Cass, Steve Cassinelli - pristine! All the benefits of the Al Cass T2 Made in England that used to be my favorite mouthpiece but minus the draw-backs. Am breaking it/myself in on the T3 these days. The feel, sound, response, plasticity is all I ever dreamed of. Will take me at least a few months to half a year to get it WITH/IN my body. Steve Cassinelli just sent me these photos of Al Cass - Alfred Cassinelli (actually CascIanelli) from his workshed with Dizzy and Sweets. Latest news: Steve just sent me the predecessor of the T3, a J1, which should be arriving shortly. How's that gonna taste?

erling from a forum:
I just had the good luck to buy an Al Cass J1 (the predecessor to the T3) from Steve Cass(inelli), son of the famed Al Cass.
I was looking for a back-up for my T3 that I bought recently, also from Steve (bless him).
Here's a mail I just sent off to Steve:

Steve!
Played the 'thang' last night and played some duets today. WONDERFUL!
That's how I expected an Al Cass to play! Very similar size, sound and execution-wise to my old T2 Made in England but with a much better rim.
Feels and plays a lot slimmer than the T3.
J1 and T3 two different animals . . . I thought
and here it comes . . .
until I realized that the J1 sat a little wobbly and didn't enter more than 2 cm whereas the T3 entered 3.5 cm into the receiver. Ideally a mouthpiece should enter minimum 2.5 cm up to max 3.0 for optimal blow/resistance/balance.
So I put some tape onto the T3 - and whammo! it played a lot more like the J1, entering now app. 2.3 cm (closer to the J1's 2.1 cm). Tomorrow I'm gonna have the J1 honed to fit the receiver, making sure it will enter the horn a little more, like 2.3 - 2.5 cm.
Adding mass to the T3 shank is gonna be virtually impossible, but then I'll just have to use it taped up, which is entirely possible (one of Sam Burtis' tricks, the teflon trick, to get the mouthpiece at the 'sweet spot' - very individual from piece to piece but usually somewhere between 2.5 and 3.0 cm).
It's incredible how much a mouthpiece changes when those parameters are changed. I'm sure your dad on selling a piece to known players - like Dizzy, Thad and Sweets, would not only find the right model, but would make sure that it would enter the leadpipe 'just right' for the given receiver/horn/player.
I'll keep you posted as to my experiences.
Regards
erling

erling:
Had the J-1 altered - the shank honed down, now it fits the horn perfectly. Just the mouthpiece I've always longed for. Like my Made in England one minus the draw-backs. Great rim, endurance, wonderful, projecting sound, just . . . me! Tastes GOOD! Played  a 3 setter tonite, lead and solos. My God! And my T-3 (have had to tape it up, it went in too deep, works as well.) I'm concentrating on the J-1 for now. Will bring the T3 into the game later on, to see how it works. Supposedly they are identical . . . but hand-made - so there . . .
I'm in love with the J-1. More later . . . .

funkyfrench:
Hi Erling,

It's good to see you in good shape and with a nice mouthpiece.
Lucky man!

Don't you think that it is simply you that become better?

erling:
Thanks Funky!
I'm getting better all the time . . . if not, I might as well go on a pension  8)
Thing is this mouthpiece has just the 'taste' and feel and sound (for me) that I've always been looking for. Makes me sound even more 'me' and I just want to play all the time because of it. Practice, play rehearsals and gigs. Just had a 4 hour rehearsal with g, b, d. and in a few hours I have a 3 setter (4 hours) of lead & solo big band playing. The more the better. The sooner this mouthpiece is going to become a part of my body and mind.
take care

erling:
Man . . . that Al Cass J-1 is IT for me. After I had the shank honed down to fit the receiver of my 6H it sits app. 2.6 cm into the receiver. That done it. Played a 4 hour concert out doors at the Tivoli Gardens (man, was it cold last night, brrrr). My horn now speaks extremely rapidly with a great carrying power. Lotsa overtones. Was playing 3rd (subbing) and the fullness of sound was fantastic. As I said before, I get everything I loved on my T2 Made in England minus the drawbacks (no hi-end, endurance hampered). The sound is so 'me' it's scary. It blends with anything, carries through like a champ.
My good luck: finding the piece, finding the sweet point (in one try - thank you Sam). And that Steve Cassinelli was sweet enough to let me buy that and the T3 - which I'll get back to after my bicycle vacation to Piemonte late next week. I'll have to find the sweet point for that one by using tape. It's prolly gonna prove just as good, albeit no doubt a little different in some aspects. Then I'll be in heaven, having THE mouthpieces that have the feel/sound I've always been looking for.
Have a session in an hour . . . and another gig tomorrow with the Monday Night Big Band. I'm getting WITH the J-1.
One happy fella :D  :D  :D  :D  :D

LEE C from Trumpet Herald

The Al Cass mouthpieces in their day were often much maligned. In reality though they were truly the best screamer m/pieces ever made.

You had two series: The 1 and the 3 X series.

The 1 came in either a 28 throat or a 26. All of this series were the same cup, a little on the shallow side. Diameter about same as 7C

The 3X series had smaller rim diameter than the 1 series. Probably equivalent to the Schilke 6 rim or so. This were the screamer line in various depths: 3 X 1 the deepest progressively shallower to the 3 X 5 the smallest.

At one time I had the 1 28 the 3 X 4, 3 X5 and a flugelhorn piece. Now only have the 3 X 4 which I would never part with. It's a real equalizer.

No one, repeat NO ONE ever made a better scream piece. Not even the Jet Tone.

I am working on a turning a mouthpiece line similar to the Al Cass line but with a few modifications. Might be ready late next year.

Al Cass, from Milford, MA. made the perfect rim contour for most lead players. The cushiony edges also worked great for beginners.
Additional endurance, bright sound and help in the upper register made the football fields of New England powerhouses for High School band trumpet players.

Contrast that to the severely sharp edged, overly large mouthpieces commonly recommended by educators throughout the world. Small wonder so many players give up too young.

When it came to ease of playing in the mouthpiece world Mr. Al Cass, from Milford MA., was the MAN! Last time I spoke to Al was in the late 1980's he was very ill at the timev though like myself, he had quit the beer. Al died not long after our conversation.

Al's brass clinics were always drunken beer fests. A cantankerous old timer, he constantly swallowed WARM Eslinger beer out in the back of his old, cold shop during frigid New England winters. Will always remember him screaming expletives in order to get me to play louder. "Blow, you weak sounding punk".

The guy really fixed my breathing. Didn't care much for his embouchure approach though. He was a smile system advocate. Other than that the guy was ahead of his time.

Al's son Steve is a great guy too with hundreds of stories about Al's life. Steve was still running the valve oil business last time we talked.

I last left Al's shop in 1976. Felt very inspired at the time. Had bought two mouthpieces and a raving beer high. The winter seemed less frosty under those conditions...




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