I first bought a used 3CC top and beat up Warburton 8* backbore from the internet to give the Wedge a try. Prior to this I was switching back and forth between a GR 65MX and Yamaha Bobby Shew Jazz for jazz and legit, a Reeves 41SV for shows and Latin work, and a Monette BL2 for lead.
When I got the mouthpiece in the mail I immediately brought it to my monthly small group Latin gig. I played two sets on it and was totally impressed with my ability to play to the top of my range, all night, with a completely even, open sound. More than impressed. I woke up the next day to absolutely no pain, swelling, or bruising, a feeling that was totally new to me. I knew that there was something to this rim shape and I had to find out more.
I called Dr. Dave and we talked for a long time. Prior mouthpieces, musical styles, how he discovered and developed his rim concept, etc. We got on great immediately. I wanted to order a couple pieces, and it turned out he was coming to New York the following week. He came to my gig at Birdland and gave me about 4 mouthpieces, including a 5DC top with a heavy medium backbore to try. I played it the whole gig and loved it! I have never instantly bonded with a line of mouthpieces like this before. Smooth from the bottom to the top of my range and I didn't have to change anything about my playing. Endurance, power, evenness, and intonation have all improved considerably. Two days later we were hanging out in a bar comparing mouthpiece scans in his computer over several beers.
After trying several lead tops and backbores, we're still tweaking the perfect one for me. I am totally happy with a 3CC/8* for jazz combo and classical, the 5DC/heavy medium for shows and big band, a 3FLX for flugel, and we're making a top for lead. All through this, Dave has been nothing but attentive and responsive to my needs. He has a great way of customizing pieces for people that don't come in his line, and his new standard line of pieces are great, too. Every time I practice on the Wedge, I feel my chops getting stronger, and I'm working muscles all the way back to my jaw. I want everyone to know about the Wedge, and I recommend them wholeheartedly. Dave's service can't be beat!
Matt Hilgenberg's Biography
Matt Hilgenberg has been an active freelancer in New York City since the mid 1990’s. After graduating with a BM and MA in Music Performance from NYU, Matt joined the Chico O’Farrill Afro Cuban Jazz Orchestra that has appeared weekly at Birdland since 1997. With the band he has appeared in two films (The Thomas Crown Affair and Calle 54,) recorded two Grammy nominated albums (Heart of a Legend and Carambola,) and has toured much of Europe and Central America. In 2000 Hilgenberg recorded his first jazz CD as a leader, Rasa, on the Double Time Jazz label. In 2001 he toured with the Duke Ellington Orchestra and salsa legend Jose Alberto “El Canario.” A few years later, he could be found touring the country with Brooklyn based afrobeat band Antibalas, currently the house band for the hit Broadway show Fela! In 2005 Hilgenberg toured the US and Canada with the Broadway show Movin’ Out! Currently, Hilgenberg subs on several Broadway shows, teaches, plays with several local groups and leads his own jazz quartet. Matt Hilgenberg is a proud endorser of Wedge mouthpieces.