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Discussion Starter #1
First, some relevant quotes from another thread....

jbtsax said:
A young player's question about the correct embouchure to use brings out the "double lip proponents", the Allard versus Teal crowd, the "Pete Thomas no bottom lip over the teeth group", and my favorite "everybody's different do what works for you faction". For the most part these are young inexperienced players just starting out for God's sake! Otherwise they wouldn't be asking these types of questions. For any new player the "big rubber band" around the mouthpiece works just fine to get them started in the right direction and provide the necessary control they need at first to make an acceptable sound.
On reading this for the first time, I thought to myself: "Sounds like the Teal approach. Me no like Teal approach." (I use my own internal grammar when thinking to myself.)
jbtsax said:
Notice, I didn't use the word "correct" here. If one playing style or technique is labeled correct that implies that the other styles are therefore incorrect. I don't think I have ever said that. What's "correct" is whatever works for you. The problem is beginners don't know what works for them yet. They need to know a logical place to start! I would hope that most of us can agree that there is a standard embouchure that is the most commonly used... [snip...]
Yes: I agree! There IS a standard embouchure most commonly used! So I see soothing consensus glimmering fetchingly on the horizon after all!
jbtsax said:
My views on this topic have been gleaned by over 32 years experience teaching hundreds of beginning students both in private lessons and in classroom settings to play the saxophone. I know what works. So does Larry Teal.
D'oh!
There is one basic embouchure that is used by a majority of saxophonists in all styles and at all ability levels. That is the top teeth on the mouthpiece and the bottom lip rolled slightly back over the bottom teeth. This is not my opinion, it is a fact!
Dagnabbit! Is Not! Nuh-huh!

Nope.
The "lip out" embouchure described by Pete Thomas in his :) fantastic:) website...
So far so good...
...requires considerably more facial muscle strength (similar to the double lip embouchure) to control the sound because the lip does not have the jaw for added support. This embouchure takes longer to develop and is more difficult at first than the lip over the teeth embouchure.
Nope: not true. Incorrect. Not factually ... factual.

(And by the way, Teal specifically disavows the above quote anyways, so it ain't even really from the Teal school: "The reason for dropping the lower jaw is that it should not be a part of the muscle support." Naughty, naughty, jbtsax!)

A question for anyone who cares so far: What's your mouth like right now as you're reading this? Is your lower lip curled over your lower teeth? If so, the Teal embouchure is the one for you!

If it isn't, curl that lower lip over your lower teeth right now. Are you using facial muscles to make it happen? Would it get fatiguing if you kept them like that all the time? (If you say "No, I like it this way!," then I hope your face freezes like that. Nyah-nyah.)

Finally, ZenBen couldn't take it anymore:
ZenBen said:
jbtsax said:
There is one basic embouchure that is used by a majority of saxophonists in all styles and at all ability levels. That is the top teeth on the mouthpiece and the bottom lip rolled slightly back over the bottom teeth. This is not my opinion, it is a fact!
The majority is not always correct.

I do not and can not believe this is fact. I don't know any 'professional' sax player who uses this embouchure.

And I also don't know what's wrong with teaching the pete thomas was right from the start. One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is to 'un-teach' bad habits. Why would anyone start someone out with a habit that they know they'll have to break later?
I'm with you brother! I know of NO ONE amongst the big boys and girls I've studied with, talked with, and/or listen to, who uses the Teal embouchure. Just heard Jerry Bergonzi talking about embouchure at IAJE a few weeks ago. What he described was Extremely Not Teal.

I started with the Teal embouchure (even did that dorky "whistle-smile" exercise over and over till my mouth hurt), and had to unlearn it. Unlearning it was hard. Now, I find myself dealing with students who've been started with the Teal embouchure. I consider this a form of child abuse! Why not teach the correct approach right off the bat?

Now, I don't know why we're calling this approach the "Pete Thomas" (which sounds vaguely like a euphemism for one's naughty bits...) just because it's on his glorious web site, because it makes me jealous -- I want to put it on my web site and have it called the "Kelly Bucheger." (In fact, just saying "Kelly Bucheger" over and over will give your lips the kind of workout that will result in massive lips and a powerful, bone-crushing embouchure... Your foes will cower in terror! Your friends and family ... will remain your friends and family, but will be very very edgy.)

At any rate, in case I'm unclear so far, I'll be blunt to the point of being provocatively dogmatic and not entirely fair:

Teal embouchure: Bad.
"Pete Thomas" (or "Kelly Bucheger"!) embouchure: Good.

But why take my word for it?

Running through the Embouchure Gallery Page, trying to discern who's Teal and who ain't, here are my profoundly unscientific and biased observations:

Arno Bornkamp -- uh-oh, looks like Teal! But, then again, I never heard of this guy! (But that, of course, is MY bad!)

Claude Delangle -- Not Teal.

Brian Sacawa -- hmm, could be Teal.

Charlie Parker -- Not Teal. But then again, I never heard of this guy either...

Lawrence Gwozdz -- either not really playing, or Not Teal.

Martysax (early) -- probably Not Teal. Disturbing shirt.

John Coltrane -- so very very Not Teal.

David Wright -- probably Not Teal.

James Carter -- Oh My God So Not Teal. (But then again, he's got such a tiny sound!)

Coleman Hawkins -- Not Teal, but maybe breathing at the moment...

Jackie McLean -- Not Teal.

Candy Dulfer -- Not Teal.

Lucille Ball -- Teal.

Sadam Hussein -- Eddie Peabody or Steve Martin.

Julius Hemphill -- Not Teal.

Gary -- The children! The children!

Lee Konitz -- Not Teal. Well, debatable, actually.

Paul Desmond -- Not Teal.

Sam Rivers -- Not Teal.

Bill Clinton -- oops, sorry, I thought this was that other thread.

Martin D. Williams -- Not Teal. Good work, son!

Kenny G -- Vidal Sassoon

Boots Randolph -- Not Teal

New York Saxophone Quartet -- probably not really playing, but definitely Not Teal.

David Sanborn -- Not Teal.

Drew Barrymore -- I've stopped caring about this thread...

Michael Antunes -- very Not Teal.

Jay Beckenstein -- Not Teal, but still wrong.

Chris Potter -- Oh my. Very Not Teal.

ianhart -- Not Teal.

Zoot Sims -- Not Teal.

Ben Webster -- Not Teal.

Paul Gonsalves -- Not Teal.

Stan Getz -- Not Teal.

Charlie Rouse -- Not Teal.

Tubby Hayes -- Not Teal. Jeez, how many pages are in the Embouchure Gallery anyway?

Fat Martysax -- Still Not Teal, better shirt.

Nicole Jo -- Not Teal.

Sal Nistico -- Not Teal.

Cannonball Adderley -- Not Teal.

Tim Berne -- Not Teal.

Marty Ehrlich -- Not Teal.

Sonny Simmons -- Not Teal.

Johnny Hodges -- Not Teal.

Anthony Braxton -- Not Teal.

Roscoe Mitchell -- Not Teal.

John Tchicai -- Not Teal.

Edward Wilkerson, Jr. -- Not Teal.

Von Freeman -- Not Teal.

Otis Murphy -- Could be Teal. Hard to say.

Naked Bari Player -- Oooh that's cold!

Ronnie Scott -- Not Teal.

Bob Berg -- Very Very Not Teal.

John Lurie -- Not Teal.

Okay. I'm getting sick of this. I'll just grab a few of the biggies still to be found:

Bob Mintzer -- Not Teal.

Jerry Bergonzi -- Not Teal.

Sonny Stitt -- Not Teal.

Sonny Rollins -- Not Teal.

Lockjaw Davis -- Not Teal.

Don Byas -- Not Teal.

Coleman Hawkins (this time in a definitive photo): Nope. Not Teal.

So there you have it: other than the nobodies listed above who do not use the Teal embouchure, the vast majority of players use it, and it's what you should learn first!
 

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I really don't think you can tell by looking. Even looking at Pete Thomas, I can't tell which way his lip is rolled.

Not to mention the fact that many of the embouchure pics are when people are taking a breath, scooping, or even just publicity shots that really don't show their embouchure.

Funny that we don't have a pic of Larry himself.

(edit: see below for the real Larry Teal, thanks jbt, I lost the book when I moved)
 

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http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=975&stc=1&d=1173496529

By the way, in keeping with the gist of my original post about not confusing beginners I have asked the moderator to move this thread to the "Tone Production" subforum in the "Learning, Playing, Performing, Teaching" Forum since it is sure to involve some "advaced discussion of embouchure and tone producing ideas".

Kelly, ME HOPE YOU NOT DISLIKE ME IDEA TO MOVE YOU THREAD. :) :) :)
 

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I thought this was teal.



:D
 

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All I want to know is: can Larry Teal play underwater? If not, case closed...QED...sic probo...stick a fork in it its done...Elvis has left the building...stick that in your pipe and smoke it...the fat lady has sung...Good night ladies, ladies goodnight (that's shakespeare btw)...etc..

Rory

ps. i can't believe I didn't make your list! I could've been a somebody!I could've been a contender! Always a bridesmaid....:D
 

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I think the first post may be the longest one ever...

And notice, most of the people on the list are jazz players and not classical players.
 

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Martinman said:
I think the first post may be the longest one ever...

And notice, most of the people on the list are jazz players and not classical players.
There is a point there to be taken I'm sure. But how many classical sax players are there to compare to? :twisted:
 

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ZenBen said:
There is a point there to be taken I'm sure. But how many classical sax players are there to compare to? :twisted:
That depends on whether you count the junior high, high school, and college players playing in concert bands, saxophone ensembles, and performing solo literature along with the hundreds of university saxophone teachers, and classical players who do symphonic work and recording, and teach in private studios not just in the United States but around the world. Maybe tens of thousands?

Now compare that to the "big boys and girls I've studied with, talked with, and/or listen to" posted by Mr. Bucheger and lets see which list is longer. I also have no idea what his concept of the Teal embouchure really is.

I went through the same list of pictures of embouchures and found 4 that the bottom lip was clearly protruding. They were Carter, Sims, Gonsalves, and Lateef. All the others looked to me like a portion of the bottom lip was rolled in just like the embouchure taught in the Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal. What about all the players like myself with a full lower lip who play both jazz and classical styles? Not rolling a part of the lower lip back over the teeth puts a lot of "meat" onto the reed and really muffles the sound (great for subtone though).

Perhaps an embouchure is in the eye of the beholder? Can any of us by looking at a picture really tell how tight the top lip and corners of someone's embouchure really are? I couldn't even tell by Trane's embouchure that he was not putting the top teeth on the mouthpiece.

By the way Kelly, I called the lip out embouchure the "Pete Thomas" one because the first time I had ever heard about it was on his website in an excerpt by a book by Ben Davis (whoever that is) that is no longer in print! (Must be a popular concept.) If you want in the future I will call it the "Kelly Lower Lip Thrust" or the "Bucheger Pout" embouchure. Whichever you prefer.

One more response to Mr. Bucheger is called for (Gary please stop me with your Southpark horse beating picture, I am powerless over writing in this thread and my life has become unmanageable).
jbtsax said:
...requires considerably more facial muscle strength (similar to the double lip embouchure) to control the sound because the lip does not have the jaw for added support. This embouchure takes longer to develop and is more difficult at first than the lip over the teeth embouchure.
kelly bucheger said:
Nope: not true. Incorrect. Not factually ... factual.
(And by the way, Teal specifically disavows the above quote anyways, so it ain't even really from the Teal school: "The reason for dropping the lower jaw is that it should not be a part of the muscle support." Naughty, naughty, jbtsax!
Mr. Bucheger here is assuming that a beginner's first efforts to play the saxophone will be done with a "perfectly formed Teal wheel embouchure" that has sufficient muscle tone of all the 22 muscles around the mouth so that he/she can make a tone and control the sound without any help whatsoever from the jaw and lower teeth. If only that were true. The full muscle development of the average student's embouchure takes at least 6 to 12 weeks of daily exercises and long tones. Once this muscle strength is achieved, the student then has the capacity to allow the lower lip to fully support the reed while resting on the lower teeth as in the perfect Teal Embouchure. Kelly, go teach a few hundred beginners on saxophone from the "make sure this side is on top when you open the case" point and get back to me on this topic (and yes I am smiling and whistling all the while I am writing this).
 

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gary said:
I thought this was teal.



:D
I think teal has a little more green in it.;) Very funny Heehee. It took me a minute.
 

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I've got to hand it to you guys - this is the funniest SOTW argument ever.

If I may be forgiven for interjecting a note of non-hilarity... Kelly, can you say more about what you mean in some of embouchure gallery examples being "not Teal". Most of those you label as such look pretty much Teal to me, or at least a reasonable facsimile thereof. And if not Teal, certainly not the teeth rolled out to the extent characteristic of the embouchure Thomas.

A specific non-Teal that you cite:



Looks like corners in, chin flat but not pointed, and lower lip rolled way over the teeth, so to the extent we can tell from a pic, thatzaTealembouchure! Then again, since he sounded like a wimp who cares ;)

Most of the non-Teal deviation seems to me to be due more to extended corners (Desmond) and scrunched chins (Dulfer) than to rolled out lower lips.

And a question - if one's natural facial position is slack-jaw like mine - what does that suggest about the natural choice of embouchure?
 

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Hey jbtsax,

I'm sure there are even more than tens of thousands. Especially if we are counting univerity level players and their teachers. But (and this is a serious question) how many are there that really compare to the list that Kelly put together? I am out of touch with the classical side. But there surely can't be as many elite classical names as there are jazz:? I guess its probably impossible to know...
 

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jbtsax said:
By the way Kelly, I called the lip out embouchure the "Pete Thomas" one because the first time I had ever heard about it was on his website in an excerpt by a book by Ben Davis (whoever that is)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ben_Davis_(Selmer)

(seems he invented that embouchure in 1928, or at least wrote a book about it then)

jbtsax said:
that is no longer in print!
You can sometimes get it on ebay, usually quite exoensive being a collector's item

Although I'm flattered by having an embouchure named after me, I ought to add here that it is only one of 4 embouchures I use, one of which (double lip) I haven't got to grips with yet but I'm going to persevere following ZenBen's advice on the other thread, when I get time - after all it was used by John Coltrane and Lee Allen, so worth investigating IMO.

The other one (the double teeth embouchure) I won't even mention here.
 

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Use what works. I've met tons of fine players and they all roll their lip in... so who cares what they do, if they sound great?? Is it really a bad habit if it allows you to sound good and have full control? I guess playing all of my instruments is a bad habit that I should break :)
 

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ZenBen said:
Hey jbtsax, I'm sure there are even more than tens of thousands. Especially if we are counting univerity level players and their teachers. But (and this is a serious question) how many are there that really compare to the list that Kelly put together? I am out of touch with the classical side. But there surely can't be as many elite classical names as there are jazz:? I guess its probably impossible to know...
ZenBen, Check out this wonderful list of classical saxophone recordings put together by SOTW member Angel. Remember too that there are many equally fine players and teachers in the classical style who have not made a commercially available recording to date. I'm sure Angel will add them to his list when they do. I hope that as a result of this thread that the saxophone will be seen as the wonderfully multidimensional instrument that it truly is. Thanks for you good question.

http://www.cd-tracker.com/item_list_v2.asp?UserID=22398
 

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Discussion Starter #17
First off, regarding this non-Teal embouchure: based on some of what I'm reading here, I don't think we're quite talking about the same thing, or there's some misunderstanding about it.

Here's how it's described by Ben Davis (from Pete Thomas's aforementioned site):

Open the mouth in the shape of a small o; keep the lips close to, but not drawn in over the teeth. Then insert the mouthpiece to the extent of about three-quarters of an inch, with, of course, the reed at the bottom. [Kelly's note: Aha! There's my problem!] Rest the lower lip against the lower teeth; then lower the reed on to the rim of the lip, so that the inside of the lip forms a cushion between the teeth and the lip. Do not draw the lip in over the teeth. [Kelly's note: Emphasis in the original.] Make no mistake about this, because it is enormously important: I repeat, the lower lip must not be drawn in over the lower teeth -- it must just rest against them so that only the thinnest part of the fleshy inside-lip is pushed over the teeth when the mouthpiece is in playing position. The rest of the lower lip will then form a sort of support for that part of the reed which is immediately outside the mouth.
David Liebman puts it this way in Developing A Personal Saxophone Sound:
For lip location we are attempting to get the more inside, fleshier, portion on the reed rather than the outer rim. Since every saxophonist has a different facial structure, it is impossible to exactly describe how much the bottom lip should be rolled out. There is a convenient guideline available. When you pronounce the letter V as in the word "victory" (referred to as the "V" position), your lower lip is automatically in touch with the upper teeth; actually six teeth. Imagine an imprint being made on that line and place the mouthpiece there.
There is so much more in both of the above sources, so go to Pete's web site (it's linked in the first post) and buy Liebman's book!

I also mentioned hearing Bergonzi talk about embouchure; his suggestion was almost along the lines of "just put the horn in your mouth without doing anything unnatural."

And that's the main point here: this embouchure does not involve odd musculature or crazy manipulations of your mouth -- just the opposite: you're going for a far more natural lip position.

And by the way, this also directly relates to the whole bit of discussion in the Tone Producing thread about taking in more mouthpiece -- you can't really do that properly with the Teal approach.

Now, much or all of the above will seem like apostasy to anyone who's been thoroughly Tealed, and that's why some aspects of this thread have generated heated discussion....

I'll just say: listen to, look at, and talk to your very favorite players, and draw your own conclusion!

You may conclude, if you're a right-thinking person who's had a good breakfast and is well-rested, that not only is Teal NOT the only approach one could teach for embouchure, it may not even be a good approach to impart on impressionable youth!

In fact, you may even conclude, if you're an exceptional person of particularly good moral character, that ... Teal BAD!
 

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Pete Thomas said:
...I ought to add here that it is only one of 4 embouchures I use...
And folks ought to be able to use a few; depending upon what type of playing they're doing. Heck, I hadn't even noticed I'd been using this alternate approach on occasion, until I read one of Pete's old posts on alt.music.sax and figured, hey... I do that sometimes. It's great to talk about these alternatives. That's how we really learn here.

Not just by referring people to buy books.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Okay, then, here are my pithy, elegant, somewhat disturbing replies to some various pithy, elegant, somewhat disturbing replies....

First off, jbtsax: it was wrong of you to post those giant Larry Teal photos. I think it's important that we all remember that children have access to this forum.

Gary: that painting you posted fetched nearly 8 million dollars at a recent Christie's auction.

Rory: was your picture amongst those in the Embouchure Gallery? If so, I'd have been glad to give it my careful Teal-No Teal analysis (pat. pend.). The whole deal includes a certificate, suitable for framing.

Martinman: yes, my first post was extremely long. However, I think it's important to remember that it was offered for the good of mankind. My fingers were bloody stumps by the time I was finished. However, the whole thing was worth it for the opportunity to study Drew Barrymore's embouchure. Until I got to the Naked Bari Sax Guy, who made me throw up in my mouth.

jbtsax, again:

Mr. Bucheger here is assuming that a beginner's first efforts to play the saxophone will be done with a "perfectly formed Teal wheel embouchure" that has sufficient muscle tone of all the 22 muscles around the mouth so that he/she can make a tone and control the sound without any help whatsoever from the jaw and lower teeth. If only that were true. The full muscle development of the average student's embouchure takes at least 6 to 12 weeks of daily exercises and long tones. Once this muscle strength is achieved, the student then has the capacity to allow the lower lip to fully support the reed while resting on the lower teeth as in the perfect Teal Embouchure. Kelly, go teach a few hundred beginners on saxophone from the "make sure this side is on top when you open the case" point and get back to me on this topic (and yes I am smiling and whistling all the while I am writing this).
I don't know, Boss, I was just quoting Larry Teal, who made no distinction between the Full Compleat Teal embouchure and anything else, and seemed to be aiming his comments at beginners when he specifically said the lower jaw "should not be a part of the muscle support." I'm afraid if you have any dispute with this you'll need to take it up with the Teal estate.

chitownjazz: regarding my Teal-Not Teal criteria: in addition to a photo of his "correct" embouchure, Teal offers 4 photos of incorrect embouchures -- one of them jbtsax posted above, cruelly implying it was me. That Coltrane photo would be labeled, in the Tealean universe, "Incorrect -- chin must not be bunched".

(I will not even comment on Trane's incorrect finger position, but I think we could all agree that based on this photo, he was probably never really able to attain much speed in his playing.)

While I was carefully assessing each and every picture, spending sometimes as much as 3 seconds on an individual shot, I had the Teal book in front of me, open to his photos of incorrect embouchures. (This made me feel somewhat queazy, as I had just eaten.)

If any photo corresponded to one of his "Incorrect" labels, I dutifully called it Not Teal.

And finally I turn to Pete Thomas, on offering info on Ben Davis as possibly being the inventor of The Correct, Blissfully Not Teal, Embouchure: I believe this embouchure even pre-dates Davis. In fact, I believe that Prometheus stole this embouchure from the gods for us mortals to use, and we all know the punishment he got as a result: he was forced to play the trombone.

Oops, I'll add an edit here to also reply to Grumps, whose reply I missed while in the midst of replying: darn straight! Don't buy books!
 

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Kelly. Let me restate the salient point of my original post. That was to teach beginners the time tested fundamentals of playing the saxophone first to establish a good foundation, before introducing many of the "alternate" styles and techniques that many professional players use quite successfully so as not to confuse them.

You have claimed that the concept of embouchure as taught by Larry Teal in his book "The Art of Saxophone Playing" is wrong, child abuse, unnatural, and not the correct way to play the saxophone.

Would you please tell us specifically what you find incorrect with each of the following concepts condensed and paraphrased from the Art of Saxohone Playing

The Basic Description of The Embouchure
The most obvious duty of the embouchure is to serve as an airtight connection so that the pressure of the air column is maintained and transfers its energy efficiently to the mouthpiece and reed. The lip and jaw formation must supply the correct stress to bend the reed slightly so that it vibrates on the mouthpiece facing properly, acting as a cushion for this vibration. This cushion must be so sensitive as to make adjustments for each new reed, and must furnish the foundation for control of the volume, pitch, and tone. p.37

The Supporting Muscles of the Embouchure
The lips should circle the mouthpiece with an equal pressure toward the center, much the same as an elastic band. The chin muscles serve to hold the lower lip in this position so as to relieve the pressure on the lower teeth. The upper teeth rest on the point of the mouthpiece about 1/2 inch from the tip. (Alto Sax) The mouth corners should be pushed in, the lower lip up, and the lower teeth and jaw down. The lower lip should be above the teeth, in a rolled position, but supported entirely by the chin muscles and aided by the compact position of the mouth corners, which, when drawn in, furnish a firmer cushion for control of the reed's vibration.p. 41

Summary
Control and relaxation are inseparable partners, but relaxation does not mean collapse. The embouchure must be relaxed and cushioned, but supported.p.44

Of course a lot of information has been omitted here about the tongue, the throat, people with sharp lower teeth, etc., but I think these concepts are adequate to accurately represent what we have been referring to as the "Larry Teal Embouchure".

To respond to your suggestions. I have read and studied the article on Pete Thomas' website many times. I plan to get the Liebman book to learn more. Here is the background available for Ben Davis (thanks to Pete and Wikipedia).

Ben Davis (1896? – 1990?) was an British saxophonist, businessman and author. He served in the British army until 1919. After being demobbed (got to love the British!) he became a self-taught (emphasis added) saxophonist, playing Dixieland jazz in many big bands, including his own. After meeting Henri Selmer in 1928, Ben Davis formed the London branch of Selmer (France) with an office at Davis House, 12 Moor Street, London W1.

I find it interesting that he called this the "new" saxophone embouchure in 1928. I think we both know the type of mouthpiece chambers and facings that were commonly played in that era. And also the popular concept of tone that saxophonists of that generation played with from the early recordings. Hmmm (just thinking here...................)

Now let's get to the real heart of the matter. Would you be so kind as to describe for the SOTW readers exactly how you , not Ben Davis, Pete Thomas, or David Liebman, but you form your embouchure.


I suggest you write it out as you would teach it to a beginning player on saxophone who has had no previous musical experience. Take us step by step through the process and not only describe what you tell the student, but the underlying reason(s) for teaching that particular aspect of the embouchure in that manner.

And on a personal note, I would prefer you respond in the very literate and professional syle of writng that I see represented in the excellent stories you wrote on your website. The childish, smart alec, poor grammar talk while humorous at times is getting a bit worn IMO. I have been a smart a** myself in this thread, (and I really am sorry for the bad embouchure picture, I apologize. I apologize to Larry Teal too, wherever he is). Lets take this thread that you started to a level that we can all learn something.
 
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