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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there anybody with full uppers and lower dentures that play sax. I would like to know how they overcame or are overcoming the intonation problem, especially the upper register. I feel embarrassed bringing up this topic, but what the heck I wanna practice my tenor in tune please respond.
Thanks
Bob :oops:
 

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Hello Bob! There's only one thing to do about this obstacle. I would try to find the perfect angle of the mouthpiece and reed to accomodate the lips, teeth and tongue. Yes, it's just a matter of finding it. I've heard of people with the same problem (not ashamed to share it) and it really takes a lot of time of practice and a great load of patience and experimentation in pursuit of correct embouchure just to produce that irresistable majestic sweet sound.
:wink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, Antoine, for you reply. I'm in my middle sixties, however, I've had full uppers and lowers since I was thirty two years old. At that time I did not believe it would be possible to play the sax or anyother wind instrument so I did not try. After about twenty years I decided to give it a try and it was not as difficult as I had surmised. What is difficult is staying in tune throughout the range of the instrument (Tenor) most especially the upper register. So far, altissimo has totally been out of the question. My biggest fantacy is hitting the lotto and using the money to buy implants, but as you know that is a looooooong shot. At least I can still work through ideas that I'm learning and some that I think up with the play-a-longs. Some people who have heard me practice have encouaged me to play in public, but i'm disinclined to do so because of the pending embarrassment and respect for the music (presenting the music as authentically is possible, for me, is a most. I say that not because I'm that advanced, but on the level that I am I try to be as correct as my abilities and knowledge will allow me.:oops:
 

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Don't sweat the plates

When I returned to playing I was worried about my dentures. What I found is that although I have to have the sax and clarinet mouthpieces going straight into my mouth and just gently pressing the upper teeth (which is what alot of people think you need to do anyway) dentures make no difference. Teeth only support, your lips do most of the work so as long as your dentures fit securely. It actually feels like I'm using the mouthpiece to push up and in to hold that upper plate in place.

Specific things I've noticed is that if I play early in the day and there is excess denture adheasive in my mouth it totally screws up my cane reeds. Use plastic reeds for such occassions. Also make sure your reeds are wet by soaking in water before playing. If they are full of water the stuff in your mouth will not be soaked up by the reed.

As far as altisimo and tone, support the reed with your lips. Think about the corner of the lips (corner of lips being where the lips come together on the edge of the mouthpiece not where they come together at the cheeks). Don Sinta talks about the lips closing around the mouthpiece like the closing in a drawstring bag. His video is highly recomended for a technique refresher.

On clarinet the lips kind of roll forward down the mouthpiece when you get into the altissimo, I find the high notes happen more so from the tongue raising in the mouth to speed up the air speed and also using the throat. Here I think the dentures help. The roof of the mouth is lowered because of the hard plate across it and I find the point where the hard plate of my full upper plate starts is the point that I get the small space to speed up that air. It's almost like the ridge where the plate starts acts as a little baffle to help direct the air. Also try the book called "Voicing" by Don Sinta and Denise Dabney. Sometimes you can find it on Ebay by search for voicing. If it is not there search the web for Dr. Denise Dabney and if you email her you can get the book from her. Expensive little book but worth every penny for what the voicing excercises do for your tone.

So that is my two cents. Dentures are not really a problem. The problem is playing the saxophone well is a BITCH.
 

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I too am getting back to playing after having full dentures. I find that with the clarinet I can get a good tone through the register. Fair tone with the alto, but my old tenor is something else. I need to take it in and have it repadded and adjusted. One big problem I have incountred is that I seem to generate a large amount of moisture (spit) and am continually taking the reed of and wipping the underside.
 

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Hi, Well I just got my tenor out o the shop. The tech went completely through it and fixed what needed fixed. He told me that a friend of his who plays the same horn (Buffet SDA) and is a professional musician, said that it was a very good sax. Now to tlhe problem. The tech. ran thru the upper and lower register with no problems after I got home I couldn't any lower than E. i can get to B-flat on my alto. The mouthpiece is the original Buffet mouthpiece. Could this be the problem? Our is it my embouchure? I would be grateful to anyone who could help. I also where full dentures
 

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Hi Nicko, I only reply because I want to help others with dentures, I don't knoiw if you have " POli-Grip" in Australia, becausenthre is a lot of "glue" here too, but Poli-Grip will if used daily and dentures (upper) relined good, and if used will nOT in any way get to your reed, nor will you taste it ! it will hold the piece so tight, you can eat anything and everything, and it will not lossen up, you can eat three meals a day first as tight as last !! Believe me, I don't know about the lowers, When I got hm it was awful trying to play, and the "glue" was as you described, (But I did not use Poli-Grip then) Anyhow for about $4,000 US, I got two implants with a denture set up to receive the implant, like a military type snap gizmo (instead of buttons) well these two implants hold the denture so well I don't need any adhesive at all for anything. What a blessing !! It is a three month ordeal though as you have to wait to make sure there are no rejections by jaw to implant. I wish you all the best. BB
 

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I use "glue" as a generic term. Yes, we have polident here ( we stopped using boiled koala bones long ago:) :) )
The post implants are probably the ultimate. I used to have a top plate made of chrome cobalt steel, it was only 1mm thick and didn't affect sound, but I couldn't afford it this time.
Btw, I can play the bass sax with no teeth! talk about loose embouchure.
nicko
 

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rocking dentures

Hi
I have a full upper and partial lower denture. I've just returned to the sax after around six years on keyboards. I used to blow tenor and alto and a bit of soprano....... I've just bought myself an alto to get going again. My problem is that when I play anything above the middle register the pressure of my jaw causes my denture to rock - The back of the denture moves down (despite glue) and the tooth part moves up and causes excruciating pain to my upper gums. The pressure of the jaw pulls the denture down off my palate despite liberal polyfix. Also...... I used to have a good powerful tone and could hit altissimo notes, no bother.... I find it hard now to get even top F, never mind any higher notes. the passage of air through my mouth seems restricted and "choked" as it passes under the plate part of the denture. Any advice anyone ?
I'm losing heart and am feeling despondent about playing now.
Richard
 

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7 Its like someome with a artificial leg who wants to take up running! First you need the correct fit for the job, then you need to condition the body bits to accept pressure in a way its not used to.
Get your dentist to check your bite, take a mouthpiece with you. My guy moved the top front teeth back to reduce the "overbite" that pulls the plate down. Then you need to practice reducing pressure on the topset, you CAN play without the mouthpiece touching the top teeth (let the weight of the horn provide the down pressure) reducing that "up" bite so that contact with the top teeth is much less, will make a vast difference.
Lastly, accept that you have a different mouth cavity and learn to work on getting the best sound out of THAT shape. BTW, plastic makes a great resonator for vocal sounds (Growls, etc)
nicko,

PS I used no glue up until the band played "Orange Coloured Sky" We all shouted "timber" at the appropriate spot, and the top set fell out. I had to play the remainder of the chart with my foot placed over the dentures, and the upper gums complainig wildly, now I put a tiny dab on just before a set with vocals in it :D
 

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tensopbass said:
7 Its like someome with a artificial leg who wants to take up running! First you need the correct fit for the job, then you need to condition the body bits to accept pressure in a way its not used to.
Get your dentist to check your bite, take a mouthpiece with you. My guy moved the top front teeth back to reduce the "overbite" that pulls the plate down. Then you need to practice reducing pressure on the topset, you CAN play without the mouthpiece touching the top teeth (let the weight of the horn provide the down pressure) reducing that "up" bite so that contact with the top teeth is much less, will make a vast difference.
Lastly, accept that you have a different mouth cavity and learn to work on getting the best sound out of THAT shape. BTW, plastic makes a great resonator for vocal sounds (Growls, etc)
nicko,

PS I used no glue up until the band played "Orange Coloured Sky" We all shouted "timber" at the appropriate spot, and the top set fell out. I had to play the remainder of the chart with my foot placed over the dentures, and the upper gums complainig wildly, now I put a tiny dab on just before a set with vocals in it :D
That must have been embarrassing ! - I've had a couple of "near fallouts", usually when sneezing or something. I'll try what you suggest - lowering the neckstrap to put more weight on my lower jaw. I can see the sense of what you suggest. I also play BRASS - with an occasional tootle on a pocket trumpet. Strangely, there's no problems with that, and a denture.
Richard
 

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Thanks for the advice !

Thanks Tensopbass - I tried your advice...... dropped the neckstrap an inch. I also pushed the mouthpiece in and sharpened the sax slightly. I always used to play with the pitch tuned so that I had to squeeze a bit to get up to the correct pitch. I've now tuned up a bit so I can relax the grip a bit. This, in combination with your idea about dropping the sax down and letting gravity help, has opened up my sound to its old free C.Adderley-type blast like I used to have. No pain !
Cheers-
~Richard
 

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I just had all my teeth extracted and now have Immediate dentures, I will after a year of healing get these teeth "re based". At this time my Denturist will re fit lowers with a new option "suction fit lowers". I will update my journey back. I have told my contacts that I will be booking gigs next year.
 

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My dentures take up my entire mouth and it's a pain trying to eat. I've been playing sax from the beginning with no dentures. I played for about 11 months; then, I had to have 'another' shoulder surgery and I just started back in 6 or 8 weeks ago. I have muscle and nerve damage in my upper lip and I have to really focus on my emboucher. That being said; I think I'm doing quite well and I love my tenor and alto. The tenor is a YTS-62III and I just found my alto on Craigslist. It's a 1929 Buscher True Tone made in Elkhart, In. I don't know if you want to try playing with no teeth. I think I've kind of gotten used to it and I am getting some pretty good tone out of the sax. I guess it's just a matter of making adjustments until you're happy with how you're playing. I'm sure I look weird; but - hey...I love playing my saxes!
 

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Thanks, Antoine, for you reply. I'm in my middle sixties, however, I've had full uppers and lowers since I was thirty two years old. At that time I did not believe it would be possible to play the sax or anyother wind instrument so I did not try. After about twenty years I decided to give it a try and it was not as difficult as I had surmised. What is difficult is staying in tune throughout the range of the instrument (Tenor) most especially the upper register. So far, altissimo has totally been out of the question. My biggest fantacy is hitting the lotto and using the money to buy implants, but as you know that is a looooooong shot. At least I can still work through ideas that I'm learning and some that I think up with the play-a-longs. Some people who have heard me practice have encouaged me to play in public, but i'm disinclined to do so because of the pending embarrassment and respect for the music (presenting the music as authentically is possible, for me, is a most. I say that not because I'm that advanced, but on the level that I am I try to be as correct as my abilities and knowledge will allow me.:oops:
Thanks. I am in the process of finding out how to correct my teeth after some medical problems and one of the dentist recommendations were full top dentures and I was skeptical due to playing. I go to see the periodontist in a week to see if there is another option such as a bridge but I'm relieved to know that there's still hope with a full top.
 

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I had full uppers and lowers done 2 years ago, took awhile to heal but now am playing with no problems. I use powder for my uppers due to my mouth having kind of flat profile. A more concave palate tends to have better suction so powder would probably not be needed. I use paste and powder for my bottoms as I don't have the greatest suction. This is what I do as well for eating so my routine daily is the same. I take both out in the morning have my coffee and check emails, weather, news etc until breakfast. After a good soak in cleanser I am set for breakfast and lunch. For me I always do a clean before dinner and reapply powder/paste. I play mostly in the evenings so I am ready after dinner...You can get screws put in to attach lowers but I have not needed that route.
 
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