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Discussion Starter #1
We were discussing the double lip embouchure in another thread and rather than hijack that thread on doubling sax and clarinet, I thought it would be more proper to start a new thread.

Smack me if I'm wrong to do this.

I tried the double lip embouchure on sax tonight to see how it feels.
As expected, it feels really weird but I was able to play.

I found tounging to be a little more difficult and my face wasn't too happy but I bet more practice would help.

The real problem came when playing high C#, without using my teeth to anchor the horn in my mouth it had a tendancy to pop out on this note.
This was on an alto sax.
It was less painful on my teeth.

I could see where on a clarinet this wouldn't be as much a problem on open G since the horn is at a different angle.
I couldn't try it on clarinet since my daughter left it at school.

Perhaps I'm doing it wrong on sax.


A reference to the double lip was given here:
http://www.theclarinet.co.uk/articles/doublelip.shtml

Here's the original thread:
http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?t=59921
 

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On clarinet there are very specific challenges with double lip because the instrument is free-floating. Double lip players have to think a lot harder about little finger use because on the open and throat tones, they stabilize the instrument in the absence of the upper teeth as an anchor.

My repair tech is a classically trained clarinet player. He attended PMA and studied with Gigliotti for years. He tried the double lip for a long time but switched back, discovering for himself that there were perceived benefits in terms of facial resonance that did not actually change the sound coming out of the instrument.

I tried it for a little while but I could not afford the time necessary to really feel comfortable with it, as I had gigs that basically demanded using what was most agreable for my face set after set. However I had a similar experience: the instrument feels unstable on open and palm notes. The upper teeth on saxes and clarinets is a great anchoring point for the instrument; the trick is to relax the pressure from your upper head into the mouthpiece a bit and not to let this pressure transfer into a clenched lower jaw. This I think is the main benefit of the double lip: you can't HELP but relax your jaw. I think it's an slightly easier and more productive path to teach yourself the concept of relaxation without needing to remove the "crutch" of the upper teeth as an anchor point...
 

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I have absolutely nothing against experienced players learning to use a double lip embouchure. I just believe that it is counterproductive and a waste of time for a beginner to try to learn to play this way at first. It would be similar to learning to double tongue before mastering single tonguing, or playing two horns at once ala Roland Kirk, before mastering them one at a time, or playing multiphonics and altissimo before mastering the tone production of the fundamental notes.

That said, if you are intent at experimenting with the double lip embouchure on alto sax and clarinet, you can tell if your embouchure is set correctly by the pitch produced on the "tone producer" which is the mouthpiece and barrel, or the mouthpiece and neck. For the clarinet the pitch should be F# concert or slightly higher. For the alto sax it should be Ab concert. If you can sustain these pitches as long tones, tongue these notes without distortion, play for a half an hour or more without fatigue on the "tone producer setup", then you are ready for the entire instrument with your Louble Dip embouchure. Good luck. Let us know of your progress. :)

John
 

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honestly i believe the whole double lip embouchure involves way too much thinking about the embouchure. if i can exhale naturally and focus air to the bottom of my horn, wouldn't that sound more natural than if i tried pulling my upper lip over my teeth and exhaling?

it's just one more thing to figure out when there's plenty enough going on already.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
My tone wasn't much different on sax using double lip.
It's just uncomfortable (as in feels strange) because it's new to me.

I've been playing sax with the traditional embouchure for 33 years but clarinet is relatively new to me.

I was able to hit a few altissimo notes.

My biggest question is anchoring the horn.
As I stated before - High C# with one thumb pushing the octave key and the other thumb in the thumb hook acting as a pivot point is causing the horn to pull away from my mouth.

It would seem that when I use the single lip embouchure, my front teeth are keeping the horn from moving away.

Give it a try and you'll see what I mean.
 

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The adjustment between double lip and standard embouchure is really not as great as people think. The double lip technique really does help to get the right feel for both embouchures. It's a great practice tool for getting rid of some bad habits which i reckon are common even among some v good players. I don't think i could ever use it all the time for sax (esp tenor). It feels too unstable. But someone mentioned on another thread that Coltrane used double lip. If true, this must be a strong argument in favour of at least giving it a try. It's very hard to believe that Coltrane's amazing sound is really based on "poor technique". On clarinet i think you could make an argument that it's more stable and more flexible at the same time. Certainly sqeaks seem to be less of a problem. It's possible that the same argument could be applied to soprano.
 

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I used to have insane problems with tension and fatigue on both sax and clarinet. I started doing warm ups and long tones on both using double embouchure and then switching to normal embouchure for the rest of the practice. It helped a lot with getting me to relax and use my air for support instead of my jaw, which I had been doing, much to my detriment.

I'd recommend it for anyone who needs to learn to relax.
 

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Ok, I've been playing with double lip as an experiment for part of my practice time on tenor. Here's what I've found:

1. I don't sound like Coltrane--I still sound like me.
2. The double lip works better with a relatively close tip--open tips get a 'floaty' feel and D2 and Eb2 never sound right.
3. Even with my strong embouchure (from playing alto and sop exclusively for a loooong time), the horn just didn't feel secure.

It may be that to use the double lip embouchure takes much more practice/conditioning time than the standard embouchure.
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
I can see that on clarinet or soprano the problem of the horn pulling away from the mouth would be eliminated by the angle of the instrument but I'll try it on soprano tonight if I get some time.

I just don't see how it would work on alto and larger horns without either an adjustment of the position of head/horn or some sort of change in the way you hold the horn.

I was hoping that someone who uses the double lip would chime in and make a few suggestions.

UPDATE:

I tried it on soprano and had the same problem.
The horn pulling away when trying to play high C#.

I'll try it on clarinet if my daughter ever remembers to bring it home from school.
 

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I started out on tenor but a few years later picked up bassoon (and then switched from tenor to bari and now am doing both but anyways) and so naturally I've tried out double lip on saxophone.
I'm nowhere near as experienced as you guys, but I find it does make a difference with my tone quality... last time I messed with double lipping saxophone it sounded like 1920's era dark and soft if that makes sense. In some ways it's nice but it's just impractical because I usually use lip vibrato for saxophone and that just makes it sound ridiculous with a double lip embouchure.
I'll play around with it tomorrow though.
 

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I'm a long time double lipper. I can't play single lip anymore it vibrates my teeth too much. It helped my tone when I switched over, though. :!:
 

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I used double lip whilst I was undergoing dental care for a snapped next-to-front tooth (abcess/root canal). As I couldn't centre my embouchure because of the problem, I used double lip. I played a little flat, which meant the way to play double lip is to strengthen those muscles!

I remember my Mum used to say 'Your Grandad played his sax without his false teeth [sometimes]', which means he must have double lipped it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wattson said:
I started out on tenor but a few years later picked up bassoon (and then switched from tenor to bari and now am doing both but anyways) and so naturally I've tried out double lip on saxophone.
I'm nowhere near as experienced as you guys, but I find it does make a difference with my tone quality... last time I messed with double lipping saxophone it sounded like 1920's era dark and soft if that makes sense. In some ways it's nice but it's just impractical because I usually use lip vibrato for saxophone and that just makes it sound ridiculous with a double lip embouchure.
I'll play around with it tomorrow though.
Are you talking about the tone you hear while playing or the actual tone?
The actual tone is what others hear or what you would hear on a recording.

Putting your teeth on and off the mouthpiece will make your perceived tone change due to the vibrations through the teeth so you can't judge your actual tone by what you hear while playing.
 

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I usually do the double lip as an exercise when I can feel my throat tightening. For some reason, the double lip can relax my throat... not sure why. I never actually play with a double lip though.
 

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This is interesting. I went through a phase of playing with a double-lip embouchure because I read about it somewhere (and had used it of course playing clarinet, but had been taught otherwise on the sax). I liked it for awhile: I found that I got (or thought I got; who knows what other people would have heard) a mellower, "prettier" tone. I was in a Stan Getz phase. Actually I think I started doing that because I read somewhere that Getz played that way; but I can't be sure of that: this was years and years ago. At that time I found it easier to subtone with the double lip embouchure.

After awhile I drifted away from it, largely because, for me, it was more difficult to play high notes that way, and I found myself switching embouchures in mid-phrase, not a good idea if part of the goal is continuity. And I could never produce altissimo with that embouchure. I'm not saying it's not possible (I'm sure it is) but I never was able to do it.

Frankly I'd be shocked to discover that Coltrane played with a double embouchure. Is that documented?
 

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Coltrane definately used the double lip throughout his career. My teacher (who taught me the double lip for which I am forever grateful) was a longtime student of both Gary Bartz and Junior Cook both of who knew Trane very well. Both of them state this as a fact.
Many players used it. I just got a Jr. Walker LP and the photo on the cover makes it pretty obvious he is using the double lip. It was very common for awhile.
I'm like King, playing with my teeth on the mouthpiece was making me miserable. Now it is far easier to play and my tone has improved massively.
 

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Saxplayer67 said:
I used double lip whilst I was undergoing dental care for a snapped next-to-front tooth (abcess/root canal). As I couldn't centre my embouchure because of the problem, I used double lip. I played a little flat, which meant the way to play double lip is to strengthen those muscles!

I remember my Mum used to say 'Your Grandad played his sax without his false teeth [sometimes]', which means he must have double lipped it.
The advantages and disadvantages of not having teeth, for a sax player, make a bracing meditation. Gum it, Grandad!
 

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Reedsplinter said:
This is interesting. I went through a phase of playing with a double-lip embouchure because I read about it somewhere (and had used it of course playing clarinet, but had been taught otherwise on the sax). I liked it for awhile: I found that I got (or thought I got; who knows what other people would have heard) a mellower, "prettier" tone. I was in a Stan Getz phase. Actually I think I started doing that because I read somewhere that Getz played that way; but I can't be sure of that: this was years and years ago. At that time I found it easier to subtone with the double lip embouchure.

Frankly I'd be shocked to discover that Coltrane played with a double embouchure. Is that documented?
Coltrane AND Getz, apparently. I've read this a lot here and with a search you may be able to find something where someone refers to something specific like an interview with Coltrane or a fellow musician/associate. The point you mention about your clarinet playing is interesting. Most clarinet teachers would consider double-lip to be "not recommended" technique, I believe. This in spite of the fact that a number of internationally renowned clt players have used it. The thing about "gum it, grandad" made me wonder: I know Coltrane had problems with his teeth (Getz too??). Could this possibly have been an important subsidiary reason why they chose to play double lip?
 

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I've been looking for evidence about Coltrane. All I have found so far is purely anecdotal. That doesn't mean it's not true. I have Getz more firmly fixed in my own head as having used a double lip embouchure, but that's only because I'm convinced I read it somewhere years and years ago and can't remember where, so that hardly qualifies as established truth. I'd like to find some more trustworthy basis for all this.

The "legend" is that Trane started playing this way because of trouble with his teeth. The dental problem IS well documented.

About Getz's teeth I know nothing. Did he have wooden false teeth like G. Washington (that's George, not Grover)?
 
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