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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok so I want to know when playing my alto sax should their be any pressure exerted in
my mouth while playing or should their be no resistance at all ? And yes I am supporting my playing with my diaphragm

Doug
 

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I'm not sure what you're asking, but if I can make a suggestion. Get the Larry Teal book, "The Art of Playing the Saxophone." This book will be a wealth of knowledge and a great resource for a newer player. You embouchure questions will be addressed there. It's available on Amazon.
 

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There should be a little bit of pressure from the bottom lip without biting down. I agree with spike421 about getting a book though. Joe Allard's books are great as well.

We don't strain our mouths when speaking, so there's no reason to strain ourselves when playing. Basically, the embouchure should feel natural and not contorted, just like the way we speak.

I actually put together an article on my site that might be of some help to you:
http://www.bestsaxophonewebsiteever.com/small-shift-of-the-lip-big-shift-in-the-sound
 

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Only enough 'pressure' to keep the horn from falling out of your face.
If you have to 'clamp down' to get a sound you need to drop your reed strength.
 

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When I was first learning sax in middle school, my jaws would regularly ache after practicing. I imagine that this is rather common for beginner players, but I sometimes still find my jaws hurting after long rehearsals or slow and lyrical songs (more control needed, I guess). Your teeth and lips definitely shouldn't hurt, and I totally agree with bandmommy about reed strength (it took me FOREVER to switch from 3.5 to 4), but a little jaw ache is normal until the muscles in your face develop.
 

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It took me a long time to go from a 3.5 to a 4, but it just took me a second to go back to a 2.5:)

I know it's been a long time, but my jaw never aches from playing. Just my brain.
 

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I would ask that you clarify your question. Do you mean

1. the air pressure built up inside the mouth when you blow on the mouthpiece, or
2. the muscular pressure of the lips around the mouthpiece when forming the embouchure?

These are two separate and distinct elements of playing. The term "pressure in the mouth" is quite vague.

As far as I know, Joe Allard didn't write any books about saxophone playing although there have been articles written about his teaching style and concepts. I second the suggestion to get the Art of Saxophone Playing by Larry Teal. It will be the best money you ever spend as a saxophone player.
 

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I'm also uncertain just what you're asking. But a hearty endorsement to the Larry Teal book, a great all around reference about playing the sax. And this would be a really good question to put to a teacher or someone who is experienced and can actually watch you play and give you some immediate feedback. Embouchure is a subtle science.
 

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dogster,

The embouchre is a group of muscles around the corners of the mouth that need to be developed properly. As in any other conditioning activity of muscle groups an appropriate warm up and cooling down afterwards is very important. There are no muscles in the facial cheeks. You have the right idea about the diaphragm to support the airstream.
 

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When you look at the cover of 'Gerry Mulligan Meets Johnny Hodges', I'd say that Gerry has a tight embouchure in that moment, and a lot of pressure.

But then again rumour has it he's been playing on steel spoons instead of reed at that time ... :bluewink:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Well I play flute with a loose embouchure and play clarinet with a tighter one so sax is very different. I am getting good tone though and things are getting easier all the time !Being able to do circular breathing helps me alot to find the sweet spot and to do long tones !

Ty
everyone
Doug
 
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