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Discussion Starter #1
One of the main reasons I don't play clarinet that much anymore is that my upper lip always got irritated after playing. The two sides of my upper lip got slightly torn and made them a bit rough to the touch (lick?). I'm not sure I'm explaining it very well, but can someone tell me if this is a natural part of playing clarinet or whether it is attributable to a bad mouthpiece. My clarinet was very cheap and a stock used mouthpiece came with it so it wouldn't surprise me. If it isn't normal, I may buy a new mouthpiece and start playing again, since it is very fun.
 

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Are you playing with the reed on top? Just messing with you!

There should be no reason for the upper lip to become that irritated unless you are reacting to something on the mouthpiece, (cork grease, hand lotion..) are a chronic 'lip licker', or have a thick rubber patch that is difficult to wrap your lip around to get a good 'seal'.
If you do play with a patch you could be allergic to one or more of the 'ingredients' or even the adhesive.
Most single reed players experience chapping or other irritation on the lower lip.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Are you playing with the reed on top? Just messing with you!

There should be no reason for the upper lip to become that irritated unless you are reacting to something on the mouthpiece, (cork grease, hand lotion..) are a chronic 'lip licker', or have a thick rubber patch that is difficult to wrap your lip around to get a good 'seal'.
If you do play with a patch you could be allergic to one or more of the 'ingredients' or even the adhesive.
Most single reed players experience chapping or other irritation on the lower lip.
Actually, come to think of it I do remember licking my lips quite often. I guess it's just because I found it uncomfortable. After playing I always found my lips a bit sticky as well; perhaps it was washed with something inappropriate (I have only washed it once or twice with water, I considered it enough to wipe it)? It's a terrible mouthpiece I think so I should just buy a new one, but the licking theory seems quite likely.

Facial hair?
Or this. :mrgreen:
 

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You're not one on these double embouchure guys, are you?
Nope.

When I say "upper lip" I mean the inside of my upper lip. Although I am now inclined to think it's 100% the mouthpiece's fault, because I just put it into my mouth for like a minute at most (without even blowing) and the feeling has come back slightly (after 3 weeks of not having it, every day of that playing sax).
 

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I never thought of that! I usually have no reason to think about it unless I'm kissing someone with a fuzzy face. :)
Well, I would certainly hope so for you!! :mrgreen:

And, yeah it happens to me on sax if I don't shave. My upper lip and corners get irritated.
 

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what does your upper lip "do" when you play? It should just be against your teeth and creating a seal around the piece...what is abrasive against it? Do you have braces?
 

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I played for 2 years with a mouth full of orthodontics and didn't have a problem with irritation on the 'inside' of my upper lip.
There must be something going on that isn't being mentioned in a way that all of us can understand.

If the embouchure is too loose, meaning no support from the lower jaw, stuff can slop around in there and cause all kinds of weird crap to happen.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
It's been too long since I played last, although I don't really remember my embouchure being that strange (apart from folding my bottom lip completely over my teeth). It just created a seal around the mouthpiece like JohnGalt said.
 

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Are your top teeth making contact with the top of the mouthpiece?

Just for poops and giggles you should try washing the offensive mouthpiece in cool water and a little liquid dish soap. (Not the kind you use in dishwashers!)
If there is an irritant on the piece this should remove it and you can start fresh, so to speak, and see if it doesn't help the lip.

If possible, could you answer a few of the other questions that have been asked. I've been a clarinetist for 40 years and have taught privately for ~13. I would like to help you resolve this problem, but it's a little difficult when some seemingly 'unimportant to you' information is omitted.
Thank you! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'll see if I can get all of them:

1. Do I use a patch? Nope. Especially not a thick leather one.

2. I've never experienced any irritation on the lower lip, but I think that's mainly because I play with a slightly incorrect embouchure; where I think I fold my lower lip too much over my teeth. The pressure is not on the lower lip but more on the skin below the lip. This may be a "loose" embouchure, but I find it's quite firm. Playing with the reed sitting directly on my lower lip is excruciating. I use a #3 Vandoren (blue box) and my lower lip is not strong enough to support it.

3. Again, I don't use a double embouchure.

4. I've never experienced any trouble with facial hair, though I am only 18 and cannot even grow a five'o'clock shadow, only a faint moustache and some chin hair.

5. I don't have braces no, but I did have them on my lower teeth until two month ago, and have only played once since then. Funny story why actually. Here I was in my room honking out a few notes after three weeks of being on vacation when suddenly my thumbrest falls off. As I said before, it was a cheap instrument and obviously not well made and I really didn't have enough time to react so the instrument fell out of my hands and landed on the floor, making one stop on the edge of my table on the way. Luckily it did not sustain any significant damage but it was unplayable nonetheless. I took it to a repairman and he fixed it and I haven't had the interest to play since. It's really fun to play, but I haven't been making too much progress and have been feeling a bit discouraged. That, coupled with the fact that my lips feel funny after playing, is mainly why I haven't played in a while.

Hope that gives you something to work on, though I think you may have already answered my question.

I do have one question regarding that though. Is washing the mouthpiece under a faucet safe? I figured that the cork would get warped if I did that.
 

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I'll see if I can get all of them:

1. Do I use a patch? Nope. Especially not a thick leather one.

2. I've never experienced any irritation on the lower lip, but I think that's mainly because I play with a slightly incorrect embouchure; where I think I fold my lower lip too much over my teeth. The pressure is not on the lower lip but more on the skin below the lip. This may be a "loose" embouchure, but I find it's quite firm. Playing with the reed sitting directly on my lower lip is excruciating. I use a #3 Vandoren (blue box) and my lower lip is not strong enough to support it.

3. Again, I don't use a double embouchure.

4. I've never experienced any trouble with facial hair, though I am only 18 and cannot even grow a five'o'clock shadow, only a faint moustache and some chin hair.

5. I don't have braces no, but I did have them on my lower teeth until two month ago, and have only played once since then. Funny story why actually. Here I was in my room honking out a few notes after three weeks of being on vacation when suddenly my thumbrest falls off. As I said before, it was a cheap instrument and obviously not well made and I really didn't have enough time to react so the instrument fell out of my hands and landed on the floor, making one stop on the edge of my table on the way. Luckily it did not sustain any significant damage but it was unplayable nonetheless. I took it to a repairman and he fixed it and I haven't had the interest to play since. It's really fun to play, but I haven't been making too much progress and have been feeling a bit discouraged. That, coupled with the fact that my lips feel funny after playing, is mainly why I haven't played in a while.

Hope that gives you something to work on, though I think you may have already answered my question.

I do have one question regarding that though. Is washing the mouthpiece under a faucet safe? I figured that the cork would get warped if I did that.
Re-read your intitial post.
Your question was in regards to upper lip discomfort ..." my upper lip always got irritated after playing" ... now your talking about skin around your lower lip.
Figure out what your problem is first ....
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Re-read your intitial post.
Your question was in regards to upper lip discomfort ..." my upper lip always got irritated after playing" ... now your talking about skin around your lower lip.
Figure out what your problem is first ....
She asked about loose embouchure and this was my answer: "Perhaps my embouchure is loose because my lower lip offers little resistance to the reed". I was merely expanding upon the "loose embouchure" idea. My problem is still that my upper lip gets irritated after playing.
 

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Yes, you can wash the mouthpiece under the faucet using COOL water.

From what I can gather from your vague answers is that you have no clue how to form a proper embouchure on either clarinet or saxophone.
There is something so totally wrong going on with your 'mouth' that the only way for you to resolve the issue is to find a private instructor.
You SERIOUSLY need the face-to-face time with a QUALIFIED clarinet instructor.
 

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Never mind?
You asked for our help in diagnosing why you upper lip is getting irritated. We have been trying our best to do that.
John as asked at least twice for you to explain what kind of irritation you have. Are you getting chapped? Is the irritation more like cold sores/fever blisters? Is the 'irritation' just a strange/numb feeling from the vibrations of the mouthpiece?
Come on kid. You really need to give us more to work with here if you really want to find a solution to the problem and get on with playing without discomfort.
 

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Never mind?
You asked for our help in diagnosing why you upper lip is getting irritated. We have been trying our best to do that.
John as asked at least twice for you to explain what kind of irritation you have. Are you getting chapped? Is the irritation more like cold sores/fever blisters? Is the 'irritation' just a strange/numb feeling from the vibrations of the mouthpiece?
Come on kid. You really need to give us more to work with here if you really want to find a solution to the problem and get on with playing without discomfort.
Sorry, this forum doesn't allow the deletion of posts and so that is my way of saying "ignore this post". I didn't mean to say "forget about it".

P.S: I apologize for any perceived rudeness or apathy; it's just I didn't really know what was wrong, so it's difficult to explain.
On topic: It's a combination of very faint numbness, stickiness and a very slightly rough texture. It doesn't really matter anyway; you were totally right. I realize now my embouchure can be improved in several different ways and I am not forming my tenor sax embouchure correctly enough (been playing 2-3 weeks). Unfortunately I cannot get a teacher so I will just need to seek out more information on the topic and try to correct the problem. Thanks for your help. :)
 
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