Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 12 of 12 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I have been encountering this problem on and off for the last couple of months, much more noticeably than ever before, and I'm not sure why this is.

It occurs mostly when I'm playing alto...I changed my embouchre about 6 months ago while studying in Europe on exchange, and though while I was changing it this moisture problem was not there, since I have been back in the UK at Christmas it has been.

My embouchre change has caused me to go from using Vandoren 3 reeds to 3.5 and now 4, so was wondering if it could be connected to this. Also use rizlas to cover my bottom teeth, but have been doing this for years.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
529 Posts
I was going to suggest playing harder reeds but if you're already on a 4 that's probably not fixing the problem. What kind of mouthpiece do you use? I can't imagine you would be happy with 4's if you're not on a Rascher-style mouthpiece. In what way did you change your embouchure? Maybe it has to do with your breathing (not enough support I mean)?? More details please.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
While I was on exchange studying in Poland I changed my embouchre to a more French/Bornkamp approach, with pointy chin, not a 'smiley' embouchre with which I used to play, more pressure at the sides of my mouth.

My breathing/support definitely improved during this time too, and is better than it used to be.

I play on a Selmer S80 D mouthpiece.
I have not been happy with reeds because I am finding them too soft, causing buzzy vibrato and not a nice sound below the break, which is why I changed to 3.5 and 4s, both of which I am using now.

It is really quite annoying as recently a lot of things in my playing are starting to improve lots, and this is holding me back (at least in my practice, as when I perform my mouth tends to dry up more anyway). I have had this problem on and off over the last couple of months, but not all the time...for example when Bornkamp was over a couple of weeks ago I had a great lesson and he saw a lot of improvements in my playing...grrr:x
 

·
Distinguished Member
Joined
·
637 Posts
I know you must be loving your selmer D mouthpiece, but maybe try an LT or an AL3 or the NC4? It's really weird what could be causing it. Is this moisture like kind of a crinkling like you constantly have spit in your sound but you can't get rid of it or something? I remember about 5 years ago I was having this ridiculous problem where spit kept getting in my sound and I couldn't get rid of it no matter how hard I tried. I was playing on an LT at the time and eventually it just went away.

The reason why I say a different mouthpiece is because maybe your tip opening when compared to the rest of the mouthpiece just isn't big enough to compensate for your different embochure
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
4,517 Posts
The problem may not be in the mouthpiece, or the reed. I have expierenced that problem. Try blowing faster air, the moisture may getting stuck in the mouthpiece.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
It is OK to begin with, but if I play long phrases, in this particular case the start of the 1st mvt of Muczynski's Sonata, it gets bad.

Dannel, you say that the tip opening might not be big enough, but isn't an AL3 for example a smaller tip opening?

I guess it could be air stream problems, it's just weird because I haven't had this problem in the past; maybe now because I am playing slightly differently, and with harder reeds?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
My thoughts are derived completely from my own approach, which may be completely different than yours. They may, however, be helpful, so here goes. First of all, I think that unless your mouthpiece has been refaced or you are working your reeds down considerably, Vandoren 3.5 and 4 reeds are WAY too hard on a Selmer D mouthpiece. I use a Selmer LT (much more closed than a D) with Vandoren 3.5 reeds. In order to produce a round, dark tone, I use a very round and relaxed (but firm) embouchure. This is one that exerts inward pressure all around the mouthpiece, rather than vertical pressure on the top of the mouthpiece and reed where the jaw is providing the support. With this embouchure, I produce a concert A when I blow the mouthpiece alone. Try just blowing the mouthpiece and see what pitch you get. If I'm above an A that tells me I'm too tight. I've heard of people also using Bb as the mouthpiece pitch, but if you're above that I'd say you're way too tight. On a stock unaltered Selmer D mouthpiece I would never recommend anything harder than a Vandoren 3 reed (unless you're working down 3.5's). If you're having to play on harder reeds and use a tighter embouchure to produce a good tone, I would say the mouthpiece probably has a very bad facing, which is probably our #1 suspect in the moisture problem as well. A bad facing can make life MISERABLE for us! It can cause these types of problems, and many more. If you like the tip opening of the D, I would recommend having it refaced and evened out by a capable mouthpiece technician and moving to softer reeds. If you're not married to the D, I would recommend trying something slightly more closed, such as a C*, S90 190, or Larry Teal, with #3 or 3.5 reeds (I'm using Vandoren's strenghts as a gauge). These Selmer mouthpieces are very inconsistent, so unless you try several and find one you really like, they will probably need refaced as well. If refacing is not an option, I would recommend trying a Vandoren mouthpiece like an Optimum AL3 again with #3 or 3.5 reeds. Even though I prefer a customized Selmer mouthpiece over Vandoren, the vandorens are much more consistent and you can order one knowing it will probably have an even facing. It really sounds to me like you're fighting a bad mouthpiece facing and you're working a LOT harder than you need to produce a good tone. Proper embouchure and voicing control(air speed just as Carbs indicated) is also extremely critical, but I think it's VERY likely that you're fighting your equipment. Hope this helps.
 

·
Distinguished Member
Joined
·
637 Posts
Well thats why I said the tip opening when compared to the rest of the mouthpiece. You can play on smaller tip openings with a larger bore and or different whatever. Just trying to think of physical things that could be wrong since it's almost impossible to figure out online any internal problems that are going on.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
800 Posts
paulmac said:
I have been encountering this problem on and off for the last couple of months, much more noticeably than ever before, and I'm not sure why this is.

It occurs mostly when I'm playing alto...I changed my embouchre about 6 months ago while studying in Europe on exchange, and though while I was changing it this moisture problem was not there, since I have been back in the UK at Christmas it has been.

My embouchre change has caused me to go from using Vandoren 3 reeds to 3.5 and now 4, so was wondering if it could be connected to this. Also use rizlas to cover my bottom teeth, but have been doing this for years.

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated!
It is the English air, very damp you know....Ha ha
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
58 Posts
I haven't read every reply on this topic so shoot me if I say similar things...

I think it has to do with your embouchure (since I pretty much made the same evolution over the past years). If you are playing and you encounter moisture problems I always make a little more tension in my chin (I pull it down). This is often a good temporary solution untill you arrive at a point where you can clean you rmouthpiece by sucking air through it.
I also find your mouthpiece and reed setting quite hard, since I play on a selmer C* with Vandooren 3 reeds. Maybe you should try to go to C** with Vandooren 3,5. My experience is that when you play a lighter mouthpiece and reeds, your sound becomes somewhat thinner, but you also get less moisture problems.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
65 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for all your responses guys, and I see what you mean Dannel, sorry I didn't understand at first.

I practiced today using Vandoren 3s, and there was definite improvement, and I was much happier with it, though the compromise is a weaker sound just below the break...guess that is just something to work on.

Would you guys recommend staying on 3s, or maybe shaving down 3.5s, and working from there?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
52 Posts
I would strongly recommend staying on the 3's. If you are relatively flexible with your voicing (adjusting the focus of the air with the tongue position), you can adjust the timbre and, at least to some extent, compensate for the weaker sound. Having played a Selmer D mouthpiece at one time, I can tell you that 3's worked very well for me. I also know of several other players that use a similar setup or have in the past with great success.
 
1 - 12 of 12 Posts
Top