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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm a brand-new newbie (as in I've had the sax in my possession for less than a week) and my lip is killing me. It's fustrating because I'll start practising and when I'm finally getting the hang of something (after about 15 minutes) my bottom lip starts to hurt where my teeth sink in. I'll practise another 5 minutes and it becomes unbearable... and I end up having teeth marks there for a couple of hours. Then later that day I try again but my lip becomes sorer quicker. Is this normal?

It occured to me that i might be putting to much pressure on my bottom lip so I experimented by moving my mouth up and down the mouthpiece and adding less/more pressure, rolling more or less of my lip. Between low and middle C, the way I have my embouchure produces the best sound, and above middle C that is the only way I don't squeak or squeal. If I apply any less pressure I get a squeak or some kind of a fog-horn-vibrato type sound.

I think i have pretty sharp teeth too :baby:... is it kinda like when you play guitar your fingers kill for a while until you develop calouses?

Any advice is appreciated :)
 

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your teeth should not be cutting into your bottom lip. Look in youtube for Jerry Bergonzi's demo on mouthpiece placement.
 

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What tip mouthpiece and reed are you playing.

It is way too early to think about this but my bottom teeth were pretty sharp, my dentist smoothed them out with a dental rotary tool.

...I didnt do it my first weeks of playing though so dont run to your dentist yet! Make sure its not your technique.
 

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Take off the mouthpiece and reed from the horn. Play the mouthpiece alone. You should be getting an A concert or below if alto, or a G concert or below if tenor.

Say Ffffff. Where your top teeth touch your bottom lip is the 'line' that tells you where your lip should be over your bottom teeth, and no more than that.
 

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I would try You Tube also. You shouldn't be biting your lip anyway.
 

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evilfeline007, I had the same problem years ago. I was not pressing my teeth hard on my lip but when I got done practicing my lip would have teeth marks. I put the horn down in 2002 for about 8 months and when I started playing again I had the same problem.
There are some good tips on the above post but if you and I are alike with bottom lip pain. It took about 2 months of playing 5 times or more a week for 30 minutes for the pain to go away.

Good luck and happy playing,
 

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Man, I'm sold on the "no embouchure embouchure". I played "lip over teeth" for forty years and then changed. I took several months to get used to, but now I feel I have more control and better tone. FWIW.....
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
GT... how on earth do you play without your lip over your teeth? I tried that out and got a high-pitched screech!

I did take a lesson and my teacher said my embouchure was correct and that it takes some getting used to. Is it maybe that I need to my putting pressure on the reed using my lip more than my teeth? The amount of pressure I'm using really is the only way I get a decent tone. I've been playing a notes for as long as I have air for and adjusting my embouchure and see what changes to the sound it brings.


hakukani... I don't know what note I'm playing (i have a horrible ear...) but it sounds pretty high-pitched on the mouth piece alone. If I put my lip where the "fffff" sound comes from when playing it squeaks and squeals wretchedly. I curl my lip over probably about 1-2mm more.


sigmund... I'm using a plastic mouthpiece that came with the YAS-23 rental I have and a 1.5 reed that my teacher told me to use for now.

I'm not sure how much i trust my teacher yet. He's the only one in my area but he's pretty old and I'm not sure he's completely with it. I think he's used to teaching kids and isn't really sure what to do with me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
also... i keep catching myself having my upper lip curls over my teeth too (its subconscious..) and I find it so much more comfortable. Its when I uncurl my top lip that my bottom lip starts being uncomfortable and its harder to get a decent tone but from what i've been told your top teeth are to go straight onto the mouthpiece?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So I'm on youtube looking up vids and trying them out and this one
seems to work for me pretty good except I get some rattles and gurgles while playing. Is that because my lips just aren't strong enough yet? Is that what people mean with developing muscles?

Am I using the teeth to apply pressure and using my lip as a cushion when I should be using my lips? I assumed when they said "curl your lip over your teeth" it meant that your lip-curled teeth go onto the reed.
 

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is it kinda like when you play guitar your fingers kill for a while until you develop calouses?
It is. I have a callous on the inside of my lip where I rest my teeth. Of course, I developed it long before I adopted a looser embouchure. So I don't know if I'd still have it if I started off with a good embouchure or not.

If your teeth are sharp, you can take a strip of wax paper and fold it over your bottom teeth.
 

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I'm a brand-new newbie (as in I've had the sax in my possession for less than a week) and my lip is killing me. It's fustrating because I'll start practising and when I'm finally getting the hang of something (after about 15 minutes) my bottom lip starts to hurt where my teeth sink in. I'll practise another 5 minutes and it becomes unbearable... and I end up having teeth marks there for a couple of hours. Then later that day I try again but my lip becomes sorer quicker. Is this normal?

It occured to me that i might be putting to much pressure on my bottom lip so I experimented by moving my mouth up and down the mouthpiece and adding less/more pressure, rolling more or less of my lip. Between low and middle C, the way I have my embouchure produces the best sound, and above middle C that is the only way I don't squeak or squeal. If I apply any less pressure I get a squeak or some kind of a fog-horn-vibrato type sound.

I think i have pretty sharp teeth too :baby:... is it kinda like when you play guitar your fingers kill for a while until you develop calouses?

Any advice is appreciated :)
I think this is a common problem in the beginning. Many newbies play with cigarette paper folded over their lower front teeth for the same reason. Use the internet to research the various techniques and keep on playing. The pain wont last forever! Good choice to get a teacher right away, its harder to change bad habits later.

Kulos
 

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You have a really light setup...light as air. Use your air, not pressure..that reed will vibrate on its own. Either your have vampire teeth or your biting. Ease up, dont puff your cheeks, breathe from your belly.

Also, dont play at the very tip of the piece, put a decent amount of the tip in your mouth.
 

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I've only been playing for three months. During the first couple of weeks My bottom lip was hurting also. I watched those videos on youtube and I believe one by Pete Thomas on strengthing the embrochure. I did the lip muscle strengthing exercises every now and then as I thought of them.

I STOPPED rolling my bottom lip over my teeth. My bottom lip now rests next to my teeth but not over them. The lip muscles have to be stronger so you won't need the strength from the lower jaw to control the reed. After your lip muscles are strong you will be able to put as little or as much pressure on the reed without using the strength from your lower jaw.

I started with a 1 and a half Rico reed on a 4C Yamaha mouthpiece.

I am now using a #2 Rico and a #2 Legere Signature. The Legere is great, I like it much better, it plays much more consistantly and doesn't need to be wet before playing.

Keep up the lip strengthing exercises and before you know it your lip won't need the support of your bottom teeth/jaw.

After three months, I can now play a few songs. Not good but recognizable and a pleasure to my ears.

Good Luck evilifeline007.
 

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I play very much according to the video that you referenced as well as the ones that SaxMI spoke of, although it took some getting used to. BUT, please understand, I'm not saying your embouchure HAS to be this way. This is a personal preference for the player. There are very respectable players and teachers on both sides of this fence. :)
 

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I play very much according to the video that you referenced as well as the ones that SaxMI spoke of, although it took some getting used to. BUT, please understand, I'm not saying your embouchure HAS to be this way. This is a personal preference for the player. There are very respectable players and teachers on both sides of this fence. :)
Players are fencing now?

ON GUARD! :)
 
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