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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Does anyone play without their upper teeth on the mouthpiece?

I find I can get a sweeter tone by wrapping my upper lip under my teeth the same as I do with my lower lip, so neither my upper nor lower teeth actually come in contact with the piece. Doing this for an extended period of time may impede embouchure development however, so I thought I'd ask.
 

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It's called a "double lip" embouchure, keyplyr, and yes, it has quite a few adherents. Stan Getz played this way and I think Coltrane experimented with it as well. Out of curiosity I've tried it a bit and know what you mean about the tone, but it's not for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I'd like to meet the person whose lower teeth come into contact with the mouthpiece while playing, but the freak show hasn't been through here in ages. :cyclopsa:

Sorry...couldn't resist.
Sorry, I don't understand what this has to do with my question. Maybe I missed your point.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@ shotgun - What didn't you like about it? Or was it more of a matter that you learned the conventional method and found the double lip embouchure too odd an approach?

Anyone - What disadvantages might arise from staying with this method?

On the positive side, I'm getting a smoother, sweeter tone. Also might keep bit marks off the piece itself.
 

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I am no expert but I think if one has large upper front teeth the double embouchure is bound to be less comfortable / practical.
 

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I didn't like the loss of stability; the mouthpiece seemed like it was harder to keep in place, especially when playing the palm keys. I think I could have overcome this problem if I kept at it but I felt my tone was satisfactory with the standard embouchure so I didn't pursue it. I really don't think there are any inherent disadvantages, especially when you read the glowing accounts of the people who use and like it.
 

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Having had to go through a forced lack of teeth (top front four) recently, I found that double lip was ok for clarinet but not so good for alto sax. RootyToot agreed with that if I remember correctly. Of course, your mileage and dentures may vary.
 

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I'm missing the top front teeth as well. So it's not an option but the only way for me.
Definately works well for Clarinet as I don't seem to have the squeak problem other newbies complain about. (At least until the upper upper notes where the tone itself degenerates into a squeak anyway...)

Not had any real problem getting notes out of the saxes - alto or tenor.
Not tried Soprano yet - but getting one is next on my list. (why I'm browsing this particular forum right now...)
I'm hoping the more upright position will work well for double lip, like it does on the clarinet.
 

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I used to play with the upper lip curled under my teeth too, but this was because I didnt like the vibrations. A thick mouthpiece patch cured that for me and I liked the stability of top teeth on the beak. However, having just got a new baritone mouthpiece which is more open than I'm used to, I'm finding I like the tone more with no teeth on the top... I imagine this is relaxing my embouchure and changing the tone.
 

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Anyone - What disadvantages might arise from staying with this method?

On the positive side, I'm getting a smoother, sweeter tone. Also might keep bit marks off the piece itself.
I use a double embouchure on all my horns, clarinet to Bari. I feel it has many advantages for me, especially when it comes to flexibilty when doubling and achieving a more stabil extreme lower register (low C, B, Bb, A). From the standpoint of the horn's stability in your embouchure, over time you probably will not notice any difference. Of course, it's not for everyone, but try it for a while. Today, the single lip embouchure is the most common, but historically, I think, the double lip was much more commonly used.
 

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I use a double embouchure on all my horns, (...) From the standpoint of the horn's stability in your embouchure, over time you probably will not notice any difference. Of course, it's not for everyone, but try it for a while. Today, the single lip embouchure is the most common, but historically, I think, the double lip was much more commonly used.
+1. I've playing double lip from my very beginning, because also of the disagreement of feeling the vibes in my teet, even with pacth. This technique, of course, has the additional advantage of avoiding any tendency.... to bite which is considered as a fatal error by many. Another thread on the subject listed a conforting list of great names who play or played double lip.
J
 

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I play with a very loose embouchure. Depending on the slope of the mouthpiece, my teeth seldom touch it. And if they do, it is very lightly. So I usually don't need a bite plate protector at all unless the mouthpiece has a really steep slope or if I want to avoid occasionally scratching a soft mouthpiece like a Rico. And I'm sure I could play just fine without front teeth if I ever have too.

PS: This is why I really like the Rico Metalite and old crystal Detroit Special mouthpieces for clarinet. No rolling of the lips is required.
 

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It's called a "double lip" embouchure, keyplyr, and yes, it has quite a few adherents. Stan Getz played this way and I think Coltrane experimented with it as well. Out of curiosity I've tried it a bit and know what you mean about the tone, but it's not for me.
I'm not so sure about Stan Getz. The Drake mouthpiece that is supposedly an exact copy of the tenor mouthpiece that Getz used even has his too marks.
 

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Double lip here too. All horns and I have used it for 54 years. I don't like the rattling vibrations in my skull and find the low bell notes can be controlled better and makes soft playing easy.
 

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When I was younger I was having trouble opening up my sound. I had started on clarinet, and my embouchure was way too tight for saxophone; plus I had a tendency to not drop my jaw sufficiently to get a full, open sound. So I started doing overtone exercises with double-lip embouchure every day for about 30 minutes and it helped a ton... if you're biting, at all, with double-lip embouchure, you are going to HURT. When you learn to make a good sound with double-lip, it'll be much easier when you go back.

Like Bruce, I don't like the feel of hard rubber or metal on my teeth when I play, so I always use a clear patch. Also, it keeps my teeth from slipping around. But at least some double-lip practice will probably be good for anyone's sound if you're looking to open up.
 

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I'm not so sure about Stan Getz.
That is interesting! I may have been misinformed — but so have many other people on this subject! Maybe he didn't play that way exclusively.
 

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I played Oboe for many years and can swap between double and single embouchures and do so on gigs when I'm in the mood, but I play a lot of Soprano and find that I tend to bite into my upper lip if I do it for extended periods. I think it is a good technique, but it can take years to build up the strength and resistance in the upper lip so that it doesn't feel like torture; easier to use a thick patch and single lip I think, but each to his own. I believe Branford Marsalis double lips, and it doesn't seem to have hindered him!!
 

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I switched to all double lip on all clarinets and saxes about 7 years ago. Took me three months to fully acclimate and cross over but it was the best decision I ever made. Occasionally while playing C#3 on a straight sop its a bit challenging but the overall benefits are immense and consistent with what others say here.
 

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The key to your question has been partially answered. From what you say, you are biting on the mouthpiece. That's not good as embouchure development is about NOT biting down and using the embouchure muscles instead of your jaw muscle for pressure. A good teacher wouldn't let you get away with that. Using the upper lip over may keep you from biting directly on the mouthpiece, but if you are still using your jaw instead of embouchure muscles, you haven't developed a correct technique and are depending on the jaw to give pressure. This IS a bad habit and NOT the same as someone who is experimenting with double lip embouchure. In your case I'd recommend that you don't do it and instead develop a "normal” embouchure first, then, if you like, try the double lip to see if you think it's still delivering the sound you want/need. What you are doing may seem like a short cut, but those embouchure muscles need development as this gives you a wide range of potential sounds and control that simple jaw muscle pressure cannot.
 
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