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Discussion Starter #1
I just got an Antigua 590BC from a fine fellow SOTW member and I happened across a Morgan 5J mouthpiece. After playing a few times I noticed my lower lip being sore after tightening my embouchure to reach the high notes (palm keys). My question to the forum is this? To a soprano player, do you have to tighten so much on the embouchure to hit these notes. If not, could it be that to hit the higher notes you have to pay particular attention to your setup? I use Alexander 3 reeds or Rico Jazz select 3S. I will probably try new combinations in the future but I wanted the other SOTW members to weigh in on their initial soprano experiences and how to get over the chewed up lip syndrome. The horn I play does not appear to have any leaks and another concern could be that the tip opening of the Morgan 5J is too small? Thoughts? Thanks. :cool:
 

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If you are chewing up your lip, go down in size. You may find a softer reed works better for you, in the least you can keep playing until you can manage the harder reed.
 

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I agree with Carl about using a lower reed strength.

In my experience (50+ years of soprano), a tighter throat and higher tongue may be necessary to play the high end, not so much a totally tighter embouchure (lips, jaw, etc.).

Also, reeds vary, even among those of the same marked strength/brand, so you may want to gather a bunch reeds and select the best from among them. Then, adjust them all to see which ones are better for playing the high notes. DAVE
 

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How much of the mouthpiece are you taking in your mouth? When I play these notes on a sop, I usually have enough mouthpiece in my mouth such that the beak is not visible at all. Give it a try and see if that helps.
 

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Yup, I have some advice. Throw the stupid thing in the bin and buy a clarinet. It's got a usable range of nearly 4 octaves and sounds nice. As a back up, you could try the other suggestions. Still, good luck with that nasty soprano if you must.:)
 

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The problem with going to a soft reed on that closed tip is that the reed will close up in the high register. That 5J is probably going to need a relatively hard reed to sing up there. You should try a mpc with a bigger tip opening, which will work with a softer reed.
 

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Give it some time. I play soprano all the time - it's becoming my primary saxophone. I like to use a plastic type material to cover my bottom teeth. It simply makes the everything more comfortable.

Again it's not a matter of a couple days but rather weeks or months to get comfortable on soprano. Good Luck.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Softer reed, more open tip (maybe shorter lay, but that could be a red herring)

So I basically agree with most, but would add that a softer reed by itself often needs more work on diaphragm and breath. They are harder to play in many respects than hard reeds if you want volume and good high notes. Worth the effort "working up" to being able to play soft reeds effectively as you end up with lots more flexibilty, and your low notes will thank you for it.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
Yup, I have some advice. Throw the stupid thing in the bin and buy a clarinet. It's got a usable range of nearly 4 octaves and sounds nice. As a back up, you could try the other suggestions. Still, good luck with that nasty soprano if you must.:)
It's those odd harmonics that make the clarinet sound funny.:D
 

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hakukani said:
It's those odd harmonics that make the clarinet sound funny.:D
Funny? It's a squeaker all right. And that has been known to cause the odd giggle. But that's where ye olde double embouchure comes in, you see.:)
 

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Here's an interesting article on a tuning technique for the sax from an Yamaha educator. I've been experimenting with this technique on my tenor and tried it yesterday on my soprano. It does force you to loosen your embouchure to be in tune as you go up but it really opens your sound up too. I think I may try it on alto tonight.

http://yamaha.com/yamahavgn/Documents/BandOrchestra/Wind_Tips_Duke.pdf
 

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Discussion Starter #13
That's a really good article and some ideas worth trying. I do think as I get further along in playing the soprano alot of these things will take care of themselves. I did what LittleSax mentioned earlier and took some additional mouthpiece in and it did make a significant difference. I did experiment with this technique and found a place on the mouthpiece where it almost seemed uncomfortably too much mouthpiece (from what I was used to) and it seemed much easier to reach the high notes. I am looking at reeds next.
 

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cfbugsbunny said:
That's a really good article and some ideas worth trying. I do think as I get further along in playing the soprano alot of these things will take care of themselves. I did what LittleSax mentioned earlier and took some additional mouthpiece in and it did make a significant difference. I did experiment with this technique and found a place on the mouthpiece where it almost seemed uncomfortably too much mouthpiece (from what I was used to) and it seemed much easier to reach the high notes. I am looking at reeds next.
Cool!
 

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Tried those article suggestions on alto tonight. The theory seems to hold merit on all the horns.
 

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I've had a similar "problem" when I switched from tenor to soprano recently.
Taking a LOT of mpc into your mouth and softer reeds should do the trick.
 

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That lip chewing happens to me when I use a Rousseau Studion Jazz mouthpiece but not with my Selmers or Runyon. All are similar in size (semi-closed). When the lip is sore, stop for two days. Then start with a different mouthpiece. A $25 Yamaha would probably be an improvement for the discomfort.

The soreness has to do with how you hold pressure in your mouth on the various notes. Pressure tends to push out your lower lip so it does not get chewed. Using a soft reed forces you to apply only moderate tension evenly around your mouth as you go up to the high notes. Too much bottom pressure will close up the reed.

Now that I figured out the problem, I play with no discomfort at all. I play every note on the 590. I should add that good breath support for each note is also important.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Still using my Morgan 5J and after a couple of weeks, the lip is not getting chewed as much. Maybe I have toughened up a bit and adjusted. I still will be pursuing some 2.5 reeds here in the near future and I will update this after the tryout.
 
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