Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 24 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm sure I've read that getting a slight headache from playing some wind instruments is not unusual, and for me it really is slight and normally clears after an hour after stopping playing, but I was wondering if an alto sax would be less likely to give me this headache because of its easier blowing nature?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,033 Posts
Usually it the listeners who get a headache from clarinet.
I don’t think it’s usual to get headaches from playing. A teacher made be what you need. Maybe you’re biting too hard. Try to relax when you play.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
299 Posts
Only a slight headache? lol. Mine are usually worse than that...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Usually it the listeners who get a headache from clarinet.
I don’t think it’s usual to get headaches from playing. A teacher made be what you need. Maybe you’re biting too hard. Try to relax when you play.
I also play violin, clarinet is a dream compared to that.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,018 Posts
One possibility is that you are straining your neck as you play. There should be a bit of "tension" in the embouchure muscles, but nowhere else. Hold your head erect when you play like you are holding a cup of water on top of your head, and bring the clarinet to you---don't you go to the clarinet. If you feel strain in your shoulders and right arm as you play, you might get a thumb rest with a ring attached, and try using a neck strap. That and moving the position of the thumb rest has made all the difference in the world in my clarinet playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
I did wonder if it was a neck angle. I do have a neck strap, so will play around with some adjustments and see if that helps.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
26,386 Posts
I'm sure I've read that getting a slight headache from playing some wind instruments is not unusual, and for me it really is slight and normally clears after an hour after stopping playing, but I was wondering if an alto sax would be less likely to give me this headache because of its easier blowing nature?
In 50+ years of playing I never got a headache from playing...sorry if I'm being egotistical. :) Well, sitting in front of a full brass section gave me one sometimes.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
5,160 Posts
Only a slight headache? lol. Mine are usually worse than that...
My thoughts exactly. It takes a bit of time to find a compatible set-up. Saxophone is definitely less resistance.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
14,268 Posts
It may require some time to sort out mouthpiece and reed combinations. Regardless of whether it is a saxophone or clarinet, I've experienced some pretty awful combinations - no headaches, though.

But once I solved those issues (and made sure my horns weren't leaking), ease-of-playing became a lot easier.

The problem is that we all differ when it comes to how our embouchure is built and how it develops, so recommendations are hit-and-miss. It is something you must sort out for yourself to find what makes blowing the thing easier for you. DAVE
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,125 Posts
Now you know how your neighbors are feeling

I'm sure I've read that getting a slight headache from playing some wind instruments is not unusual, and for me it really is slight and normally clears after an hour after stopping playing, but I was wondering if an alto sax would be less likely to give me this headache because of its easier blowing nature?
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
Hmmm... My clarinet blows as freely as my saxophones.
Lighten up the reed strength by at least a half, make sure it's placed on the mouthpiece correctly, and the ligature is not too low on the mouthpiece.
Double check posture and horn angle.
If that doesn't help, find a clarinet specific teacher to watch you play.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
73 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
ok, went down a reed strength (to 2.0) and made a conscious effort of keep my neck straight and put the ligature slightly higher up the reed, and that does seem to help. I do still have a slight headache, but I'm putting that down the bottle and half of wine I was forced to drink last night.
I do intend to restart lessons, but I'm waiting to hear on a new job, which will have an odd work pattern, so need to wait till I know which days I can make it.

The clarinet is john packers basic model, but if this new job comes through, then I'll upgrade to something better. MPC is a yamaha 4c, reeds were rico 2.5, but gone back to 2.0.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,774 Posts
A free-blowing clarinet and mouthpiece setup will make clarinet life much easier. I would rather have to hold back than blow my brains out just to get a reasonable sound emission. You might start with a more free-blowing mouthpiece like the Portnoy BP03. You can order from wwbw.com and return it if you don't like it. That mouthpiece is also reed friendly.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,215 Posts
The current setup should blow with very little resistance. It's what most beginners start with.
The Portnoy BP03 is a darned good mouthpiece though. I use one on my Selmer Signature. :)
Unless there is an issue with muscle tension in the head/neck or air somehow leaking up into the sinus cavity there shouldn't be headache after playing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,018 Posts
Hmmm... My clarinet blows as freely as my saxophones.
Lighten up the reed strength by at least a half, make sure it's placed on the mouthpiece correctly, and the ligature is not too low on the mouthpiece.
Double check posture and horn angle.
If that doesn't help, find a clarinet specific teacher to watch you play.
Hmmmm...The clarinet should have more resistance since you are essentially directing the airstream more against the top of the reed rather than straight through the opening between the tip of the reed and the mouthpiece like on saxophone. One way I like to measure "resistance" is to see how long I can hold a tone on sax and on clarinet. Generally I can hold a note on clarinet about twice as long as I can on alto sax---even longer compared to tenor and bari with their wider tip openings. But that's just me. :)
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member/Forum Contributor 2014
Joined
·
26,386 Posts
Hmmmm...The clarinet should have more resistance since you are essentially directing the airstream more against the top of the reed rather than straight through the opening between the tip of the reed and the mouthpiece like on saxophone. One way I like to measure "resistance" is to see how long I can hold a tone on sax and on clarinet. Generally I can hold a note on clarinet about twice as long as I can on alto sax---even longer compared to tenor and bari with their wider tip openings. But that's just me. :)
How about oboe?
 
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Top