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Discussion Starter #1
Hello there,

So I've been moving from playing with the bottom lip tucked in to the "no embouchure embouchure" as taught by George Garzone.

At any rate, although my sound is much bigger playing this way, I have noticed that I've had more trouble in the lower register.

For example, when practicing long tones, fading in on low F from pianissimo up towards fortissimo, I notice that my F is breaking up. Same goes for F#, G, and G#.

When starting those notes from a subtone, then it's not a problem, but I'm looking to be able to control the sound without shifting my jaw the way I find myself doing for the subtone.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I could play the low F at pianissimo without with my bottom lip tucked in or in a subtone?

Thanks!
 

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Just practise and soon you have it. I changed to that embouchure a year ago and it's unbeliveble how much better I sound now.
 

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When starting those notes from a subtone, then it's not a problem, but I'm looking to be able to control the sound without shifting my jaw the way I find myself doing for the subtone.

Does anyone have any ideas on how I could play the low F at pianissimo without with my bottom lip tucked in or in a subtone?
i'm a little unclear about what you're asking with regard to your bottom lip. I've read a lot of things on here about how much or how little to tuck in that bottom lip. Are you saying with or without the lip tucked in? The bottom line on that (unintended pun, but I'll leave it) is do whatever results in the best sound, and don't try to force something that doesn't work for you.

Having said that, I think there may be a lot of misinterpretation about the idea of maintaining the exact same embouchure from low Bb up into the altissimo range and no matter what else you want to do soundwise. I interpret that idea rather loosely and I do change something (not sure exactly what) when I'm playing down low vs up high or altissimo.

I guess my idea on playing that low F pianissimo is do whatever it takes to make it happen. Actually I find the low F to speak very easily and respond well from subtone to fff. If you're really having trouble with that note, could it be there's a leak in the horn?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
i'm a little unclear about what you're asking with regard to your bottom lip. I've read a lot of things on here about how much or how little to tuck in that bottom lip. Are you saying with or without the lip tucked in? The bottom line on that (unintended pun, but I'll leave it) is do whatever results in the best sound, and don't try to force something that doesn't work for you.

Having said that, I think there may be a lot of misinterpretation about the idea of maintaining the exact same embouchure from low Bb up into the altissimo range and no matter what else you want to do soundwise. I interpret that idea rather loosely and I do change something (not sure exactly what) when I'm playing down low vs up high or altissimo.

I guess my idea on playing that low F pianissimo is do whatever it takes to make it happen. Actually I find the low F to speak very easily and respond well from subtone to fff. If you're really having trouble with that note, could it be there's a leak in the horn?
To clarify, my goal is to play that low F at pianissimo with the lip *out* without relying on a subtone. However, the leak theory is certainly possible, as it has been quite some time since I've had my horn looked at by a repairman.

These other suggestions are great as well, I will try them all.

Thanks!
 

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To clarify, my goal is to play that low F at pianissimo with the lip *out*
Why 'with the lip out'? Unless it works for you...

Not to derail anything, but I don't see a big connection between where your lip is and the "no embouchure" embouchure. Isn't the idea not to bite, regardless of where your lip is? For me, anyway, having some lip over the bottom teeth, on the reed, provides a certain amount of control over the sound. But I might be missing something here.

p.s. I just watched the Jerry Bergonzi video and it totally makes sense. If by 'lip out' you mean keeping the lip loose, then that makes sense. I would think it would be easy to play a pianissmo low F that way without a problem. It might be worth a trek to the tech to be sure the horn has no leaks. How does the low B and Bb respond? Those are usually the first to go with a leak, depending on where the leak is, I guess.
 

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To clarify, my goal is to play that low F at pianissimo with the lip *out* without relying on a subtone. However, the leak theory is certainly possible, as it has been quite some time since I've had my horn looked at by a repairman.

These other suggestions are great as well, I will try them all.

Thanks!
I've been playing with my lip out for a while (it stopped me from biting) and I actually have more trouble with subtone instead of playing normally low. Could it be that you lack breath control?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Why 'with the lip out'? Unless it works for you...

Not to derail anything, but I don't see a big connection between where your lip is and the "no embouchure" embouchure. Isn't the idea not to bite, regardless of where your lip is? For me, anyway, having some lip over the bottom teeth, on the reed, provides a certain amount of control over the sound. But I might be missing something here.

p.s. I just watched the Jerry Bergonzi video and it totally makes sense. If by 'lip out' you mean keeping the lip loose, then that makes sense. I would think it would be easy to play a pianissmo low F that way without a problem. It might be worth a trek to the tech to be sure the horn has no leaks. How does the low B and Bb respond? Those are usually the first to go with a leak, depending on where the leak is, I guess.
By 'lip out' I don't mean out like I'm puckering, but rather not tucked in like the Larry Teal method espouses. But you're right, my horn is totally leaking, the low Bb and B are super hard to play unless I'm seriously honking it out. Need to get to a sax tech asap.

@pjims Yeah, I tend to move the jaw back for the subtone. I'm assuming that it's necessary to do that to get that sound. My problem is that non-subtones are very, very difficult for me in the lower register, which leads me to think that my horn may very well be leaking.
 

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For me, the Bergonzi video helped a lot. The no embouchure embouchure means (as I see it) neither making the lower lip go in, or out. Just put the mouthpiece in the mouthpiece and close the lips round it. The other thing that really helped is the Joe Allard method, whereby pressure is only applied with the lower jaw as in saying the letter 'X'. There's a bunch of stuff on here about that, Phil Barone talks a lot about it in a few posts. The combination of Bergonzi and Allard have helped me sort some bad habits and produce a better embouchure.
 

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By 'lip out' I don't mean out like I'm puckering, but rather not tucked in like the Larry Teal method espouses. But you're right, my horn is totally leaking, the low Bb and B are super hard to play unless I'm seriously honking it out. Need to get to a sax tech asap.

@pjims Yeah, I tend to move the jaw back for the subtone. I'm assuming that it's necessary to do that to get that sound. My problem is that non-subtones are very, very difficult for me in the lower register, which leads me to think that my horn may very well be leaking.
You sure that bringing your jaw back is normal for subtone? I get it by just relaxing my jaw.
 

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my horn is totally leaking, the low Bb and B are super hard to play unless I'm seriously honking it out. Need to get to a sax tech asap. .
If that's the case, almost nothing you can do with your embouchure will help. I'm surpirsed you can subtone those notes if the horn is leaking. But yeah take it to a tech before messing around too much. I find it almost impossible to play those low notes on a leaking horn with a relaxed embouchure. With leaks you have to do all kinds of contortions to get the notes to speak and they'll still sound strangled.
 

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For me, the Bergonzi video helped a lot. The no embouchure embouchure means (as I see it) neither making the lower lip go in, or out. Just put the mouthpiece in the mouthpiece and close the lips round it..
That's pretty much my read on it, also. It's the only thing that really makes sense.

To be honest, I've never spent much time analyzing what my jaw or lips or tongue, etc are doing when I play. Most of that is at a subconcious level, I guess. I just try to get the sound out that I want. I do sometimes conciously relax my embouchure, though.

It probably is a good idea to analyze exactly what you're doing. Especially if you aren't getting the sound you like. A small change in the embouchure might result in a big change in how you sound.
 

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I don't think it's your embouchure. Get the horn fixed, and if you still have trouble (you probably won't), work on better air support.
 
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