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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm playing alto on a hr Otto Link 6 For little while now and as I'm going through my exercises everything seems "normal".

I just bought a Jody Jazz HR*5. When I play that it seems that when I come to a breath point I still have too much air in my lungs. Before I can breath in I first have to expel air. I haven't had this problem with the Otto Link.

I'm playing on a number 2 Java reed. Maybe a harder reed in the JJ piece would help? The Link is supposed to be a .075 and the HR* is supposed to be a .072. I can't see that being a huge difference.

Any thoughts for this beginner?
 

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Maybe you need a little more resistance on the Jody. The Java 2 is kind of soft. I would try a 2-1/2 and if everything works out well work up to a 3. It may just be me but Java reeds seem to work best on more open mouthpieces. You might want to try Rico Select Jazz 3S.
 

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The Link is supposed to be a .075 and the HR* is supposed to be a .072. I can't see that being a huge difference.
Very often any difference is in the facing curve, not the tip opening, which is only one part of the equation.
 

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It sounds like a good thing to me. You don't have tho expel air to take in more unless your lungs are full to capacity. As you get into improvisation, this benefit will become clear.

I have many gaps in my skill set because I'm both a "late bloomer" and have a musical background which allowed me to take many shortcuts. This in turn, let me start gigging (poorly) within a couple of months, greatly accelerating my learning experience. (there's nothing like an upcoming gig to motivate you to learn the material) On thing I did take time to learn was circular breathing. I don't do much with it except in my blues band. About every other gig I'll end a solo on a high screamer and hold it.....and hold it.....and hold it. About 45 seconds in, people start clapping. By a minute and a half they usually are on their feet and cheering. Go figure....It's a cheap parlor trick that works great on the inebriated if you time it correctly.

That being said, the ability to say more on a singly lungful of air is a good thing. Even without circular breathing, I'm good for a full minute on the easy high notes. I'd stick with what you have if you like the sound and count yourself as one of the lucky. You don't have to take breaths at specific points unless the next opportunity is too far down the page to handle. In the genres I play live, I have to be careful not to noodle too long without a stop. It begins to sound like a jumble of notes if I don't remember to keep it musical rather than technical. Space is as important an element as the notes...it sounds like you are controlling your tone well if you feel you have an excess of air..
 

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I think the OP's problem is not musical, but rather getting enough of an O2/CO2 exchange. If your lungs remain relatively full all the time without expelling much air, you will soon have to take some deep breaths to remain upright.
 

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I think the OP's problem is not musical, but rather getting enough of an O2/CO2 exchange..
Is that what the OP was saying? I didn't read it that way, but maybe.

Otherwise, I think it's a good thing not to run out of air. You can always take in more air between phrases without expelling the air that's left in your lungs (as Fader said). I just don't see that as a problem.
 

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...You can always take in more air between phrases without expelling the air that's left in your lungs (as Fader said). I just don't see that as a problem.
Half of the reason that you breathe is to take in O2 to your blood stream. The other half is to remove the CO2 that builds up there. If you your lungs stay full and you just take in enough to fill them between phrases you won't be getting rid of enough CO2. It would be like taking in a deep breath then keeping your lungs filled, only taking very shallow breaths thereafter. It becomes problematic. Now if you have time between phrases to expel the air and then take another breath, problem solved. The other solution is to just put more air through the horn. Something that will in all likelihood improve your tone anyway.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I think the OP's problem is not musical, but rather getting enough of an O2/CO2 exchange. If your lungs remain relatively full all the time without expelling much air, you will soon have to take some deep breaths to remain upright.
Yeah this is it exactly. It's almost as though I'm holding my breath. Same effect anyway.

It sounds like a good thing to me. You don't have tho expel air to take in more unless your lungs are full to capacity. As you get into improvisation, this benefit will become clear.

I have many gaps in my skill set because I'm both a "late bloomer" and have a musical background which allowed me to take many shortcuts. This in turn, let me start gigging (poorly) within a couple of months, greatly accelerating my learning experience. (there's nothing like an upcoming gig to motivate you to learn the material) On thing I did take time to learn was circular breathing. I don't do much with it except in my blues band. About every other gig I'll end a solo on a high screamer and hold it.....and hold it.....and hold it. About 45 seconds in, people start clapping. By a minute and a half they usually are on their feet and cheering. Go figure....It's a cheap parlor trick that works great on the inebriated if you time it correctly.

That being said, the ability to say more on a singly lungful of air is a good thing. Even without circular breathing, I'm good for a full minute on the easy high notes. I'd stick with what you have if you like the sound and count yourself as one of the lucky. You don't have to take breaths at specific points unless the next opportunity is too far down the page to handle. In the genres I play live, I have to be careful not to noodle too long without a stop. It begins to sound like a jumble of notes if I don't remember to keep it musical rather than technical. Space is as important an element as the notes...it sounds like you are controlling your tone well if you feel you have an excess of air..
I can see your point here. If I can learn to work around the before mentioned 02/c02 issues this could be a good thing I guess. I'll see where I end up in a few weeks/months.

Talk to an oboe player.
That's an interesting point. They have that tiny little mouthpiece right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I think the OP's problem is not musical, but rather getting enough of an O2/CO2 exchange. If your lungs remain relatively full all the time without expelling much air, you will soon have to take some deep breaths to remain upright.
Is that what the OP was saying? I didn't read it that way, but maybe.

Otherwise, I think it's a good thing not to run out of air. You can always take in more air between phrases without expelling the air that's left in your lungs (as Fader said). I just don't see that as a problem.
The problem is that I feel as though I haven't expelled enough air and when I feel the need to breath my lungs are still mostly full. Like I said I feel like I've been holding my breath. I get winded quickly. I am going to play with trying to put more air through the horn. That may help on several levels.
 

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Half of the reason that you breathe is to take in O2 to your blood stream. The other half is to remove the CO2 that builds up there. If you your lungs stay full and you just take in enough to fill them between phrases you won't be getting rid of enough CO2. It would be like taking in a deep breath then keeping your lungs filled, only taking very shallow breaths thereafter. It becomes problematic. Now if you have time between phrases to expel the air and then take another breath, problem solved. The other solution is to just put more air through the horn. Something that will in all likelihood improve your tone anyway.
Yes, I understand all that. I was just wondering if this is actually what Square's problem was. It appears so from his subsequent posts.

Given that, I think you hit on the real solution (I put it in bold in the quote). Put more air into the horn. I've never had the problem of too much air left after playing a phrase of any length. So this is a new one on me.
 

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The problem is that I feel as though I haven't expelled enough air and when I feel the need to breath my lungs are still mostly full. Like I said I feel like I've been holding my breath. I get winded quickly. I am going to play with trying to put more air through the horn. That may help on several levels.
That sure sounds like you are barely putting any air in the horn (the part I put in bold italics). Definitely work on putting lots of air into the horn. However, we can't really diagnose this over the internet. Do you have a teacher? You might start there.
 

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I had this problem. I`d get dizzy, lungs bursting, burping, having to stop and get myself back to breathing normally. I`m surprised no-one has said - just to take less air in. Don`t try to cram your lungs 100% full. You can`t control that much anyway. If you consider your lungs normal expansion, go for somewhere between that level and full extent. Think of when you do other cardio exercise such as running, lifting weights etc, we take more air than normal but we don`t go all out to ram as much in as we can.
 

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I`m surprised no-one has said - just to take less air in. Don`t try to cram your lungs 100% full. .
Well, maybe. But I find that for good air support, it helps to really fill the lungs. Breath in by expanding your diaphram (push your stomach out).

Maybe I'm just not clear on this whole concept. For me, what works best is to take a full breath (when possible), use lots of air support, and put lots of air into the horn. I've only run out of breath when my lungs are relatively empty, not full... But I'm not talking about holding your breath; you should be expelling air through the horn.
 

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Yeah this is it exactly. It's almost as though I'm holding my breath. Same effect anyway.

I can see your point here. If I can learn to work around the before mentioned 02/c02 issues this could be a good thing I guess. I'll see where I end up in a few weeks/months.

That's an interesting point. They have that tiny little mouthpiece right?
Oboes don't have a mouthpiece. They, like Bassoons, have a double reed. Literally two reeds on top of each other, cut, bound, and wrapped.
 

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Why not wait until later to breathe in?
That would seem to be the obvious question (and the answer--don't breath in until you run nearly out of air). But, if I understand the OP correctly at this point, he's running out of breath, even with plenty of air still in his lungs. I guess that's what I find rather puzzling.
 

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I don't want to put words in the mouth of the OP, but I think I know what he's dealing with. The problem with "waiting till later to breathe in" is that the air isn't being expelled from the lungs at a fast enough rate when playing. So, in effect, waiting till later is sort of like holding your breath. Imaging taking in a deep breath then letting just a little escape from your lungs as slowly as you possibly can. You reach a point where the O2 in your lungs is exhausted (because of what your lungs do) but your lungs are still quite filled with air that contains a larger amount of CO2. You need to exhale and it's not going out fast enough through the horn. I used to have this same problem. For me, a more open mouthpiece (.130 tenor, .09 alto) seemed to allow more air into the horn and solve the problem. I would be willing to bet that the OP has a higher than average lung volume.
 

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I don't want to put words in the mouth of the OP, but I think I know what he's dealing with. The problem with "waiting till later to breathe in" is that the air isn't being expelled from the lungs at a fast enough rate when playing. So, in effect, waiting till later is sort of like holding your breath. Imaging taking in a deep breath then letting just a little escape from your lungs as slowly as you possibly can. .
I do understand this part perfectly. I'm a kayaker and I've spent plenty of time underwater, waiting for the right time to roll back up. And even when I managed to get a last full breath in before being submerged, I start to run out of breath at some point. As you say, the O2 gets used up. But I've never encountered anything like that playing the horn. When I run out of breath on the horn, it's because I've emptied all the air out of my lungs. I try not to let that happen, though, and take a breath sometime before it does.
 
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