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When I am tonguing the spit very quickly seems to build up on my tongue and clogs up the reed. My teacher says I must have a "wet mouth", as he has, but I haven't found any way to stop it happening, though sometimes it does seem worse than others.

Has anyone else come across this description, and are there any recommendations to help it. Am I doing my tonguing wrongly?
 

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I seem to have a "wet mouth" as well, though I can tonge fine. After playing for a while, spit accumulates in the mouthpiece so much that the sound is a bit muffled, and you can hear a raspy sound from the spit. When this happens I suck on the mouthpiece to clear the mouthpiece (works moderately well). I don't know if this relates to your problem, but I would like to hear from others with wet mouths.
 

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Here's what works for me:

-Swallow saliva in the mouth before you play.

-In rests draw the air in quickly to "suck" the moisture back into the mouth.

-Polish the back on the reed.

Rub the reed on the inside cover of a music book on a PERFECTLY FLAT SURFACE. Rub with moderate pressure with the grain of the wood until it makes a clicking sound, and then increase the pressure and rub another 50 strokes. If done correctly, the back of the reed will be as smooth as glass, and the water will form droplets and roll off of the reed like the water that hits a newly waxed car. You can polish the same reed several times to increase the effect. Reeds that are polished in this fashion tend to play more responsively and they last longer.

-If all else fails get a vacuum hose like your dentist has and hang it in the corner of your mouth when you play. :) (Just kidding - my clarinet teacher once suggested this for my "wet mouth" problem.)
 

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Some tips

I can tell you from experience that wet mouth is a very hard habit to break. I'm very big on improvisation, so I am used to all types of things happening during a live performace. In one case, (I was around 12 when this happened), I was the featured saxophone player in a convention concert. I had to improvise in my fillers, but halfway through the concert, my saxophone starts getting a disgusting tone to it. I realized that it was because the reed was getting wetter than it should be. I had to be quick and undo my mouthpiece, polish the reed, and redo the mouthpiece before the solo began... I've never felt so nervous in my life! But I found that a way to break the habit is to try to not drink a lot of water before a performance. This worked for me, but I still had recurring "wet mouth" situations.

A couple of years ago, I found that there is a reed that is very resistant to moisture buildup, and tone deformation. The first time I tried out the "Plasticover" reed, I immediately loved it! Try out the plasticover reeds, and give me your opinion on it. Some people say that there are different kinds, but the only ones I've seen are black, have a slight purple "gloss" when they're new, and have a brighter tone than the wooden reeds. I now use nothing but plasticover reeds when I give performances, and they have never failed me. Actually, I only had to replace the reeds after about a month each. They are very break- resistant!:)

So, I hope that this info will help you take care of your wet mouth problem. Remember, you are not alone in this situation!
 
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I tried playing a plastic reed (Legere) today, and my wet mouth felt like it was slipping off the reed. It felt as if the lower lips weren't sealing on the mouthpiece properly. I tucked more of my lower lip over my bottom teeth. This seemed to keep the reed from slipping. It's not the same embouchure that I would use with a cane reed.

Are plastic reeds not good for people with wet mouths?

Edit: AOMsaxist: Don't you get the slipping problem with plasticovers?
 

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As my playing has improved, I have started to develop this problem, often having saliva dropping from some of the keys, after playing for a good hour, my sax is soaking. when I run my cleaning pad through it.

I don't really fancy sucking that old saliva...urrgghhh!

I'll try the polish reed, next time and see if it works.
 

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Jkulin said:
As my playing has improved, I have started to develop this problem, often having saliva dropping from some of the keys, after playing for a good hour, my sax is soaking. when I run my cleaning pad through it.

I don't really fancy sucking that old saliva...urrgghhh!

I'll try the polish reed, next time and see if it works.
As many a band director will tell you, it's not saliva, it's condensation from all the warm air you are blowing through your horn. There's always going to be some spit involved, but it's not as bad as you might think.

When I saw George Clinton and P-Funk a couple of months ago, the alto sax player took an extended solo during which he was blowing so hard it looked like would explode. After he finished, he turned the sax upside down and poured a huge amount of water out of the bell. It was a little frightening!
 

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dirty said:
As many a band director will tell you, it's not saliva, it's condensation from all the warm air you are blowing through your horn. There's always going to be some spit involved, but it's not as bad as you might think.

When I saw George Clinton and P-Funk a couple of months ago, the alto sax player took an extended solo during which he was blowing so hard it looked like would explode. After he finished, he turned the sax upside down and poured a huge amount of water out of the bell. It was a little frightening!
Thanks for that, it explains a lot.

Funny thing is it never used to happen with my Previous saxes, and has only happened with my Selmer Series II, could it be because of better quality brass.
 

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AOMsaxist said:
I can tell you from experience that wet mouth is a very hard habit to break. I'm very big on improvisation, so I am used to all types of things happening during a live performace. In one case, (I was around 12 when this happened), I was the featured saxophone player in a convention concert. I had to improvise in my fillers, but halfway through the concert, my saxophone starts getting a disgusting tone to it. I realized that it was because the reed was getting wetter than it should be. I had to be quick and undo my mouthpiece, polish the reed, and redo the mouthpiece before the solo began... I've never felt so nervous in my life! But I found that a way to break the habit is to try to not drink a lot of water before a performance. This worked for me, but I still had recurring "wet mouth" situations.

A couple of years ago, I found that there is a reed that is very resistant to moisture buildup, and tone deformation. The first time I tried out the "Plasticover" reed, I immediately loved it! Try out the plasticover reeds, and give me your opinion on it. Some people say that there are different kinds, but the only ones I've seen are black, have a slight purple "gloss" when they're new, and have a brighter tone than the wooden reeds. I now use nothing but plasticover reeds when I give performances, and they have never failed me. Actually, I only had to replace the reeds after about a month each. They are very break- resistant!:)

So, I hope that this info will help you take care of your wet mouth problem. Remember, you are not alone in this situation!

I am a beginner and thought, that wet mouth and lips (except wet reed) is better for sound producing. During practising I drink (or better say, wash my mouth to make it wet) and often lick my lips. To me, dry mouth seemed improper naturally. :?
 

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Thanks for the suggestions

Thanks, everyone, for your ideas. I haven't tried a non-woden reed yet, but I am trying all the other suggestions (except the dentist's vacuum, but that's on order :) ) and I think it is helping.
 

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If you are gonna be 'sucking in', I'd advise that you pay special attention to the hygiene of your mouthpiece and reed.... you don't want to be sucking in yesterday's gunge which has had some time to 'fester' :eek:

If I leave a wet reed on for a day or so it quickly gets black mould on it... yuk!
 

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sajonara said:
I am a beginner and thought, that wet mouth and lips (except wet reed) is better for sound producing. During practising I drink (or better say, wash my mouth to make it wet) and often lick my lips. To me, dry mouth seemed improper naturally. :?
The problem is that moisture tends to accumulate in the mouthpiece, which definitely seems to affect the tone. In my mouthpiece after playing, there seems to be not only moisture but a lot of crud (dead cells from my mouth?) after playing, and I often brush my teeth before playing so I don't know what that could be.

I tried the reed smoothing technique described above, and while I did not find it helpful for wetness, I did notice an improvement in the sound I got from the reed.
 

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dirty said:
When I saw George Clinton and P-Funk a couple of months ago, the alto sax player took an extended solo during which he was blowing so hard it looked like would explode. After he finished, he turned the sax upside down and poured a huge amount of water out of the bell. It was a little frightening!
I'm not sure if I look like I'm about the explode, but when I play gigs on the wet side of the island, I end up pouring about one or two tablespoons of water out of my tenor and removing the mouthpiece and emptying it after every tune. For gigs on the dry side, I only take my mouthpiece off every three or four tunes. It's definitely not spit.
 
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