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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know that this has been discussed before, but I gave Phil Barone's advice the ol' college try and really practiced for months with an inch of piece stuck in my mouth. The crassness and super spread sound never went away, and I feel like a failure. Then I did a search on the Internet. I could only find one other source that recommends this. Has ANYONE ever really been successful in using a full inch of mouthpiece as part of their everyday embouchure and sounded good?

Here is the original source:

"You want your embouchure to remain stable and unmoving and you should put one inch (24 mm) or a little more of the mouthpiece in your mouth so that your bottom teeth are just past where the facing begins to curve on the side-rails of your mouthpiece. That means you want your bottom teeth to go in a little more than one inch; the facing on most tenor mouthpieces starts to break away (called the break) of the side rails at a little less than one inch. So by bringing the mouthpiece in an inch no matter how much you bite or how tight your facial muscles are you won't close the tip opening off which allows for the reed to vibrate the full width of the tip opening. Any less and you'll bend the reed which will cause the pitch to change and won't give you the complete benefit of the tip openings size and the sound the mouthpiece is capable of producing."

I get the theory, but in practice, my tone is horrible this way. I've tried using more lip under my teeth, less lip, etc.-- nothing seems to work. Except going back to taking in about 1/2 inch. My sound is definitely smaller, but I have more control.

Maybe I'm doing it wrong, but...
Has anyone here actually been successful with the one-inch method?
 

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I advocate Phil's approach, too. My sound opened up when I took in more mouthpiece. I can control the quality through changing air, throat, etc...

I used to be someone who used a lot of pressure and this went away when I took in more mouthpiece.

What's your experience? How long have you played?
 

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When I do take in more mpc (not quite an inch on alto, but maybe an inch on tenor) it improves tone for me. Hard to be consistent with it though even with less steep biteplate/beak
 

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The one inch rule is fine if you disregard the fact that mouthpieces have different facing length and curves, individuals have different jaw alignments, lip size & shape and that we don't all play tenor. If you're closing off the reed it's not because you don't take enough mouthpiece it's because you're biting. If you need to take more in to avoid choking off the reed you're avoiding the problem, not fixing it.

This guy on YouTube takes very little mouthpiece in yet I don't think anyone would say he sounds bad.


With this said, it doesn't mean taking more mouthpiece is is a bad thing, but it's not a magic bullet.
 

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The one inch rule is fine if you disregard the fact that mouthpieces have different facing length and curves, individuals have different jaw alignments, lip size & shape and that we don't all play tenor. If you're closing off the reed it's not because you don't take enough mouthpiece it's because you're biting. If you need to take more in to avoid choking off the reed you're avoiding the problem, not fixing it.

This guy on YouTube takes very little mouthpiece in yet I don't think anyone would say he sounds bad.


With this said, it doesn't mean taking more mouthpiece is is a bad thing, but it's not a magic bullet.
You must have good eyesight, because I found it impossible to see how much piece he takes in.
 

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It is advocated by many for top teeth position to be directly above where the reed comes in contact with the mouthpiece.
 

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Been playing 9 months. I followed Phil's advice, but my ability to take in more mouthpiece came gradually as my embouchure developed.
Bending notes helped me "get" the concept.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I've been playing on and off as a hobbyist for about 30 years. I took a lesson about a year ago and was told (rightfully so) that my sound was small and stuffy and needed to open up because I was playing just a tad past the start of the bite plate. I definitely don't bite-- when I was in high school I did and shredded my lip, so I learned not to... there aren't marks on my lip when I play at the tip, but I find I bit more when I take in more piece.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Even though I don't bite when I take in just a little mouthpiece, I'm definitely dampening the higher partials with my lip resting in the middle of the reed. When I take in more mouthpiece, I bite more, but because my lip is much farther up on the reed, it's not dampening the partials. Where I'm comfortable on the mouthpiece, my sound is small, controlled and stuffy. When I take in an inch, my sound is huge, spread, "quacky," and bright but uncontrolled.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Gladly-- thanks. What do I do... just paste a link to an uploaded file?
 

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Where I'm comfortable on the mouthpiece, my sound is small, controlled and stuffy. When I take in an inch, my sound is huge, spread, "quacky," and bright but uncontrolled.
You might want to consider exploring the mouthpiece real estate *between* your comfort zone and the inch -- instead of worrying about getting a whole inch in there, instead just explore *a bit more* than your current sweet spot, and see what happens...
 

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What's your setup? When I used to play more towards the tip of the mouthpiece, I had to use harder reeds because I was playing with a lot of pressure. When I started taking more mouthpiece, I dropped my reed strength a strength or two and found that my sound really opened up because I was using less tension and focusing on letting the reed vibrate. Perhaps try using a softer reed and less tension if you want to take more mouthpiece.
 

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More seriously, doesn't this really depend on how much volume you are producing? At least that's been my experience.
When I'm playing quiet so I don't drive anyone crazy with practice (vs. performance), lots of times I have very little "in"
When you need to make noise you grab a mouthful and blow!
 

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Not trying to be a wise-arse here, but seriously..... Playing the saxophone isn't exactly rocket science, so why try to literally re-invent the wheel?

As a player for over 38 yrs. and teaching for 25, I can honestly tell you that this quite simple method will work for you:

Play some long tones or slower musical passages with your "normal" amount of mouthpiece you usually take in. Listen to not just your volume, but the size/roundness of your sound. How much are you filling up the room you're in with your sound? Now bring the horn to your mouth and take your normal bite, but now take about another 1/8th of an inch in. Play. What just changed? I'll bet your volume slightly increased, but more importantly, the *size* of your sound just got larger. Keep doing this until you start to sound like a foghorn. Obviously, when you reach that point, you've gone too far. Back off a tad and you've found your personal "sweet spot". It's different for everyone. All mouthpiece brands have a different shaped beak as well as no two people have the same shaped mouth. What might be an exact inch of bite being perfect for someone won't be so magical for someone else. Experiment and find your sweet spot. In my experience, many players do in fact not take enough mouthpiece in. Just that tad more can make a HUGE difference. But again.....don't go too far. You'll hear it when you do.

Of course, your mileage may vary... ;-)

John
 
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