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Beginner Biting: Mouthpiece / reed advice please

Jobylou

Member
Messages
322
Hi
I have been playing for just over a year and recently starting playing mostly tenor, I bought a second hand Yamaha 62 and am currently using a Jody Jazz 6* with Java 2 reeds.
Before that I was playing a BW with Yamaha 5C and Rico 2.5 / Java 2's. I briefly changed onto a Selmer Soloist C** before buying the Jody Jazz.
I had my first lesson 2 weeks ago which went well and I have been practicing for over an hour a day since.
My problem is this - my top teeth are sore, I am biting :(
If I position the reed in line with the tip of the Jody Jazz mouthpiece I get a horrid wet rattly sound, in order to stop that I have to push the mouthpiece about 3mm in front of the tip which makes it sound nice but I guess because it is making it harder to play I am biting more :( I have also tried a 2.5 strength java reed and have exactly the same problem.
I was due for another lesson tomorrow but my teacher cancelled and I can't get hold of him to ask his advice, I can't have another lesson until next Wednesday.
If anyone has any advice I would be so grateful, I want to play but it hurts!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,178
I am not sure I got it:
Are you saying that you position the reed 3mm (a lot!) short of the mouthpiece tip?
Doing so you end up with a very hard feeling reed, and you are compensating biting.

Assuming that the mouthpiece is OK (JJ usually are) I would try to increase reeds' strength to see if that is the right direction.

If something hurts, you are doing it wrong.
 

Jobylou

Member
Messages
322
I am not sure I got it:
Are you saying that you position the reed 3mm (a lot!) short of the mouthpiece tip?
Doing so you end up with a very hard feeling reed, and you are compensating biting.

Assuming that the mouthpiece is OK (JJ usually are) I would try to increase reeds' strength to see if that is the right direction.

If something hurts, you are doing it wrong.

Thank you for your reply, I know I am doing something wrong! I'm just trying to work out what!
If I play with the reed on the mouthpiece where I would normally (in line with the tip) I get this awful sound, really wet and horrid.
So I have been pushing the reed forwards so that it hangs over the mouthpiece and that seems to stop the noise and give me a good sound but I bite.
When I took the mouthpiece off to pack away I was quite shocked looking at the back of it to see that the reed is about 3mm forwards from the tip.
BTW I do use patches and have bitten through one already and have put a new one on. My top left tooth is slightly uneven too.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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12,178
Thank you for your reply, I know I am doing something wrong! I'm just trying to work out what!
If I play with the reed on the mouthpiece where I would normally (in line with the tip) I get this awful sound, really wet and horrid.
So I have been pushing the reed forwards so that it hangs over the mouthpiece and that seems to stop the noise and give me a good sound but I bite.
When I took the mouthpiece off to pack away I was quite shocked looking at the back of it to see that the reed is about 3mm forwards from the tip.
BTW I do use patches and have bitten through one already and have put a new one on. My top left tooth is slightly uneven too.

It is the opposite than I thought, try some softer reeds... but it doesn't sound right to me... I am sure you tried all the reeds at home already... Try to go back to yamaha 4c, if you still have it.

My top left tooth is slightly uneven too.


Just to be sure: Jody Jazz hard rubber?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Jobylou

Member
Messages
322
Yep JJ HR 6*
I thought pushing the reed forwards made them harder? I don't have any softer reeds.
Don't have the Yamaha any more but I still have the Selmer Soloist C**
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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Yep JJ HR 6*
I thought pushing the reed forwards made them harder? I don't have any softer reeds.
Don't have the Yamaha any more but I still have the Selmer Soloist C**

A reed protruding from the mouthpiece tip "should" be softer, but 3mm is really a lot.
Try to go back to the Soloist. JJ should ask for a slightly softer reed.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
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5,993
A reed protruding from the mouthpiece tip "should" be softer,

Don't you mean the other way round? You're trying to get the reed to bend at a thicker point.

Too far in the other direction will also make it feel harder.

If you're having to move the reed that much, then it's the wrong reed.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
I've had the sore teeth biting issue in the past - it was tension, I had to retrain myself to lift my top teeth off (in other words stop relying on resting the weight of my head on it) and "hold" the mpc more lightly in my embouchure while still keeping a firm enough tension to keep the notes steady.

Im sure Nick is right - the reed will be softer if you place the tip further down away from the mpc tip and harder if there is less mpc showing.

If you were my student I would encourage you to go back to a Yam 4c (or equiv), 1.5 reed and start from scratch. :thumb:
 

Jobylou

Member
Messages
322
If you were my student I would encourage you to go back to a Yam 4c (or equiv), 1.5 reed and start from scratch. :thumb:

Thank you for your advice but I think that is a little drastic, I started on a Yam 5c with a 2 strength reed and didn't have a biting problem unti trying the Jody Jazz :)

I have managed to speak to my teacher and he has advised me to play the Selmer until my lesson next week and then he will see where I'm going wrong.

Thank you everyone for the help.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,030
Thank you for your advice but I think that is a little drastic, I started on a Yam 5c with a 2 strength reed and didn't have a biting problem unti trying the Jody Jazz :)

I have managed to speak to my teacher and he has advised me to play the Selmer until my lesson next week and then he will see where I'm going wrong.

Thank you everyone for the help.

Sorry I thought I read 4c :confused2: nothing wrong with 1.5s (if they were to make things easier) I play them all the time :thumb:
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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12,178
Don't you mean the other way round? You're trying to get the reed to bend at a thicker point.

I double checked today: reeds feel softer if they are protruding the mouthpiece, but I am talking about 0.5 mm. More than that they are too hard, or simlpy wrong.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I think that switching from an alto HR mouthpiece to a tenor HR mouthpiece can be quite a challenge. I started playing a tenor sax about 3 years after I started on soprano and alto. I found a tenor HR mouthpiece much larger and my embouchure felt quite stretched as it had to be more open. After starting on a Vandoren Java T55 (0.098") with RJS 2M reeds I eventually settled on a Francois Louis ML 280 mouthpiece/FL 2 reeds, which was the same circumference of an alto mouthpiece, and used the same lig. I now play ordinary sized tenor HR mouthpieces, and my embouchure is comfortable.

So I do think the the mouthpiece switch may have some influence on the current situation, and that the biting is because your tenor embouchure needs to develop. Obviously the mouthpiece has quite a wide tip so smaller tip mouthpiece and softer reeds might be better - see the following reed table to maybe choose something softer: http://www.saxophon-service.de/shop/z_57.htm

Kind regards
Tom
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
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14,532
This could be a number of things. Try different reeds for a start, but it could be the mouthpiece just doesn't suit you.

One thing to be aware of is that often a reed which has been played on one mouthpiece will not work so well on a different mouthpiece because it forms itself slightly to a certain curve and so behaves badly with a different curve.

Unfortunately this makes it very difficult sometimes to compare mouthpieces, but nobody ever said it was easy!

There is something wrong if you can't play with the reed lined up properly, butI tend to think this is really a question best answered by your teacher, rather than a forum. Sadly.
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
"often a reed which has been played on one mouthpiece will not work so well on a different mouthpiece" and vice versa. I bought a Rico M7 mpc for my tenor, tried it with various reeds of the several hundred lying around the flat - complete disappointment.

I took delivery yesterday of a Hahn reed 2.5 - and while it's a little soft (and I've now ordered a 3 and one for the soprano) - it sounds fantastic on the Rico.

So ring the reed/mpc changes - and if you're buying a Hahn reed go up half a step on hardness.

Incidentally, you may remember a post some months ago that suggest a Lebayle mpc could be had for 5 quid. I actually bought one - although I knew it wasn't a Lebayle - but it's a great mouthpiece! I am starting to have some sympathy for the guy who says on his website that the best mouthpiece in the world is the one you've already got!
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
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12,178
tried it with various reeds of the several hundred lying around the flat

Do you keep them in order or just try them randomly? Sometimes I find these things with notes like H (=hard), // (=very good),
8link11 (good for the otto link 11) but I never know what to expect when I put them on.

And do reeds lying around affect your social/emotional life?
 

Kingsleyhk

Senior Member
Messages
508
I use the absolute chaos system of reed filing. My wife is extremely tolerant but insists on no reeds in the bedroom.
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,990
When are you biting?
I remember when I started I left deep marks in the mouthpiece of my alto, I had not heard of patches.
After a few months I bought a tenor and I have hardly marked the patch after years.
I think I bit so hard because I was concentrating to try and get the sound right while first learning.
So do you bite while playing scales or easy pieces you know or only on harder pieces or when you might be getting a bit tired?
 
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