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Beginner Braces and Alto Sax - Tips?

Julie Lambert

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Port St. Lucie, FL
My son is about to begin life with his first real instrument (recorder doesn't count, lol). He is beginning with alto saxophone. He's 11 and in 6th grade Band. He will be getting braces soon so I wanted to ask for any tips in regard to playing alto sax with braces. Or any tips for a young beginner. We just bought an old 1966 Conn Director played by Miles Reese of The Five Satins (one of his spares although he is a tenor mainly). Any tips on braces/sax would help though.
 
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Targa

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Red ones like Gordon Gecko's look cool.
 

jonf

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Should be fine. Although I'm far, far too old for braces, I do have a partial denture, which has similar issues. The one thing I'd say is that it may be helpful to always fit the mouthpiece with a mouthpiece patch to reduce vibrations. Your son may find it a little uncomfortable when the braces are first fitted, but that's more down to the braces themselves rather than playing sax. I'm sure he'll just get used to it.
 

jbtsax

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As far as braces go, it depends entirely on the type and style of braces that are used. Generally speaking, braces tend to have more of an effect upon brasses since there is a bit of pressure exerted pushing the lips back toward the front surfaces of the teeth.

If there is any discomfort with the type of braces he gets, you may want to try the teeth cushion that is described in this post.

My best advice for any beginner on saxophone is to take some lessons from a good teacher at first to establish good playing and tone production habits right from the start.
 
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MandyH

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I am going to resurrect this thread!

why?....well, because my dentist has suggested that I seriously consider getting braces!
He suggested it 6 months ago at the last appointment. I chose to ignore him. Now he's mentioned it again.

BUT, BUT, BUT....firstly I am not 13! (my no3 child is 18) so I am just a lot wary on that front.
Secondly, my sax is my life (well, not quite, but it takes up a huge part of my life!).
Thirdly, he has suggested it will be 18-24 months of a fixed brace.
Fourthly, he has told me to budget for £2000-4000.

As my son (the 18 yo one!) said - that Bass sax suddenly looks quite cheap!

Anyway - can you play a saxophone with a fixed brace? will it hurt? can I compensate? and will I need to re-compensate once the brace comes off?

I really, really cannot stop playing sax (I'm not sure I can actually afford these braces, anyway, but the playing sax issues need to be resolved first)

The worst thing is that the braces may not resolve the "problem" that he's trying to fix!

thanks.
 

MandyH

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I suggest you tell the dentist to cancel his holidays because you're not paying for them.
it won't be him receiving the money - that will be the Orthodontist!
 

jbtsax

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As I posted previously, each situation is different. I do know that newer braces are less obtrusive than older types and some even fit at the back of the teeth so there is no contact with the lips. I had many band students play while wearing braces and make the necessary adjustments both during and after. It can be done.
 

Lady Biggles

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Belfast
There are a couple of teens in my concert band with a mouthful of metalwork who report no issues at all with their saxes. My 10 year old has just been fitted top and bottom and still plays the flute as before (maybe better ...).

Should you get a second opinion if these braces might not 'cure' whatever 'issue' exists? Have you been fully appraised of the implications of not doing the work? It seems to me that once someone sees that you might be interested in forking out for their suggestion they become more enthusiastic in trying to sell it ...
 

ProfJames

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Berkshire, UK
My front three lower jaw teeth were removed by a second row forward in Hollywell, Gold Coast, Australia around fifteen years ago. I have had a chrome fitting ever since and it never inhibited my playing. The brace fits over two teeth further back in my gaping cavity!
 

MandyH

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This is a brace for straightening teeth - the sort where they glue a metal block class on the outside of every tooth, then run a wire all the way around the outside of your teeth. Leave it there for 2 years, tighten the wires regularly and plan that all your teeth straighten out!
 

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