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I can't stand the "Pain"!!!

Ponce Julius

Member
Messages
56
Location
New Orleans
I been playing saxophone for 6 months now and I'm ready to quit! I can't take the pain anymore! I'm changing my embouchure from bottom lip tucked to a natural lip out (against my teacher's advice) cause I'm biting through my lip and keep splitting it. Every morning I wake up with blisters on my upper and lower lip. This is my third time taking a week off from playing cause my lip is too tender and sore to play. I ordered a smaller mp (Rico Metalite M5) and I just ordered softer reeds. I tried paper on my bottom teeth but can't play with it...I'm just fed up! Advice please!!!!!!!!!
 

AndyB

Member
Messages
202
Location
Durham, NC, USA
Sorry to hear of your difficulties. To cut a long story short, for other reasons, my previous teacher had me push my mouthpiece on 1/4 inch further. And as a side effect I learned to play with a looser embouchure. I was doing this to overcome a tuning quirk on my alto and tune the horn to the flattest note in its range, but after getting used to a looser embouchure I noticed that I no longer had any problem with a sore bottom lip. You might want to try this.

I also learned the lip out position after learning with lip over bottom teeth as a child. The lip out comes naturally if you practice breathing correctly and just closing the lower lip around the mouthpiece after inhaling instead of folding it in. Actually, the lip out makes breathing easier too.

Until your lip heals, chew some bubble gum before you play and roll it over your lower teeth. I used to do that as a kid.

Good luck.
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
Messages
21,912
Location
Just north of Munich
Shouldn't be any pain at all.

If you're cutting into your lip like this, your embuchure isn't developed well enough to grip/suppport the reed without being pushed by teeth. Larry Teal's 'The art of Saxophone Playing' has some excellent exercises for this, and a good section on embouchure.

http://www.amazon.com/Art-Saxophone...0577/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1312259051&sr=8-1

Where are the blisters? Inside, on the top, outside. Are you cutting on the top lip as well.

Playing lip out will help a lot. But either way you need to feel those muscles in your lips/cheeks supporting the reed, OFF the teeth. Sure the jaw muscles contribute, but not through the teeth.

But - the real question is 'What does your teacher say?' Cos if he/she is ignoring the problem, you need to address this. I remember you saying the teacher was an old family friend. Could be difficult. You're going to have to work out what's wrong, and sort it out diplomatically with him/her. But you'll come out stronger, and more aware.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,917
Going back many, many years when i used to play trumpet i had serious problems with lips swelling/blistering etc which turned out to be an allergy to the material the mouthpiece was made off, try something completely different fast! also try some softer reeds and smoothe the edges down to make sure they don't cut into your lip..
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
478
Location
Frankston Victoria Australia
hey ponce
is yor teacher a professional?
if youre biting down that hard on the mp to get a sound out of it then your missing the point
if i were you id get a second opinion from a different teacher, ask him to look at youre embouchure explain youre problem.
Plus there is plenty of help linked to this website to help with youre embouchure.experimenting as you are is good but if youre lips are really damaged then a week is not long enough off to repair the damage ,especially if you have developed an unusually stong biting on the mp.
sounds to me like youre stressing wayyyyyyyy to much about this, causing tension, thus toooooo much pressure at the mp at such an early point in learning. try concentrating on something else in youre lessons like r e l a x i n g. rome wasnt built in a day.
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Location
Manchester.
I been playing saxophone for 6 months now and I'm ready to quit! I can't take the pain anymore! I'm changing my embouchure from bottom lip tucked to a natural lip out (against my teacher's advice) cause I'm biting through my lip and keep splitting it. Every morning I wake up with blisters on my upper and lower lip. This is my third time taking a week off from playing cause my lip is too tender and sore to play. I ordered a smaller mp (Rico Metalite M5) and I just ordered softer reeds. I tried paper on my bottom teeth but can't play with it...I'm just fed up! Advice please!!!!!!!!!
Hi PJ,
I had the same problem, so i just stopped using my teeth. At first i found it difficult to keep the mouthpiece in place, and keep in tune, but with practice my lip muscles strenghened and my intonation as well. I also found i could feel the sax vibrate without the teeth. I don't use a conventional double embouchure, my bottom lip is out slightly and relaxed and i can play from low to high without any difficulty, also with cane reed's i got a very sore bottom lip. Since i've been using Hahn synthetics no problem. I would also say with a metalite M5 you should find things a bit easier, if not try the method i use, you never know it just might work for you! But i dont think your teacher would agree.
But thats me unconventional, if it works (Use it) >:)
Best of luck, Rob.
Ps. Frazer Jarvis could be correct in saying it might be the mouthpiece material, if your top lip is blistering as well that could very well be the case. I'm assuming your still using the Rico M7, and you have just ordered an M5 which is the same material. If everything else fails try a different mouthpiece material.
 
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Sunray

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,709
Location
Norfolk, UK
I been playing saxophone for 6 months now and I'm ready to quit! I can't take the pain anymore! I'm changing my embouchure from bottom lip tucked to a natural lip out (against my teacher's advice) cause I'm biting through my lip and keep splitting it. Every morning I wake up with blisters on my upper and lower lip. This is my third time taking a week off from playing cause my lip is too tender and sore to play. I ordered a smaller mp (Rico Metalite M5) and I just ordered softer reeds. I tried paper on my bottom teeth but can't play with it...I'm just fed up! Advice please!!!!!!!!!

Hey Hey PJ ...

I know you may not welcome what I am gonna say mate ...

And I "really do understand" how difficult and upsetting things may be for you still ...

But ...

You decided to take up the saxophone which previously belonged to your dad for many lovely reasons. I am sure he would be encouraging you to find a way past your embouchure difficulties, rather than see you chuck in the towel ...

Try to think seriously about how to get past this painful but relatively minor issue and continue your sax journey, I really don't think you will regret it if you do ...

I am truly sorry if you think I am sticking my nose in here like this, I certainly do not wish to offend in any way ... My comments are sent with much respect ...

Good luck mate ... Take your time [allow your lip to heal] :thumb:

Hint:- I suffered the lip biting thing when I first started playing sax ... A small piece of dampened cotton fabric [better than paper] carefully folded and placed over the lower teeth resolved to pain and allowed me time to develop my embouchure so that I no longer ate my own lips ...

I also have switched to lip out ...
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Location
ISLE OF WIGHT, UK
Hi PJ,
Don't give up!! it's just a case of not biting hard & softer reeds. If you have been using anything harder than a 2, you will have to bite up & blow harder to play.
Softer reed = relax embouchure to play & blow less (if you don't the reed will close up and the note won't sound).
I think it might be a good idea to gve your lips a couple of weeks to heal first though ;}

John.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
PJ,
Could it be self-induced pressure caused by learning to play your father's instrument that is causing the problem? Ask yourself, did your father suffer the very understandable pressures when he set out to play the saxophone? If the answer is "No.", then take a break and take it up after a rest as a pastime, not a must do.

The caff©'s resident psychopath.
 

Ponce Julius

Member
Messages
56
Location
New Orleans
Kev... thanks for the advice.The blisters are mostly in my bottom inside and outer lip and there is also two small cuts. Yes, my teacher is a family friend and he's stubborn and set in his ways. His solution was to use paper in my bottom teeth so I won't cut through my lip. He doesn't want me to play lip out cause he says I'm not ready for that...well ready or not, I got to do something! Thanks again for the advice
 

Ponce Julius

Member
Messages
56
Location
New Orleans
@ Fraser...I had the same problem! Growing up I played trumpet and trombone and had to quit cause I was allergic to the brass, but on sax, it's just a plastic mp and a wooden reed...I couldn't possibly be allergic to that!
 

Ponce Julius

Member
Messages
56
Location
New Orleans
@ Allansto...Thank you for the advice. Yes, my teacher is a professional....taught music on a college and high school level..but he's stubborn and set in his way of doing things. I may have to seek out a second opinion
 

Ponce Julius

Member
Messages
56
Location
New Orleans
@ Sun Ray...I'm not offended at all...infact, I really appreciate the advice. I don't think you guys realize how huge of a help everyone has been since I joined this forum. I've met some really cool people with years of experience and advice and it's been nothing but GOOD! So thanks mate...I'm going let my lip heal and continue my journey, besides I'm already hooked on the saxophone...I love this instrument!
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Café Supporter
Messages
9,165
Location
KIC 8462852
As has been said above you will need to let you lip heal completely.
When you start again I suggest you behave like a complete novice, learn the notes a few at a time and play very simple tunes of a few notes and scales slowly.
Feel where your teeth are on every note and stop and correct the position.
Boring maybe but it might be better than trying to play as much as possible and the problem re-occuring.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
478
Location
Frankston Victoria Australia
@ Allansto...Thank you for the advice. Yes, my teacher is a professional....taught music on a college and high school level..but he's stubborn and set in his way of doing things. I may have to seek out a second opinion
yeh I know what you mean I had a teacher like that years ago the bas*%#d taught me the clarinet for 5 years when i really only wanted to play the sax.
good thing about being an adult thought is you can do what feels right for you!!!!
take charge of your learning and tell him whats right for you if he doesnt respect that then
tell him youre the one payin? etherway you will learn so why not do it your way.
lots of luck with the lip healing, stick with this website I hope to hear how you get on in the future.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,079
Location
The Athens of The North
@ Fraser...I had the same problem! Growing up I played trumpet and trombone and had to quit cause I was allergic to the brass, but on sax, it's just a plastic mp and a wooden reed...I couldn't possibly be allergic to that!

Believe it or not PJ some people are allergic to cane. For me, the benefit of the lip out embouchure is that my teeth make no contact with my lip, I never get a sore mouth, and it just feels right. That said, you should not be getting a sore mouth playing single lip either.
Relax your embouchure and breathe the air through the sax.

Jim.
 

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