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Metal vs ebonite mpc on alto

Bobby G

Senior Member
Messages
4,992
Locality
Wonderful Welwyn Garden City, Herts
I am currently using a metal mpc on my alto, but since the legendary 'extensive dental work' i.e. removal of loads of teeth and an upper plate being fitted, I have found that my embouchure starts tiring fairly quickly resulting in a strange kind of bubbly farting sound emanating from the left side of my mouth. I have no such trouble on tenor, I played for over two hours straight (and one hour totally stoned arf arf :rolleyes:) today and had no problems.

My question is this - would a larger mouthpiece i.e. ebonite make my embouchure tire less quickly on alto, or is it just unfortunate that you have to 'grip harder' compared to tenor? should I get hold of an ebonite piece or just persevere with the metal ones until my chops get stronger?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Café Supporter
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21,927
Locality
Just north of Munich
My guess is to stick it out and build your chops back. But there's at least one dentist and a few doctors on here. Hopefully one will chime in.
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,349
Locality
leicester
One of my friends had a lot of dental work done a few years ago and started experiencing discomfort with some mouthpieces, so if you can find a shop with a wide selection of mouthpieces, it's worth trying out a few with different beak angles to see what suits you.
Size and shape of mouthpieces varies quite a bit whatever they're made from.
Tip opening and facing length may also be factors in causing fatigue. I always found the shorter facings on Berg Larsens were harder to blow and more tiring
You could just try a softer reed and see if that helps before you start looking at buying a new mouthpiece
It could be that it takes a while for your mouth to fully recover from the trauma of dental surgery, so it may get better over time. My friend's not mentioned it for a while, so maybe he's recovered from his problems
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,778
Locality
Betelgeuse
I’ve got both upper and lower plates fitted, with loads of front teeth missing. At first I found the standard top plate very restrictive and it made playing very hard with the plate in, so I used to take it out (I still have the top front two teeth). I play metal mouthpieces on alto, tenor, bari and c mel, and ebonite/plastic on sop. Mouthpiece size and shape didn’t make too much difference. On alto I play either an Oleg Maestro or Yanagisawa metal 7. Both are pretty small and thin.

What did make a huge difference to playing (and everything else as well) was getting a high quality tailored metal plate made up. Made a world of difference to my playing, and after about a week’s use it was just like playing before.
 

ProfJames

Elementary member
Messages
12,069
Locality
Berkshire, UK
After playing bad rugby I have three replacement bottom front teeth that I remove when playing the sax. Perfect!
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Locality
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
I'm beginning to feel left out here, I have all my own teeth. I'm not sure that's so good as I can't offer an explanation for the strange noises I make when I play......:shocked:
 

Saxdiva

Older, wiser, should know better....
Messages
533
Locality
Burgess Hill, West Sussex
That made me laugh out loud!!!

Now that takes me back. In my youth, I worked on the counter in Barclays Bank. One day a rather drunk chap came in, and as he laughed loudly to his companion, his dentures flew out and landed in front of me. I was only saved by the bundle of £5 notes that were between the teeth and my person. I had to pick them up with a plastic money bag and pass them back....
 

Ivan

Undecided
Café Supporter
Messages
7,907
Locality
Peeblesshire
After playing bad rugby I have three replacement bottom front teeth that I remove when playing the sax. Perfect!

I'm puzzled

What's bad rugby?

Losing your teeth in good rugby isn't all that uncommon, but maybe it's the upper ones that go and if the rugby turns bad the lower ones take a knock?
 

Reed Warbler

Senior Member
Messages
617
Locality
Marciac, France
When my 4 front bottom teeth had to come out I was gigging with a band on trombone. I read a lot on a trombone forum which mainly seemed to advise giving up though there had been a second trombonist with, I think, the LSO who attributed his long and successful career to beer, fags and dentures. George Chisholm's teacher also had false teeth. The night before mine were to be removed I did an emotional gig in Bordeaux that included one of the saddest blues I've ever played, rivaling the day my favourite dog died. Suffice it to say I was able to play as well as before, four days later, much to my surprise and relief.
Your lips provide the air seal, not your teeth. Air is contained by muscle action; practice it by blowing exaggerated kisses and experience what does the work. There is also the mantra "music is easy" which could help you to bite less hard, it's not necessary.
New false teeth do feel very strange at first and need adjusting once or twice a year, even when settled in. Go back to the dentist at the slightest discomfort or wobble: it's their job to make them fit. Your gums will retract without tooth to grow around so expect a revision fairly soon.
Be optimistic, I now have no top or bottom front 4 but have taken up the sax after a very long lay off and experience no pain or difficulty in playing low or high though I did feel the need to tighten my chops when I got a soprano to keep my tenor company. I sometimes use Fixadent when gigging on trombone but haven't felt the need on sax.
Finally, it's my guess that a larger m/p is less tiring but your chops will work with any size, given attentive practice. Best of luck.
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,540
Locality
The Palm Tree strewn Wandle Surf Beach under the o
Ted Heath was a good trombone player as well as band leader and used to take his dentures out before playing.

The CaSLM is offering a short free season of "Baseball bat in the mouth" surgery.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,942
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
I have had some success using rubber mouthpiece patches. They come in various thicknesses and can be custom made from neoprene sheeting and some industrial double sided tape if the right size isn't available. The addition of the right size patch can adjust the size of the mouthpiece in the mouth and result in a better jaw position and a more comfortable feel and a less stressed embouchure.
 

Bobby G

Senior Member
Messages
4,992
Locality
Wonderful Welwyn Garden City, Herts
I have found a couple of old ebonite mouthpieces knocking around in the case of my little-used Dolnet alto, and voila! Problem solved, or so it would seem. A Meyer and a Selmer Super Session, I tried them both and was pleased with the Meyer but totally blown away by the Selmer. Back in the rehearsal studio for a couple of hours today, did the old blowing into a corner to check my tone trick and it sounded wonderful and, even better, my chops were fine after playing for two hours with very little in the way of of rest periods in between tunes.

I am seriously back in love with playing my saxophones, and particularly my YAS-62 :w00t::w00t::w00t:
 

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