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My cheeks hurt!

ukwoody

Member
Messages
81
Location
Milford Haven, Pembrokshire, Wales
Firstly can I say a really big thank you to everyone for their help so far. As someone just starting out and having to self teach, and living out as far west as you can go in Wales, I am very dependent on your advice. Thank you.:thankyou:

I have tried to change my embouchure to prevent excessive biting of the mpc. That part "seems" to be working, however I now have cheeks that really hurt, as if I'm tightening them up too much. It's like their pinching in after sucking a lemon! In reversespelling it would be like sucking a blocked straw. Hope that makes sense.:confused:

Any advice on what I'm doing wrong please.

Many thanks guys and gals!

Regards woody
 

Semiquaver

Member
Messages
102
Location
Hertfordshire, England
Woody, It still sound to me like too hard a reed.

Go down in strength. Once your mouth gets used to playing you can go back up.

It's like any other exercise your muscles need to get used to the extra work.
 

Semiquaver

Member
Messages
102
Location
Hertfordshire, England
I might be your reed/mouthpiece set up.

If your reed is too high on the mpc and then gets wet it can close and not open.

You should just see the very tip of the mpc over the reed. if the reed over hangs the mpc too much it will be difficult to blow.

I have tried looking for a page from Pete's site but can't find anything on set-up.....yet.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
I agree with the above. We have all experienced strange things learning the sax. Try some jaw strengthening exercises like pulling your bottom jaw back and forth as in a grimace. Better done alone otherwise you look like a *n*b.
You do need to just keep practicing, it does get better until the next problem arises.
 

Semiquaver

Member
Messages
102
Location
Hertfordshire, England
The best i can come up with is this page.

Learn How to Play the Saxophone

Pete recommends that the top of the reed should be level with the mouthpiece. I will not argue with our master. Just make sure it is level and not 'proud'. Gently push the reed so as to close the gap and touch the mpc when assessing the correct height.

Have a look at your ligature position as well. all these little things can make a difference.

And my last thought is do you produce a lot of saliva when blowing. This stuff is very sticky and can cause problems. This is again connected with correct blowing.

Good luck mate.
 
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ukwoody

Member
Messages
81
Location
Milford Haven, Pembrokshire, Wales
My mpc is a yamaha 4c and I'm using Rico 1 1/2 reeds. I do produce a reasonable amount of saliva, yes. The reed position appears to be correct, although I have a feeling they may be a couple of years old if that makes any difference.

woody
 

Semiquaver

Member
Messages
102
Location
Hertfordshire, England
1 1/2 is not hard so that theory is out of the window.

Maybe just too much tension in you embouchure.

How about the amount of mpc in your mouth?

too much, too little.

I am working on the theory that it is hard for you to blow which is causing tiredness of the cheeks etc.

I think you need another player to see what you are doing.
 

monkey jazz tree

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Wakfield West Yorks
Hurting cheeks

Hi Woody,

sounds like you are having the same problem as all beginners,
your embouchure muscles take a long time to develop, depending on the amount you play per day/week. I have been told that it can take a few years to get up to full strength. Good news hey.

I had the same problem when I first started but you have to keep experimenting with your mouth positioning and although it is easy to say, try to apply good mouth pressure but relaxed at the same time. Also with a 4C try going up a few reed strengths say a 2 or 2.5. One day it will just come good and WOW you will wonder what all the fuss was about.

If you reed is getting soaked during play, before you start playing, place your reed on a flat surface and with a small amount of cork grease on your finger press it into the reed to seal it. And don't forget the more you use a reed the weaker it gets, not all new reeds out of the box are good. Change your reed more often, I play every day and change my reed about every month.

I will give you the best advice that an old sax player told me " keep blowing lad, keep blowing".

Good look Woody
 
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ukwoody

Member
Messages
81
Location
Milford Haven, Pembrokshire, Wales
SEmi Quaver and MonkeyTree,

thanks for your help suggestions and encouragement. I wasn't aware reeds get weaker as they get older and used (I know it's logical, but sometimes things have to be pointed out, don't they) although I knew they split. I actually changed to a brand new reed over the weekend, but haven't had much time to try it out.

I think a lot of my problems are embouchure related, and unless I can find a local player/teacher to give me a few tips, I guess I will have to struggle on with that one for a while.

Interesting tip about cork grease there MT. I think I will also try a harder reed, just as an experiment. I cannot get high G at the moment it just tends to warble/wahwah at the moment unless I put a LOT of pressure on both blowing and the embouchure so it would be good to see if a slightly higher reed strength makes any difference to that. (Yes the side neck vent does open, checked that, haha)

keep em coming guys...

cheers
woody
 

monkey jazz tree

New Member
Messages
4
Location
Wakfield West Yorks
Re-aching cheeks

Hi Woody,
just had a thought after emailing you yesterday. Whilst I was playing I noticed that after about 2hrs my chops began to ache as though I had been in the dentists chair for some fillings. But I don't have this problem when I am playing my tenor, I can play it as long as I want.

Then it dawned on me, arrangements in my music books for tenor are in lower notes, were as alto arrangements go higher until you need bellows up your backside to play them.

So just an idea, I don't know what you play from but if you want to play longer and build your chops up, try playing from a keyboard book, these are arranged in concert C, so the notes are lower on the staffs. And as long as you are not playing to backing tracks or with anybody else it will sound OK. Your local library should have a good collection.

Keep blowing Woody.
 
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ukwoody

Member
Messages
81
Location
Milford Haven, Pembrokshire, Wales
Good Idea Monkey, thank you. I've got a couple of mega busy work days ahead so playing time may be very limited, but I'll give that some thought and certainly get some stuff on the week end. Course, if I can persuade my girlfriend a Tenor is the way to go....... ;-) (No ruddy hope there though, haha).

woody
 
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