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Sucking back the spit

Profusia

Senior Member
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984
A classically trained saxophonist told me that to avoid bubbly and fizzy tone, rather than pouring any build up of wetness out on to the floor, saxophone players are supposed to suck back the spit out of the mouthpiece and swallow it. No-one has ever mentioned that to me before. Any views? (I haven't tried it yet by the way!!)
 
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Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,918
Yes thats right, i used to get the spitty sound sometimes, very annoying but all you can do is suck it back up, at the end of the day it ain't going to hurt you, after all it's your spit! (best thing to do once you have sucked it back in is turn towards your trombone player and let him have it!)
 

MellowD

Lost In Theory
Messages
544
(best thing to do once you have sucked it back in is turn towards your trombone player and let him have it!)


I am sooooo relieved I took up sax instead of trombone!

I went to watch a friends swing band play last weekend, and observed three of four sax players repeatedly emptying their bells out onto the floor at least three times during the gig. The fourth one didn't - and I suspect thats because she was playing bari and couldn't!

Haven't heard this about the spit before. Interesting and wondering whether I can make myself do it?
 

Chris

Well Known
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3,821
To be honest unless you drool like crazy normally( I didn't think so) then the water is mostly condensation. Hot breath + cold surface= water..

Chris..
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,552
Yes the bari has a loop before the main body with a drain valve like a trumpet. You need a paper cup to flick it at the trombone player.

http://www.thomann.de/gb/media_bdbmaxviewer_AR_199417.html?image=149086

A more head up position helps prevent drainage from mouth to reed. Of course if your mouth isn't dry, you're not taking the gig seriously.

The only time I get the problem is while playing at the pc with the wrong glasses on.
 
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aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,208
A classically trained saxophonist told me that to avoid bubbly and fizzy tone, rather than pouring any build up of wetness out on to the floor, saxophone players are supposed to suck back the spit out of the mouthpiece and swallow it. No-one has ever mentioned that to me before. Any views? (I haven't tried it yet by the way!!)

That is why classically trained saxophonists are often called "suckers" in the saxophone world.

Disclaimer: not being English my first language, please let me know if this posts has more than 6/14 rudeness rate and I will delete it.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
To be honest unless you drool like crazy normally( I didn't think so) then the water is mostly condensation. Hot breath + cold surface= water..

Chris..

No not an habitual drooler (unless there are ladies in the vicinity of course). >:)
That would be condensation of hot, humid, spitty breath of course ;}

Not sure its all condensation though as I would have thought the mouthpiece would have warmed up a bit eventually and its worst by far when playing sop... when the water gets between rails and reed and affects the tone.

The "more head up position" idea does make some sense too as the curved sop neck naturally heads south sharply compared to alto and tenor and holding it up more horizontally does seem to help a little, just not enough, plus it looks a bit show-offy and gets somewhat tiring.

The quick fix is to run thumb firmly along reed from back to tip to expel the excess water on the rails but this doesn't last long.

I may work up to the sucking idea but just thinking about it is setting off my gag reflex at the moment!! :w00t:

No jokes please!

Thanks for all the replies :) Enough icons already.
 
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aldevis

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I may work up to the sucking idea but just thinking about it is setting of my gag reflex at the moment!! :w00t:

No jokes please!

What about the old piece of paper between reed an rails when it becomes too noisy?
I find the technique in the OP quite revolting. Keep in mind that that "spitty" sound is often inaudible by the audience.
 

jbtsax

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8,267
It is a normal human physiological response for the saliva glands to begin working when there is an object placed inside the mouth. That is what they are supposed to do to begin the digestive process. As a player (classically trained) who has had to deal with the "juices flowing" when I play I have learned a few tricks.

- When playing or practicing draw the air in sharply at every opportunity, usually during a rest, to draw the water from the mouthpiece. The "yuck" factor is diminished if you brush your teeth and clean your mouthpiece on a regular basis.

- In between songs, remove the neck and tap it repeatedly on your knee. You will get a wet spot, but it helps to lengthen the life of the pads. If you are smarter than me you will remember to bring a cloth for this purpose to the rehearsal or performance.

- Polish the backs of your reeds by rubbing with the grain back and forth on a sheet of good quality paper on a hard flat surface like a formica countertop. The inside cover of a music method book works great. Do this until you start to hear a click. Once polished, the water will form beads and roll off the back of the reed much like on a car that has been polished.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
- Polish the backs of your reeds by rubbing with the grain back and forth on a sheet of good quality paper on a hard flat surface like a formica countertop. The inside cover of a music method book works great. Do this until you start to hear a click. Once polished, the water will form beads and roll off the back of the reed much like on a car that has been polished.

Liking those tips, especially the last one. Must try it. Many thanks.
 

Profusia

Senior Member
Messages
984
- Polish the backs of your reeds by rubbing with the grain back and forth on a sheet of good quality paper on a hard flat surface like a formica countertop. The inside cover of a music method book works great. Do this until you start to hear a click. Once polished, the water will form beads and roll off the back of the reed much like on a car that has been polished.

I just want to report that the above tip really seems to have made a huge difference. Star Tip! Thanks very much indeed.
 

jrintaha

Senior Member
Messages
283
I've been playing my new flugelhorn all morning, and reading this post, I held the horn above my lap and checked the spit valves (3 of 'em on this particular horn) to see whether there's any spit inside. Apparently there was and now there's an inch wide wet spot on my trousers. Must have been a tablespoonful lurking there in the lower bend of the horn. Have to grab a rag next time.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,562
I carry a cotton hanky in my back pocket when playing my bari, to drain it into on a regular basis. Male band members (and the male trombone player) seem happy to drain onto the floor. I can't bring myself to leave puddles, and having been taught by a female teacher, we are both polite enough to drain the bari into a cloth.
Also, with the bari, if you don't drain regularly, you start to gurgle!
 

Jazzaferri

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,693
If one is really into polishing the back of ones reeds, heres a really good tip

get a piece of 1200 grit wet or dri sandpaper from your auto supply store. Bond a 1/4 sheet of it to a piece of glass the same size.

use that to polish the back of your reeds. Makes em shine....faster and more even than straight paper. It will also show up unevenness on the back of the reed quickly and effectively with light finger pressure as the reed will be shiny where it touches and dull where it doesnt.
P
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,208
If one is really into polishing the back of ones reeds, heres a really good tip

get a piece of 1200 grit wet or dri sandpaper from your auto supply store. Bond a 1/4 sheet of it to a piece of glass the same size.

use that to polish the back of your reeds. Makes em shine....faster and more even than straight paper. It will also show up unevenness on the back of the reed quickly and effectively with light finger pressure as the reed will be shiny where it touches and dull where it doesnt.
P

Is it better to do it with the reed wet or dry?
 
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