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 double lip embouchure and soft reeds
Author: rgoldem 
Date:   2018-01-14 15:45

I am trying to make a switch to double lip embouchure. However I feel in my first attempts that the upper lips get hurt and tired quite fast. Should I try to use softer reeds than what I am used?

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 Re: double lip embouchure and soft reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-01-14 18:17

rgoldem wrote:

> I am trying to make a switch to double lip embouchure. However
> I feel in my first attempts that the upper lips get hurt and
> tired quite fast. Should I try to use softer reeds than what I
> am used?

It depends on how heavy the reeds are that you're used to. If you've been using very hard reeds and biting to make them play, you may feel more relaxed and flexible with a softer reed. But there's a point where too soft a reed won't work well on a given mouthpiece regardless of the embouchure. As always, your best result will come from experimenting. Try a half-strength lower (or a quarter-strength if your reeds are graded that way) and see if intonation and response remain stable or your upper clarion starts to go flat.

When you first start to play double-lip, it's typical for your upper lip to feel sore and tired. Most players who make the switch from single to double haven't been in the habit of using their upper lip much, if at all, so you have both the teeth pressing into less hardened lip tissue and muscles that have been little used getting more of a workout. For awhile, either practice in short spurts or switch back to single lip until your upper lip gets a little stronger. Gradually lengthen the time you play double lip.


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 Re: double lip embouchure and soft reeds
Author: Joseph Brenner, Jr. 
Date:   2018-01-14 19:02

I agree with Karl's comments but would add something to consider. In the early stage of learning to play double lip, one can ease the transition by resting the bell on the thigh. This takes stress off the upper lip and lessens the soreness that develops. Deal with one problem at a time. best wishes.

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 Re: double lip embouchure and soft reeds
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2018-01-15 05:19

I have found that most people on clarinet and Saxophone are playing reeds that are too hard and they do things with their embouchure to “make it work”. I play on an “M15” type mouthpiece, close and long, and I use a D’Addario 3 or 3.5 depending on the weather and the type of music I’m playing.

Watch Tom Ridenour’s videos on “learning double lip”. You might jut find that you will like playing a softer reed.

Tom Puwalski, Yamaha and D’Addario performing Artist former principal Clarinetist of the U.S.Army Field Band, author of “The Clarinetists Guide to Klezmer” and “klezmer Basic Training” Play along CD.

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 Re: double lip embouchure and soft reeds
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-01-15 06:40

I agree with the above posts. Often the upper lip isn't used properly when playing with a single lip. I can tell right away when someone asks me to reface their mouthpieces and I see dents in the beak of the mouthpieces from teeth marks. They will never achieve a nice clarinet sound.

I'd try long tones, going back to basics, low E, those notes as warm ups and use a bit more mouthpiece than usual. almost to the point of when you squeak, then back off. This is about the correct position for double lip playing.

When playing long tones you will most likely need to change your embouchure almost a feeling of lowering your upper lip down towards your lower lip which makes changes the bite. You are now not biting. So when playing these notes be very aware of not biting the upper lip and if you do, Stop. Take a break and try it again.

From past posts people know that I like to use a small mirror on the music stand. This is imperative when making a major change, such as an embouchure change.

When doing this do it slowly. Not suddenly convert. When playing these long tones your upper muscles should get tired, not sore. I'd give yourself a few months.

Some players like Robert Marcellus played single lip, then went to a double lip, then went back to a single lip after several years. He felt that as long as your upper lip muscles were working correctly he was fine with either double or single lip playing.

He sat next to Iggie Gennusa with the National Symphony and Iggie played with a double lip. He also probably had the most beautiful sound you ever heard, so Bob decided to try it. Well it worked. Bob also had an amazing sound. I worked, studied with both, mainly with Iggie for 7 years, and he clearly had the better sound. I'm not the only person who felt this way. However it doesn't matter. Bob Marcellus surely got the job done and became one of the greatest.

I just noticed Tom's post. He studied with Iggie Gennusa too, not sure how long though. Listen to Tom on his youtube recordings. A very nice sound. One day I'll put some stuff up. I think Tom would agree with me about taking in as much mouthpiece as you can until you squeak, then back off. This was one of Iggie's techniques.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

Post Edited (2018-01-17 08:01)

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