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Thread: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

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    Default Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    So, more out of curiosity, I was wondering if anyone else here plays using a double lip embouchure on Saxophone, and why you started.

    I play double lip on Alto, Soprano, and Bari, but single lip for Soprano. Note, I play tenor 90% of the time as far as saxophones go.

    I started because a Detroit Saxophonist named Wendell Harrison played that way, and recommended I try it to round out, open up, and darken my sound. It took a while to develop strength, and even longer to develop full control, but I can't imagine creating my particular sound any other way.

    Anyway, I have met more than a few others who play this way, and two of my major teachers happened to play this way as well. I also find it interesting, because I've found a lot of people I've met came through it by way of the legendary Alvin Batiste...anyone here fit that description ?

    addendum: I googled this topic, and noticed I posted a similar thing in 2004...I wonder if the the double-embouchure population has grown since then or not, lol.

    addendum +1: I noticed a similar (but old, dead) thread in the tone producing forum. Let's try not to devolve into that similar, usual internet forum spitting match. I am interested in hearing from users of this embouchure, and why you use it. Even more interested if you studied with Alvin Batiste or another of his students (Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Wess Anderson, Vincent York, etc...).
    Last edited by BATMAN; 03-14-2012 at 07:41 AM. Reason: addendum +1

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by BATMAN View Post
    (Branford Marsalis, Donald Harrison, Wess Anderson, Vincent York, etc...).
    You can add Lee Allen to that list. I didn't study with him, apart from what I learnt playing on the stand with him but that was not so much to do with double embouchure. It's something I still intend to have a go at but have somehow never persevered. But thanks for bringing it up for discussion again.

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    ..........and Jimmy Giuffre

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    You can add Lee Allen to that list. I didn't study with him, apart from what I learnt playing on the stand with him but that was not so much to do with double embouchure. It's something I still intend to have a go at but have somehow never persevered. But thanks for bringing it up for discussion again.
    Well, to be fair, I started playing this way almost at the beginning of the time I started saxophone (around 13 years ago)...and it took several years to develop the strength AND control to play with it. So, to me it's a fairly natural thing as it's essentially how I started playing saxophone

    Love Jimmy Giuffre's tone on clarinet btw.

    And the few players I listed were meant just to illustrate a few students of Alvin Batiste. There are of course a few others who play this way who didn't study with him (as far as I know). Tim Warfield, for example.

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    Distinguished SOTW Coffee Guru milandro's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by BATMAN View Post
    Love Jimmy Giuffre's tone on clarinet btw.
    not on saxophone? He played Tenor and Baritone sax next to several clarinets

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    Forum Contributor 2014 Pete Thomas's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by BATMAN View Post
    And the few players I listed were meant just to illustrate a few students of Alvin Batiste.
    Yes, I mentioned Lee Allen as he was a student also of Alvin's, probably the most significant to many people.

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    no, I like his sounds on saxophone. Bari in particular actually (though I think he played Tenor more..and I am a Tenor player!). His sound on this clip here is particularly great:



    But I know of him primarily from his clarinet playing, as I am originally a clarinetist (and play it better than I do saxophone...).

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    Yes, I mentioned Lee Allen as he was a student also of Alvin's, probably the most significant to many people.
    oh ok! I didn't know that. Man....Mr. Bat was around for a loooong time....

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    oh, and Pete...we're talking about this Lee Allen right?


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    Forum Contributor 2008 DaveR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I can double lip quite happily for short periods. I studied Oboe at Music College and developed the necessary strength and hardness in my upper lip during that time. I swap between the two on gigs sometimes to keep in practice on it, but I mostly play single lip especially on soprano because it's been many years since I did it full time.

    I think there are a lot of advantages to double lipping - it balances the embouchure - but you have to get past the point where it hurts a lot.



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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by DaveR View Post
    I can double lip quite happily for short periods. I studied Oboe at Music College and developed the necessary strength and hardness in my upper lip during that time. I swap between the two on gigs sometimes to keep in practice on it, but I mostly play single lip especially on soprano because it's been many years since I did it full time.

    I think there are a lot of advantages to double lipping - it balances the embouchure - but you have to get past the point where it hurts a lot.
    interesting. any particular reason you didn't try double lipping on saxophone consistently? I would imagine if you had the strength to play a tiny oboe reed, you would have the strength to play the saxophone In both cases, you can't bite (which is usually what people who haven't built up strength encounter...and their upper lip dislikes it), lol.

    One thing I will say...I've only seen jazz musicians use this embouchure, so I'd be extra-interested if there are any mainly classical musicians here (or out there) who use a double embouchure.

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I once had a legit clarinet teacher who advised me to try double embouchure in order to "open up" my sound. He thought I was biting too hard. I did this for a few months and I'm sure it helped, altho' I did resume my standard "teeth under lower lip". I've been playing a lot more lately and find I have to use a lip protector on my lower teeth. I've read here in the forum that you shouldn't bite. How many players do you know of that use a lower lip buffer of some kind?
    One other point: I try to play all my horns with an open, kinda "oh" shaped mouth cavity. I think this open pharynx concept is important. Comments?

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I have used double lip exclusively on all horns, Clarinet to Bari for many years. I started when biting became an issue, especially when doubling. After taking about a month to get accustomed to it , it became natural and very comfortable and I never looked back. It's not for everyone, but it works for me. As far as sound is concerned, I notice a difference, but I'm not sure if the listener does. For me it's about embouchure flexibility and comfort. I notice a lot of discussion about improvised and commercial "prosthetic " devices, cushions, pads, etc. to prevent the lower teeth from chewing into the lower lip. To me this seems like treating the symptom without addressing the real issue, biting. A few minutes a day playing double lip will go a long way in discouraging that malady.

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    Forum Contributor 2008 DaveR's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by BATMAN View Post
    interesting. any particular reason you didn't try double lipping on saxophone consistently? I would imagine if you had the strength to play a tiny oboe reed, you would have the strength to play the saxophone .......
    Comfort mainly, but also because the double-reed instruments work differently.

    The oboe embouchure - being geared to a much smaller reed - didn't naturally give me the stability I need when playing sax. Also, you don't necessarily (hopefully) need the same sort of muscle for the oboe that you do for the sax, it should be more about precision. The double reed works inversely to the single reed - i.e. as you blow harder on the double reed the pitch rises, so you can open the embouchure, which is completely the opposite to the single-reed-with-mouthpiece where more air pressure tends to make the pitch fall as the embouchure is forced apart.

    I admit I do harbour an idea that I might go over full time to a double embouchure, but I just can't really be bothered as single works well for me.



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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Quote Originally Posted by sandy cameron View Post
    I once had a legit clarinet teacher who advised me to try double embouchure in order to "open up" my sound. He thought I was biting too hard. I did this for a few months and I'm sure it helped, altho' I did resume my standard "teeth under lower lip". I've been playing a lot more lately and find I have to use a lip protector on my lower teeth. I've read here in the forum that you shouldn't bite. How many players do you know of that use a lower lip buffer of some kind?
    One other point: I try to play all my horns with an open, kinda "oh" shaped mouth cavity. I think this open pharynx concept is important. Comments?
    When I was practicing a lot when I was in music school (clarinet and saxophone...probably 8-10 hours a day) I used a lower lip protector for a time. Eventually I got to a point where it was unnecessary...but for a time, especially when practicing a lot of saxophone all day, then switching to clarinet it helped.

    I can't speak for others, but the "oh" sound is a hallmark of this embouchure for me. Playing with the double lip helps keep your setup open...you cannot bite, and you must develop the outer structures of your face. The pressure on the reed is nonexistent, allowing maximum vibration.

    It's a well known technique on clarinet to fix most biting problems. It also allows for use of a softer reed, and gives an open, light, agile sound. Of course, clarinet has a different sound concept and a much firmer embouchure.

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    Distinguished SOTW Member ratracer's Avatar
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I was taught the double lip embouchure on my alto, beginning in 5th grade, by a band instructor who was a pretty good clarinetist/multi-instrumentalist. I successfully used the double embouchure until my senior year in high school, when I was given the opportunity to play the school's bari. I could still use it but it was better to use the single lip embouchure at that point, for me. Never really went back to the double lip since I did not perceive any change in my sound when I used single lip when the opportunity presented itself to blow my alto.

    When I tool possession of my tenor, 30 years later, I could not do the double lip given the mouthpiece that came with the horn. Felt waaay to big in my mouth even using a single lip! After switching to a metal Otto Link STM, I could make the transition back to double lip, if desired (I think!), but I have not taken the time to experiment any with it. May have to given the discussions presented on the Forum, but, I'm not in any hurry at the time being.

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I admit I do harbour an idea that I might go over full time to a double embouchure, but I just can't really be bothered as single works well for me.
    yeah...I only recommend a full switch if there are specific reasons why. I teach it partially if students are biting, it usually solves their problems in a shorter time span.

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I played oboe through high school. For me, the oboe embouchure is different from sax or clarinet. I've tried double lip, and I sound the same using either (I don't bite). However, I feel like having my teeth on top is more secure.
    Sound guy theory of relativity: E=mc^2 (+or- 3dB)
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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    Walter Smith uses a double embouchure.

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    Default Re: Double Lip Embouchure - Anyone else?

    I used it exclusively before joining the band, it was only then that i found how difficult it was to sustain over long periods! very tiring, gone over to teeth on top, no problem on long sessions.
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