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Thread: Embouchure Question

  1. Embouchure Question

    I've been playing the Bb soprano clarinet for years. I recently rented a used student euphonium (I've always wanted to play the euphonium).

    Everything is coming along fine, just a question about embouchure.

    I've been watching many videos of euphonium and tuba players. One thing I keep seeing is that many players position their upper lip nearer to the top of the MP (closer to the nose).

    Is there a preferred position on the MP (I get less double buzz when I play higher on the MP).

    Just don't want to pickup any bad habits.

    Thanks.

    M

  2. #2
    This is where a teacher might help more than the forum, but...

    The answer varies with the individual. Some of us play off center, for example (including me) in the horizontal realm.

    I think the typical tactic is to place the mouthpiece roughly half on the top lip and half on the bottom lip. Then it may drift up or down depending on the player. The drift is normal and OK in many cases, but it could also be the result of poor posture or other conditions causing the horn to push higher or lower, regardless of how your chops work. I think mine ended up a little more on the top lip, which is common.

    Raymond G. Young did a clinic on a few things, which included a little talk of embouchure. Here is part 1:

    https://youtu.be/64CMQckejSc

    Here is part 2:

    https://youtu.be/767kW1coV4o
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  3. Thank you. One more question (if you don't mind). When I empty the condensation from the euphonium, there is moisture on all of the valve slides; however, not on the tuning slide and water key. Is it normal for condensation to occur on the valve slides?

  4. #4
    If you're using the valves, then yes, it's normal for condensation to occur on the valve slides. I find it odd that there's no water at the main tuning slide water key. Are you holding the horn in such a position that the water key is at the lowest point?

    D
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatisoff View Post
    ...not on the tuning slide and water key.
    In addition to the suggestion above about making sure the opening is pointing down when you open the water key, pull the main slide out and see if you can dump water out. If there is more than a drop or two, then the hold under the main water key pad may be clogged.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  6. Two or three droplets of water at most come out of the water key (even when I blow on the mouthpiece to push out the water)

    The valve slides have the greatest amount of water when I empty them. The tuning slide has almost no water.

    Can I put hot water in the tuning slide to flush it out and see if that unclogs the water key?

  7. #7
    Some players never use the water keys at all; they just pull the slides and dump the water.
    David Bjornstad

    1923 Conn New Wonder 86I, Bach 6 1/2 AL
    2018 Wessex EP100 Dolce, Denis Wick 4ABL
    2013 Jinbao JBEP-1111L, Denis Wick 4AM
    2015 Jinbao JBBR-1240, Denis Wick clone mouthpiece of unknown designation
    Cullman (AL) Community Band (Euph Section Leader)
    Brass Band of Huntsville (2nd Bari)

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by mmatisoff View Post
    Two or three droplets of water at most come out of the water key (even when I blow on the mouthpiece to push out the water)

    The valve slides have the greatest amount of water when I empty them. The tuning slide has almost no water.

    Can I put hot water in the tuning slide to flush it out and see if that unclogs the water key?
    You don't state whether you get water from the main slide when you remove it and dump it, but I'll assume you do.

    You need a flexible cleaning "snake" of some kind. Music stores generally have some of these to buy. What I do is put a couple drops of Dawn dish soap into the main slide and add a little warm (not hot) water. Then I run the snake through a few times. I add some more water and open the water key. If nothing comes out, repeat the process.

    If you don't have a snake, the start the same way: add a couple drops of Dawn and then some warm water. Let it soak for a few minutes while you have it situated with the opening at the lowest part (so the soapy water settles there). Then run a hard stream of warm water into one end of the slide to flush it under pressure (watch out that the other end is pointed somewhere safe or hold your hand over it in such as a way as to defect the water so it doesn't bathe you). Open the water key as you do this, so that you have high pressure water trying to get out through the hole.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by DaveBj View Post
    Some players never use the water keys at all; they just pull the slides and dump the water.
    True, and if that technique feels good to you, it works fine. However, you should not use that technique because your water keys get clogged. Once the water keys don't let water out, it is a sign the horn needs to be cleaned!

    As regular readers know, I use Herco Spitballs (size 15) to clean my horn in between washings. I use them once a week or so. BUT the spitballs only clean the tubes that come before the main slide, and they will not take the place of a real, serious cleaning...only delay the need. Even the Spitballs are no help on the main slide because you have to remove it to use them (and by that time the bore is too large for them to be effective anyway).
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
    YouTube: dwerden
    Facebook: davewerden
    Twitter: davewerden
    Instagram: davewerdeneuphonium

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