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Thread: Weird lip issue

  1. #1

    Weird lip issue

    Greetings fellow Euphers:

    First time poster / long time reader.

    Have a weird lip issue. Played a lot in school, but stopped playing after college due to no horn. Got a horn again when I was 48 and played really hard for about a year. Hard like 3-4 hours a day. At about 6 months installed invisalign, basically modern braces. Things were fine with the invisilign until they put attachments on them: little plastic things cemented onto the outside of your teeth.

    After they put those on, I developed what I can best describe as a sort of double buzz. Except where as double buzz usually seems to mean the bottom and upper lip vibrate different notes, in my case the top lip tried to vibrate two notes at once. Very weird. Sounds like someone running a small drill in the horn while I play.

    Another way to describe it is that the very center of my top lip seemed to stick out a little more and it's that part that sticks out that wanted to vibrate on its own.

    So I stopped playing for about 3 months now and got the attachments removed. Now I don't know that the attachments caused anything, but the timing is suspicious. My current theory is that the attachments forced my lip out a little bit which changed the spot on my lip which vibrated which in turn caused it to malform. But that's just a guess.

    If that's right, then laying off and getting rid of the attachments should do the trick.

    I am also considering that perhaps I was playing too much. I am 50 now and my lip isn't the only part of my body screwed up by age or whatever. Getting old gets old, you know?

    So I wanted to see if anyone out there is Euphonium-land has heard of anything like this. I can't find any reference to anything like this anywhere. The closest is double buzzing, which invisalign can cause, but which usually affects the bottom lip.

    Thanks in advance for any information or advice you may have.


  2. #2
    I feel like its an tooth attachment issue. I have a friend who plays trumpet chip his tooth a year ago and all of the sudden his high range became rediculously good. When weird stuff happens to your mouth it just finds its way into your playing.
    Last edited by Beef; 08-25-2019 at 05:54 PM.

  3. #3
    I played trombone with braces for years. You pretty much have to completely re-learn how to use your lips when you've got things on your teeth like that. IMHO the teeth are the "base" upon which the embouchure is built on, especially for high range. With things added, you end up stretching the muscles a bit more, so that may be why the double buzz was happening.

    On the other hand, I have heard a story, which may be apocryphal, but it still is interesting. There was a budding screech trumpet player, and he idolized Maynard Ferguson. Everyone always wanted to figure out how he was able to have such an absolutely incredible high range. Well, this player noticed that Ferguson had a gap between his top front teeth. Maybe that was the secret! So he actually had orthodontic work done to add a gap like that.

    He meets Ferguson, probably all hyped up to talk about the gap and high range. Then he notices that there is no longer a gap in Ferguson's front teeth. He asks him about it, and he said that he had it fixed. So, so much for that theory.

    Whether the story about the trumpet player adding a gap is true, I have no idea. But if you look at older pictures of Ferguson and the more recent ones, he definitely did have a gap, and it definitely disappeared.
    Sterling / Perantucci 1065HGS Euphonium, 1952 B&H Imperial Eb Tuba, Yamaha YBB-631S BBb Tuba, and a bunch of trombones.

  4. Here is some advice I had from steve mead.
    Iwould suggest you do some practice with a practice mute, such as the TravelMute. Sometimes a little bit of extra resistance encourages all the spaces,your lips, oral cavity and throat space to enlarge. When this happens thedouble buzz usually disappears, and will remain gone once back to normalplaying.
    Iwould also suggest you do lots of long-tone practice, from middle to lowerrange. This tends to iron out any kinks that may develop in the embouchure andlip positions. Also
    take a look at this link

  5. #5
    So, answering my own post, here's what happened.

    I solved this problem by moving my lower jaw. In the midrange, I have to push my lower jaw forward a bit and that changes the angle of the lips enough to make the buzz go away. Irritating, but effective.

    Mouths are weird.

  6. #6
    I got braces my senior year of high school, and once I had them, had to relearn how to play, and when they were off, had to relearn again. The important thing is to go with what works. Double buzz is common when I'm out of shape honestly, or when I'm trying to play in a way that doesn't fit my anatomy. I have found that using a P.E.T.E. on my off days does help keep my lips in shape.

    Now I will share you a story about the legendary trumpet player Maynard Ferguson. If you look at some early pictures of him, you will notice that he has a gap in his top teeth. Apparently someone who idolized him figured that THIS was the secret to his insane high range, and went to an orthodontist to get braces, to have a gap added! A few years later he managed to meet Maynard, and showed him the gap he had added. Maynard then said something like "oh yeah, I had that fixed" and smiled, showing his now gap free upper teeth.
    Sterling / Perantucci 1065HGS Euphonium, 1952 B&H Imperial Eb Tuba, Yamaha YBB-631S BBb Tuba, and a bunch of trombones.

  7. #7
    Actually, I heard Maynard himself tell that gap story someplace, probably the Tonight Show. But he didn't mention getting the gap fixed - perhaps this was before the fix. Obviously he figured out that the gap was not his path to a high range.
    Dave Werden (ASCAP)
    Euphonium Soloist, U.S. Coast Guard Band, retired
    Adams Artist (Adams E3)
    Alliance Mouthpiece (DC4)
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