Lips swell after playing

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by thebluesbox, Jul 19, 2008.

  1. thebluesbox

    thebluesbox New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Anyone else has this problem, I start on a 7C because I like the crispness of it makes for good overall sound IMO for high reg, but it being a smaller mpc after a couple songs of hard playing my lips swell filling the mpc making it hard to get my notes out and I then switch to a 3C which I like the 3C for its full open range but not for crisp higher register playing. I dont mind playing it but I dont like to be force to have to play the 3C because of lip swell.
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  2. Wildfox

    Wildfox New Friend

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Several factors involved here. First we really don't know what kind of regimen or practcie routine/schedule you have.

    It could be that you are very responsible and don't immediately play a lot of loud high notes thus burning your chops out before they even warm up. Or you could start right off on your highest range playing loud and later wonder why you're so swollen in the chops.

    The reason I bring this up is because no matter what mouthpiece you use if you have some kind of inconsistency or illogical practice routine it really won't matter what mouthpiece you play. At least not in the long run.

    So if you burn out your chops on a 7C then even if you switched to a 3C for full time use you might (within a few weeks) get swollen lips on that one too.

    It's a little like the heavy drinker who decides to move to Cinncinnati in hopes that he'll leave his problems behind. Things may get better in Cinnci for a while but sooner or later his same problems catch up with him. A bad metaphor but the best one I could think of.

    Again, I don't know what kind of practice regimen you maintain. Sometimes it's best to write down on paper some of our practice goals for the day ahead. Do it beforehand. That way the tendency of overtraining isn't as likely.

    All said there is a possibility that the 7C really isn't right for you. I don't much like the piece myself. It is very deep and has a quite sharp inner rim edge. Good for tonguing but terrible for many young player's endurance. half of your swollen lip problem could be attributed to the inner edge of the Bach 7C.

    As I recollect the 3C doesn't have as bad of an inner edge. However the rim contour is still fairly flat. That's a personal dislike for me.

    Advice?

    Watch for overtraining. Consider something made by Marcinkiewicz or Curry that resembles your 7C. I don't know the numbers well on either manufacturer. I just know that Marcinkiewicz has a more comfortable rim. As for curry? i know even less. only that my former High School band directro swears by them. He's a great lead player.

    And back off the arm pressure as much as possible. In fact a good thing to do is to never use arm pressure in practice except maybe one day per week. just to "know the note is there".

    Arm pressure is a tool for getting volume on your highest notes that you can play musically. I'm starting to believe that arm pressure by itself can not raise a pitch very much. Even with added air pressure from the lungs. Perhaps a trill or shake can be exercised with an occilation of arm pressure but no serious upwards ascension can be achieved. Not without an increase in applied intelligent embouchure contraction.
     
  3. Wildfox

    Wildfox New Friend

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    Jul 18, 2008
    (Whoops! A duplicate...)
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  4. thebluesbox

    thebluesbox New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    Lots of useful info thanks!

    I play for church Sun morning, sun. night, and wed night. At home I practice the days in between, sometimes I skip some of the days in between.

    I dont just jump into high playing I start of usually in lower registers smooth and softly working my way up to harder playing. The swelling doesnt happen everytime, it comes and goes, some nights I wont have any trouble. Other nights we might hit a few songs I have to work hard at and then the swelling comes around. Its not a huge problem, not even a problem at all I work around it. I was just asking to see if it happens to anyone else and if there was something I could change up to curve it.

    I prolly could use better warm up, the nights I play at church there is no warm up, I use the soft slower lower register playing as we start as my warm up, we usually start on the light stuff first and work our way to the hard playing in the later in the night.

    I guess my whole post is for better education of this and food for thought more than anything.
     
  5. mrmusicnotes

    mrmusicnotes Piano User

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    If your talking bach mouthpieces theres really not much difference in size between the 3c and 7c.I like the 7c also.The sparp inner rim is great for attack and multi,tounging.maby you could try the 7cw if you like the way the 7c plays.Bach states it the same as the 7c with a comfortable cusion rim,great for strenious work and player with fairly large lips.The 7c is not so small as you should be swelling after playing just a few minutes.It happened to me a few years back when I experimented on a Yamaha Alan Vizutti piece,wow I dont know he plays such a shallow piece.Make sure your warming up properly and have a solid practice routine as stated by Wildfox.Here is a great article on practice in which Chris Gekker explains what to practice,and in what order Lawrence Trupet Studio Topics: Unlocking the Mysteries of Trumpet Playing good luck and I hope this helps a bit.
     
  6. Wildfox

    Wildfox New Friend

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    Jul 18, 2008
    Interesting and good that you are cognizant of a proper practice/performance "diet". Because without that condition most advice becomes useless. Now maybe you're ready for this (at the risk of sounding cocky here):

    My feeling about mouthpieces is that most players are better off with the easiest mouthpiece they can still get a decent tone on. Even if they temporarily sacrifice some percentage of their regular technique. key word there is "temporary".

    Some players have identified a sharp bite as an important element in the production of good articulation. An necessary component of music. Well sure if you're playing for the Boston Symphony. However those cats practice maybe eight hours a day. At that point everything becomes easy.

    Actually you can get a very defined attack on even a well rounded inner rim bite. It just takes practice. One way to improve anyone's articulation is to understand the way the embouchure works: The inner vibrating portions simply stay relaxed. The flesh that resides under the mouthpiece rim is the "transitional" area. You can actually firm up this portion. This will help your attacks. Practice bell tones with full tongue penetration. A few weeks of this and you can almost make a Schilke 6a4a pop like a bell.

    Well almost.

    You see the inner rim of the mouthpiece works like the bridge of a stringed instrument. Or like the frets. The difference is we never stretch our chops but compress them. That's an important distinction.

    So when you use a sharp rimmed mouthpiece it is like having a high action neck on a guitar. helps your "pop" in the tone but at the risk of hurt fingers. Conversely a well rounded bite on a mouthpiece becomes almost analogous to a fretless bass.

    Hard to get the "pop" in the sound without really pressing the fingers down firmly.

    So it can be a trade off. However most young or beginning/intermediate trumpet players have needs beside the absolutely dead perfect crystal clear attack a strong classical player can get on a sharp mouthpiece bite. In fact the sharp bite can be a real nemesis depending upon the embouchure's ability to sustain the circulation loss and possible discomfort the sharp rim will cause.

    It's a variable between trumpet players. Some have suggested that if you play witha receded jaw you will usually really struggle with a sharp bite. Reason is that the mouthpiece rim hits the upper lip in an especially nasty way on a receded jaw player. the full edge of the rim hits the upper lip in an uncompromising way.

    Now my feeling is that young trumpet players or those who are in the intermediate stage (weekend players, former pros, High School players etc) are going to potentially screw up more for reasons of endurance, accuracy and useable range.

    You may find a sharp rimmed bite to play some parts exceptionally well but this won't mitigate the feeling of missing a bunch of notes from poorly circulated/tired lips. The audience won't care at that point how well your attcks popped on the sharp mouthpiece.

    But they will definitely hear more serious mistakes or notice that you've "run out of gas" before the end of the concert. Lack of volume from tired lips is a bigger problem than missed high notes. Even on a professional level. An audience wants entertainment. And if you're too tired to project (or can't play at all) it makes for an unsatisfactory performance

    So consider finding a comfortable well rounded rim bite on your next mouthpiece.

    It's a matter of value:

    More later...
     
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2008
  7. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    If your lips are "swelling and bottoming out" in the 7C, then you are using too much pressure. In fact, you should also bottom out on the 3C as it is practically the same. Actually the 3C is shallower and should behave worse in your case.

    Check out the Kanstul mouthpiece comparator here:
    Kanstul Mouthpiece Comparator

    Select B7C and B3C. You can move the image on the right by clicking and dragging it over the other one.

    So now that we have determined that your 3C endurance is in your head and not in your chops, we can talk about what is probably really happening!

    Forget the lip swell stuff, it is only an issue on very shallow mouthpieces like a 7E or a Schilke 14A4A. Something is not together with your embouchure, and that is most likely a combination of improper breath support and beating your face up during practice. Once your chops are beat up, they are weak and you apply pressure and that FORCES them into the cup. Why does the 3C work then, you ask. Robin says because the rim is much broader and actually spreads the same "too much pressure" over a larger area.
    My recommendation is to pick one of those mouthpieces, they are both good and stick with it. Get working on your breathing and chops, stop beating your face up and the problem will disappear!

    Search on circle of breath here at TM. It is a visualization that I strongly recommend! Then get a daily routine that does not trash your face. Buzzing, long tones and slurs all played very softly. If you were my student, I would have you ONLY playing softly for the next couple of weeks (months). That is the best way to gain control of your face, gain flexibility, range and endurance.
     
  8. thebluesbox

    thebluesbox New Friend

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    Jul 15, 2008
    actually when I practice at home on my off time I thats how I practice soft mellow playing been doing that for about 10 plus years.

    remember this doesnt happen to me everytime I play its just something that happens now and again and I just notice it only in my harder playing in high register for long periods. I can live with it, just thought I would make a topic of it for good discussion and maybe some tips on what might be the cause and possable fix. Some great pointers so far thanks guys!
     
  9. Baroquetrumpeterguy

    Baroquetrumpeterguy New Friend

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    Jul 18, 2008
    I wish I had that problem right now instead of my right jaw hurting problem. I cant play too long above concert C above the staff.
    I used to have lip swelling years ago but found out that I was pressing waay too hard. It took me a few months to work that through. My teacher also told me to switch from a 7C to a 1 1/4C. I have been playing on that mp ever since. Works well for me in all registers.
    Hope your lips stop swelling up soon! :D
     
  10. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    We still may be on the same page. Playing softly is not the same as "mellow".

    Actively playing long tones with a focussed sound, BIG breath and no tongue attack in the beginning requires the same mind set as at an important gig. Lip slurs are HARDER when you try and play them perfectly, rhythmically at pp instead of mf. The daily routine is just as hard as when played more forcefully, produces better results though.

    Bottoming out has 3 causes: embouchure weak, too much force, mouthpiece not suitable for your situation.
     

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