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mouthpiece allergy?

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mouthpiece allergy?    19:22 on Monday, June 04, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

So, practicing again now for a little over 16 or so months after not having played for nearly a decade. I am starting to get what I noticed when I was playing regularly, my lips get tingly and a ring appears, not bad but it hangs on for 5 - 10 minutes after playing. My lips start to feel "thick" like they won't move. I've checked, they don't actually look puffy but low notes drop away, and then the high-end goes. Is it possible for an allergy to onset like this? Gradually rather than an immediate thing?

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    23:25 on Monday, June 04, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Val_Wells
(214 points)

This sounds like lip swelling, which can be caused by allergy and/or trauma. If this were a metal contact allergy, I would think it would present with itching and a rash. So if allergies are involved, it seems more likely to be pollen, foods, mold or bacteria. Try thoroughly cleaning out your horn with warm soapy water and a snake brush and see if that helps. Also try some of the things suggested in my blog article: http://beforhorn.blogspot.com/2011/05/lip-swelling-embouchure-performance.html

Valerie Wells (retired allergy nurse)

<Added>

Another thing I failed to mention above, is this. If you are returning from not playing for a while, you're out of shape and you may simply need to take it a little easier for a while until you build your chops up again.

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    23:45 on Monday, June 04, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Valerie,
Thanks for pointing this out. I looked carefully today, and the center is a touch redder 2 hours out, (Indeed, my mouth still tingles slightly) and I definitely get that feeling about a tight fit in the mouthpiece rather than looser which I get when I feel I'm playing well. I'm going to try one of those Kelly mouthpieces. And, I like the Farkas MC to boot, which they've got available.
Thanks again
Doug

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    01:13 on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Val_Wells
(214 points)

Doug, Please follow up with the results. If changing mouthpieces makes a difference, I'll want to add your experience to my blog. That blog article has been the most popularly read blog article I've written so far. Apparently lip swelling is a very common problem.

Valerie Wells
The Balanced Embouchure Method
http://beforhorn.blogspot.com/
http://comfyhornstrap.blogspot.com/

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    09:01 on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Will do. Thinking about it, I had just taken myself off my antihistamine and closed the windows turned on the filters because I was sick of feeling loopy. If I had a dose of antihistamine in me at all times it might have been masking the progression of the allergy. We'll see.

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    09:04 on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

JOhnlovemusic
(1273 points)

If your lips are red and you have a ring you may be using too much pressure and trying to hard to buzz your lips together. Minimal pressure to create a seal and your aperture should be round and your teeth should be far enough apart to put your index finger between them. Try relaxing your lower jaw in the rear.

With my students I play on a rimless mouthpiece above the staff to show how little pressure is needed and very little marking is left. You should also check your lip pressure ratio. On a scale of 1 to 10 you should have a pressure of about 4 on your top lip and 6 on your bottom lip. As you get more comfortable you can reduce this pressure to 5 and 3, 4 and 2, etc.

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    12:03 on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Thanks for that reminder. I may play with too much pressure, but have actively been trying to reduce it and the ring and tingling are getting worse not better, so not sure there. I should drop my jaw more, but with my cupid bow upper lip if I get much further apart my lips don't actually meet to make a seal. Maybe a bigger mouthpiece??

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    12:15 on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Val_Wells
(214 points)

I used to be an allergy nurse. What we always told our patients about antihistamines is this: If an antihistamine makes you "loopy" it could be that the dose is too high OR it might not be that you need a different antihistamine.

Try cutting the dose in half. Sometimes the antihistamine can be just as effective at controlling symptoms at half the dose w/o causing such severe side effects.

There are lots of different OTC formulas to choose from you. They are not all the same. And, be aware that "prescription" doesn't always mean better, just a newer formula that hasn't been released for OTC use, yet. You might try experimenting with different products out there. Some people will be happy & feel well on one but not another.

For me personally, a small woman, I've found the best antihistamine out there is Actifed (or Wal-Act generic brand at Walgreens). I usually find I get great relief from 1/2 a tablet and no drowsiness. HOWEVER, I know one man who is twice my size, who gets total sedation with one tablet!

I've heard one doctor recommend people actually rotate between brands.

It might help to experiment with doses and brands.

Valerie Wells
The Balanced Embouchure Method
http://www.beforhorn.blogspot.com/
http://comfyhornstrap.blogspot.com/

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    13:34 on Wednesday, June 06, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Everyone, thanks for all the great advice. I'm going to try rotating between a couple formulations to see if I get less loopy and try to be more conscious of my jaw position. Went and tried the jaw position suggested, and though seal is not better, lip pressure is reduced. Still have a tingly red ring, so if the (bright purple) Lexan mouthpiece solves this, I'll let you know. Then it may be worth getting a custom rim turned. The shipping email says 5-9 days via ground, so in a couple weeks probably. Again, many thanks, that's what I love about this forum, pros helping people who just want to play, who cares if I even do anything with it as long as it makes me happy (maybe not the neighbors, but me, yeah)?

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    01:00 on Tuesday, June 12, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Got the mouthpiece today. Not much time to try it, but initially, it is very well made, extremely good fit in the receiver, and it blows well. As I said, not enough time to test about reaction, but no tingle to the playing. Also, incredibly smooth. When I have more time I'll write more.

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    14:33 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

OK, so I played some more. Absolutely no ring lasting past 20 or 30 seconds. Very comfortable and if I remember the Farkas MC (no longer own one since switching to a Giardinelli S15 in college) it plays very similarly to it. The low end does not project as well, but the comfort and accuracy is great due to the amazingly smooth, almost non-stick finish. I'd love to see Kelly do these in a larger diameter and a couple other cup profiles. So, whatever it is, whether allergy or irritation or something (and I have no antihistimines in me today) this does not cause it. Unfortunately, I tried a laskey 775G over the weekend, and think I would love an 80G and as I mentioned before, even the gold rim I have was irritating, so I am loathe to order one. ECK!

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    15:35 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Ok, after playing a little more, I get more feedback than a metal mouthpiece, so I may machine a hunk of brass to dampen it. But the Lexan feels great. No irritation whatsoever.


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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    19:26 on Wednesday, June 13, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

Val_Wells
(214 points)

WOW! This is interesting. Thanks for the updates and please keep us posted if anything changes.

Valerie

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    19:34 on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Haven't made the brass "heavy" for the mouthpiece yet, and I remember why I switched from the s15 to the Farkas. But... my mouth feels much better. This week and next I actually have time to practice everyday, so I'll know more, but it is definitely an interesting material and soft on the lips.

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Re: mouthpiece allergy?    00:45 on Tuesday, July 17, 2012 Vote for this post Vote against this post 0 votes

phred
(80 points)

Playing on this awhile, I certainly have improved flexibility, whether from the material or lack or reaction. Tried switching back to the Giardinelli s15. Liked how it played better, but after 15-20 minutes once again lost flexibility and had a "puffy" feeling in the lips. The tone is not as focused, but it is actually easier to attack accurately. Again, it may be the lack or allergy or the very smooth nature of the Lexan. I hope that makers will adopt this as a rim material, allowing for more variety. A dampener of rosewood, though significantly lighter than brass would be actually made a noticeable difference in feedback. I suspect brass would be more significant.

   





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