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#1 2007-02-07 22:40:45

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Dry vs. wet lips

Because my life disallows my playing the Shakuhachi daily, my embouchure is not entirely “body” memorized yet. Because I choose to play 3 different instruments, I have an interesting dilemma. NAF must be blown dry. Shakuhachi wet, and by the nature of the beast, the didgeridoo is also wet.

So I am setting myself up for challenges. I know that and I will continue to do so. I like all three.

Here is the question: There are times when I have the embouchure just right in a way that I can blow totally dry lipped for a long time without a break in the music. At other times, most times, the inside of my upper lip dries out very quickly and it demands wet to make the sound. This is a bit of a confusion to me. Anyone have an idea why I can play totally dry one time and not the next?

By the way, Vaseline and other items used to wet my lips actually causes me to have a harder time. I do best with nothing.

D.J.


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#2 2007-02-07 23:29:31

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

My guess is that this issue has little to do with whether your lips are dry or wet, but instead is because your
embouchure is not quite consistently 'there' yet.

Even experienced players sometimes have off days. I still have quite a hard time playing cleanly in the morning. If I
warm up for an hour, I can overcome this, but I don't have that kind of time.

Ro-buki, Ro-buki, Ro-buki

My 2 centimes...

eB


BTW: As I live in a dry climate (Utah), I use a lip moisturizer called Lip-Ivo--not greasy, not sticky, doesn't take much
to do the job, and in fact I use it pretty infrequently, but I always have it on hand.

Last edited by edosan (2007-02-07 23:36:28)


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#3 2007-02-08 05:18:09

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

edosan wrote:

My guess is that this issue has little to do with whether your lips are dry or wet, but instead is because your
embouchure is not quite consistently 'there' yet.

Even experienced players sometimes have off days. I still have quite a hard time playing cleanly in the morning. If I
warm up for an hour, I can overcome this, but I don't have that kind of time.

I know my embouchure isn't to the level of players who get 4 to 6 hours a day in, but it's not bad and I'm pretty sure wetness and dryness effects it some. Worse even is if they've been so dry I've been picking the dry skin off of them. Gross, but I'm sure I'm not the only one this happens too, and it's something these single digit temperatures don't help much. Like you say, nothing a little warming up won't fix, but I find 10 or 15 minutes to be more typical than an hour. BTW, I know you were talking about an hour warming up, but if there are any beginners out there that aren't able to commit at least an hour a day to the instrument, you can probably expect at least a few more years for your embouchure to get 'there', where 'there' is a point that you feel like you're actually playing instead of practicing.

Rick, didn't you mention you played didjeridu too? Playing shakuhachi immediately after didj can be challenging. Again nothing some minutes warming up won't fix, and maybe tack on a few minutes just to get any tone at all, but if that's what's going on maybe putting the didj practice after the shakuhachi is an idea.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#4 2007-02-08 06:47:51

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

Playing Shakuhachi right after didge can be tough as the didge swells the lips, especially if you haven't played for awhile. I play the didge all summer. By August the lip swelling is less and I can play the Shakuhachi pretty well afterwards. If I picked up the didge now and blew and then picked up the Shakuhachi, it would be nearly impossible for me to get a sound.

As for an hour a day on the Shakuhachi: I am forced to work 50 hour weeks and then come home and raise my 12 year old daughter. I try to slip in a few minutes of play at lunch time. By evening I am shot. So this is a long term project.

I have not seen Lip-Ivo before. What stores do you see it in?

D.J.


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#5 2007-02-08 07:37:06

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

D.J. wrote:

As for an hour a day on the Shakuhachi: I am forced to work 50 hour weeks and then come home and raise my 12 year old daughter. I try to slip in a few minutes of play at lunch time. By evening I am shot. So this is a long term project.

Yes, I  know different lifestyles make more or less time for musical instruments. I think what is most important is not to have unrealistic expectations, get frustrated, and give up when there are time constraints. I've almost never been in a situation where I couldn't find at least an hour. Sometimes I had to sacrifice other instruments to focus on just one, and spent about 10 years without a television at one point. I never had kids, but better amateur musicians  than me seem to have tackled that OK and the number of pros with day jobs is frightening. At this point in my life I appear to have too much time on my hands... I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#6 2007-02-08 10:16:06

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

D.J. wrote:

I have not seen Lip-Ivo before. What stores do you see it in?

I've always had difficulty finding Lip-Ivo in stores, which are typically crowded with crap like Chap Stick  (OK, I'm a lip balm snob; we're
talking about a precious instrument here...). In the past, I've usually had to special order it through Walgreens or similar.

Here's a link to a post on this site which links to Lip-Ivo's website:
http://www.shakuhachiforum.com/viewtopi … 3603#p3603

Excellent product.


All other things equal, moist lips are always better than dry lips, of course.

And a fat lip is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

eB


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#7 2007-02-08 21:01:46

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

I have, for lack of better words, been lead to the purchase of a certain collection of flutes and didgeridoos. As I stand back and take a look at what is now almost finished, I see a small orchestra of sound, all with their different abilities and reasons to be played. I have spent an embarrassing amount of money on musical instruments at first glance. But now as I can see what has transpired, it has become evident what is happening. I am not doing this for me. These are tools for the next few decades. Tools I use to heal. And when I look at it from this perspective, time and frustration leave the picture entirely. I love this path. It is endless, just the way I like it.

Of late, I am changing. I have practiced energy work for 20 years now, but this is new. All of it is coming together in a rather magical way. I am looking forward to Seattle weather clearing so I can play at the beach again. Then it’s not just for me. Just the way I like it.

D.J.


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#8 2007-02-08 21:08:20

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Dry vs. wet lips



You only have too many instruments when you have to go outside to eat, because there's no more room in the house...




eB


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

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#9 2007-02-08 21:51:35

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

ROTFLMAO!!!!!


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#10 2007-02-08 21:55:20

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

two sets of Djun Djuns (6 drums) 2 djembes, one balafon (marimba) countless flutes, keyboards, 3 guitars, 6 didgeridoos with another on the way. 2 more flutes in the making . . . we have to be careful not to trip on the stuff. . . .oh and a bag full of cowbells, shekers, clapping sticks. . . . And a car that would be paid off by now if it were not for all the music. it is partly my daughter's fault. Yeah, I'll blame her.

D.J.


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#11 2007-02-08 22:55:36

kyoreiflutes
Member
From: Seattle, WA
Registered: 2005-10-27
Posts: 364
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

Gotta have more cowbell!


"The Universe does not play favorites, and is not fair by its very Nature; Humans, however, are uniquely capable of making the world they live in fair to all."    - D.E. Lloyd

"Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bells tolls; it tolls for thee."    -John Donne

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#12 2007-02-09 01:59:44

Karmajampa
Member
From: Aotearoa (NZ)
Registered: 2006-02-12
Posts: 574
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

Dry lips, dry mouth, try breathing in ONLY through your nostrils. Breathing in through the mouth only, will promote a dry mouth.

Kel.


Kia Kaha !

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#13 2007-02-09 04:44:05

D.J.
Member
From: Seattle
Registered: 2007-01-29
Posts: 63

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

That I had not thought of, which is funny, as I have to do that with the didge. Thank you for that recommendation.

D.J.


"Manifest great deeds by breaking the rules."
Awa Kenzo - Zen Archery Master
"If you think that you are a teacher, then you have failed to realize that learning comes from the student."
Kiko Aratsu

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#14 2010-05-25 18:02:18

jynx_474
Member
Registered: 2007-08-10
Posts: 15

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

D.J. wrote:

two sets of Djun Djuns (6 drums) 2 djembes, one balafon (marimba) countless flutes, keyboards, 3 guitars, 6 didgeridoos with another on the way. 2 more flutes in the making . . . we have to be careful not to trip on the stuff. . . .oh and a bag full of cowbells, shekers, clapping sticks. . . . And a car that would be paid off by now if it were not for all the music. it is partly my daughter's fault. Yeah, I'll blame her.

D.J.

Wow D.J. Thats a really impressive collection, I have 3 shakuhachi, (2.6, 2.2, and a 1.8) 1 guitar, a piano 1 darbuka
a set of bongos, a clarinet  and 3 other types of bamboo flute personally. As for your problem, mine's just the opposite (cant get a good sound unless my lips are at least semi moist). To take care of the dry lip problem, I usually use Burts Bees (in the ramikin, not in stick form) since the bees wax is really good for bamboo and usually winds up sealing the utaguchi if you don't put urushi or another type of laquer in the bore

hope that helps

itterasshai

jynx

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#15 2010-05-26 00:31:47

chikuzen
Dai Shihan/Dokyoku
From: Cleveland Heights,OH 44118
Registered: 2005-10-24
Posts: 401
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

Dryness is death to shakuhachi. Period.


Michael Chikuzen Gould

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#16 2010-05-27 10:20:43

madoherty
Moderator
Registered: 2008-03-15
Posts: 361

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

My secret for lack of moisture: http://www.biotene.com/Products/Mouthwash.aspx

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#17 2010-05-29 08:11:32

lowonthetotem
Member
From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

wet lips, big_smile~


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#18 2010-05-29 09:26:01

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

Is it the outside of the lips that need to be moist? If it is, doesn't normal playing dry them out?

What I'm finding is that there are certain times of the day or certain days that my lips drying out isn't a problem. On the days or times when it is a problem rewetting my lips either by sipping water or wetting them with my tongue (that's necessary when they get dry during one of those 10 minute long honkyoku) only works very temporarily, a few minutes at best. It ends up feeling like I'm spending too much practice time sipping water. Chapstick works longer but feels kind of sticky. But, on days when it's not a problem I can play for hours without having to use chapstick or rewetting. There's no drool pouring out of my mouth on those days so I take it that the moistness should come from beneath the skin like sweat or something.

Is there any kind of elixer or dietary tips that promotes moist skin in general?  It seems that would be a good solution to the dry lips problem. Vocalists are supposed to drink plenty of water a couple of hours before singing to lubricate the vocal chords, I haven't noticed that it helps keep the lips moist though.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#19 2010-05-29 21:17:07

Jeff Cairns
teacher, performer,promoter of shakuhachi
From: Kumamoto, Japan
Registered: 2005-10-10
Posts: 517
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

At the Boulder Shakuhachi Festival, Yokoyama Katsuya taught  that you should play with the 'wet part of the lower lip'.  Basically what that meant, and as it was demonstrated, the lower lip should be relaxed and slightly curled out so that the air stream is passing over the upper most part of the inner lip rather than the front most part of the outer lip.  Naturally, this would avoid excessive tension on the lower lip which causes problems in good sound reproduction.  Unless you have a saliva deficiency, closing the mouth occasionally will keep that part of the lip moist.  This all being said, I'm not so sure that what is ultimately necessary here is 'wet lips' but rather a relaxed lower lip.


shakuhachi flute
I step out into the wind
with holes in my bones

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#20 2010-05-31 08:48:26

lowonthetotem
Member
From: Cape Coral, FL
Registered: 2008-04-05
Posts: 529
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

{quote}Is it the outside of the lips that need to be moist? If it is, doesn't normal playing dry them out?{\quote}

It starts inside the lip but gets everywhere eventually, and that is what your tounge is for. big_smile~


"Turn like a wheel inside a wheel."

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#21 2010-05-31 09:22:45

radi0gnome
Member
From: Kingston NY
Registered: 2006-12-29
Posts: 1030
Website

Re: Dry vs. wet lips

lowonthetotem wrote:

{quote}Is it the outside of the lips that need to be moist? If it is, doesn't normal playing dry them out?{\quote}

It starts inside the lip but gets everywhere eventually, and that is what your tounge is for. big_smile~

Yes, but it looks awful to be licking your lips after every other phrase. I have a hunch that Jeff is right and my"dry lip days" are really "tense lower lip days", I've got to wait until I have the problem again to look further into that. If that is the problem, rewetting the lower lip occasionally by simply closing the lips when it gets dry from the air stream is a lot better visually than licking them. I was watching myself in the mirror and envisioning myself as a shakuhachi playing lizard, if I don't fix that I'll never want to be seen playing this instrument.


"Now birds record new harmonie, And trees do whistle melodies;
Now everything that nature breeds, Doth clad itself in pleasant weeds."
~ Thomas Watson - England's Helicon ca 1580

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#22 2010-05-31 09:58:33

edosan
Edomologist
From: Salt Lake City
Registered: 2005-10-09
Posts: 2185

Re: Dry vs. wet lips


Zen is not easy.
It takes effort to attain nothingness.
And then what do you have?
Bupkes.

Offline

 

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