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Reeds 2-1/2 Rico Plasticoat reeds

AndyB

Member
Messages
203
I've been struggling with tenor reeds. Vandorens work great on my alto but not on tenor. Rico Royals are about 50/50 on tenor. But I just tried my first 2-1/2 Rico Plasticoat reeds and I'm having great luck so far.

Maybe someone can explain to me if I'm doing something wrong. The Vandoren's often just won't make a sound or dry out after 5 minutes and go silent. Half the R Royals I've tried do the same thing after maybe 10-15 minutes. And also the tone is very buzzy even when they will blow. Also a few notes are really stuffy.

I had one old Rico reed left over that was about 25 years old that was incredible but it wore out and I could never find a new one that came close.

But the first plasticoat that I've tried made it through and entire practice session without having to wet it again and with no buzziness. And also some notes that sounded deadened with the other reeds came out clearer.

I'm puzzled but happy I may have gotten past the reed problem. Maybe there is some reed voodoo required with the regular reeds that the plasticoats don't require.

Any ideas?
 

Randy Hunter

Member
Messages
34
You'll find a lot of inconsistencies with reeds, even Plasticovers. Many reeds lose their seal against the mouthpiece (or never have one) causing some of the issues you're describing. This can be because either the reed or the mouthpiece table is not altogether flat. Some reeds art not cut evenly or are too thick at the "butt" end. There can also be curing issues.

I've played many of the top brands, and have settled, temporarily at least, on Rico Jazz Select unfiled. I can usually find one or two in a box, more if I'm lucky, that I'm happy with.

Be sure to rub your reeds down. Do this by wetting the reed as normal, place it on a smooth flat surface such as a countertop, and using your thumb, apply pressure while rubbing into the grain. You should actually feel a smoother texture when you place it back in your mouth. Most reeds play more responsively after this.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Well that's great to hear,that some one of your experience has the same problem as me Randy, I've said in previous posts that I'm lucky to get 2 or 3 out of a box that play well and that seems to be a standard thing,there is a small booklet available to buy that tries to tell you how to improve bad reeds and make them playable.It's called Dr Downing's Saxophonist's Reed Doctor, you should be able to find it on the interwebb easy enough it cost about £6.50.This is for your info Andy I wouldn't dream of trying to give Randy advice on any thing,hope this helps ....john

PS Nice to hear your doing ok with the plasticovers,I ve tried one myself on my alto but wasn't happy with the variation in the tone throughout the range
 
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AndyB

Member
Messages
203
Thanks Randy. This is great information. I have noticed that many reeds that I've gotten are so porous that I can put the butt end in my mouth and blow THROUGH them like a drinking straw. Perhaps rubbing them down as you mention will fix some of my problems. The butt ends are sealed on the plasticoats.
 

Randy Hunter

Member
Messages
34
Thanks Randy. This is great information. I have noticed that many reeds that I've gotten are so porous that I can put the butt end in my mouth and blow THROUGH them like a drinking straw. Perhaps rubbing them down as you mention will fix some of my problems. The butt ends are sealed on the plasticoats.
Yes, Andy, the Plasticovers are sealed so I'm not sure if rubbing them down will have the same effect. I played Plasticovers a number of years back, but gave up on them when I started having problems with them playing well for any duration of time. It seemed like the quality of reed Rico was using had deteriorated. Maybe the quality has improved as of late. They provide a brighter sound and would work well for blues playing if you can consistently find good reeds that have stamina.

BTW, Gladsaxisme, I need all the advise I can get! I'll have to look for Dr Downing's Saxophonist's Reed Doctor.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
 
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Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
Messages
693
I have had the same experience with finding one or two good reeds in a box - no matter the brand. Many moons ago (30+ years worth) the music store would let you have a look at them individually and you could weed out the greens and hold them up to the light to look at how even the fibers were distributed - NOW that they're wrapped in plastic.... surprise!

When jumping into rehearsal with no prep time or doubling, a plasticover is handy, but when time allows to properly wet and prep a reed, I prefer the real thing.

Randy thanks for the "reed rub down" tip - will be trying that for sure.
gladsaxisme - will be searching for Dr. Downing as well :)
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Just wanted to say that there is no advantage to playing with dry reeds - ideally reeds are moistened beforehand, and saliva is not very reed friendly - can damage reeds, or lead to a reed rotting. I soak mine in mouthwash for a couple of minutes. Follow Alexander Reeds website guidance on breaking in reeds - play better, last longer etc. It may be useful if you investigate what reeds are out there. My favourites on Tenor are Marca Jazz, closely followed by Rico Jazz Selects, Alexander DC's & Francois Louis Excellence - all very responsive and very consistent quality.

Kind regards
Tom
 

AndyB

Member
Messages
203
Be sure to rub your reeds down. Do this by wetting the reed as normal, place it on a smooth flat surface such as a countertop, and using your thumb, apply pressure while rubbing into the grain. You should actually feel a smoother texture when you place it back in your mouth. Most reeds play more responsively after this.

Randy
Thanks man! That works like a charm. I tried that treatment on 2 Rico Royals that I'd put Xs on because they wouldn't play. One went from unplayable to fantastic and the other one is at least playable now.
 

Randy Hunter

Member
Messages
34
Thanks man! That works like a charm. I tried that treatment on 2 Rico Royals that I'd put Xs on because they wouldn't play. One went from unplayable to fantastic and the other one is at least playable now.
Glad to hear that worked for you, Andy. I was amazed at the difference it made in my reeds when I first started rubbing them down a few years ago. Now I don't even put a reed on for a test without first rubbing it down.

Randy
www.randyhunterjazz.com
Lessons page: www.beginningsax.com/Jazz Improv Lessons.htm
 
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