Beginner About that reed strength change

randulo

Europe
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Messages
375
Location
Bordeaux, France
#1
I mentioned this briefly somewhere but wanted to post separately for comments. I have the time this morning because my bocal is being reliégé and I can't get it until the repair guy opens at 10.

I've experimented with a couple of mouthpieces. One of them requires more breath strength than the other. A week or so ago, after changing from the harder to play to the easier, I noticed the reed was "choking", it felt like I was overblowing it. So I figured, what the heck, let's try a 3. Lo and behold it was comfortable! I've been playing on the 3 Vandoren (blue) for the week and find it to be better sounding and I think my breathing has improved. This is a moment almost equivalent to the first time I ___________. (Fill in whatever you can think of there that feels good.) As a newbie on this forum, I think I asked about moving up in force. I thought it was a thing you were supposed to aspire to, more pro, experienced and all that. I was told by the experienced denizens that that wasn't the case, you just use whatever works and if it's a 2 or a 2 1/2, there's no problem with that. Some keep using it forever. Besides wanting to play what I hear and sound better, I'm always pleased to discover these new, wind instrument-only phenomena. If you have thoughts, go for it, it's time for me to go pick up my recorked neck.

Cheers!
 
Messages
168
#2
I still feel like a beginner myself. But from what I have learnt (trough my own experience and what I have read), this could be relevant:
A mouthpiece with a small tip opening might need a harder reed.
A mouthpiece with a larger tip opening might need a softer reed.
There are no set numbers for either case since there are lots of variables (experience, facing length, brand of reeds, personal preference, .....)
 

randulo

Europe
Subscriber
Messages
375
Location
Bordeaux, France
#3
I still feel like a beginner myself. But from what I have learnt (trough my own experience and what I have read), this could be relevant:
A mouthpiece with a small tip opening might need a harder reed.
A mouthpiece with a larger tip opening might need a softer reed.
There are no set numbers for either case since there are lots of variables (experience, facing length, brand of reeds, personal preference, .....)
That's exactly how it feels. It seems to be that my embouchure or the muscles involved have gotten stronger.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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11,722
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
#4
Play what's comfortable. The numbers are a guide for reference not a measure of progress. I used vandoren blue on alto. The 3's became a little stiff and needed adjusting down. A 2.5 is a little light and needs adjusting up. I'm using Rico reserve now and have no problems. This may change.

The most important thing imo is the cut. It used to be simple when there were only two. American sometimes called regular and French sometimes called filed. There's a bewildering array of different cuts available at present.

On a completely subjective level, Gonzales reeds taste great. ;)
 

Terrytoolpath

Member
Subscriber
Messages
55
Location
Rugby
#5
[QUOTE="Colin the Bear,On a completely subjective level, Gonzales reeds taste great. ;)[/QUOTE]

S'pose it saves you nipping out for a bag of chips in the interval ;)
 

Wade Cornell

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1,463
Location
New Zealand and Australia
#6
I'd agree about playing comfortably is the test. What hasn't been mentioned is dynamics and range. Ideally the mouthpiece and reed should be working for you so that you are able to play a low Bb and high F softly or loudly. New players have a tendency to play at one level (fairly loudly) and this may be related to your quote: "requires more breath strength ". If you can play a low Bb as a long tone softly then the 3 reed is OK, if you can't then you're overdoing it with embouchure development and air supply. It's a balancing act to get all of this right.
 

saxyjt

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,416
Location
France
#7
I have personally never felt comfortable with 3s on alto. Even on relatively close tips. So I guess we're all different. It's not just a question of how long you've been playing.
 

thomsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,227
Location
Sweden
#12
I don't play the same mouthpece and reeds all the time. I play the same type (brand and design) of mouthpiece from .115-.130" with baffle. my reeds are #3-4 plasticcover. Right now I'm using #9 tip opening with 3½ reeds. A big tip opening and hard reeds are not so good if you play in a horn section. In a small place it can be too much with a .130" mpc and #4 reed. But outdoors ..... . I play the saxophone as if I was a wresler! Or playing hockey!
 
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