SYOS

Reeds Advice for beginner

TBay

Member
Messages
42
I have searched the various threads on here but can’t find answers to a few questions, I appreciate there will be many possible answers but I like to hear people’s personal experiences rather than company reviews/ recommendations of their own products. At present I am using a Juno 1.5 reed for no other reason than a couple of new ones came with the saxophone when I bought it. So my questions are:
As a beginner, apart from the thickness number, is it worth trying different reeds?
Assuming a yes to that, what thickness would you suggest? I have seen suggestions from 1.5 to 2.5 when I search online.
What difference in tone, if any, could I expect from the sizes?
when I looked at Vandoren reeds therer are loads of different types at the same price, so if I am looking for a rough sound (I intend to be mostly playing Ska and know there are techniques to help this) would any be better than others?
What would the esteemed members on here suggest as a possible Reed to go for when I order some fresh ones?
Thanks
 

Alexandra

Member
Subscriber
Messages
108
I wouldn't call myself an esteemed member, but I'm sure several of them will give you good advice. There's great wisdom in this forum!

It's worth telling everyone what saxophone you're playing (alto or tenor) and what mouthpiece.

It can be very difficult as a beginner (or a seasoned player) faced with so many reed varieties to choose from, and they certainly aren't cheap. I'd suggest buying several individual reeds or three packs - avoid committing to a full box until you know you like the style of reed.
 
OP
TBay

TBay

Member
Messages
42
I wouldn't call myself an esteemed member, but I'm sure several of them will give you good advice. There's great wisdom in this forum!

It's worth telling everyone what saxophone you're playing (alto or tenor) and what mouthpiece.

It can be very difficult as a beginner (or a seasoned player) faced with so many reed varieties to choose from, and they certainly aren't cheap. I'd suggest buying several individual reeds or three packs - avoid committing to a full box until you know you like the style of reed.
Thanks, I forgot some important info didn’t I! It’s an Elkhart 100 series Tenor with Yamaha 4C mouthpiece and Rovner dark ligature.
 
OP
TBay

TBay

Member
Messages
42
All playing a #1 1/2 reed does is delay the strengthening of the embouchure muscles while sounding like a kazoo. On that mouthpiece I suggest a Rico #2 or equivalent for a couple of weeks and then move up to a #2 1/2. Attached is a reed comparison chart for various brands.
Thank you! What Rico reed would you suggest? They seem to do a few, there is a basic one (red packaging) or royal (blue packaging).
 

ellinas

Senior Member
Messages
883
Hello mate.i love ska. From bluebeat, 60s to 2 tone .....I just love ska.
If you are a beginner.... Focus on the language not the dialect.
The 4c is a great easy to play mouthpiece that you can really build on.
I can play altissimo, trad jazz or even ska with a 4c.

There's so much more to the ska feeling than the mouthpiece.

Articulation, timing, occasional growls ....

Continue working your emouchure with a harder Reed when you're ready... And why not choose a brighter Reed like a vandoren Java french cut. Iove addario jazz selects too! Fat bright sound.

Work on your breath support... Make those notes full and bright. Even with the 4c being a "classical" mouthpiece.

In a highly energetic band ... An easy to blow mouthpiece is really helpful.

If you really really need to get brighter.... Something like a vandoren v16 hr or vandoren Java mouthpiece would do the job without spending a fortune.

Many ska bands include brass ensembles so getting an extremely pop/bright mouthpiece can cause trouble to the way your sound blends with the others.

My advice is ... Try to get the most juice of your mouthpiece... Work on your embouchure and breath support ... Get a 2 or 2 1/2 Reed. Closer mouthpieces crave for a harder Reed.

And don't forget to put on your black n white rude boy outfit.... :)

Good luck... Ktf .... And post something that you play when you are ready.

I still have a 4c on Alto tenor and soprano.... As I get better I sometimes use it from times to times..... And the mouthpiece every time .... "Teaches" me that it has been always really really capable of doing all sorts of things .... unlike me ....if only I would stick with it more... I'd save much time and money....

There are no shortcuts in good sound .... Invest time in the shed.


Cheers from Athens Greece.
 

jbtsax

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
7,779
Thank you! What Rico reed would you suggest? They seem to do a few, there is a basic one (red packaging) or royal (blue packaging).
My suggested strengths were for the regular Rico reeds. At this stage of your development it is a bit too early to be thinking about what "nuance" of sound a particular brand of reed will provide. Until the fundamentals of tone production (embouchure, air pressure, breathing, posture, holding position, mouthpiece placement in mouth, etc.) are solid and consistent which "flavor" of reed to pick is premature IMO.
 
OP
TBay

TBay

Member
Messages
42
My suggested strengths were for the regular Rico reeds. At this stage of your development it is a bit too early to be thinking about what "nuance" of sound a particular brand of reed will provide. Until the fundamentals of tone production (embouchure, air pressure, breathing, posture, holding position, mouthpiece placement in mouth, etc.) are solid and consistent which "flavor" of reed to pick is premature IMO.
Are the regular Rico ones the one in the red packaging? It’s not clear from their website.
 
OP
TBay

TBay

Member
Messages
42
Regular Rico's are the orange ones.
Rico is now acquired by d addario.
It's the same brand.
Rico orange = D addario orange.
when I searched they looked red in some pics, will try them and the ones you suggested.
 

Fraser Jarvis

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,891
I have searched the various threads on here but can’t find answers to a few questions, I appreciate there will be many possible answers but I like to hear people’s personal experiences rather than company reviews/ recommendations of their own products. At present I am using a Juno 1.5 reed for no other reason than a couple of new ones came with the saxophone when I bought it. So my questions are:
As a beginner, apart from the thickness number, is it worth trying different reeds?
Assuming a yes to that, what thickness would you suggest? I have seen suggestions from 1.5 to 2.5 when I search online.
What difference in tone, if any, could I expect from the sizes?
when I looked at Vandoren reeds therer are loads of different types at the same price, so if I am looking for a rough sound (I intend to be mostly playing Ska and know there are techniques to help this) would any be better than others?
What would the esteemed members on here suggest as a possible Reed to go for when I order some fresh ones?
Thanks
Before I went over to synthetic reeds I liked Vandoren v16 1.5 or 2.

Good choice of music btw!
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
Subscriber
Messages
5,624
If you want to try out different reeds then both Vandoren and D’Addario do taster packs with various sorts.


 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
336
If you want to try out different reeds then both Vandoren and D’Addario do taster packs with various sorts.


I think the Vandoren reed pack is only available in 2.5+ strengths which might be too strong for you at this stage. Call your shop and ask if they will make up a mixed pack for you at a more suitable strength. Shops usually have lots of spare reeds from boxes opened for play testing.
 

CliveMA

Member
Messages
336
I start practice on a softer reed to warmup my embouchure muscles and sensitise my jaw/lips to optimum tone production and only then switch to a stronger reed. At the moment that means I'll warmup with a Vandoren trad 1.5 (equivalent rico 2.0) then switch to a hemke 3.0 or v12 2.5 (approximately equivalent to rico 3). I find this helps to form and maintain good embouchure habits. If instead I don't warmup the stronger reed can be too strong for cold muscles and that can lead to bad habits such as poor lip control/sensitivity.

Bear in mind that the goal is NOT to get to the strongest possible reeds like 5's. You want to get to where you can play on reeds strong enough for the high notes to have a full tone and that still allow you to play very softly on the lowest notes. Too strong a reed can prevent both those outcomes and lead to embouchure development that is all strength but lacks the sensitivity for subtle expressiveness. There are top line professionals such as Roxy Coss who play vand zz 2.5 reeds while Branford Marsalis plays 5s. The optimum reed strength for you will be somewhere in that range but not neccessarily any stronger than 2.5s.
 
OP
TBay

TBay

Member
Messages
42
If you want to try out different reeds then both Vandoren and D’Addario do taster packs with various sorts.


Perfect! I have ordered a set in 2 strength. I am intrigued to see how much difference there is in the sound.
 

Hammie 1982

Member
Messages
46
I’ve always been told to have a range of strengths! Some you will struggle with, some will sound like you just blowing thru a pipe and you’ll get nothing but wind!
But the stronger your chops and emboucher become the more you’ll progress and develop your sound!

that’s supposedly true on all woodwind / wind instruments

try out a few and see how you get on
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
Subscriber
Messages
1,523
Perfect! I have ordered a set in 2 strength. I am intrigued to see how much difference there is in the sound.
As @jbtsax said earlier, any difference in sound will be very subtle and most likely unnoticeable to a beginner. You should be looking for a reed that feels comfortable to play. One that will develop your embouchure without overtaxing it.
 
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