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Reeds Cane vs synthetic

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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I can't say that I'm an expert in synthetic reeds. I only really used Légère Signature reeds and almost none other. But I was so convinced by them on both tenor and baritone that I thought that was it. No more cane. Légère all the way. But being honest, I never really felt so comfortable with them on alto or soprano. So I tried cane again in soprano recently and felt better.

Today, after playing my usual tenor Légère Signature Reed I thought I should try cane again, after a very long time ignoring them. At least 6 months. And although it required finding the right one, I enjoyed playing cane again. It's a bit tricky with some mouthpieces but then it revealed some mouthpieces that I had set aside playing them with my Légère.

Si, I'm certainly not giving up on Légère. They served me really well I've the last few months, but I'm tempted to give cane another chance.

Reeds can (not necessarily cane) make a world of difference.

So long life to cane reeds!

After all, they are the original tech that give woodwinds their name. Can you imagine calling our horns synthetic winds?
 

jbtsax

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Maybe the "Vibrato Sax" and "Grafton" should be called plastic winds. What about flutes and saxophones. They are not made of wood. The flute doesn't use a reed---wood or otherwise. Brass instruments are commonly called "brass winds" because of the material they are made from. Why aren't saxophones? Hard rubber clarinets could be called "ebonite winds". I'm going to stop now because I'm even starting to confuse myself. :)
 

GCinCT

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Now there are plastic brass winds the pbone, ptrumpet, pCornet. Plastic euphoniums and tubas. The whole world of music no longer makes sense.
 

CliveMA

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I started my woodwind experience on a Descant recorder. Not a tape, cassette nor a video recorder but a:

The word "recorder" comes from the Latin "recordari," which combines "re" (again) and "cor" (heart). The meaning was to record something by going over it in the mind, in the sense of learning "by heart."
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
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Maybe the "Vibrato Sax" and "Grafton" should be called plastic winds. What about flutes and saxophones. They are not made of wood. The flute doesn't use a reed---wood or otherwise. Brass instruments are commonly called "brass winds" because of the material they are made from. Why aren't saxophones? Hard rubber clarinets could be called "ebonite winds". I'm going to stop now because I'm even starting to confuse myself. :)
The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.
 
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saxyjt

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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Guys, you just ignore the basics. What gives there names to these instruments is the sound production
element.

Woods include all intruments using wood reeds or beak like the flute, or at least originally.

That's why I was kidding with this! :cheers:
 
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saxyjt

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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Messages
3,891
Maybe the "Vibrato Sax" and "Grafton" should be called plastic winds. What about flutes and saxophones. They are not made of wood. The flute doesn't use a reed---wood or otherwise. Brass instruments are commonly called "brass winds" because of the material they are made from. Why aren't saxophones? Hard rubber clarinets could be called "ebonite winds". I'm going to stop now because I'm even starting to confuse myself. :)
John! You being a teacher can't say that. You know better. Even if it doesn't make sense to most people.
 

Mark Hancock

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I've been playing legere on the tenor for about a year and very happy with the low maintenance aspect of it, as well as the feel and tone. When I got the soprano I started with a legere but for some reason I also got a box of can reeds. Who could imagine that? Well, the cane reeds won on soprano. So I got the big old box of tenor cane reeds out and.... I'm back on cane reeds again.
 

Pete Effamy

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For me the consistency and dependability of the Legere Signature reeds on tenor and bari more than make up for the "loss" of a cane reed's "elegance" of tone. In ensemble playing the difference in sound to me is imperceptible.
I've pondered Legere recently - some big names (though not many) use them. Eddie Daniels for example. Just how similar ton one another is each Legere John?
 
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saxyjt

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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3,891
I've been playing legere on the tenor for about a year and very happy with the low maintenance aspect of it, as well as the feel and tone. When I got the soprano I started with a legere but for some reason I also got a box of can reeds. Who could imagine that? Well, the cane reeds won on soprano. So I got the big old box of tenor cane reeds out and.... I'm back on cane reeds again.
Very similar paths. I can't say I'm gonna switch back to cane. But I'm curious. It's unfortunate that I don't have the time right now. But in some ways it's exciting to be back in that cane reed's world again... :D
 

jbtsax

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I've pondered Legere recently - some big names (though not many) use them. Eddie Daniels for example. Just how similar ton one another is each Legere John?
I have only used the Legere Signature reeds, so I can't comment on the Legere Classic for saxophone. I can say that my former teacher who plays jazz clarinet professionally is using the Legere European Signature reeds and says it is the reed he has been looking for his entire life. They only make that style for clarinet unfortunately.
 

Janosax

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I play Legere Signature reeds since three years now on tenor. I use currently 2.25 on Lebayle LRII 8*.

Where they beat cane each time IMO is with consistency and durability, but also response and ease of playing. It’s like an exceptionnel cane reed, one of those you find only every two or three cane reeds boxes.
Low register especially is really full and easy to play. On contrary, medium notes like octave medium E can ask for more work, as they tend to resonate slightly less than cane. Palm keys register tend to sound sweeter and rounder than cane, in a very good way. A joy to play really.

But where they’re a bit problematic in my experience is with long playing sessions: after 30/45 mn, they become dull sounding, and you have to make a 10/15 mn pause to help them recover their full capabilities, or change the one you play to another. That can be a problem as a soloist in a gig, prepare yourself to change your reed on stage or have a mouthpiece/reed backup (Syos can help here). But of course, no wet or split reeds!!

Also, they ask for a good embouchure, when your lips are fatiguing, your tone will start to loose its qualities too, more than with cane.
A relaxed and controlled embouchure works better IMO with Legere Signature, this is also true because they’re quite flexible and sensitive to oral cavity shape and biting variations, which translates to badly controlled tone color and intonation when your embouchure musculation is fatigued/sored (+ the fact they don’t like uninterrupted long sessions, both things tend to make them sound after a while like... plastic!).

And also I think cane are still at their advantage on more complex tones like splitted altissimo, multiphonics (fingered and overtones), Plasticover for example beats them here, but at the loose of that wide and full low register.
 

Wade Cornell

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May as well throw in another "name". I've tried most (all?) of the synthetic reeds available including a few that were sent to me to test that never made it as selling brands. I'm now using what (for me) is the best synthetic I've come across so far. Harry Hartmann's Fiberreed does everything right (for me). He has several different "formulations". I think all of them use Carbon fiber but some are mixed with "onyx", copper, and hemp. Each has different characteristics. I'm partial to the Onyx, which is just as well as they are the cheapest (but most fragile). All of his reeds are less "buzzy" than most synthetics with the copper and hemp being very soft and mellow sounding. The only disadvantage is that the levels and range of strengths is limited.

It's regrettable that others have mentioned some change in tonal character using synthetics, as I personally don't think this has anything to do with the reed. I've played heaps of different reeds (including the Legeres) and none of them fatigue after any number of hours playing. It's the player who gets fatigued. Using a reed that gives you some degree of fatigue is more than possible, but the structure of the reed should not change during performance.

Reed choice is a very personal thing and not a one type/style fits all. If I could find a cane reed that was consistent, had the quality of tone I like, didn't need wetting before picking up an instrument I'm doubling on, and lasted for months instead of weeks, then I'd be using that. The advantage of synthetics is enormous and it also includes cost (as long as you don't break/chip them).

I feel very sorry for beginners who are (mis)informed that they should be using cane. How does a learner using a bad reed know that it's the reed and not them? The don't. The most important thing for learners is to eliminate inconsistencies so that they can work on tone production and every other aspect without variables that hold them back.

It's unfortunately fairly typical for there to be "traditions" and conservatism with the teachng of many instruments. The enormous advances in synthetic reeds are worth considering, especially for beginners.
 
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randulo

Playing alto 2 1/2 years
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I like the term "wind instruments" because it covers everything driven by wind, including wind-controlled EWI. (In a sense, isn't the human voice included? And the bottles used by some African music?) As for reeds, Wade is right, for beginners and even intermediate players the entire reed question is very hard to assess. It may take several years to be able to make a correct decision about them. I use both, but mostly cane. Ironically, yesterday I played for a long session on a Legère 2 1/4. I had been searching for it for months, and only found it on the floor when we moved an old desk out of what we laughingly refer to as "my studio".
 
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saxyjt

saxyjt

I have saxophone withdrawal symptoms
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I had been searching for it for months, and only found it on the floor when we moved an old desk out of what we laughingly refer to as "my studio".
Yeah, that's a problem with them being transparent. I also had that kind of problem.
 

Pete Effamy

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Actually, Legere advise that after 45 minutes it’s best to rest their reeds a while. If I am playing for a long time I have 2 or 3 so I can switch between sets.
But this is bizarre - they state that they don’t take on water, so what’s going on? This would be a deal-breaker for me.
 
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