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Reeds Care to share your reed break-in rituals?

AndyB

Member
Messages
210
Location
Durham, NC, USA
Year before last when I restarted the first time, I went through a lot finding alto reeds that worked for me and found that Vandoren Javas just behave far better for me on my YAS62II than any other brand. Some brands wouldn't even blow but maybe the local store got in a batch of duds. Ricos would only blow for about 2 practice sessions and then they were shot. But I haven't had a bad alto Vandoren Java yet, although they vary slightly on the very top end.

Now that I've bought a tenor I'm going through the same with problems. Got an assortment of reeds to start off with. Got 1 Rico Royal that is superb, 1 that was adequate and 1 complete dud. Had a very nice Hemke that was incredible at first but totally gone in 2 weeks. Had 1 Vandoren Java that was a dud from the start. Thought I'd try a thinner reed for a 7* Link so I just bought a box of 5 Vandoren Paris 2 reeds and the first out of the box was a dud but the second was very good. The third and fourth are ok but really hard blowing and they are 2s.

Are tenor reeds really this hit or miss or am I not breaking them in well? When a 3 blows far easier than a 2 I have to wonder if its something I'm doing and not the reeds.

I play my alto each night too and alternate between 6 broken-in Vandoren Java 3s that always blow consistently.

Thanks,
Andy
 
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dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,415
Location
Daventry
I use Javas also. I used to just rip them out of the packaging, wet them in my mouth for 30 seconds, then blow them hard in the bottom register till they worked. Very, very occassionally, I found one that didn't so it went in the bin.

Then I read on this forum of all the rituals that people go through with their reeds, so I started soaking, massaging, blowing for a few minutes a day etc..... I wound up with 3 useless reeds that are as effective as bits of cardboard.

So I'm back to the "rip 'em out the pack and play 'em" system from now on!
 
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A

AndyB

Member
Messages
210
Location
Durham, NC, USA
I use Javas also. I used to just rip them out of the packaging, wet them in my mouth for 30 seconds, then blow them hard in the bottom register till they worked. Very, very occassionally, I found one that didn't so it went in the bin.

Then I read on this forum of all the rituals that people go through with their reeds, so I started soaking, massaging, blowing for a few minutes a day etc..... I wound up with 3 useless reeds that are as effective as bits of cardboard.

So I'm back to the "rip 'em out the pack and play 'em" system from now on!
That's what I found with Javas for my alto. Don't mess with them and they play great. But some other brands would only play after they'd soaked for an hour and some not at all.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
I don't do much to the reeds but have found it helpful to work with a few at a time and they seem to me to play better quicker and more consistently if 'broken' in gently.

I use Marca Jazz 3s and can say that they are remarkably consistent. Obviously some play better than others but I haven't discarded a 'non player' from the 15 that I have bought so far.

Alto reeds I found a nightmare with maybe only 2 or 3 good ones in a box of 10 but the tenor reeds seem much better to me.
 

ArtyLady

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,019
Location
Essex
all I do is soak them for 10 minutes to get rid of the nasty taste and then blow! (badly!) :D
 

Sloth

Member
Messages
102
Location
The cheap end of Brighton
My break-in method is to actually break in to the shop - I don't often get a chance to try out all the reeds before the police turn up, however.

I'm too new to the sax to have developed any superstitions - I'm being a nerd and numbering the reeds in a box (Rico Royal 1 1/2) and adding what I think of each reed to a little piece of paper in the box which helps me get an idea of what makes a good reed.

Also I suppose playing style has a lot to do with durability, I like a dark/gentle sound so maybe my reeds last longer because of this.
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
628
Location
Enfield, North London
Rico Royal 3 alto.
Drag the back of Stanley knife blade from thick end to near the tip on the underside.
Placing the flat side of the wetted reed on a steel rule 'brush' from thick to thin with a rounded implement to smooth the surface and crush some of the ends of the bamboo.

If it doesn't seem as responsive as you'd like, press your thumb onto the heart of the reed while it is securely on the mouthpiece.
This is me.
 

Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
Subscriber
Messages
2,341
Location
The Millenium Falcon
I usually chuck mine into whatever drink I'm having for a couple of minutes to make them taste nice and then play. Filthy habit :blush:
 
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