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Half of reeds no good?

Mack

Senior Member
Messages
532
Location
Devon
Saw Branford Marsalis at the Love Supreme festival last weekend and when he was called on stage earlier than he expected he had to call for a soprano reed and stand from backstage. Ripped open the foil reed cover, put it on and just started playing. No test note, nothing. And sounded perfect. Are some people do strong in the embouchure that they can make any reed play, or was this just cool/good luck? It also seems to me that far more soprano reeds are playable than tenor. Smaller reed=less scope for imperfections?
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,214
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London
My personal experience on the subject is:
"You are on stage, play that thing! Something will come out"

I am sure BM could do good music with any reed, and could do better music with a better reed.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,755
Location
Burnley bb9 9dn
Yes. They all play. Some play better. Some get better as you play, some get worse. Some have a little certain something, some are better at the top or bottom or loud or soft but they all play.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Café Supporter
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3,572
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The Malverns, Worcs
Saw Branford Marsalis at the Love Supreme festival last weekend and when he was called on stage earlier than he expected he had to call for a soprano reed and stand from backstage. Ripped open the foil reed cover, put it on and just started playing. No test note, nothing. And sounded perfect. Are some people do strong in the embouchure that they can make any reed play, or was this just cool/good luck? It also seems to me that far more soprano reeds are playable than tenor. Smaller reed=less scope for imperfections?

do you have problems with your reeds?
I've read here that other people also feel that they have problems with their reeds, but I have only ever had one or two that I've given up on completely, across my 3 saxes and my 4.5 years of playing.
I think it's often a "picnic" issue (as they say in the Computer help call centres, apparently) - Problem in Chair not in Computer....ie more a player issue than a reed issue!
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
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2,406
Location
West Midlands
do you have problems with your reeds?
I've read here that other people also feel that they have problems with their reeds, but I have only ever had one or two that I've given up on completely, across my 3 saxes and my 4.5 years of playing.
I think it's often a "picnic" issue (as they say in the Computer help call centres, apparently) - Problem in Chair not in Computer....ie more a player issue than a reed issue!

I don't think this is the case,i had issues with reeds several years ago,i was playing with a lot of bands and getting through a lot of reeds,but they were very inconstant sometimes only 4 out of 10 would be gig ready the another 4 you would have to work on,2 you might as well scrap, so i went to synthetics and got used to them,but even synthetics are inconstant especially Fibracell which i use now.
I have heard Rico JS are very good but i will stick with synthetics for now.
Going back to the OP post,i wonder whether the very top pros have the best reeds in the same way they have customised horns and mouthpieces.
 
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Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
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13,755
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Burnley bb9 9dn
I've been using Vandoren classic blue packet since the 1980's. I can't remember when I had a bad one. A lot of people don't like 'em.

I soak them , scrape and clip them as they play in and play out. I've heard it mentioned on here that a lot of problems stem from picking the wrong strength to start with. One or two reeds in a box will be a little softer than the rest. These are probably what players describe as the good ones.

Better to go a little soft in my opinion and clip it up than starting too hard to and try to scrape it down.

I sent for a reed clipper from hong kong for less than a fiver and it came back with a couple of boxes of flying crane reeds. They all play.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,406
Location
West Midlands
I've been using Vandoren classic blue packet since the 1980's. I can't remember when I had a bad one. A lot of people don't like 'em.

I soak them , scrape and clip them as they play in and play out. I've heard it mentioned on here that a lot of problems stem from picking the wrong strength to start with. One or two reeds in a box will be a little softer than the rest. These are probably what players describe as the good ones.

Better to go a little soft in my opinion and clip it up than starting too hard to and try to scrape it down.

I sent for a reed clipper from hong kong for less than a fiver and it came back with a couple of boxes of flying crane reeds. They all play.

Colin i think you are right sometimes in a box of reeds you can get 3's that play like 1.5's and and the other way round i have had 1.5's play harder than 3's
i have felt at times i would buy a new box of cane although i have plenty of old ones but why change the synthetics when they work for me.
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
I've had both good and bad I think a lot depends on the brand / price. In a box of Rico's I've noticed one or two where the grain is different one side to the other or they have dark patches etc. But to be honest they all play I just like some better, and when the one you like finally gives up and all you have left is the one you did not like then it turns out to be OK after all.
You don't suppose that when Mr Marsalis walks into a shop and asks for a box of reeds he gets the special ones from under the counter.;}
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
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2,406
Location
West Midlands
I've had both good and bad I think a lot depends on the brand / price. In a box of Rico's I've noticed one or two where the grain is different one side to the other or they have dark patches etc. But to be honest they all play I just like some better, and when the one you like finally gives up and all you have left is the one you did not like then it turns out to be OK after all.
You don't suppose that when Mr Marsalis walks into a shop and asks for a box of reeds he gets the special ones from under the counter.;}

i bet he can't remember the last one he bought,all the reed companies would be queueing up to throw reeds at him just to say he plays their brand.
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
That would be my point :thumb:
However in my experience a good musition can make a bad instrument sound great where as learners like me need all the help we can get.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
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12,214
Location
London
I've been using Vandoren classic blue packet since the 1980's. I can't remember when I had a bad one.

I've been trying blue Vandoren since the 1980s. I cannot remember a single one that didn't squeak. :)
Probably Colin got all the good ones.
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
Without wishing to be too cynical I suspect that when a musician reaches a certain level and endorses a product / instrument the one we see them playing on stage that is "just like the one we can buy down the shops" is anything but. Lets say that a Sax is made up of 100 parts, if you bought 100 Sax's then measured every part to find the one that was closest to perfection and assembled these parts into an instrument, you would still have an "off the shelf" instrument. We get to buy the ones built with what's left perfectly good instruments but not quite as good. Maybe I'm being unkind and if so I apologise, I know for a fact this goes on with engines and other products so why not reeds and sax's.
 

Jamesmac

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,872
BM gets around, so it's not beyond the realms of possibility that he has already selected the said reed at Vandoren. As after you select your reeds they are then packaged like the ones you buy in the shop.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,214
Location
London
Without wishing to be too cynical I suspect that when a musician reaches a certain level and endorses a product / instrument the one we see them playing on stage that is "just like the one we can buy down the shops" is anything but.

I am no BM, but I would not endorse an instrument that is rubbish to the commoner and only good for me. Of course my endorsee pays some extra attention to my horns, but nothing too fancy.
For example I have a custom neck that I do not use in public because it cannot be commercialized (too ugly). I try to just play with stuff that can be bought tomorrow.
About reeds it can be even harder. After all mr RICO (or whoever BM uses) just has some machinery deciding 2-3-4-2-2-3-2.5-....
I would personally trust playing one straight from the box with decent results only from a couple of brands. Vandoren V12 for clarinet is one of them, Alexander is not one of them.

When I get disappointed I change brand.
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,303
Talking of Vandoren its strange but I hate them,i cant find a nice 1 of any of the range.Just not for me.
 

kernewegor

Bon vivant, raconteur and twit
Messages
1,736
Location
cocks hill perranporth KERNOW
I've been using Vandoren classic blue packet since the 1980's. I can't remember when I had a bad one. A lot of people don't like 'em.

I soak them , scrape and clip them as they play in and play out. I've heard it mentioned on here that a lot of problems stem from picking the wrong strength to start with. One or two reeds in a box will be a little softer than the rest. These are probably what players describe as the good ones.

Better to go a little soft in my opinion and clip it up than starting too hard to and try to scrape it down.

I sent for a reed clipper from hong kong for less than a fiver and it came back with a couple of boxes of flying crane reeds. They all play.

That reed clipper for a fiver sounds good. (Course, it might have been a fiver years ago...)

Can you remember what the name of the supplier was?
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
I am no BM, but I would not endorse an instrument that is rubbish to the commoner and only good for me. Of course my endorsee pays some extra attention to my horns, but nothing too fancy.
For example I have a custom neck that I do not use in public because it cannot be commercialized (too ugly). I try to just play with stuff that can be bought tomorrow.
About reeds it can be even harder. After all mr RICO (or whoever BM uses) just has some machinery deciding 2-3-4-2-2-3-2.5-....
I would personally trust playing one straight from the box with decent results only from a couple of brands. Vandoren V12 for clarinet is one of them, Alexander is not one of them.

When I get disappointed I change brand.

As mentioned I'm a cynical old Hector, but you have my respect there should be more like you out there :thumb:

Warren
 

wol916

New Member
Messages
125
Back to the reed thing I could never get on with Vandoren either, must be from many years ago when I started out on clarinet I just associate them with a classical sound.
 

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