Tutorials

Help with reeds

Bude Bill

Member
Messages
42
Location
I live in North Cornwall.
Folks, I have scanned the archives on the subject of reeds, and am now more confused.
I have only had my sax. a couple of weeks, it arrived with a Flying Goose 2.5 and 20 spare Flying Goose 2's.
I did not seem to get on with the former so changed it for a 2, this went fine and I was practicing scales and the Saints.
However I broke that one and changed it for another 2, since then the lower range doesn't seem to bad, but when I try upper B, A or C all I get it squeaks and it is very difficult to blow. Am I blowing too hard or do I need a different reed selection.
Been looking for a teacher in this area, but they all seem to be in Exeter or Torquay
Any suggestions welcome, as long as they are clean.
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,642
Location
Betelgeuse
Reeds 'n stuff

Hi

Depends on the mouthpiece. What is it?

A 2 strength is with most mouthpieces about right for someone new to the sax, but one thing to bear in mind is that even within a given box, you can get great variations in the quality of reeds. It's just something that comes with a natural product, and it's probably the biggest single bugbear of the saxophonist.

However, Flying Goose are a relatively new brand to the market here, and have not established a reputation yet. I'm not saying in any way they're bad - I'm not qualified to do so, as I haven't played them. However, you might want to try a box of Rico Royal or some other wel established and well recognised brand, just to set a benchmark.

Jon
 

MartinL

Member
Messages
378
Location
Bilston, United Kingdom.
Folks, I have scanned the archives on the subject of reeds, and am now more confused.
I have only had my sax. a couple of weeks, it arrived with a Flying Goose 2.5 and 20 spare Flying Goose 2's.
I did not seem to get on with the former so changed it for a 2, this went fine and I was practicing scales and the Saints.
However I broke that one and changed it for another 2, since then the lower range doesn't seem to bad, but when I try upper B, A or C all I get it squeaks and it is very difficult to blow. Am I blowing too hard or do I need a different reed selection.
Been looking for a teacher in this area, but they all seem to be in Exeter or Torquay
Any suggestions welcome, as long as they are clean.
Being a novice too this is a problem I have experienced quit recently, It's usually because I haven't taken enough care fitting the reed and re-fitting it cures the problem, I use Rico 2.5 or 3 with a Yamaha 4C but recently I've been trying a Fibracell medium and I like it.
 
Hi Bill
Please dont blow the thing, think exhale and try to steam up a mirror gently does it at first stick with flying goose they are fine reeds IMO.
rgds.
Clive

Note for Jon ;got my first flying goose 25 years ago no idea where it came from but my last box was made in China
cheers
Clive
 

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
Hi Bill
welcome to the forum.
Yep, had the same problem meself from time to time. Don't think there is much between reeds these days. I find that by noting the position of the reed in relation to the mouthpiece and the ligature can make a big difference. The lig should be just behind the end of the cut, or filed portion of the reed. Too far back can cause a problem with squeaking, and sometimes warbling, especially on the low notes. Also, ensure the tip of the reed lines up with the tip of the mouthpiece, or very slightly below. Also check the rear of the reed is square to the lay of the mouthpiece. Sometimes whilst squaring off the reed at the tip, it can become skew whiff at the base. That is my experience anyway, hope this helps:)
 

SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
Bill
Welcome
For some years I was under the impression that the more experienced you were the harder the reed, etc, etc.
I then spoke to a long time working pro who informed me that he and many of his sax playing colleagues used 2s or 2.5s. He gave me a quick lesson on reeds and mouthpieces and how you should match the reed to the mouthpiece to find what suits you best and delivers the sound and volume you want.
It is a mistaken matcho thing to think that you have to aspire to using harder reeds.
If the sound and style you want requires hard reeds then so be it, but you could spoil your embouchure if you go too early on to reeds that are too hard, or not develop a strong embouchure if the reeds are too soft.
Unless you want the expense of changing mouthpieces (and at an early stage probably not necessary) simply try a range of reeds to find what suits you best. Remember that some makes have certain characteristics and you should try out several.
I have a Jody Jazz 7 classic mouthpiece using Vandoren V16 2 and 2.5 strength, but previously used a Selmer S80 C* using classic Vandoren 3 and 3.5.
Also remember that reeds are not necessarily consistent and from a box of 10 you may find a couple that are rubbish. You should also look into learning how to carefully scrape the reed - depending on where you scrape you can affect the sound in different registers. Some poor reeds can be salvaged by careful scraping (although I ruined one recently during orchestra rehearsal by over-zealous scraping and had to then play a new one out of the box with no prep).
Have fun trying and you will be surprised at the different sound you make with different reeds and mouthpieces.
By the way, I put my ligature as close to the end of the reed away from the cut (the opposite from Pete Dee). Ligatures are again another matter altogether - so don't let us start on that! :)
Experimenting is part of the fun of playing sax.
Stephen
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
Agree with the above (and like SLoB I also put my lig as far down the reed as I can).

Been playing Flying goose recently since I got a free box, and am very pleasantly surprised - I think they're good. Of the few I've tried so far they are very consistent (but that might be luck so far so don't assume your's areall good). You may have picked a duffer out the box. Try a couple more before doing anything else.

Phil
 

Bobby G

Senior Member
Messages
4,989
Location
Wonderful Welwyn Garden City, Herts
I think Stephen SLoB (hi from up the road in Welwyn Garden) has it about right on most counts, although putting your lig right down the end of the reed might make it a little more difficult if you've not been playing too long.

Having said that, these adjustments can make a difference and are worth experimenting with - reed, ligature and mouthpiece choice is anything but an exact science, it's a very personal thing and there is an almost infinite number of combinations. But, don't let this put you off as it's not too hard to find something that suits you to start off with and as time passes and you get more experienced and have a better idea of what you want to sound like you will know what to try, especially given some of the excellent advice here.

Personally, I would say the least important part of the mpc/reed/lig combination is the lig as to my mind it's only a bit of something that holds the reed in place - I'll qualify that a bit by saying that I can notice small changes in the sound (or more likely the responsiveness or flexibilty of the reed) by using a different lig but a relatively cheap one like a Rovner should do fine.

Finally, if you are going to try a different setup, it's usually a good idea to change only one thing at a time e.g. the brand of reed you are using, rather than changing everything at once.

Finally finally, welcome Old Bill from Welwyn Garden City in Herts, although I'll be passing close by you in a couple of weeks..... ahhh, the Rocky Valley....
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Pee Dee

Member
Messages
425
Location
Dorset
[QUOTE
By the way, I put my ligature as close to the end of the reed away from the cut (the opposite from Pete Dee). Ligatures are again another matter altogether - so don't let us start on that! :)
Experimenting is part of the fun of playing sax.
Stephen[/QUOTE]

Hey, I never tried that, it just don't seem right to put the lig way at the back of the reed. Next practice I'm gonna try it, could be interesting. Might be interesting to learn how others do it.
Reed trimming is something else I not tried, got a few old reeds so might give that go too. Can see I'm gonna have an interesting day tomorrow:)
 

Pjonah

Member
Messages
870
Location
West Row, Suffolk
It is funny how the position of the lig can make such a huge difference to the sound.

I have been playing 34 years now and never think twice about reed position or lig position. You just get on and do it!

I'm forever correcting my sons clarinet, for some reason youngsters just don't seem to get it. Its a bit like breathing really, you instinctively know when its wrong.

Reeds vary from brand to brand, so I would tend to stick with whatever works for you and not what some hero plays.

I have played Rico Royales and Plasticovers for years, but my son only plays Vandoren reeds, it works for him. I have heard of some of these obscure chinese brands but have no real take on their consistancy (Quality)

:)
 

Phil Edwards

Senior Member
Messages
1,335
Location
East Sussex
It is funny how the position of the lig can make such a huge difference to the sound.
It's only something I've started doing recently, partly because the lig seems to have stretched and the screws bottom out right about the point that it's gripped the reed.

I moved it further down the taper to get a firmer grip on the reed, although it doesn't make a lot of difference as it's on JJ Classic mpc and there's hardly any taper on the outside.

Just become a habit of where I place it now, not really anything to do with the tone.

Phil
 
OP
Bude Bill

Bude Bill

Member
Messages
42
Location
I live in North Cornwall.
Thank you, one and all

Thank you all for your responses to my plight. I did not expect such helpful stuff.
I have repositioned the reed a number of times with not much success. The mouthpiece I have doesn't have a name on it.
I think a visit to the music shop in Barnstaple is my best bet, I have written down the various reeds which you guys use, so I will see what they have.
Experimenting with the ligature and other bits, I will find a suitable combination.
Noted the advice about blowing, it was just a term I used, have been taught about diaphragm breathing.
To those up in Hertfordshire (Bishop Stortford and Welwyn) I say a particular hello, used to live in Stotfold for 20 years.
Thanks again
 
Top Bottom