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Reeds Moving Up In Reed Strength

TheOkayPlayer

New Member
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27
Hi,

I play alto on a Selmer S80 D mouthpiece. At the moment I use vandoren green box reeds strength 2.5. I have only been playing saxophone for 2 years, but I think I'm pretty good for my age.

When I first started, I used rico 2, then rico 2.5, then vandoren blue 2.5 (which I found was too hard for me), then vandoren blue 2 (which was good), then vandoren green 2.5. I got a great sound out of this, however I've been using it for maybe half a year now, and I'm considering moving up to vandoren green 3.

My friend has a Yamaha 4c and he plays on vandoren 3s, but I know that the Selmer S80 D has a wider tip opening, and it generally uses thinner reeds. Should I move up? I really want to keep a responsive and flexible sound. And I don't want to be struggling on thick reeds. Note: I used vandoren 2.5s a year ago and it was too hard to play on 9/10 of them.

Thanks!
 

kevgermany

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We can't answer this question.

Why do you want to change?
 

TheOkayPlayer

New Member
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27
Well I don't know whether I should move up. I want to try thicker reeds, but I'm not sure if I'll be wasting my money. My band teacher told me that my tone was sounding kind of harsh, and said I might need to change my reed.
 

kevgermany

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If that's the case going up half a strength is worth trying. But it's also down to embouchure. If you buy single reeds, it's not really too expensive.
 

Colin the Bear

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If it was a natural progression that players moved to bigger tips and harder reeds, all mature players would be playing a 99 reed on an S80Z.

The numbers aren't an indication of your ability, merely a guide and reference point to help you pick the right set up for your chops.

It's not a big deal to be trying a different reed. Being a natural product there is variance in quality and a different make or strength may offer more of what you're looking for.

Buy a packet of three and see how you go but bear in mind that it's you that makes the sound. The equipment just makes it easier or harder to be you.

A harsh tone could be many things. Perhaps your teacher meant the reed sounded done and you need a fresh one. Sometimes an old reed won't play in tune.
 

jazzdoh

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I remember getting advice like that when I were a lad...
Did it work?

Back to OP
Reeds are a personal thing,as Colin has said buy a couple and see if it works,i remember when i started in the 80's i had players telling me that i had to move up to stronger reeds,but really its not that important play what you feel comfortable on,although i do play an open mpc on alto,my reeds are only a 2.5 sometimes 3 in fact i find more flexibility in softer reeds and can still get the projection that i need.

You have loads of time in front of you and lots of time to improve,its a journey not a race.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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Did it work?
Chance would have been a fine thing. :(

Anyway.

I've been dropping down a bit in reed strength. I suspect it's a combination of not gigging as much, not practising as much (slaps wrist) and old age. It's a teensy bit irritating cos it alters the sound somewhat and I really don't want to get back into the endless cycle of reed/mouthpiece/reed/mouthpiece/etc swapping.
I have a few boxes of unopened planks that I suspect will now stay unopened. Hemke 4 tenor anyone?
 

jbtsax

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Typically a tone that could be described as "harsh" means there is too much mouthpiece in the mouth for the degree of embouchure control. Take a look at Bruce Pearson's article on saxophone embouchure to see if your teeth are close to the spot he suggests. Once that location is found, I have my students use a thick mouthpiece patch to help keep the teeth in the same location each time they play. In my experience each reed should be a compromise---firm enough to produce a good tone in the high register and soft enough to respond well on the lowest notes.

Reed strength is entirely mouthpiece and player dependent. My jazz mouthpiece uses a #2 (or softer) to play its best while my classical mouthpiece works best with a #3 or #3 1/2 depending upon how much I am practicing. Some players prefer more resistance to blow against. In my playing I don't like to work that hard, plus stiffer reeds tend to cause me to bite and play sharp in the upper register. My advice is find a strength you are comfortable with and work to make those sound the way you want to sound.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
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ISLE OF WIGHT, UK
Oh dear...... Once again..... Learn to adjust/tune the reed to the m'piece by sanding/scraping it..... Each reed is different and needs work on it to play comfortably. Start with a reed a 1/2 strength harder than you now use.
As to the strength of reed, I believe that the boss uses a 2.
At least check out the subject on the web!

Johnboy.
 

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