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Reeds Plastic reeds...yuck....but then!

AlanB

Member
Messages
170
Location
Vientiane, Laos
I never entertained the idea of platic reeds, or plasticover. Actually I think they are normal reeds with a special plastic coating.

I ran out of reeds and my friend (bass player) was heading to a music shop in Thailand to pick up some stuff and I asked him to get me some reeds. I wanted some Vandoren V16 2.5s and 3s. He came back with Rico Plasticover 3s. I was very dissapointed. But then I decided to give them a go anyway and see what they were like. Wow! I was really impressed and surprised...they're great.

Last week I spent $100 on V16s, and now I think I might have made a mistake.

  • The Plasticovers seem to respond immediately i.e no breaking in required
  • The sound is clear, clean and sharp... and loud. They seem ideal for Horn Section playing. the sound of my tenor seems to cut through much better and doesn't become lost in the line up.
  • I have been swapping between the V16s and the PCs and the V16 seem muffled and flat in comparison...but were fresh out of the box, so will brighten up when broken in, but still!
  • I live in the wet tropics and play gigs in very sweaty conditions, blasting aircon or outside on very humid nights. The PCs seem will cope very well with humidity changes.
  • The playability of the PCs is amazing throughout the range with a clean bright top end and resonant bottom end. Even with a harder reed than I am used to. I am used to JAVA 2.5s and these are RICO 3s (actually more like a whole strength up, since Javas and V16s are half a strength softer than other Vandorens.
  • The air seems to move across the reed more evenly and in a streamlined way, which feels like I can play loud and clear with less effort.
  • When I get a reed I like I am reluctant to change it, since this means breaking in again. I know this is a bad habit, but the PCs longevity will mean less breaking in and less money on reeds, especially if i have 3 going on rotation.
All in all I am very impressed and may have found my ideal read, especially for our climate.
Does anyone else like PCs? What do people feel are the disadvantage? Why don't more people use them? Is there a purest disapproval or is this the direction of reeds in the future?

Cheers,
Alan
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,416
Location
brighton by the sea
Interestingly I moved over from Vandoren V16 number 3 on tenor to Plasticovers a couple of years ago. They're consistent in quality, last for ages and are great for projection. So far the only downsides are that they taste disgusting first time you use them and occassionally shed their plastic coating on your mouthpiece table. To be absolutely honest- I really try not to get hung up on reed brand- I occassionally grab a LaVoz Medium, V16, Rico Jazz sellect 3s or Vandoren Red Java and they all work fine for me but Plasticovers are my gigging reed of choice- as much down to reliability, & longevity, as anything else.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,031
Location
I live in Exmouth Devon.
I am of the same frame of mind as Jules, with the exception that i havent been able to get on with Vandoren reeds for some reason ( although I do use them on clarinet)

If you are talking longevity then try a fibrereed totally synthetic, but feels like a reed and acts like one - except they last months and are consistent.
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,473
Location
Surrey, UK
I like brighter reeds and mainly used to play RJS until I got fed up with their inconsistency and their short life (sometimes). Now what I play is Vandoren Java (green or red) on alto and tenor and Plasticover on baritone.

The Plasticover really seem to brighten up and add edge to a warm sounding mouthpiece and I like the lack of breaking-in period. Sometimes, especially with a mouthpiece that is already bright, the Plasticover can be too much and sounds harsh. Otherwise they are great and like a good Rico should be.

The only other observation on the Plasticover is that when they start to die, they really seem to go fast. But that's OK for what is basically a natural product with a coating.

Rhys
 

taiwanpaul

Member
Messages
122
plasticover

Hi Alan,

Found the same with you, living in a humid tropical climate. Also found that Fibracell are great.......use one for practising......never rot or go green with mold like conventional reeds.
 

Lloyd

Member
Messages
208
Location
Hertfordshire
I am thinking of trying synthetic reeds. I use Rico Jazz Select 2M Tenor reeds at present and, although I like the sound I find them to be inconsistent. I have thrown a couple, not because they are worn out but because they don't blow properly. I understand that this is usual with natural products but now that I am starting gigging I am attracted to the consistency of plastics.

My question is what would be a comparible strength synthetic reed? I have no problem with the high notes but sometimes struggle with the lower ones, hence the use of 2s. I know that strength varies depending on the brand.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,939
Location
The Athens of The North
I tried the Rico Jazz Selects and didn't like them at all. Rico Royals on the other hand suit me just fine. Rico Plasticovers are a good place to start on synthetics. They are Rico Royal reeds coated in plastic. Just get your usual strength and you'll be fine.

Jim.
 

Ian

New Member
Messages
5
Location
Edinburgh, Scotland
I've been using Plasticovers on my tenor and alto for many years now and like them a lot. They last a long time, but more important, add an edge to my tone which I like. I find them very consistent, I never have to discard any unused, and that's just as well because they are expensive.
Ian.
 

Moz

Senior Member
Messages
841
Location
North of Liskeard, Cornwall
I tried the Rico Jazz Selects and didn't like them at all. Rico Royals on the other hand suit me just fine. Rico Plasticovers are a good place to start on synthetics. They are Rico Royal reeds coated in plastic. Just get your usual strength and you'll be fine.

Jim.
I use Rico Jazz Select and nothing else. Just goes to show that all the discussion in the world ain't worth Jack Schitt over personal experience. I can appreciate that in the tropics plastic covered reeds may well be a good idea but to prevent discolouration and mould here in the UK, I suggest just keeping the things clean after each playing.

Martin der sax mann
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,416
Location
brighton by the sea
I find them very consistent, I never have to discard any unused, and that's just as well because they are expensive.
I've always assumed the plastic skin does something to even out iregularities in the cane... but totally with you, they're great for consistency...
 

visionari1

Senior Member
Messages
1,606
Location
Out in the Countryside of Nelson NZ
I ve been using synthetic reeds since 2000. when I found Hahn reeds in Stuttgart Germany (the shop name was Der Gute Tone)

I had been using standard reeds and also plasticover, finding them to be easy starters and with a bright sound.

The Hahn reeds are, I think carbon fibre, very strong and have had one last 6.5 years, Yeah it was way past it's use by date, but still worked. I have used nothing else since, although usually change a reed every 2-3 years.

The last ones I bought from Sax Alley on the internet were $17US (this year), which is more expensive than a cane, but I only buy in one's and two's. I've used this reed while busking in Europe, USA, & Bali, and never had any problems. No constant buying of boxes of reeds and going through them to get a "goodie". No soaking of reeds, or shaping , or trimming etc.
These reeds are strong, I had my alto slip out of my mouth and swing back and cut my cheek, drawing blood, with no damage to the reed.

I can't understand why more people don't use these!

Certainly worth a try, I personally wouldn't go back to a plasticover

Cheers & Ciao:mrcool
 

jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,611
Location
Betelgeuse
I ve been using synthetic reeds since 2000. when I found Hahn reeds in Stuttgart Germany (the shop name was Der Gute Tone)

The Hahn reeds are, I think carbon fibre, very strong and have had one last 6.5 years, Yeah it was way past it's use by date, but still worked. I have used nothing else since, although usually change a reed every 2-3 years.



I can't understand why more people don't use these!
Well, I gave them a try. They sound good and you can play them straight away, no moistening nonsense or anything like that. Bright tone - some types a bit too bright. But I found a major problem. Three of the five I bought shredded my lips. The filaments making up the reed came away after just a few days use. This left blood all over the reed, but what bothered me more than anything was the thought of getting carbon fibre splinters in my lips. If it had been one reed I could understand it, but three? I emailed the manufacturer but got no response at all. So they get no more business from me.
 

Josh Johnson

Member
Messages
125
Location
Rochester, Kent
I went through a period of using Plasticovers, but changed after listening to a recording of me playing on a Plasticover. I produce a bright tone naturally, so what I was hearing was far too bright a tone.

It might be interesting for some of you guys to switch back to naked cane after a while, to see whether you hear a more full-bodied tone from the naked cane.

I too live in the tropics, but have never experienced reed rot or mould. I wipe them dry and put them in a reed carrier (RJS). On average 2 out of 5 are good.
 

taiwanpaul

Member
Messages
122
The mold I have got on my reeds were the ones I hadn't played, but were in the box waiting to be played. I found that keeping them in a plastic tuuperware with silicone inside stopped this.
I too still play cane reeds, if and when I perform, but find that plasticcover and /or fibracell are great for practising due to them lasting longer.
I also like RJS and La Voz, but Fibracell are always good (not 2 out of 5).
 
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jonf

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,611
Location
Betelgeuse
Wow jonf....obviously quite a problem...shredded lips......Never had any problem and yes the customer focus or lack off, is not good.

So what reeds are you using now then, and how long does one last?

Cheers
Jimu:mrcool
I use RJS 2M on tenor now (wide open mouthpiece). I usually find I get 7 or 8 out of a box of ten, and a good one lasts a couple of months. They seem to suit me, so I play them on SATB and C

Jon
 
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AlanB

AlanB

Member
Messages
170
Location
Vientiane, Laos
Some great feedback. I am still enjoying my plasticovers and bought some more. Goin' to try them on a Runyon Metal Quantum next and see how naughty they can sound >:)
I am also buying a FibraCell and soon a Hahn to try out, following the advice of you lot, now that I have got over my prejudice and opened my mind to the possibilities of reed that aren't 100% natural fibre - after all it's not jumpers or bed linen were're talking about here!
Al
 
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AlanB

AlanB

Member
Messages
170
Location
Vientiane, Laos
There you go Martin, you're another one in the tropics! It is probably not so easy to get reeds quickly where you are so longevity is a bonus too.
Al
 

Luluna

Señora
Subscriber
Messages
698
Location
Vermont, USA
After spending a fortune on Vandoren's (my former fave) and wondering if I'd ever have to stop switching reeds in the middle of a rehearsal (even #4s would get too rubbery) - I tried the PC reeds and they have been great!

I am a tenor player, and my tone is typically very round and mellow, so any extra brightening has been a bonus. It's so great to jump into a rehearsal and not take forever to adjust, moisten, re-adjust my reed. The bassoonist was getting annoyed as that's usually his territory.

I don't live in the tropics - but in Vermont have the opposite problem, everything is extremely dry here especially in the winter, and that dryness was making my reeds very brittle, even in a reedsaver.

For now - I'm lovin' the PC -
 
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