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Plasticovers and other Synthetics Reeds

Two Voices

Senior Member
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1,113
I hate reeds – the bane of my life! Unfortunately a necessity! I do seem to be settling on La Voz for most things, however I have the need for a synthetic due to playing in and outdoors. I’m also doubling on a Soprano and Tenor, so being able to switch between the two quickly is important.

So my question is what do you use in these circumstances and why?

I don’t really want to experiment too much due the high prices of some such as the Légère!
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
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I'm not a synthetic is needed because of playing in and outdoors. I play a synthetic reed because I like them. It's a Legere Signature.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,953
however I have the need for a synthetic due to playing in and outdoors. I’m also doubling on a Soprano and Tenor, so being able to switch between the two quickly is important.
I don't really see why either of these points would make you feel you need a synthetic.

I use cane whatever the circumstance.

All the synthetics are different and they all have their good and bad points. When I used them I found Fibracells to be most acceptable, followed by Baris (which lasted longer).
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
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I don't really see why either of these points would make you feel you need a synthetic.
I suppose if the atmosphere is exceptionally dry, then cane reds can dry out fast and get crinkly. That is a good reason to use synthetic.
 

Nick Wyver

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I suppose if the atmosphere is exceptionally dry, then cane reds can dry out fast and get crinkly. That is a good reason to use synthetic.
Yup. I've pondered going back to synthetics on sop at gigs because I only use it for a couple of numbers. But, as far as I can recall, it's only been a small problem on one occasion.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Thanks for the quick replies!

@Pete | I might try a Legere Signature. I read somewhere that they are a quarter strength stronger so I guess I should try a 2.25 since I play 2.5 normally.

@Nick | My reeds keep drying out on me when switching between the two Saxes. Is the Fibrecell MS about the same strength as a 2.5?
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
I´ve not had as much success as others have with synthetic reeds. Plasticovers I´ve liked the most for tenor, but they´re a hybrid I guess. Generally, I´ve found that synthetic reeds (whichever type) seem to be too coarse and buzzy - for the way I play anyway. Hahn reeds seemed to work quite well on my bari. But I haven´t been that convinced so far.

Have a crack at a couple of Plasticovers - there´s some variability between them because there´s a real reed under the plastic - but they do quite OK when you get a good one.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Thanks! That why I thought about the Plasticovers in the first place, because underneath it all there still a real reed. Wonder if the plastic that makes them variable is the actual reed. Probably that latter.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
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5,953
I've always found Plasticovers to be immensely dull. A lot of people find them too bright.

No, I've no idea why.
 

baritonesax

Member
Messages
256
I've always found Plasticovers to be immensely dull. A lot of people find them too bright.

No, I've no idea why.
...which only goes to show that the only thing that can be said with any certainty about reeds is that life would be easier without them!

I think the weak spot of Plasticovers is the real reed inside - I´m sure that the coating is applied in a highly controlled and scientific manner.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
Interesting! Wished I'd inserted a Poll into this thread to begin with. To try out one of each of the following reeds would cost me £74.86 :w00t:

  • Rico Plasticover £5.21
  • Rico Fibrecell £13.80
  • Légère Synthetic £16.85
  • Légère Studio Cut £16.85
  • Bari Plastic £8.90
  • Bari Star Plastic £13.25
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
So it’s inevitable that this exercise is going to cost me money then! Oh, well I might as well bite the bullet and give it a whirl!!! I’ll find one I like for the Tenor first then the Soprano!!!

If I can figure out how to do a Poll then I might ask everyone to select there favourite. At least it’ll be somewhere to start!
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,630
For me its plasticovers on tenor (I like 'em.... ) and a fibracell 2 1/2 on my soprano- for the same reason as Nick (My soprano spends most of the time hung on my mic stand and only gets used for a couple of numbers)....
 

VirusKiller

Member
Messages
449
Following Pete's recommendation, I play a Legere Signature 2 on tenor which works very well for me.

BTW Paul, you didn't have the Legere Signature in your list. They are not cheap at £21, but apart from not having to worry about inconsistencies which arise from cane reeds being organic, I think the LS reeds are excellent in their own right.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
I simply don't understand all of these problems, this make of reed, that make of reed. Do you think that different manufacturers have special gardens growing cane to a secret formula, and then eveyone using reed making machines, all made by different manufacturers :w00t:
I put it to you that the machines are all made by one company, and the cane is pretty much the same used by all of them, with no significant difference between any of them. That's the way it seems to me. I've used most makes over the years (what the shop had in at the time) and not had problems with any of them :)
Reeds drying up? you're not drinking enough alcohol ;} Try giving the mouthpiece a quick dunk in a glass of water when changing over (I use the Spanish equivalent of what was Forest Brown).

A couple of months ago, the complaint was that the reeds were getting too wet!!!!

John.

P.S.
What do you think Nick.
 
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J-Ryder

New Member
Messages
16
I tried a couple of the Bari reeds a few years ago and i just couldn't get on with it really. Far to thin sounding, and completly un-organic for me!

I've never tried fibrecell reeds so i can't really offer an opinon on those. However i have been playing Plasticover reeds for quite sometime and never had any issues, in fact they seem fairly consistant, and out of a box of 5, i very rarely have a dud one.


Jamie.
 
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