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Playing sax wef reeds lasting such a short time .,,

saxofiend

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148
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UK
Please advise me about reeds .

Am beginner but my trad vandoren reeds (3) in rotation have only lasted about 2 weeks !

Is this normal ? I play 4 hrs a day and am v v sad these reeds ‘ conk out ‘ so quickly .

I can feel my mouth etc biting so have to change reeds to NOT get bad embouchure habits etc...

If not normal I guess I got a bad bunch of reeds ...

Kind wishes to all and their horns .
 

GCinCT

Seeker of truth and beauty
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That is unusual. Reeds last longer than that. I rotate 4 Vandoren Java Greens and they last me 3-4 months. I only play 2 - 2.5 hours a day, but it is still strange that yours wear out so quickly. Do you bite regularly? This is pretty common for beginners. Also, 4 hours is a long time to practice, especially for a beginner. You may be wearing out your embouchure and that's why you bite.
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
What happens when they "conk out"?

Perhaps clipping would revitalise them.
Maybe it's the way you are storing them while rotating.

Perhaps move up half a strength so that when they "relax" they are how you like them. Although a 3 is already pretty stiff.

Maybe try a different cut. Vandoren blue are french filed. Vandoren juno are american cut, unfiled. I find them reliable and consistent.

Perhaps try a different brand. Reeds are cut from different strains of the plant and are grown on different continents so have different properties.
I used vandoren blue for years but found they became inconsistent and changed.

Vandoren use a French grown cane.

Gonzales are South American. Grown on the slopes of the Andes. They come in filed and unfiled. I find them very robust with the added bonus of tasting sweet.

D'Addario (used to be Rico) are cut from a North American cane. Royal are their standard french filed reed. I particularly like their Reserve which is cut from the internodal part lower down on the stem. I find them long lasting and equivalent to a quarter step softer than a vandoren blue. So a reserve 3 would be in between a vandoren 2.5 and 3. They play like a reed that is both harder and softer than their number suggests.

You can get trial packs of vandoren reeds in packs of three. Three different reeds to try without breaking the bank.

This post is longer than I expected but it is about reeds. The never ending subject. ;)
 

Jimmymack

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534
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London
Trad Vandoren 3s are pretty hard reeds, at least half a strength harder than their other types. You would usually use them for classical playing with a fairly closed tip. If you are a beginner they are likely too hard for you and cause the biting. Assuming you aren’t playing classical then try something like a 2.5 and go for a different reed, green or red Javas or maybe Royals or Jazz Selects. Anything that isn’t designed for classical playing as they are going to be too hard. Even if you are playing classical you should come down a size or two at this stage.

And as Colin said, don’t bite, loosen your embouchure.
 

turf3

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Earth
Well, I don't know what kind of facing you're using but with 43 years playing, much of it in loud contexts, I find Vandoren 3s to be a bit too hard and prefer to use 2.5s (or scrape down 3s - now cue the Greek chorus that will now chime in telling me how scraping a reed to soften it will destroy it in short order - despite the fact that I experience the same life from them as unscraped ones...) By playing too hard a reed at the beginner level, you can easily set yourself into a lot of bad habits that can take enormous effort to get rid of. Frankly I'd be looking at about a #2 Vandoren or #2.5 other brands, and if your director or teacher gripes at you, scrape off the number and tell them you're playing a higher number.
 

Jimmymack

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London
Chops of steel. I used to play La Voz hards on an 8* opening but switched to a 3 and now 2.5. Different strokes and all that, but a 3 trad Vandoren for a beginner is asking for trouble.
 

Halfers

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I read it that the OP has 3 reeds in rotation! Maybe not. I'm excited to find out! Maybe, as a beginner playing 4 Hours a day, it's more a case of your embouchure conking out?
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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I read it that the OP has 3 reeds in rotation! Maybe not. I'm excited to find out! Maybe, as a beginner playing 4 Hours a day, it's more a case of your embouchure conking out?

@saxofiend - to avoid confusion, please can you tell us what strength reeds you are using and what mouthpiece.
 

saxofiend

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148
Location
UK
They are only strength 2 .Cos am beginner I started on 2 .I don t bite , that s why I really notice when I started to, squeezing out top notes etc..low notes pretty much not happening . 4 hrs is fine for me every day .I take short rest after each hr .meyer 5 cos net says is ok for beginner
 

saxofiend

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UK
@saxofiend - to avoid confusion, please can you tell us what strength reeds you are using and what mouthpiece.
I think the reeds conk put cos cannot even get loud low b flat , can usually get quiets low b flat when reeds new .and also high f can t get ..i just read what pete thomas said wef reeds cos am beginner
 

GCinCT

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I think the reeds conk put cos cannot even get loud low b flat , can usually get quiets low b flat when reeds new .and also high f can t get ..i just read what pete thomas said wef reeds cos am beginner
How long have you been playing? Most beginners can't play low Bb or high F. It takes some experience to reach the extreme ranges.
 

turf3

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245
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Earth
OK, now I understand. You're playing on a Meyer #5 mouthpiece with #2 Vandoren reeds. Contrary to what I previously (mis) understood, that seems like a pretty normal beginner rig.
 

saxofiend

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148
Location
UK
Forgive my bumbling on typing , i have 3 reeds strength ( 2 ) on rotation .I defo could not play anything on a strength 3!
 

saxofiend

Member
Messages
148
Location
UK
How long have you been playing? Most beginners can't play low Bb or high F. It takes some experience to reach the extreme ranges.
Hi buddy , I played from 11-13 yrs old ,nothing until now .have played for about 5 weeks now .....
 

Jimmymack

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534
Location
London
Ok, so you can ignore a lot of the above. The Meyer 5 is a perfectly good mouthpiece to be using. Is this a new phenomenon or have you had this problem with all previous boxes and have you gone back to reeds you thought were dead the next day and still found them dead? Also what exactly do you mean by conked out? It is possible that you got a box with three duds but tell us more.
 

nigeld

I don't need another mouthpiece; but . . .
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Your reeds should not have worn out after 2 weeks unless you are doing something wrong - presumably biting quite a lot.

One way to test for biting is to play a long note and drop your jaw while holding the note. As you drop the jaw more and more the pitch will get lower and then then note will go bad. At that point, raise the jaw until the note sounds OK again. That’s what you should be aiming for. You may find that you have to push the mouthpiece in a bit more to get the tuning right.

But if you started with strength 2 and have been practicing 4 hours a day, then maybe your chops have strengthened enough that a harder reed is appropriate now. Might be worth trying a 2 1/2.
 

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