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Reeds Reed Advice Please

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
The time has arrived to order another box of Alexander Superials and the mortgage has been arranged.
I've been playing on 2.5 reeds on a yanagisawa HR 7 but feel like I need a bit more stability on the higher notes. So 3 seems like the next move. However the only other 3's I've tried were Vandoren and they still feel like lollysticks, very unyielding and dry sounding.
Am I going to encounter the same problem with the Alexander 3s?
Although I want high note stability I don't want to lose the flexibility lower down.(I am a tight yorkshireman and I don't want to spend £30 or so on unusable reeds)
I play tenor as you may know so any advice will be gratefully received.
Andrew
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Hi Andrew,.
Get yourself a Hahn 2.5 or 3, save yourself grief. You soon get used to them, so consistent and they last forever.
Rob.
 

Pyrografix

Senile Member
Messages
1,026
You could always sand them down (as per Johnboy's recommendation) if they're too plank-like>:)!
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I rapidly went up in reed strength as I progressed with the Tenor. This really helped playing fortissimo but killed my pianissimo and I couldn’t achieve good vibrato. The high notes and altissimo sang but I struggled to get a good sound on the low notes.

What I did in the end was to work on my diaphragm and embouchure with a softer reed in order to achieve the same volume and high range that I once got from a harder reed. By doing this my dynamic range improve dramatically as did my vibrato. Also it really helped me to get some great subtone from my bell notes.

I suppose what I’m saying is, it would be better if you stuck with your current reeds and spend some time working on your embouchure and diaphragm. In the long run you’ll be rewarded tenfold!
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Thanks Paul
I've been using this set-up for a couple of years, playing my tenor since 2001, and blowing glass for 35 years, so the embouchure and diaphram is as good at it will ever be!.
I'm not one for chopping and changing tackle in mid-stream but just need advice as to whether the Alexander 3 are as unwieldy as the Vandorens. I don't want to change my mouthpiece as I really like how it sounds.The high notes do sound a bit thin and straggly,
but I don't want to lose the flexibility round the low end.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
I can't help you with the reeds as I've never tried the Alexander. You could always buy one from sax.co.uk for £4.34 and see how you get on with it. Cheaper than buying a box. Played all the Rico's now though :shocked: Expensive business reeds!!!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I would be a little wary of going to 3, personally. I play 2.5 DC's which are fine, but I'd be wary of cranking it up. If you want a manageable step up then Rico Jazz Selects 2H unfiled would be like 2.75, and well worth a try. They come in packs of 5 so not too pricey. I play both RSJ 2M and 2H unfiled, and DC 2.5's.

The problem with the ones you play is that they do not have as strong a tip as the DC's or the RSJ's. When I have ever tried a 3 reed it has been a waste of time - so I would recommend a 2.5 or sobut with a firmer tip.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Thanks for that Tom. That sounds like good advice. I wondered what the difference was between the various Alexander types.
I just need an extra bit of meat on the reed I'm using and that would be perfect.
I think I may buy RJS 2H and see how that transpires as there are only 5 in a pack. Then if it doesn't work out I can try the Alexander DCs.
Cheers Bach
 

singlereed

Member
Messages
124
I find Alexander Superials can be very hard to control on lots of mouthpieces I've tried. For 'Jazz' reeds, I find the Vandoren ZZ or Rico Jazz Select are a lot more forgiving and easy to live with - maybe try a Rico JS 3S. Sax.co.uk do little packs of a selection of reeds of a given strength - that might be worth a try, too. It's worth shopping around for reeds- prices ahve gone up a lot and you can save a lot of money if you find some older stock that was pre increase(s).
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Thanks Singlereed,
Don't have any trouble controling the 2.5s on my piece. Rico JS 3S sounds interesting, does the S stand for soft? I've been put off the Vandoren reeds by the planks I tried to use and still find a a pain.
I'm wary of buying odd singles as we all know how variable reeds can be.
Thanks for the advice
Still haven't ordered anything. If all bids are in I'll have to make up my mind.
Thanks again

Andrew
 

SaxyMalcolm

Member
Messages
77
I have found Alexander Superial reeds to be slightly softer than vandoren blue box reeds, you may be able to get a box of 5 or a couple of reeds from a shop to try out?
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Rico JS 3S sounds interesting, does the S stand for soft?
RJS go up in thirds instead of halves, so there's are ..., 2S, 2M, 2H, 3S....

Where S is soft, M medium and H hard. 2H is of course, softer than a 3S.


Vandorens are OK, just drop half a strength compared to Rico, so get a 2 instead of a 2.5, for instance.
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
I'm with Tom on this one -- the yellow box Superials are a pretty bright reed, and the Vandorens run pretty stiff. The answer isn't a different strength, it's a different cut of reed. Try the Alexander DC, they have a bit more clarity in general and are a bit fatter at the top IIRC, been a few years since I played either. 2 1/2 is a perfectly appropriate strength for your mouthpiece, on the soft side of the useable range but it's about what I play. If any of them tend to be a bit soft, though, buy 1/2 strength harder and work them down to fit. One of the best things I learned from my clarinet teacher in high school was how to work on reeds -- saved me a fortune over the years.

Might be a good time to experiment with a few different brand/cuts of reed. Maybe head down to Woodwind Exchange in Bradford and see if Stuart has any open boxes maybe you can talk him out of a few singles -- RJS (3s), Alexander DC & NY (2 1/2), Java red box (2 1/2 or 3), Marca Jazz (3) come to mind as possibles for you.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Just a brief not on the Rico Jazz Select reeds. those with a "Soft" suffix (2S, 3S & 4S) are the equivalent of 2, 3 & 4 in terms of usual reed strengths - inc. Alexander Sups/DC's. Essentially they go up in 3rds . so 2M is like 2.33, 2H is like 2.66. When I tried a 3S I could not budge it, but 2H is fine for me.

Your mouthpiece (Yani HR 7) is 0.090" - just below the "usual "6". Trying a slightly wider tip opening may be of interest to you, but the reed issue sounds a little separate to my mind.
Kind regards
Tom
 
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