SYOS

reed dilema

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Have been playing 16 months now, feel i have improved quite a lot and generally happy with my progress.
I would like to ask have you experienced that after a period a reed/ mp combination that you liked suddenly starts to sound different. ( i use PPT 8* with Rico jazz select 2m's ) They have started to sound a bit rough, yet only two months i was spouting on about how good it all sounded.
1) is this due to MP/reed?
2)has my ear got better and i discern different sounds better now?
3)or is it just a natural progression?
For interest i used some Rico royals No 2 and found a much smoother sound but with added power. Embouchure better and stronger?
I would appreciate any comments because it would seem to me that as we progress i.e.get better will we always be tweaking what we originally thought was good. Thanks Phil:confused:
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
Have been playing 16 months now, feel i have improved quite a lot and generally happy with my progress.
I would like to ask have you experienced that after a period a reed/ mp combination that you liked suddenly starts to sound different. ( i use PPT 8* with Rico jazz select 2m's ) They have started to sound a bit rough, yet only two months i was spouting on about how good it all sounded.
1) is this due to MP/reed?
2)has my ear got better and i discern different sounds better now?
3)or is it just a natural progression?
For interest i used some Rico royals No 2 and found a much smoother sound but with added power. Embouchure better and stronger?
I would appreciate any comments because it would seem to me that as we progress i.e.get better will we always be tweaking what we originally thought was good. Thanks Phil:confused:
I know the feeling! This past week I've not had much time to practice but the last 2 sessions I have just despaired! Same reed, same mp, same sax but I've lost the tone completely. The sax seems hard to blow, I'm getting a burble with low C, B and Bb and the upper register is 'muffled'. Horrible sound. :crying:

Where has it all gone wrong? Last week it was great. I've even tried a different reed but it's no better.

I've had this happen before and its all come back but this time .....

:eek:
 

Lodger

Member
Messages
108
Location
Darwen, Lancashire
Where has it all gone wrong? Last week it was great. I've even tried a different reed but it's no better.

I've had this happen before and its all come back but this time .....

:eek:
I couldn't believe it when I read this! It happened to me exactly the same last night.

I just go back round and round - is it the saxophone/mouthpiece/reed/ME that have changed. (I have only been playing a couple of years - not long enough to make confident diagnoses).
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,361
Location
Buckinghamshire
I've been playing about 20 months. I am sure its mostly embouchure and that takes time to develop/settle down for sure. My teacher tells me not to be impatient!

Bit like when you start playing golf. Apparently I have a great natural swing that lets me hit a 5 iron shot 220 yards to within a few feet of the hole and shoot the 'front nine' in 2 over par only to lose 5 balls on the 'back nine' and come in on handicap at 23! I was hated at the club especially in match-play or 4 ball better ball. I beat our best player 9&7 :D in one tournament.

It's all about muscle memory apparently. Anyway, gave up the golf as the only way I could make up for not starting until I was 34 was to play 5 rounds a week. Thats over 20 hours of golf a week plus time on the range! Didn't start playing sax until I was 47!

Sound familiar - how often do you practice on your sax and for how long!

Ah well, working from home today so might take a short 'interval' and blow my horn - wonder if it's any better today?
 
OP
thehunt

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
HD maybe i should hit my golf shots with the club in my mouth. There's a joke in there somewhere but not for the forum...
I too took up tenor sax aged 47 so some similarities.
My teacher says i have progressed very quickly but i do practice every day apart from a few weeks in hospital last year and the ocassional wedding to go to am quite asiduous when it comes to playing. I normally play for an hour sometimes more.
To get back to the thread maybe it is just a natural progression. I am patient but do like to understand everything!! My daughter says i'm a freak with OCD. Whatever!! :w00t:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
Are they exactly the same reeds that you have been playing for a while - they may need replacing if they are.

Improvement in your ear is also a very strong possibility.

A final thought is that its often a sign that you are about to make a big step in your playing/or that your sound concept is changing, which may need different reeds/more open mouthpiece/harder reeds - something sounds not quite right and it may be important to find out what, as you are trying to do.

On my button free tenor sax I occasionally swap around my different sized mouthpieces to see which sounds best, and try both C cups and V cups to see which best fits my preferred sound (dark, not bright, brassy or mellow, all of which are possible).

Any or none of the above may be true - I personally moved on from my RJS 2M's after a while on 'sound' grounds, preferring Francois Louis Excellence 2.5's. It is worth trying 2/3 reeds to see whether they offer the sound that you are after.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,628
Location
Rugby UK
For some reason some people seem to believe that as we progress as sax players and our embouchure starts to strengthen, then we must move on to a stronger reed, until we end up on a professional strength plank strapped to the mouthpiece! You must remember that its what you feel comfortable with and what creates the tone you are striving to achieve. Sometimes your tone will sound awful. Try changing your setup by going DOWN a strength. Practice playing gently, I mean very gently. Play as quietly as you can, you'll soon feel the muscles in you face start to ache. You should also notice that your tone is back. Try this for a few weeks and then go back to your preferred strength reed and compare the difference. Oh, and dont forget those long tones!:welldone
 

SLoB

Member
Messages
102
Location
Bishop's Stortford
I used to think that as you progress you go to harder reeds, but somewhile back a pro Sax player friend of mine (Frank White- Pete he says he knows you, so presumably you might know him!) told me that he and many pros play softer reeds than you might think and that playing a soft reed is not a sign of being an amateur.

I use JJ classic mouthpieces (7s so reasonably open) and soft reeds (2s). I get what I want from them.

I use Vandoren V16s having experimented with many. I got Reeds Direct to send me a selection and tried a whole load and found the V16s worked best for me with my set up. I found that other reeds worked better for me on other mouthpieces (used Alexander Superial for a while, but found them too unpredictable). It is worth experimenting with different makes and strenghts on different m/p.

I also find that as the reed gets older it declines in performance. Simply changing to a new reed can make a big difference.

You will also find that some boxes of reeds have duff ones in them.

Stephen
 
OP
thehunt

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Hi guys, i am aware that you don't need to be macho and play harder reeds. My combo of PPT 8* tip and Rico jazz select2m's gave me up till recently the sort of sound i was looking for, bit louder bit brighter, due my involvment in my band. Then it all went pear shaped. I have taken on board what was said and went back to my Rico royals 2 and found that now i have more control with added power. Out of interest i put on my Meyer 6M and stuck on a Vandoren Java 3 and found i could play it, i found though that going from a wider tip mp down to a smaller one meant i was constricting quite a bit until i got used to it and realised once i relaxed the sound just came. So the outcome, i am going to stick with the rico royals 2 and develop my sound with those.
I agree with you Stephen i was maybe some of my reeds too long, just a change to a new reed, made all the difference.
Thanks everyone for all your advice, really helped, Phil :w00t:
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,352
This curse of the reed.That's part and parcel of being a sax player,we have to go through spell's of shear hell and madness trying and SPENDING lot's of time amd MONEY on that little piece of wood that's the most important bit of gear in the end.
 

Jules

Formerly known as "nachoman"
Messages
4,467
Location
brighton by the sea
Minor point on this- it's quite possible to pull three or four duff reeds from a packet in succession (very rare but it does happen). That gets really disconcerting " It can't be the reeds, it must be me!"... I did it once a year or so back and, until you realise what's going on, it's a real confidence buster (just what I needed five minutes before going on stage at a big festival gig folllowing a frenzied 3 hour 10 minutes before drive get there!)
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,983
Location
The Athens of The North
I keep a Rico Plasticover Reed in my case and anytime I'm having a bad reed day I use that as a comparison. If the synthetic reed plays, the sax is OK and you need to change your pet reed.

Jim.
 
OP
thehunt

thehunt

Member
Messages
797
Location
Studham Bedfordshire
Seems to have sorted itself. Think my reeds were knackered. I have read some of the threads where people say they have been using the same reed for 4-6 months? How? Don't they blow through their instrument?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,232
Location
Skabertawe, South Wales
How to play a reed for 4 - 6 months.

1. Open, soak and briefly try a whole pack of reeds - identify the best ones, and reserve less good ones for practice. Do what you will with duff reeds.

2. Prepare reed (as per instructions on Alexander Superials website).

3. Rotate them regularly (use something like Vandoren Hygrocase - stores 4).

4. Soak them in mouthwash/something antiseptic before/after playing.

5. Always rub the reed towards thin end, using thumb, and dry before storing.

Initial prep shouldn't take that long, and the rest only a few moments. That way you do not wear them out unnecessarily quickly, and they can easily last many months. Before this routine I could get through reeds in 2/3 weeks no problem. Anyway its all subjective, but saves me quite a bit of money.

Obviously a button free tenor sax only uses a reedless mouthpiece - which cost about £30 a time - even cheaper.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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