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Reeds Reed life

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
How do I know when a reed wares out?
or is past its use by date?
or life expectancy?
Is there such a thing?:confused::confused:
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
For me it's when it stops working so well - a reed that I can play the whole range of the sax on is fine, whereas I find the top notes stop coming out so well as the reed loses tension and closes up rather than resisting to produce a loud clear note.

A visual clue is when they start going slightly grey to look at...

Nick
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Reeds are actually dead, so age does not matter if they are unused. Nick is spot on - reeds gradually lose their springiness and get softer and softer. It is always a good idea to have a few on the go and gradually replace then one by one as necessary. If you use one reed endlessly it will become very soft and once you start a new one it will feel almost unplayable - as if it is 1/2 harder or so.

To prolong their active life do make sure they are soaked before playing and do make sure that you massage them to ensure that the fibres are compacted and in line before replacing in case to dry.
 

MandyH

Sax-Mad fiend!
Subscriber
Messages
3,551
Notes become more difficult to achieve, often accompanied by squeeks. Or when you give it a really good blow, the reed shuts down on the mouthpiece, and nothing happens at all.
 

allansto

Senior Member
Messages
471
Ok Tom, now I know we`re probly a bit slow down under but really !!!
Tell me your not takin the mickey.
massage my reeds???? Do I get one too???:)))
Is beer ok to soak them in??????:)))
Sorry, just some Aussie humor!!!!!!;}
So If you are serious....
What do you mean by "a good soak" and "massaging" them after use.
Could I ask you to expand on that with a litle more detail.
Regards
Allansto.:confused::confused:
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Allansto!

Go on the Alexander Superial website - www.superial.com and press the button "breaking in and maintenance". Just follow the instructions contained therein.

Nick Wyver soaks his reeds in vodka, and soaks himself in beer before playing............:shocked::w00t:;} I use mouthwash to give them a 10 minute soak before playing - keeps them clean and gives them a minty fresh taste!

Hope this helps,Sheila :mrcool:mrcool:mrcool:thumb:
Regards
Tom
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Since I had very bad experience with Alexander reed, I might agree that reed need some maintenance (mouthwash will make your pads sticky) but I cannot spend too much time petting, soaking, massaging and licking reeds that cost me something like £3 each.
For £3 pounds, a reed should be able to first-sight read the 2nd alto part of a Thad Jones chart.

Rotation helps to improve a reed's life, but please remember that reeds are temperamental, and when a reed decides it's not its day, you better move on to the next one and try it again another time.

Never soak a reed in real ale and never use a reed trimmer when full moon.
You can play Eclipse (Mingus) during an eclipse, though.
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Mule had one really great reed, which he kept for special occasions and he showed it to me once. It was so old it was practically black. He told me where he had gotten it. I think it was in Rouen, where Joan of Arc had been burned at the stake, but in any case he mentioned parenthetically the connection with the Maid of Orléans. I said that perhaps it had come from the actual stake, which might have accounted for its blackened condition, and I always thought of it as his Joan of Arc reed.

quote from Marshall Taylor on
http://www.dornpub.com/saxophonejournal/marcelmule.html
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
How do I know when a reed wares out?
or is past its use by date?
or life expectancy?
Is there such a thing?:confused::confused:
Hi allansto,
Get yourself a Hahn Synthetic mate, Iv'e been playing two in rotation for over eight month's now, still like brand new.
I still can't believe it, its saved me a fortune. :clapping:
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
If you happen to find a synthetic reed that you like it really is the right option.
An if you are a beginner you have one less variable to consider. You save a lot of time too.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
I might agree that reed need some maintenance (mouthwash will make your pads sticky)
Interesting point. I am currently trying a gin/water solution and will report back!

I have no problem in doing some work on reeds - they usually last me months more - when I used to play them straight from the pack and moisten them in my mouth for a few seconds they usually lasted about three weeks maximum, becoming very soggy/waterlogged and unplayable very quickly. £3 for 9 months is better than £3 for 3 weeks, if all I do is a few minutes work initially and the odd 10 second intervention as required.

Regards
Tom
 

BigMartin

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,904
Am I the only one who thinks of Donna Summer every time I see the title of this thread?
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Interesting point. I am currently trying a gin/water solution and will report back!

I have no problem in doing some work on reeds - they usually last me months more - when I used to play them straight from the pack and moisten them in my mouth for a few seconds they usually lasted about three weeks maximum, becoming very soggy/waterlogged and unplayable very quickly. £3 for 9 months is better than £3 for 3 weeks, if all I do is a few minutes work initially and the odd 10 second intervention as required.

Regards
Tom

Only few minutes work? What is you secret? I was referring to the strict rotation procedure:
two minutes long low notes on odd days and three minutes short high notes on even days, scales only on Saturdays, talk to the reed with a calm voice, kiss it after each session, raise you left foot...
And after this simple procedure, your reed will last forever.

Anyway, in my box of alto Alexander, half of them are really unplayable and I have no time to start petting them. I will simply buy another brand with a higher playability rate.

And gin is fine but sloe gin is not. Unless you play dance band music wearing a white tuxedo in the countryside.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
If you don't want the Alexander reeds do send them to me - I could offer some unplayed V16 2.5 alto or so. I will rehabilitate them for you. The best reeds do require a bit of a run-in, and it may be beyond you..........................................;};};}
 

BeBopSop

Member
Messages
274
My uncle tells me he has had the same reed on his alto for 5 years!!!!! Yes he is a scrooge...
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
My uncle tells me he has had the same reed on his alto for 5 years!!!!! Yes he is a scrooge...
Either plays it about 4 times a year or it has become ridiculously soft. Seriously they can last a while if not overused.
 
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