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Reed Position

Philsaxophone

Member
Messages
41
Sorry if this has been done before, but I couldnt find a thread about it.

When I first started to learn the sax I read a book that said that you should place the reed on the mouthpiece so that with the mouthpiece stood on end on a level surface , when viewed from the side, the reed tip should be exacly level with the tip of the mouthpiece.

I've done that ever since

However in my morning trawl through Youtube, I've come across a clip that says this is wrong

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r9Vbhhofix8

This clip says the tip of the reed should be exactly level with the tip of the mouthpiece when the reed is gently pushed to meet the mouthpiece tip

In my current method when you push the reed towards the mouthpiece the tip arcs downwards so that in this case the reed tip is slighly below the tip of the mouthpiece-- the bigger the tip opening the more arc so the bigger the difference

However if I do what the video clip says the when I release the reed back to its normal position then its slightly above the tip of the mouthpiece when viewed from the side

The clip also says that you can change your tone and articulation by moving a millimeter one way or the other

So which is correct???--what do you all do

Phil
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,996
I saw something that said the same thing a few months ago, I think it was an sax on the web.
So I tried both pretty much alternately a few times and didn't notice any difference.
Probably because as you're playing you change the tone etc. by the way you play which 'corrects' any difference in a small change of reed position.
 
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Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,538
So which is correct???-

Either.

I find the difference between the two lines of site as minimal as the accuracy with which I actually place the reed. Ihav always based it on either, not realising there is any difference until you pointed it out!

And this is using quite a large tip opening and short facing curve which theoretically ought to make that difference more noticeable.

However the actual position of the reed, ie below or above the tip would affect the sound. He is correct in that video, that having the reed above below equates to a harder reed and below to a softer reed, though I doubt it's exactly the same as actually using a harder or softer reed, as a different length of reed is free to vibrate. But that is all theory, probably impossible to prove.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I had a few problems when I first started, as I was followign your original method. The reed wasn't sealing too well against the tip rail. Changing to method 2 sorted a few problems out for me. However it was probably the mouthpiece design causing the probs, as when I lookd closely I could see that bending the reed with thumb pressure caused it to almost miss the tip rail, which is why I changed. The PPT doesn't suffer from this problem, but the habit's stuck.

Reed position can affect tonguing, at least it does for me, and I find it easier when the reed is slightly long.

However - whatever works for you....
 

saxnik

Member
Messages
381
Like Pete, I hadn't noticed the difference, but I think I use the second method. This means that when I hit the reed with my tongue the tip of the reed seals across the mouthpiece cleanly.
Personally I don't like any reed overhang, I find it's squeakier, especially on clarinet!
I always tell the kids that when the reed is closed down to the mouthpiece there should be a hairline (i.e. much less than 1mm) of mouthpiece visible when viewed from the reed side.

I imagine that most beginner books for both sax and clarinet will assume the use of a fairly narrow beginner-type mouthpiece to start with - therefore the difference between methods will be negligible?

Cheers,

Nick
 

DaveW

Member
Messages
160
My teacher taught me to position the tip of the reed level with the tip of the mouthpiece so that you could not see any of the mouthpiece above the reed, but when viewed from the other side ("top") of the mouthpiece you could see a very small amount of reed.
I guess if you pushed the reed down onto the table the tip of the reed would be slightly below the tip of the m/piece.
 

Rogerb

Member
Messages
764
Correct me if I am incorrect in my reasoning, please!

A reed of the correct strength is never going to 'close' completely in normal playing, is it?

So blowing between the reed and the tip is just causing the reed, and hence the airflow, to 'vibrate'/'pulse', thereby creating 'sound waves'.

I cannot see that the differences we are talking about here would significantly affect the function of the reed/mouthpiece ....and if the difference IS 'too much', the mouthpiece just won't 'work'.

I line-up the (unflexed) reed-tip level with the mouthpiece tip, as close as I can ....seems to work OK :)

BTW, I find the light colour of the PPT makes this a bit more difficult, visually....unless, you are using black reeds. like Plasticovers!
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
As long as a reed is fitted onto the mouthpiece so that it is accurately on the table it should play fine. It is true that it will play slightly harder if it is level with or slightly over the edge of the mouthpiece, and slightly softer if it stops just a mm or so short of the end. I find that if it slightly overlaps it is a slightly purer/clearer sound, and if it is short it has a more breathy/complex sound but this is not that noticeable, especially if you perform in a gig situation. Its usefulness is that you can more easlily play a reed which is either a bit hard or a bit soft by making the appropriate adjustment.

Kind regards
Tom
 

kostas

New Member
Messages
27
In my quest for correct playing, I also got this habbit to place the reed at the tip of the mouthpiece, by just placing my thumb against the tip and then the reed aligned to my thumb...:confused:
Recently I had to get to the bottom of a squeaking mp-reed combo, where I found out that putting the reed just a bit more to the inside of the mouthpiece, you get a nice airblow effect on your sound, plus the reed stopped squeaking!!!
But that's just me and my experiments!!!>:)
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
It does work, and well done for experimenting. You never know until you know. It does produce a lovely sound, particularly where timbre/texture is important, so I will often do this with slower pieces, less so with fast tempi.

Kind regards
Tom
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
In my quest for correct playing, I also got this habbit to place the reed at the tip of the mouthpiece, by just placing my thumb against the tip and then the reed aligned to my thumb...:confused:
Recently I had to get to the bottom of a squeaking mp-reed combo, where I found out that putting the reed just a bit more to the inside of the mouthpiece, you get a nice airblow effect on your sound, plus the reed stopped squeaking!!!
But that's just me and my experiments!!!>:)

I'm going to try this, thanks!
 

Pete Thomas

Well-Known Member
Commercial Supporter
Messages
14,538
In my quest for correct playing, I also got this habbit to place the reed at the tip of the mouthpiece

Sorry, I misread that at first and though you said:

"I also got this hobbit to place the reed at the tip of the mouthpiece"

That is what we all need. Sadly my reed tends to get placed by this bloke:
 

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Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,666
Sorry, I misread that at first and though you said:

"I also got this hobbit to place the reed at the tip of the mouthpiece"

That is what we all need. Sadly my reed tends to get placed by this bloke:

Now I know the reason for the gold ring on the PPT = "Precious Pete Thomas"
 

Rikki

Member
Messages
205
Hi,

I used to as, said before simply line up the reeed so when viewed face on I could still just see the mouthpiece behind. This is a bit hit and miss, but found a more reliable method on Santy Runyons website, which is to push the reed onto the mothpiece and align so that just a hairs width of the MP is still visible. I found this made the sax more consistently easier to blow
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Sorry, I misread that at first and though you said:

"I also got this hobbit to place the reed at the tip of the mouthpiece"

That is what we all need. Sadly my reed tends to get placed by this bloke:

Mr. Thomas,
Please obey the Rules of the Forum.
The Breakfast Room is the place for humour, I would never place a humorous post in the middle of a serious thread.
 

kostas

New Member
Messages
27
Actually it was at first the Hobbit, but because of his clumsyness and his annoying persistance of asking me about his precious, i had to fire him...He was breaking my reeds and my nerves!!!!:)))
 
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