Tone Reed Size

Halfers

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#2
I think that would very much depend on many personal and hardware variables. If you're not happy with your sound at the moment, keep playing. Your playing style, embouchure, breathing, expression, tone etc will develop. Not really sure what you mean by sharp or crisp. Appreciate it's sometimes difficult to explain and put into words the expectations of tone etc.

Not sure about Alto, but a 3 Strength might just be too firm for a newbie, though strengths vary between reed brands etc
 

nigeld

I think I need a different ligature
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#3
In general, a harder reed will make it easier to play the high notes, but more difficult to play the low notes.
My own experience is that playing a harder reed than I am comfortable with does not improve my tone, though it makes it easier to play loud.
However, if I use a softer reed than I am comfortable with then the tone is not as rich.
 

randulo

Europe
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Bordeaux, France
#4
My teacher told me a harder reed will be more stable and in tune, but that's assuming you are comfortable with it and playing at the right volume, that is, not too soft. You can test that by trying a 2 or 1 1/2 and see if it doesn't lose stability. I have a range of synthetics, and that's the way they work for me.
 
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79
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CT
#5
I had my first “official” lesson last night. My teacher wants me to switch to a Number 3 Reed.

As a guitar-player for 50 years, I have learned how different woods produce different tones. Take Mahogany for example. It produces a richer / deeper tone than Spuce. But also the thickness of the wood affects tone and resonance.

All Reeds are made from the same material, right? But the higher the number, the thicker the cut, right? So I figure yes, you have to work harder with a thicket Reed, but the tone is also affected, yes?
 

tenorviol

Full of frets in North Shropshire
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#6
3 is remarkably hard for a beginner - it's doable but initially you will probably find your embouchure tires quite quickly. As mentioned, hardness is a compromise - softer is easier for low notes, harder is easier for high notes.
 

Alice

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#7
I had my first “official” lesson last night. My teacher wants me to switch to a Number 3 Reed.
I don’t think a 3 reed is necessary for you as you have only just started. 2 or 2 1/2 should be sufficient. I assume you’re using a mouthpiece suitable for your ability. I have found that a reed will make the sound go dull when it needs to be changed (assuming my embouchure is correct) and that “crispness” you refer to is what I get when I start with a new one..
 

Colin the Bear

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Burnley bb9 9dn
#10
Reeds are all cut the same. On the same machine. The hardness is determined after they're cut and they're graded accordingly.

Different manufacturers have access to different reed beds in different countries and different continents.

The D'addario reserve claim to be cut from internodal cane lower down the stem.

Gonzales come from The slopes of the Andes and taste really sweet.

So maybe not the same after all.

The weather in an individual season, the harvesting, drying and cutting and subsequent storing in the shop/warehouse etc may all contribute to the feel of a reed. Sometimes an old faithful may have a bad year or stop having god years. Much like wine.

Find something you're comfortable with but keep trying different cuts, strengths and brands.

I carry in my alto case 3 different strengths in two different cuts from 5 different brands.

Tenor only two different brands in the same cut.

Baritone, sheesh, they're so expensive. I'll try anything that sounds useful if it's reduced in price ;).
 
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79
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CT
#11
Well because my instructor has asked me to switch to a number three I will do that. I want to be obedient to his leadership.

He was on the road with Tommy Dorsey’s band for seven years as their lead saxophone player, so I figure he knows something about what he’s doing.
 

Halfers

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Hampshire
#12
Well because my instructor has asked me to switch to a number three I will do that. I want to be obedient to his leadership.

He was on the road with Tommy Dorsey’s band for seven years as their lead saxophone player, so I figure he knows something about what he’s doing.
Go well with your decision and let us know how you get on.
 

Alice

Psychedelic
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#13
Other than the fact that a Number 3 Reed will be more rigid than a Number 2..........

Will the tone be less sharp (crisp)????
Well because my instructor has asked me to switch to a number three I will do that. I want to be obedient to his leadership.

He was on the road with Tommy Dorsey’s band for seven years as their lead saxophone player, so I figure he knows something about what he’s doing.
He sounds like the perfect person to ask then.... why he thinks a strength 3 would suit you when you’ve only just begun. I couldn’t blow a strength 3 when I first began. I thought my eyes would pop out! :eek:
 
#14
If you're playing a Yamaha 4C alto mouthpiece for example a Rico (or now called D'Addario) 3 maybe alright but if you are playing a Vandoren reed a 2 or 2 1/2 reed maybe better. Generally narrower the mouthpiece tip opening harder the reed, more wider the tip opening softer the reed. Everybody's mouth, oral cavity and embouchure is different...

Greg S.
 
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299
Location
Long Island
#16
I'm using strength 3 vandoren traditionals on my alto with one of the most closed facings available, AL3, and I've been playing for ten years now (only seriously for the last 2 years, and alto for half of one, but still).
That being said, you could just happen to have freakishly strong facial muscles. My band director, a trumpet player, has a friend who can just rip out double Gs, but has absolutely no idea what he's doing; he's not a trumpeter or even a musician.
I would go with what your teacher says, he sounds qualified and most importantly sees and hears you play in person.
 
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79
Location
CT
#17
I don’t know anything about “close facings.” Don’t even know what it means.

I use my upper lip on the mouthpiece if that means anything, in terms of the strength of my mouth. I know it’s not Technically correct, but there ARE other unorthodox players out there.

Gonna buy some “3’s” at my local music store, and see what I’m up against.
 
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485
#18
All Reeds are made from the same material, right? But the higher the number, the thicker the cut, right?...
Not quite. Apart from the plastic ones they are all made from arundo donax cane but a particular brand/model are all cut the same thickness. The difference in strength comes from variations in cane itself.
 
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79
Location
CT
#19
Not quite. Apart from the plastic ones they are all made from arundo donax cane but a particular brand/model are all cut the same thickness. The difference in strength comes from variations in cane itself.
Huh? Why would they cut a number three at the same thickness as a number two? I don’t understand
 
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