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Reeds Reed waste

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
I think it abysmal that after paying £18+ for 5 Vandoren java 3 reeds only two are playable. Of the other three one is like trying to blow through an oak tree, another one is so shrill i found some dead cats in my garden and the other one is.. well.. a mixture of both. It is really p***ing me off as there is no come back. I do use a legere 2,25 ocassionally but it does not have the warmth of the cane reeds. IMO. I wish there was some way these reed manufacturers could test the bloody things. Maybe they do. I know that i need to play my reeds in. I also prepare them before playing even rotate them over a week or two but when you only get a small percentage that you can actually use, it does bug me.
Rant over. :(
 

rhysonsax

Well-Known Member
Messages
4,390
All sounds very familiar. If anything I found Rico Jazz Select worse than Vandoren. Now I'm happy (on tenor and alto at least) with Legere Signature. I have found them better than 96% of cane reeds (there's still that exceptional cane one, but they don't last) and significantly better than their plain or Studio models.

Is your Legere a Signature model or one of the older ones ?

Rhys
 

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
In 10 years of using Javas, I don't think I have found more than 10% unplayable overall. Some are better than others, admittedly, and some go off quicker than others. Sounds like you got a "Friday afternoon" box!
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
If anything I found Rico Jazz Select worse than Vandoren.
Rhys
If anything I found Vandoren worse than Rica Jazz Select.;}

'Twould be a shame if we were all the same.

Reeds are a necessary evil - you have to learn to live with them.

A couple of days ago one of my students asked me how many reeds I have. After a little think I said, "Probably somewhere between 500 and 1000.".

Well, I've been playing for nearly 40 years and I don't throw reeds away just because they appear to be useless on my current set-up. At the moment I'm using some Vandorens on soprano that I bought in the 80s. They were crap then but they're good now.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,027
I can honestly say that almost all Plain "Rico 2.5`s" are playable for me. I`ve tried all the others and I don`t know if it`s psycological or not but I`ve never been able to match the Ricos for consistancy.


When I used to play with the band I have seen me wading through whole boxes of Vandorens and Royals et al, just trying to find one that would do for the set.:mrcool
 

Rikki

Member
Messages
205
I would tend to concour with Clivey. I have tried Vandoren and Royals, but achieve more consistent and better results with bog standard cheapo Rico's. I think this is partly down to my preference for a brighter sound.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Rhys, you know i'm not sure what my legere is, i'll have to check. It is strange as i do use Rico Royals 2 1/2's as well but find them pretty bland.
Last night in band practice i stuck on a Alexander Superial 2 1/2. I had some comments about my playing last night that i sounded much smoother and richer in sound. However i know that Alexanders go off quickly.
It may seem that i'm chopping and changing all the time. Not the case as if i find a good reed i stick with it till it dies.
Suppose Nick you're right just have to learn to live with it.
Thanks anyway guys as i was doing my nut about this.
Phil :welldone
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
Inconsistent reeds is a fact of life. You must learn how to adjust them or you're wasting a lot of money. Anything that scrapes or sands will do, the important thing is knowing where to scrape. That said, I have found Alexanders and Marcas to be pretty consistent.
Another thing is that the problem might be with your mouthpiece rather than your reeds. An asymmetrical facing curve will only work properly with reeds that have the same defect. If you're only finding 1 or 2 out of 10 that play, this may well be your problem.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Inconsistent reeds is a fact of life............. That said, I have found Alexander's and Marca's to be pretty consistent.
Absolutely agree! Also good point about mouthpiece deficiencies. Methinks Morgan knows his stuff... One day I'll have to try one of his alto mouthpieces! :w00t:

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Thanks for info, what is an asymmetrical facing curve? It is not all the time i find this but it is frustrating.

Just for info i sell food for a living, i wonder what my customers would say if i sold them something that they have to pay for then when they get home a 1/3 is rubbish so they can just throw it away!!!

Ok i will live with it...


Inconsistent reeds is a fact of life. You must learn how to adjust them or you're wasting a lot of money. Anything that scrapes or sands will do, the important thing is knowing where to scrape. That said, I have found Alexanders and Marcas to be pretty consistent.
Another thing is that the problem might be with your mouthpiece rather than your reeds. An asymmetrical facing curve will only work properly with reeds that have the same defect. If you're only finding 1 or 2 out of 10 that play, this may well be your problem.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Its a very good point! I guess play tested reeds would simply cost more. I am not sure whether it is like buying shellfish where you are never quite sure of the finished until later, but would tend to only use a fish monger that you trust. I personally only buy certain brands (which probably have a lower output - like Marca/Francois Louis, rather than Rico/Vandoren, and also tend to give each one the "Alexander Technique" to prepare them before play. For me I would say that my success rate is 95% plus, and normally distinguish between performance quality (++) and practice quality (+). Any damaged reeds I use to keep the ligature on the mouthpiece so it is adequately moulded. It would be good to have a system whereby poor reeds could be subject to a refund from a supplier, or result in a discount on next purchase.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 

old git

Tremendous Bore
Messages
5,545
Another thing is that the problem might be with your mouthpiece rather than your reeds. An asymmetrical facing curve will only work properly with reeds that have the same defect. If you're only finding 1 or 2 out of 10 that play, this may well be your problem.
Morgan,
Never really got into physics but assume you are talking about difference between the two rails when you used the term asymmetrical (swine to spell, so copied yours and relieved when the red line disappeared). Reeds look like the should respond asymmetrically lengthwise but would only counteract a rail problem if they were laterally inexact.

Now blow me out of the water.;}
 

Morgan Fry

Senior Member
Messages
447
You've got it right, Old git. By asymmetrical, I mean the curve on one rail is not identical to the curve on the other. You can see it easily with a glass gauge and feeler gauges (or if you don't have a glass gauge, you can eyeball it with a piece of glass and feeler gauges). Put the glass against the table and slide the feeler gauge into the tip opening. Wherever it stops it should be perpendicular to the mouthpiece. Any discrepancy is a problem, the closer to the tip the more serious it is.

The two problems that indicate this may be the case is a tendency to squeak, poor response, and reed pickyness, mostly the latter.

OTOH, I can't stress enough how important it is to know how to adjust your reeds. Even Baermann complained how reeds weren't as consistent as they used to be and that was like 200 years ago. Expecting grass to be dimensionally stable just isn't realistic.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
All sounds very familiar. If anything I found Rico Jazz Select worse than Vandoren. Now I'm happy (on tenor and alto at least) with Legere Signature. I have found them better than 96% of cane reeds (there's still that exceptional cane one, but they don't last) and significantly better than their plain or Studio models.

Is your Legere a Signature model or one of the older ones ?

Rhys
I'm a bit surprised with this statement as I found rico jazz select to be the most consistent of all the reeds I have tried (so far) I'm using 3's at the moment and Im very pleased with them but who knows I may have been lucky and got a good box, I have always struggled with vandorens...john
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
You've got it right, Old git. By asymmetrical, I mean the curve on one rail is not identical to the curve on the other. You can see it easily with a glass gauge and feeler gauges (or if you don't have a glass gauge, you can eyeball it with a piece of glass and feeler gauges). Put the glass against the table and slide the feeler gauge into the tip opening. Wherever it stops it should be perpendicular to the mouthpiece. Any discrepancy is a problem, the closer to the tip the more serious it is.

The two problems that indicate this may be the case is a tendency to squeak, poor response, and reed pickyness, mostly the latter.

OTOH, I can't stress enough how important it is to know how to adjust your reeds. Even Baermann complained how reeds weren't as consistent as they used to be and that was like 200 years ago. Expecting grass to be dimensionally stable just isn't realistic.
that is very interesting but looks bl..dy complicated especially if your eye sight isn't that good...john
 
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Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,901
If the reeds are unplayable send them back with a note explaining why.
That's what I did when 2 out of a pack of 3 Ricos were useless.
I received a refund with no quibbling.
 

Nick Wyver

noisy
Subscriber
Messages
5,953
'Unplayable' sounds a bit bad. Did they not work at all? I've had plenty of reeds I didn't like but I can't recall any that didn't actually work.
 

half diminished

Senior Member
Messages
1,302
Phil

I've used Marca Jazz no 3 reeds for over 18 months and found them very consistent. I get the odd one that doesn't play so well and I just put that aside and it often becomes more playable after a bit of a run in process. I used to keep 3 or 4 reeds on the go and break them in - there a good article on the Alexander website which I found works. I also use a dutch reed to modify reeds very slightly if they are a lit unbalanced or hard.

However, Karen tells me my sound is good and no different with the Legere Signature 3 to the Marca 3. I also have a Signature 2.75 which I find not quite so good. She knew immediately when I turned up to a lesson with the softer reed and suggested I swap back to the harder one. I've been using the synthetic reed now for probably a couple of months and I think it's great and would recommend you give them a try or maybe try the Marca Jazz reeds if you want to keep with cane.
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
All very good points guys, i do prepare my reeds before playing them, stuff i got from the Alexander website and Sanborn on you tube. Ian i recently bought some marca reeds, hate them, far too bright for my liking.
I suppose my problem is that i am playing some more pop rockier things in the band so need an extra bit of welly, but then we might go and play a ballad, e.g my two band solos are Angel eyes and then i play Blues in the night which i vamped up a bit. Maybe my inexperience needs to be taken into consideration here.
I think i need to get a new legere. I currently play a 2,25.
Thanks guys anyway as my main gripe was just the cost.
Morgan you talk about grass never " dimensionally stable " well i sell meat which i would consider being a walking breathing animal is even more inconsistent than grass. Yet i guess that " joe public" expects his meat to be of a consistent nature and edible, not just part of it.
I am not picking on you by the way, these are just my thoughts and i have appreciated all your comments.
To be honest i am not a great tinkerer with reeds, maybe due to my ignorance, you were right " to scrape or not to scrape"? that is the question?? Phil :w00t:
 
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