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Reeds again!

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Ive been learning to play tenor for around % months now and have lessons weekly and feel im progressing reasonably well, thanks to my luvly teacher!

however one inconsistency that has remained consistent! is the difference in reeds almost on a daily basis.

ive sought lots of advise and many people on the forum have been very helpful but I still find that reeds (even the same brand) play totally differently on a daily basis.

ive mainly stuck with Reco Royal 2`s but have tried Marco Jazz 2`S (which equate to a Reco 2.5) thanks to samples Tommupfumo sent me!

but I still find that one day 1 of the 5 reeds I rotate plays beautifully but the next day the next reed is like trying to play a floorboard (this happened yesterday but instead of changing I increased air pressure and it played better than any reed to date).
I also rinse dip soak my reeds in alcohol/water mix pryor to playing and rinse them the same way after.

im now in a need to buy a new box of reeds and thought I might seek advise before I push the button!

all suggestions welcome!

rgds Lee.
 

RMorgan

Member
Messages
110
Hi Lee,

Well, since reeds are made of bamboo and one bamboo plant is never identical to the other, I think that achieving perfect consistence is impossible.

Some players are so meticulous about reed consistence, that they select about only a few reeds from a box of ten and discard the rest.

Some others overcome this issue by customizing their reeds; if they are harder to blow, they file it a little bit in the right spots; if they are too soft, they use reed clippers to cut the tip.

Other players just ignore the issue and adapt to each reed.

Other guys like synthetic reeds, because they are extremely consistent, but some others say their tone is much worse than regular reeds.

In my opinion, this is just part of the woodwind player´s world.

You might want to try out those rico reed cases that come with the "vitalizer".

http://www.ricoreeds.com/ricoProduc...683&productid=14&productname=Single_Reed_Case

The vitalizer keeps humidity constant and stable, which is good for preserving the reed´s properties.

Cheers,

Raf.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
I use Rico Royal #2 reeds on tenor and I like them a lot. This may surprise you but I also find them to be consistent and don't find much difference between them.

I rinse new reeds under the tap and after that I just wet them in my mouth. The other thing I don't do is rotate them, or soak them in any kind of solution. I play the current "pet" reed until I need to change it. Works for me.

Playing a different reed every day is not working for you, so try playing the same one and see if that helps.

Jim.
 

gypsy

Member
Messages
40
Jim, I totally agree with you. I do exactly the same.

I have never fully understood the reasoning behind the rotation of reeds. Just get a new reed out of the box, suck on it for 30 seconds or so, put it on the mouthpiece and play it until it dies. I have just opened the 6th reed in my latest box of ten and it plays just as well as the previous five have done.

Try it Lee it might surprise you.

Regards,

Albert
 

Wade Cornell

Well-Known Member
Subscriber
Messages
2,124
Tonal differences, if an issue at all with synthetic reeds, would only be an issue for someone who is a pro and requires a very specific sound. If you're a beginner, intermediate or even advanced player what you need is maximum consistency as there are already so many variables in playing a sax. By using a good quality synthetic reed you get that consistency and they last for many months.

I mostly play fibracells even on gigs and have yet to have anyone come up and say how much better I would have sounded if I’d only used cane. For me it seems like a “no-brainer”. If you are trying to develop your tone (and everything else) you’ve got to have as much consistency as possible or you are continually adjusting to a range of variables. I’m surprised that teachers don’t point this out as it seems so obvious. As mentioned it’s fairly common to only get a few good cane reeds out of a box. That, plus the extra life of a synthetic, make them the best value for money as well.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Tonal differences, if an issue at all with synthetic reeds, would only be an issue for someone who is a pro and requires a very specific sound. If you're a beginner, intermediate or even advanced player what you need is maximum consistency as there are already so many variables in playing a sax. By using a good quality synthetic reed you get that consistency and they last for many months.

I mostly play fibracells even on gigs and have yet to have anyone come up and say how much better I would have sounded if I’d only used cane. For me it seems like a “no-brainer”. If you are trying to develop your tone (and everything else) you’ve got to have as much consistency as possible or you are continually adjusting to a range of variables. I’m surprised that teachers don’t point this out as it seems so obvious. As mentioned it’s fairly common to only get a few good cane reeds out of a box. That, plus the extra life of a synthetic, make them the best value for money as well.
Don't agree.

I think it's limiting to lock yourself into a specific reed, prevents you from switching, as you can't play the others. For me you should be able to take a reed and play it.

Some people have a set of reeds in a case, all played in. Usually there are some differences between the reeds. But if you learn to accomodate the differences, there's no disaster when you need to switch.

Tone - my son was having difficulties with his clarinet as the reed was eating away at his lower lip. Bought him a very expensive plastic one thinking the smoother finish would stop the sandpaper effect. Killed his tone. Sounded so bad he didn't play it and it put me off plastics completely. ymmv, and I know Pete plays Legere's now. People should play what suits them.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Tonal differences, if an issue at all with synthetic reeds, would only be an issue for someone who is a pro and requires a very specific sound. If you're a beginner, intermediate or even advanced player what you need is maximum consistency as there are already so many variables in playing a sax. By using a good quality synthetic reed you get that consistency and they last for many months.

I mostly play fibracells even on gigs and have yet to have anyone come up and say how much better I would have sounded if I’d only used cane. For me it seems like a “no-brainer”. If you are trying to develop your tone (and everything else) you’ve got to have as much consistency as possible or you are continually adjusting to a range of variables. I’m surprised that teachers don’t point this out as it seems so obvious. As mentioned it’s fairly common to only get a few good cane reeds out of a box. That, plus the extra life of a synthetic, make them the best value for money as well.
That's something I can agree with. I now use standard Legere reeds, and their consistency is really great. That they last so long is another incentive to use them.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
I find Rico Royals to be far superior to Legere. On the advice of a pro playing friend I recently tried Legere reeds on my tenor and baritone saxes, I won't be changing anytime soon. Rico Plasticovers are handy to have around for bad reed days, should one occur.

Until he gains experience I think Lee should play his reeds without rotation and maybe try a Plasticover for comparison.

Jim.
 

jeremyjuicewah

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,890
Using Rico orange box ones, nice and cheap and pretty good. I use ATG system and can play all the reeds in a box (very rare to have one that cant be made to play even pretty well). I also use Rico plasticised and treat them ATG too. I find though it defeats the plasticising a bit, the plasticised reed is different and suits me. Maybe cos I started out with them a few years ago. Hated my synthetic. Sounds like rubbish, easy to spot, hard to play. Cant remember the name, Henry something, complete c##*.

To the thread start, I agree the hard floorboard (good description) reeds can play really well, but only for me at volume I dont want for practice. I like a hard reed, but need to use softer, hence ATG. Even if you take really fine emery on a block and just gently gently take it back and forth on the tip of the reed, you will improve most reeds dramatically. Does shorten their lives and does weaken them though. If the alternative is raging war with a bad reed, seems worth it to me.
Mike
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Jim, I totally agree with you. I do exactly the same.

I have never fully understood the reasoning behind the rotation of reeds. Just get a new reed out of the box, suck on it for 30 seconds or so, put it on the mouthpiece and play it until it dies. I have just opened the 6th reed in my latest box of ten and it plays just as well as the previous five have done.

Try it Lee it might surprise you.

Regards,

Albert
I used to do this when I started playing and the reeds lasted up to 2 weeks. Since preparing and rotating them they each last for 9 months or more. By rotating them and moistening them without saliva they last far longer.

Regarding the variability of sound I would have to suggest that it is much more likely to be a breath control/embouchure issue. I always have a number of reeds on the go - probably 6 or more brands - I notice very little in terms of tone variation/playability issues. When you have been playing for rather more than % months you are likely to gradually be developing your own sound and this will result in a great consistency of tone, breath control etc. which will override any variation in reed, in my opinion.

If you need a recommendation I would try a Rico Jazz Select 2M or 2S (filed or unfiled) or an Alexander Superial 2 or 2.5 but I'll be sticking with my Marca Jazz 2.5's.

Kind regards
Tom
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,064
I do like a vandoren classic blue. I think it's the taste. The consistency is good too. They all taste the same. I tried a plasticover once. Yuuk. Tasteless. Rico reeds taste a bit too earthy for me and the rico royale taste too posh. I haven't tried a Rico jazz but have heard they use a spice cane, to give that hot flavour.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
WOW! Only turned away from the forum for 1day and so many helpful replies!
I won't quote everyone but will try to cover as many of the suggestions that I may have already covered.

To start with ive been rotating around 5-6 varied brand reeds of which I find the the Marco jazz (thanks to Tom) the easier to play and dare I say it most consistent!
The others ive used are both standard Ricos N02 and Rico Royal N02 of which I've gone threw 11 in the last 5 months, most of these I would describe as having gone off although 1-2 have just been terrible for my level of skill virtually impossible to play. And 1 other was just like a piece of drift wood and I instantly removed and destroyed it in disgust!

After previous discussions (thanks again to Tom and others) I odopted the method of soaking the reeds for a while before use in a mix of vodka and water and then rinse them again after use in the same mix (found this rinse prevents mould).

Even though I use this method I still find a massive difference in the Rico reeds, I currently have 2 Marco jazz N02 in circulation and actually look forward to playing them over the Ricos because I know how good they will be.

After writing that last paragraph it would appear ive answered my own problem however there's more!

I've discussed this issue with my tutor and she gave me a plasticoat to try and having just started doing that I have to say I was very impressed with it!

Based on this I think I may invest in a quialty synthetic reed such as a Legere signature! At least it will be a constructive process that will prove one way or the other!

One method I haven't tried is just playing the individual reed to death apart from the 1st one I ever had that sax.co gave me, which I destroyed within 2 weeks but that was also the 1st 2 weeks I'd ever attempted to play sax.

Rgds Lee.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,064
Something to try with a dead reed is to clip it with a cutter. Sometimes you get a better reed than it started out as. I clip all mine. Alto, sop, clarinet and baritone. They last ages after a clip. I start with a grade down and clip it half a millimeter or so. I have some alto reeds that still play well after years.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Something to try with a dead reed is to clip it with a cutter. Sometimes you get a better reed than it started out as. I clip all mine. Alto, sop, clarinet and baritone. They last ages after a clip. I start with a grade down and clip it half a millimeter or so. I have some alto reeds that still play well after years.
Cheers Colin, could be a way to revitalize a lot of dead reeds! Certainly worth considering.

Rgds Lee.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Thin reeds, like rico 2s, don't last long because they're so weak.

Ricos tend to be about a half strength softer than the traditional vandorens.

I switched to RJS - more consistent, and nicer sound than the red box or Royale ricos.

But play what suits you, all we can do is say what works for us, and we're all different.
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,064
I find there to be a greater difference in strength between rico and vandoren. On alto I use a 3.5 rico or a 2 Vandoren. On Baritone I'm using a 4 Vandoren and can't find a rico to suit. Probably need a 6 or 7. I do have some very old Selmer Baritone reeds and am comfortable with a 2.5. On clarinet it's a vandoren 1.5 or a rico 3. Minefield innit?
 
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