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Reeds Reeds for beginners

FredTalbot

New Member
Messages
6
Are certain reeds better for a beginner to use?
Can you give any advice on which to start with, and progress to?
Thanks
 

Gallen

Senior Member
Messages
397
Hi Fred,
I'm a beginner, about 7 months in, alto sax, so please take this as a data point :) I started with Vandoren reeds - came with the sax, but they were quite difficult to play. I then went over to Rico Royals and Hemke, both of which proved to work alright (#2 hardness - preferred Hemke). However, some worked and some didn't. I then tried synthetics like fibracell, rico plasticover and legere signature. This was about 2 months in, 5 hours a week thereabouts. At this stage I had just switched over to a lip out embouchure.

However, in my experience, I kept getting poor cane reeds, I had *one* vandoren 2.5 that was really good, others were very difficult to blow, or just felt off. I then decided to stick with synthetics, and am using Legere Signature 2.5s with my current mouthpiece. Love it so far, works off the bat. In terms of sound though, I'd say the Vandoren 2.5 blue box still sounds _marginally_ better, but I don't want to fuss about with cane at this stage of my playing.

hths!

Alvin
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,920
I started playing in March and my tutor recommended a Rico Royale for a soprano, strength 1.5.
 
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saxomophone

New Member
Messages
22
For tenor I would suggest a Legere Signature 2 strength. Its a synthetic reed that avoids all the unpleasantness associated with cane and sounds pretty good.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Fred, decisions about reed choices come down to 2 things, playability and sound. And both need to be matched to mouthpiece and player and sax.

For now concentrate on playability. Reeds get stronger as the numbers go up. Any of the good brands such as (but not limited to) Rico, Vandoren will work for you. Different lines within the brands are aimed more at different sounds, but playing styles also come into it.

As the mouthpiece tip opening increases, you need a softer reed... Beginners use softer reeds/narrower tip openings. Vandoren tend to be nearly half a stength harder than Ricos.

Unless you're starting with a wild mouthpiece, something at the softe end, say Rico 2, Vandoren 1.5 would be a good starting point. Work up to a harder reed as you need to, especially if you're struggling with higher notes or find you're clamping the reed shut. But - a lot of this is control and learning not to clamp down on the reed is important.
 

FredTalbot

New Member
Messages
6
Thanks to all for the replies.
I quite like the idea of the LEGERE reed, although it seems the Rico is also a good option for me.
I know it may get a furrowed brow from some, but I am also thinking about a reed for a clarinet also. Would the same mouthpiece / reed be suitable for both Sax and Clarinet?
Also, can anyone recommend a good place to buy them. I dont really have a local store, so would probably be looking for them online.
Any recommendations?
Thanks
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Sax/clarinet mouthpieces aren't interchangable as the clarinet has the tenon on the mouthpiece, and the sax mouthpiece is female. Reeds are also different. And just to make things worse, there are different type of mouthpiece for the different types of Bb clarinet. (Primarily Boehm vs Deutsche, but the Deutsche come in two tenon sizes). Reeds are also different...

Where are you?
 

Jeanette

Organizress
Cafe Moderator
Messages
25,920
Thanks to all for the replies.

Also, can anyone recommend a good place to buy them. I dont really have a local store, so would probably be looking for them online.
Any recommendations?
Thanks
I bought mine online from net musical instruments who have now merged with Ackerman music.

Jx
 

1954pip

Member
Messages
124
hi i am a new player as well i use rico 2 reeds i find these good for me i mjust starting to get a good tone soi will stay with these reeds for the time being,
all the best hope you enjoy your sax as much as i have.
pip
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,013
I get mine from Jonathon Myall Music (Just Flutes) Ordered a box of reeds yesterday afternoon and they were delivered this morning. Great service. Reeds Direct seem to stock every brand under the sun.

Jim.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
But - a lot of this is control and learning not to clamp down on the reed is important.[/QUOTE]
You hit the nail squarely on the head there Kev :welldone

Fred listen to yourself playing :-
Face into a corner and get the vibrato going. If the vibrato doesn't come and the sax doesn't sing, your reed is too hard!!

John.
 

Two Voices

Senior Member
Messages
1,113
When I started playing the Sax I was given a box of Rico Royals and still think they are a great reed, just a little too bright for my tastes these days. The consistancy of the Royals is very good IMO. 1.5 or a 2 is perfect to begin with. Teaming it up with a good mouthpiece is very important. My first mouthpiece was a Yamaha 4c which is a great mouthpiece to start on. Looking back, a 6c would have suited me better to begin on. I think younger students should start with a 4c and more mature students on a 6c.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Are certain reeds better for a beginner to use?
Can you give any advice on which to start with, and progress to?
Thanks
Hi Fred!

The second part of your question is also quite important.

1. You may naturally find that as your embouchure develops you may need a slightly harder reed - say 2.5 or so. This is natural and will help you to maintain a good sound and avoid overblowing (when you breath is almost too strong for the reed you are using).

2. As you develop your playing you will gradually develop a preferred sax sound, and this will influence your future choice of mouthpiece and/or choice of reed. For classical music it is common to have a small tip opening with a hard reed,and for more popular music - jazz, rock etc., it is common to have a larger tip opening and softer reeds. All combinationa can work well but most peoplesettle on a specific combination and choose reeds accordingly. Certain reeds are particularly recommended for musical types (eg. Vandoren Traditional for Classical; Vandoren Java or V16 for more Popular; Vandoren ZZ for Jazz).

On Alto I play Jazz, Funk, Blues and contemporary music. My preference is a medium small tip opening with soft reeds. The reeds that I prefer are usually labelled "Jazz" (Rico Jazz Selects, Marca Jazz, Francois Louis Excellence and Alexander Superial DC's) and are all fairly responsive and have a brighter tone which provides a broad sound palette - rich, complex, edgy etc. Other reeds - like La Voz, Vandoren Java & V16, Rico Royal, I would describe as being more mainstream - provide a solid sound which is less bright overall, and perhaps more percussive - ideal for Rock & Popular music.

Differences are not that major. What may be useful for you is to have some slightly harder reeds at some point, and possibly have a different type of reed so that you will be able to develop your own preference, just as with mouthpieces, which can have a major influence on the sound that you produce.

As others have said stick with Rico Royal 2's for the time being, but it may also be nice sometime to acquire some alternative reeds so that you can also make an informed choice. I started on soprano sax and with Rico Royal 2's. I moved on to RR 2.5's after a few months, then tried Vandoren Java and Vandoren ZZ's which were my favourites at the time, soundwise.

Hope this helps.
Kind regards
Tom
 
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