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Reeds reeds reeds!

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Hi all, been learning to play tenor for about 3-4 months now and have been tutored from the beginning.
I've had an ongoing consistent inconsistency with reeds.

I practice daily depending on time allowed (job shifts / kids ect) from 30-40 upto several hours in segments.

Now sometimes I can have 2 really good productive, confidence boosting days but then for no apparent reason have a day where I can't blow more than a few notes without either a sqeak or other degradation of sound and at times this can be quite deflating.

Yesterday during my lesson my tutor spotted a very likely cause of my squeaking when playing threw notes that includes going upto high d (would appear its down to finger coordination and not closing all keys together) which is good news and can now be put right.

However I seem to suffer from distortion in my sound, this I believe is not down to technique as simply blowing a single note can have this distortion.
Now I've noticed its very dependent on what reed I'm using out of my 5 I have in circulation.

So if it's down to possibly a reed being bad or has gone off! Then the only option is to continue swapping reeds until I get one I'm happy with?

This just seems such a hit and miss scenario when you consider I'm holding in my hands an instrument of significant value and it all comes down to a small piece of bamboo.

I guess what I'd like to hear is that maybe plasticity reeds would resolve this, which is an option ive considered but I'm drawn back to the idea that the thousands of people that manage to play reeds without issue, so why am I having so much trouble?

I'm using a Yamaha 4c m/piece with Rico royal 2 reeds, I've tried a few different reeds with varrying success.
But alas the problem persists.

Rgds Lee.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Use a pencil to number the reeds. If it's one or two of them, you'll soon spot the problem. If the RRs are working well, consider the Rico Select Jazz. More consistent and nice sounding! start with a 2S or maybe 2M.
 

trimmy

One day i will...
Messages
10,272
Not an expert on reeds but would agree with Kev about numbering your reeds and trying out RJS's, iv'e found them to be the best for my set up but...... i tried a plasticover and it suited me fine, iv'e been using it for over a month now with no problems even my teacher has commented on my sound improving :)

Give one a try you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain

Forgot to add i use a Legere studio cut 23/4
 
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Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,011
You're a beginner and there are no short cuts to learning to play the sax. I use the same reeds as you and I think that they are great. The difference is that I've been playing for years and I'm used to them. Getting all of our fingers down together is a neat trick that takes time and practice. Arm yourself with patience and you'll get there.

Jim.
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,023
This just seems such a hit and miss scenario when you consider I'm holding in my hands an instrument of significant value and it all comes down to a small piece of bamboo. .[/QUOTE said:
I have to agree with Justin Chune.

I`m afraid you can`t buy this one. A lot of us wish we could but the reality is that Saxophone playing takes time and practice. I`ve been at it over 30 years and because I no longer play in a band,I don`t really give it the level of input sufficient to even keep up my past ability. Sometimes I really want to play then find I`m just too tired so I`ll pick up a guitar and faff about with that as they take soooo little effort. I sometimes even idle valuable practice time away on internet forums. >:)

Sorry but I could not resist that one. To end my post on an encouraging note. The endless harping on about playing long notes cannot be overstressed. Its the one absolutely surefire way of you developing a rapport with your mouthpiece and reed.

Now I`m off to practice what I`ve just preached.
 

Andrew Sanders

Northern Commissioner for Caslm
Messages
2,773
Lee,

It's a good idea to really check the position of the reed on the mouthpiece and make sure it's bang on. Squeeks can occur when the reed is not completely centred or a little too far forward on the mouthpiece. Just my two pennyworth, but it's the first thing I check if things are amiss.

Andy
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
OK thanks for your thoughts and I sort of half expected the answer to come down to lack of experience and control and that's fine, wouldn't have made the commitment had I not expected to have to work at it.

However if there is something that can make the process easier I'm all for it and it appears synthetic or plasticoat reeds do have something to offer.
I don't know how long you guys have been playing but is it just possible that technology has in that time made for an easier beginners aid?
Just as Trimmy states above, hes been using one for a month to great effect!

I'm thinking along the lines that if one of these reeds gave me some consistency this would then allow me to concentrate on practicing and progressing, and do away withheld frustration I encounter.

As far as long tones go, this is how I start every practice session every day and I don't short as I've noticed a significant improvement in my tone quality also confirmed by my tutor.

And having been a engineer for 25 years I'm quite fecsdidious when it comes to making sure everything is in its place, as everything has its place!

I appreciate like with many things, there are some accessories that are simply gimmicks and I don't care to waste my time and money on these.

I'm greatful for your thoughts and advice.

Rgds Lee
 

Clivey

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,023
breathless;78966 I'm thinking along the lines that if one of these reeds gave me some consistency this would then allow me to concentrate on practicing and progressing said:
As you may know the boss here is an awesome saxophonist and he endorses Legere brand synth reeds. I`ve never tried a synth before but If I was tempted then I think I would be inclined towards Petes choice.

You will be able to rely on the consistency and you will also save valuable time as they don`t need to be moistened before playing.

If you do go down this road It would be pretty useful if you could post a review of your choice perhaps even including a couple of sound clips. "Nothing too complex, perhaps just a couple of scales".
Usually these reviews are done by pros and it would be interesting to hear how a less experienced musician felt about using a synthetic reed.
 
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breathless

Member
Messages
270
Clivey, that's interesting I think I will pursue that route with the synthetic reed!

I had to look over my shoulder when you refered to me as a musician (albeit less experienced ) made me laugh, I've been called a lot of things!

Joking aside, yes certainly. I've invested in a good quality digital audio recorder so that's a possibility.

Thanks for the information, most helpful.

Rgds Lee.
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Hi Lee,
A lot of players dont like synth's, i love Hahn reed's, nice and full sounding from top to bottom of the horn. And because i like a fairly bright sound their perfect for me. I've never had any problems with Hahn and the first one i bought in september 2010 is still going strong. To be fair i haven't tried the other brands of synth's because i'm really happy with the Hahn's. I play Tenor and go between Berg ss and Rico Metalite, and it plays great on both. It's like having a perfect reed every time you play, it's the best thing i ever did. Give them a go you won't be sorry.
Rob.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
Rob I'm most greatful for your input! That's quite a solid statement you make, think I'll be investing soon.

A perfect reed every time! Like the sound of that!

Rgds Lee.
 

compound

Member
Messages
457
Lee, One thing i forgot to mention is the Hahn reeds are slightly softer than their cane cousins. Example a Hahn no 2 is softer than a Rico Royal no 2. So if you decide to go down the Hahn path a 2.5 may be better for you, or it could be too hard. Trouble is were all different, i play a 2.5 or a 3 but i've been playing a lot longer than yourself. Anyway best of luck in your quest whichever brand you decide on,which could take several years.
Rob.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
I think all we sax newbies go through this reed consistency thing and it really does get better as your embouchure improves and your able to use stronger reeds,I went down the plastic route quite some time ago and tried a few,them being a fibracell a RICO plasticover and I think the other was a Barri I wasn't impressed with any of them so I would say stay away from them and save your money a lot of the guys on here seem to have had more success with the other two mentioned Legere and Hahne so maybe they are a better bet....good luck it will all get better as time goes on,one of the things I've noticed is sometimes you can pick up the sax and feel like a saxophone god and then the next day it's back to rubbish again it's all part of the game, it has never frustrated me because I love everything I do on the sax and I'm sure you do too,keep on blowing....John
 
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Sue

If at first you don't succeed try try try a Gin
Subscriber
Messages
2,362
I bought a Legere Signature when Pete first mentioned them on this site a while ago. I have 3 which I rotate and they are all consistent throughout the entire range. Good on altissimo on my Yani but not so good on altissimo on my P Mauriat. Not sure why as same mouthpiece - could be me or the horn? Probably me!! I occasionally use cane reeds RJS or La Voz just cos i like to mess about from time to time. I prefer the plastic and Legere do a great exchange if the strength isn't right - there is a timescale so check their website. They are expensive but if you treat them well they will last. Good luck.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
If dealing with squeaks do properly soak your reed before playing - say a minute or so, fully submerged, not just the tip. Practice is important as many os us more experienced players have much less of a problem with this issue. Accurately placing a good, moist reed on the table of a well made mouthpiece with a good ligature tightened just so should work really well, and make sure your embouchure does not create leakages with your mouthpiece and all will be well. I don't like Plasticovers and synthetic reeds personally, but accept that some folks find them great. Never felt frustrated with the reeds that I play - never play Rico or Vandoren reeds personally and more than happy with Marca Jazz, Francois Louis Excellence, Rigotti and Alexander Superial, NY, and DC reeds.
 

breathless

Member
Messages
270
I think all we sax newbies go through this reed consistency thing and it really does get better as your embouchure improves and your able to use stronger reeds,I went down the plastic route quite some time ago and tried a few,them being a fibracell a RICO plasticover and I think the other was a Barri I wasn't impressed with any of them so I would say stay away from them and save your money a lot of the guys on here seem to have had more success with the other two mentioned Legere and Hahne so maybe they are a better bet....good luck it will all get better as time goes on,one of the things I've noticed is sometimes you can pick up the sax and feel like a saxophone god and then the next day it's back to rubbish again it's all part of the game, it has never frustrated me because I love everything I do on the sax and I'm sure you do too,keep on blowing....John
Thanks John, does seem a minefield, I'm so desperate to gain some consistency! And I felt that if there's was some to be had from a synthetic reed then it had to be worth a go!
However your statement regarding some days playing like a god and the followed (normally for me around 2 days) of playing rubbish!
That strangely made me feel so much better As it's exactly what I'm experiencing! However I do get incredibly frustrated, comes from having extremely high expectations of myself (unfortunately always have had, it's a curse), I do wish sometimes I could just relax and enjoy something, for example I have an hours lesson once a week and my tutor is extremely calm and reassuring and I will have a couple of good days practice and go to my lesson looking forward to showing that I've learnt something and the first thing I go and do is blow a wrong note or have a eyes to brain communication breakdown! Then I tense up and cock everything else up making me think my tutor probably thinks I'm wasting her time! FRUSTRATION!

Sue, thanks for the info. Interesting that they will replace the synthetic reed if it's wrong, that's good service!
I think I'm right in saying the Legere signature is the top model they do? If that's correct when I was looking at a website the signature is about £7 more than there other model, Id lime to know what the difference is between them apart from a much fancier box!

Thanks for your advice, I feeling the the £20-30 for one of these synthetic reeds may be worth a punt!

Rgds Lee.
 
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