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Reeds Reeds

Messages
37
Hi everyone, just a quick question. I have been playing on vandoren number two reeds for 3 months now and was wonder if i should move onto a stronger reed. If so what make/number? Thanks everyone.
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Hi Rory!

Its a common assumption that newbies should move on to harder reeds at some point, and most of us would question this - Why?

Many sax players use 2 strength reeds - it all depends on several factors.

1. Are you unhappy with the sound you produce or want to change it in some way?

2. What size mouthpiece do you use? what is the tip opening, and what type of sound do you want to produce?
Commonly classical sax players use mouthpieces with smaller tip openings and harder reeds; jazz players commonly use wider tip openings and softer reeds.

3. The Vandoren reeds you use sound like the "Blue" box commonly used by classical players, and are harder than many reeds with similar numbers.

4. Most reeds have their advocates - partly it depends on what music you play, and which reeds might more suit/facilitate that sound.

I certainly would not advise other than you think about why you might want to change, and do some research before buying any reeds. Most of us have probably tried several reeds and tend to choose certain ones in preference to others. Other people are not that curious or bothered or may not notice much different in sound, but at the very least they choose a reed that is playable, and is neither too hard or too soft - which may be the important thing ultimately.

So, not possible to give a simple answer to your question without some more detail. Some reeds are brighter, some darker, some smoother, some more percussive, all of which might affect/facilitate the sound that you want to make. For a rich and complex sound I usually play Alexander Superial DC 2.5 or Francois Louis Excellence 2.5 reeds, in slight preference to Rico Jazz Selects 2M & 2H reeds.

Final thought is that I would prefer to explore the subject rather than not, but am aware that it costs money. In all my playing I have never felt happy with reed strengths above 3, and am happily in the 2/2.5 range on all saxes, with mouthpiece tip openings around 7 - 8 on average.

Kind regards
Tom:cool:
 
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Messages
37
Thanks tom. It was just a query really. Im happy with my reeds but just wondered if i needed stronger ones. Ill browse round and also ask my teacher about it as well. Thanks for your help tho it is greatly appreciated.

Rory
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
In addition to Tom's explanation, be aware that the strength of the reed you play is no indication whatever of your playing ability. But if playing is a real effort, it may well be that your reed is too hard, or the mouthpiece is unsuitable for you, or the combination of them is not right for you (but it may suit someone else really well). Sometimes the right combination is hard to establish, and we don't listen to good advice anyway,and that is why some of us end up with a small collection of mouthpieces we never use.
 
Messages
37
Playing isnt a real effort. I just thought i might get a better sound if i changed reeds. And maybe played a bit better. But ill experiment a bit and just see what happens. Thanks for your help.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
It's always worth playing around and experimenting. So I'm not advocating changing, but seeing for yourself what happens would be worthwhile. In general you'll find that harder reeds work better at the top end (and may be a necessity fo decent high notes) but make the lower notes difficult or impossible. And the opposite for softer reeds.

Different reed types - e.g. french filed as opposed to normal - give different sounds. So experimenting with the different reed types, even just those made by vandoren is worth playing with.

But.... The mouthpiece/sax/mouth/reed/ligature all work together and concentrating on playing is probably the best way forward.

You might also want to start experimenting with adjusting your own reeds..... There are a few books on it, but it's a matter of trial and error and can cost a lot in ruined reeds...
 
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TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
In addition to Tom's explanation, be aware that the strength of the reed you play is no indication whatever of your playing ability.

Well, I did make this point in several ways TBF - "many sax players use 2 strength reeds....." etc :w00t:;} . I will forgive you on this occasion;}

Love to all
Tom:cool:
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Well, I did make this point in several ways TBF - "many sax players use 2 strength reeds....." etc :w00t:;} . I will forgive you on this occasion;}

Love to all
Tom:cool:

I am often careless. Sometimes I don't even pay any attention to what I read. As I am forgiven, I assume that my status as member is unimpaired.
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
Playing isnt a real effort. I just thought i might get a better sound if i changed reeds. And maybe played a bit better. But ill experiment a bit and just see what happens. Thanks for your help.

I think I understand what you mean. With the tenor I started on orange ricos, moved up to Vandorens, discovered Rico Royals, La Voz, etc. I now use a Fibracell and orange ricos. The latter partly because they can be bought in packets of 25 and then are quite a good buy, partly because many are of the view that they are not half bad, and partly because I figure that if my playing is any good, it should be so on many reeds within my preferred strength range. Next I will try a Legere which I found very good on my baritone. Finally, the shops in my area have a limited, but good, range of reeds, but internet orders are often necessary.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Where's the best place to get Magnum sticks? The Guardia have thrown me in klink twice, as a vagrant, just for going through the waist bins in the local market!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
Where's the best place to get Magnum sticks? The Guardia have thrown me in klink twice, as a vagrant, just for going through the waist bins in the local market!

They sell Magnums in the vending machine at work, so there are always lots of sticks available. PM me your address and I'll stick a few in the post :)))
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
Got agree with Tom on this one, i have posted in another part of the forum my gripes with inconsistency with reeds. I can quite happily blow a Vandoren 3 on my Jody jazz HR7 but find an Alexander Superial 3 hard, but then i also have some really stuffy hard to blow Rico Royal 2 1/2's so Tom is right it is experimentation and finding one which suits.
I have used a Hemke synthetic as they play really loud. ( great for the band ) but have no finesse whatsover, well in my mouth they don't, so when we are playing ballads not really suited.
Let us know how you get on.
Phil

Well, I did make this point in several ways TBF - "many sax players use 2 strength reeds....." etc :w00t:;} . I will forgive you on this occasion;}

Love to all
Tom:cool:
 
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