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Tenor reed on an alto - is this a "thing"?

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A quick chat with @guidocreo in SOTM about this as he tried it. I had a couple of tenor reeds so what the heck, I tried too. As if I don't have enough of a collection of reeds I keep trying. Anyway, it actually felt and sounded good. So like I said in the title, is this a thing? Is it something you've done? I see one disadvantage right away, IIRC, tenor reeds are a little more expensive.
 

Nick Wyver

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It's common. As is baritone reeds on tenor. Those that do it think it gives the sound more 'body', conveniently forgetting that the body in the sound of a bigger sax comes from the bigger sax not the reed. I think it's just as likely to give you the opposite. Anyway it seems to suit some with more money than sense. ;) Having just spent £37 on 5 baritone reeds, I can't see the attraction.
 

guidocreo

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No more "body"; it seems to me that it is easier blowing and I feel me more in control: i think that is related to the profile of the reed, which is wider and longer than that for contralto.

i have to work on it more time.
 

nigeld

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Presumably the ligature matters - I imagine that it could easily press down on the sides of the reed and make the bottom surface concave.
 

thomsax

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This is my opinions: Your mouthpiece and ligature must be able to hold a bigger reed in good way. A ligature like the one on picture is working best. Leaves most of the stock free. The reed should not be too long. I lose some energy with a long reed on a short mouthpiece. I get a more "mellow/thicker/powerful" tone. Easier to play the low tones and they comes out better. Not on all saxes. I play harder reeds when I use a bari reed on a tenor mpc, #4 or 5 (they don't make #5 plasticcovers anymore). I use play #3½ or 4 tenor reed on tenor mpc. A long facing is better than a short. Handy as well. One reed for two saxes! Here is a picture of two Rovner tenor mouthpieces. To the left tenor reed on the right bari reed.
trbrrovner.JPG
 

thomsax

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I've been told that Earl Bostic sometimes used tenor reeds on alto mouthpiece. And that he also used a razor blade to for having a buzzing tone. I don't know if is true? I know a bass player who is playing baritone reeds on his bass sax mouthpiece. Back to topic.
 

saxyjt

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I've been told that Earl Bostic sometimes used tenor reeds on alto mouthpiece. And that he also used a razor blade to for having a buzzing tone. I don't know if is true? I know a bass player who is playing baritone reeds on his bass sax mouthpiece. Back to topic.

Did he swallow razor blades before playing? Or used them instead of proper reeds? :w00t:
 

saxyjt

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Back to topic. I used baritone reeds on tenor a while back and liked it. I haven't done it in a while, but as far as I remember it made low notes easier and gave high notes more substance! I've struggled with reeds on tenor for a long time.

I don't think I ever felt the need to try tenor on alto.
 

Colin the Bear

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When you're at the gig and you open the case and the case is bare. I've used clarinet and alto on sop. Baritone on tenor, tenor on alto.

Some reeds are too short for the mouthpiece. The cut finishes short of the window. Next size up may fit better. If it works it's ok.
 

altissimo

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I've been told that Earl Bostic sometimes used tenor reeds on alto mouthpiece. And that he also used a razor blade to for having a buzzing tone. I don't know if is true? I know a bass player who is playing baritone reeds on his bass sax mouthpiece. Back to topic.
from what I've read he somehow fitted a baffle into his mouthpiece that was made from a bit of razor blade - some sax players back then used to modify the baffle and facing of their mouthpieces to get more projection etc

Re tenor reed on an alto mouthpiece the main problem is that ir's too wide for a lot of mouthpieces so, depending on the mouthpiece, you may get a lot of overhang on each side and the ligature may not open up enough to accommodate it..
Since the cut of a tenor reed is longer than an alto reed it will be more flexible which may suit longer facings and possibly may make things a bit brighter or more buzzy


sax mpc on a trumpet
I think Eddie Harris did this and there may even have been an Eddie Harris Reed Trumpet mouthpiece available
 

thomsax

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Re tenor reed on an alto mouthpiece the main problem is that ir's too wide for a lot of mouthpieces so, depending on the mouthpiece, you may get a lot of overhang on each side and the ligature may not open up enough to accommodate it..
You can use a wet stone (long) to narrow down the wide of the reed.. Not on plasticovers ;), You must be careful so you don't ruin the tip and thin part of the reed. I just use a bari reed on tenor mpc when I play my Comm I (I) tenor. I think I get more power out from the sax. And a big window and bigger reeds is also a good combo. My Rovner mpc's have very big windows. It was John Laughter that told me to use bari reeds on tenor mpc. He was on Rovner as well. .
rovner 7mm.JPG
 

InWalkedBud

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I like a tenor reed on alto; seems easier to play somehow, though I've been told me that's because I'm not playing the heart of the reed. Dunno whether it matters if the reed is larger than the table. The table on my Morgan Excalibur tenor is quite short, and the tenor reed always extends beyond it lengthwise, at least.
 
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