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Beginner What is resistance?

Tommy Ng

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Hi,

If a reed has a high resistance, does it mean that it can play a longer note in one breath?

Cheers.
 

Colin the Bear

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Some set ups need a large volume of air at low pressure (low resistance)and some need a small volume of air at high pressure (high resistance). Both have their drawbacks. With high resistance sustained notes aren't a problem but breathing can be. The need to exhale before inhaling becomes necessary which can be problematic on fast pieces. It is easier to circular breath on a high resistance set up. The opposite with low resistance. Sustaining long notes becomes a problem and you can get quite a heady feeling pumping a large volume of air through your lungs.
 

kevgermany

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I think it's misuse of the term. Resistance is as Colin described, plus the effect of the standing waves in the sax making things harder to blow..

My guess is that the meaning was stiffer, requiring more lip strength to control it.
 

Tommy Ng

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I am using Legere 2 with MBII Mpc. It is extremely easy to play (I can play a very long note with little air and with very low lip strength). Is this set up considered low or high resistance?
 

ProfJames

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I am using Legere 2 with MBII Mpc. It is extremely easy to play (I can play a very long note with little air and with very low lip strength). Is this set up considered low or high resistance?
Does it actually matter what it is described as? As long as it works?
 

altissimo

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there are a number of factors that can have an effect on the "resistance" - reed strength, cut of the reed, mouthpiece tip opening, facing curve, baffle and chamber design, the bore of the instrument etc
If there's less resistance, the phrase 'free blowing' is often used
some players like a lot of resistance as it gives them something to push against, others opt for an easier life
if you like playing the MBII and Legere, stick with it
 

jbtsax

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To understand resistance round your lips and blow a big stream of air out the opening. Then insert your thumb and blow again letting some of the air leak around your thumb. In the first example nothing is holding the air back. In the second example, you must push the air much harder to move the same amount of air out of your mouth. That is resistance.

Some players like more resistance to push against when they play and so use stiffer reeds that require a stronger embouchure and more air pressure. Some players like less resistance and use reeds that do not require as tight an embouchure and less air pressure.

The acoustic response of the instrument itself is a different factor, but it is also related to how the instrument feels to the musician. Here is a quote by Arthur Benade on this subject (FMA p.446)

"Anything that works against the maintenance of oscillation (such as the reduction of the heights of air-column resonance peaks by frictional or radiation damping, or the misalignment of the resonances so that they fail to set up strongly cooperative oscillatory regimes) requires the player to operate the reed on the more steeply falling portion of its flow-control curve. In order to produce this increased steepness, the musician is required to exert more effort in his playing, so as to provide a combination of increased blowing pressure and greater embouchure tension. This explains why instruments having either heavily damped or grossly misaligned resonances are usually described as "hard blowing" and why the player is likely to find them physically tiring to play.

It is a common observation that really fine instrument with accurately aligned resonances can be played comfortably with a reed that is considerably stiffer than can be used on a less well aligned instrument. . . . When several air-column modes "gang-up" on a reed as members of an oscillatory regime, they can satisfactorily push a much stiffer reed open and closed at the blowing pressure and embouchure tension preferred by a particular player."


Basically what Benade is saying is that the same mouthpiece and reed can feel and respond differently on different instruments depending upon how "in tune" the harmonics of each note are the amount energy lost inside the instrument due to frictional dampening. I have experienced when cleaning and polishing the inside of the neck and bore of a saxophone it becomes more responsive.
 

Tommy Ng

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I am on MBII and Legere signature 2. It is a bit too "low resistance". I also have a 2.25 and 2.5 but they don't work, they feel so much harder and sound dead.
 

Colin the Bear

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The search for the perfect set up is an on going quest and will never cease. If you have something that works stick with that and experiment with others. What works for one player with a particular instrument may not work for every player.

In brief

French lay mouthpieces like french cut reeds.

American lay mouthpieces like american cut reeds.

There are mouthpieces that are neither.

A small tip opening likes a harder reed and a large tip opening likes a softer.

A box of 10 reeds may contain 0 or 10 good reeds.


Four hours practice a day for six months on cheap student gear will result in a better tone and intonation than one hour a week on the the most expensive equipment known to music.

A good teacher is only a guide. They can show you the way but you have to walk the walk and put in the hours.

Rushing only frustrates and disheartens. It takes time. Let it come to you. There's no rush. After all you may never get there. Enjoy the search, appreciate the scenery and soak up the company.
 

kevgermany

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You've got a setup that I assume sounds the way you want it to, plays well and in tune. If you can, adjust to it, otherwise talk to a mouthpiece maker and see what can be done. But remember more resistance means you have to blow harder.
 

kernewegor

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The influence which the conflicting philosophies of the French Resistance and de Gaulle's Free French had on French mouthpiece and reed makers in the Second World War is, apart from a few minor papers, an unploughed field.
 

Jonesy

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The influence which the conflicting philosophies of the French Resistance and de Gaulle's Free French had on French mouthpiece and reed makers in the Second World War is, apart from a few minor papers, an unploughed field.

The Resistance (trenchcoats, ankle socks, floral dresses, and berets) or the Communist Resistance (dungarees and denim caps)?
DeGaulle is ze one wiz ze big ooter, no?
 
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