All profit supporting special needs music education and Help Musicians
Tutorials

Reeds What is this reed called love

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
This reed thing keeps cropping up all the time and it's really no wonder,of all the variables that can cause a novice player problems the reed must be the most problematic in that a novice doesn't know he's trying to blow a duff reed,and probably won't be able to tell when he has a good one because everything else he's doing isn't so good anyway.

Lately I seem to have developed a squeak at the start of most of the notes I have been playing, and whilst using a reed that has been as I thought really quite useful I couldn't understand what was happening,had my embousure gone so far off that it was causing this and if so what had happened, I decided to try another reed so got one out of the box soaked and put it on the sax it immediately it was a much stiffer reed than the last and I thought that's not a bad thing the top of the range will be that much better and it will soon play in and soften up, but no it did soften up then the squeak was back.

So I thought better try another reed so out of the box give it a soak and on the sax we go.Well from the very first blow you know you have hit the jackpot it blows crisp and sharp with a magnificent tonal quality just begging to show you what it can do and all of a sudden you feel like a saxophone god Oh what is this reed called love.

The moral of this story is to all you novices out there you may not Be as bad as you think you are it could just be that you haven't found the reed that wants to play,good luck in your hunt for the elusive reed .....John
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
This reed thing keeps cropping up all the time and it's really no wonder,of all the variables that can cause a novice player problems the reed must be the most problematic in that a novice doesn't know he's trying to blow a duff reed,and probably won't be able to tell when he has a good one because everything else he's doing isn't so good anyway.

Lately I seem to have developed a squeak at the start of most of the notes I have been playing, and whilst using a reed that has been as I thought really quite useful I couldn't understand what was happening,had my embousure gone so far off that it was causing this and if so what had happened, I decided to try another reed so got one out of the box soaked and put it on the sax it immediately it was a much stiffer reed than the last and I thought that's not a bad thing the top of the range will be that much better and it will soon play in and soften up, but no it did soften up then the squeak was back.

So I thought better try another reed so out of the box give it a soak and on the sax we go.Well from the very first blow you know you have hit the jackpot it blows crisp and sharp with a magnificent tonal quality just begging to show you what it can do and all of a sudden you feel like a saxophone god Oh what is this reed called love.

The moral of this story is to all you novices out there you may not Be as bad as you think you are it could just be that you haven't found the reed that wants to play,good luck in your hunt for the elusive reed .....John
To cure the squeak on your original reed, try moving the reed down the m'piece, so that you have a little more tip visible.

John. :):);}
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
Or you've found the wost reed in the box that's so awful, it happens to compensate for terrible tonguing technique....

Aaah, the seeds of doubt. Grow my beauties, grow free...heh heh heh....
 

dubrosa22

Senior Member
Messages
413
A reed that sounds 'dead' or squeaks and doesn't improve after a few minutes and a little repositioning gets instantly binned in a jar with other crappy new reeds.

Then generally the next 5-10 reeds I play out of the box are 85-97% perfect and I can play them for hours and hours.

Maybe one day I'll get round to working on those crappy reeds with a razor and sandpaper... But If you don't work on them then and there and they sound awful why waste time playing them?

Buying reeds is like buying fruit and veg - sometimes in a bag of apples there's a few bruised ones that you chuck out or save for chutney! :D
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Just get decent reeds - no problems will then result. Top of my list are Marca Jazz, Rigotti Gold, Francois Louis Excellence, Rico
Jazz Select & Alexander Superials. Never had a bad reed from those........!
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,074
Of course once you've got the mind set that it's the reed then only a different reed can help you.

I don't get duff reeds any more. I bought some chinese white crane and they are all ok so far.

Having said that some play better than others and some last longer than others.

If it's not playing right and squeaking, take it off, check it, rewet it, reposition it, check the mpiece position for tuning, run up and down the sax to make sure nothing is sticking/leaking then make it play. If it won't, repeat the process.

Be aware too that if you're at the beginning of your journey the muscles of your embouchure will be developing. Sometimes it's two steps forward and one step back, so having reeds a half size up or down may help on the day.

I play a 2 or 2.5 on alto. Sometimes after a half hour or so on a 2 I need to change to a 2.5.

Sometimes I start with the 2.5 and it feels like a plank but 10 to 15 mins in and my face and head has adjusted and it's fine.

The most important thing is to play a little every day.

I had some time today and had session with the soprano and the new mpiece. I got it working better than before and was quite pleased. I picked up the Tenor this evening and couldn't get a decent tone for about an hour. I don't think it was the reed
 
Last edited by a moderator:

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Guys, John is talking about a reed that has played well, and now squeaks. Not a fresh reed out of the box.
He is wondering what has changed.

John. :):);}
 
Last edited by a moderator:

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Guys, John is talking about a reed that has played well, and now squeaks. Not a fresh reed out of the box.
He is wondering what has changed.

John. :):);}
Yes your right John that was what had happened and I will try your moving the reed advice I'm taking it that I ought to move reed outwards towards my mouth so you can see more of the tip of the reed,I think we all have our own place where we tend position the reed for what ever reason, and I doubt that there was any difference in the positioning of this reed and then the next reed went the same way and maybe your right I got the positioning wrong but my main thing is that every now and again you get one reed out of lots that you try that really want to sing,they just have that little bit of something extra,you must have come across this yourself I'm sure......John
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Just get decent reeds - no problems will then result. Top of my list are Marca Jazz, Rigotti Gold, Francois Louis Excellence, Rico
Jazz Select & Alexander Superials. Never had a bad reed from those........!
My reed of choice for quite some time has been RJS 3M's and they have proved to be the most consistent of the ones I have tried,I have tried the Alexander Superials but none of the others on alto maybe I should give some of the others a try nothing ventured nothing gained .....John
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Of course once you've got the mind set that it's the reed then only a different reed can help you.

I don't get duff reeds any more. I bought some chinese white crane and they are all ok so far.

Having said that some play better than others and some last longer than others.

If it's not playing right and squeaking, take it off, check it, rewet it, reposition it, check the mpiece position for tuning, run up and down the sax to make sure nothing is sticking/leaking then make it play. If it won't, repeat the process.

Be aware too that if you're at the beginning of your journey the muscles of your embouchure will be developing. Sometimes it's two steps forward and one step back, so having reeds a half size up or down may help on the day.

I play a 2 or 2.5 on alto. Sometimes after a half hour or so on a 2 I need to change to a 2.5.

Sometimes I start with the 2.5 and it feels like a plank but 10 to 15 mins in and my face and head has adjusted and it's fine.

The most important thing is to play a little every day.

I had some time today and had session with the soprano and the new mpiece. I got it working better than before and was quite pleased. I picked up the Tenor this evening and couldn't get a decent tone for about an hour. I don't think it was the reed
I agree with every thing you are saying and I know the further down the road you go the less trouble you have with reeds because obviously the stronger your embousure becomes the easier it becomes to blow stiffer reeds and the stiffer reeds have their own benefits,I think in your case you could probably whip up a tune from a plank,when you talk of practicing on sop and then going to tenor I have to say that going the other way seems to have advantages ie say playing tenor and then going to alto but going from sop to tenor I feel causes it's own problems due to the much looser embousure you need to use on the tenor after practicing a tighter embousure on the sop I also think you might be putting too much faith in the reed they are tricky little beggars,just my thoughts on your comments ....John
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
13,074
It is surprising how as little as a 0.01" movement of the reed can affect playability. I have to put on my high power reading specs these days to get it right. The alignment of the reed will affect it too. A slighly skewed positioning will adversley affect playability. Any damage to the tip, however fine will give a poor result as will damage caused by the reed drying out and rippling.

The tip of the reed should be in line with the tip of the mouthpiece and ever so slightly behind it. I check from the top of the mp and from behind to make sure it's set to my liking. Check the reed hasn't moved when fitting the mouthpiece. Check the tightness of the ligature (and the neck screw) after a few minutes blowing as things warm up and settle and it may become loose.

Some reeds do play or sound better than others but it's very marginal and subjective and an hours playing will bring the character of the reed to heel. They should all play out of the box. Some will need more help from the embouchure than others and this will change as you play it in and out.

If you're getting lots of duff reeds I'd be changing brand. £20 plus for a box of alto reeds is no joke.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Or you've found the wost reed in the box that's so awful, it happens to compensate for terrible tonguing technique....

Aaah, the seeds of doubt. Grow my beauties, grow free...heh heh heh....
Are you playing devils advocate ....NAUGHTY....John
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Guys, John is talking about a reed that has played well, and now squeaks. Not a fresh reed out of the box.
He is wondering what has changed.

John. :):);}
That is true in part but he does raise the subject of new reed variability in case a beginner starts with a "bad" reed which may cause them to question their own progress. It may be just the reed that is not functioning well. My recommendation is to do what several people do - such as the Jerry Bergonzi Youtube video where he wets and then plays all the reeds in a box and marks them as to their playability. I tend to mark reeds with a "+" or "-" if good or bad. If unsure I mark with an "|" converting it to a "+" if it comes good.

Too many folks, in my opinion, start by only having one or two reeds, which is risky, or just buy Rico or Vandoren reeds, which sometimes have a questionable quality or strength. Whilst reeds can be expensive it is a good idea to try a few brands and try reeds which have a French Cut, American Cut and a Jazz Cut to see which seems to fit the bill.
 

gladsaxisme

Try Hard Die Hard
Subscriber
Messages
3,409
Which mouthpiece are you using John?
Funny you should bring this up,for a long time now I have been using a Selmer SA 80 I think it is can't read the print so well,it came with a sax I bought some time ago and it really improved my tone I think and then recently this squeaking thing has reared it's ugly head so I thought I would give an old otto link ebonite I have had for years (and stopped using because it always felt a bit woolly and dead) a try and I can't believe the difference with this SUPER reed I have just come across it has become a completely different animal altogether, come on now some of you old timers you have to agree every now and then you find thar super reed ....John
 

Targa

Among the pigeons
Subscriber
Messages
8,896
The perfect reed is moistened by water from the spring of eternal youth held in the holy grail.
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
Funny you should bring this up,for a long time now I have been using a Selmer SA 80 I think it is can't read the print so well,it came with a sax I bought some time ago and it really improved my tone I think and then recently this squeaking thing has reared it's ugly head so I thought I would give an old otto link ebonite I have had for years (and stopped using because it always felt a bit woolly and dead) a try and I can't believe the difference with this SUPER reed I have just come across it has become a completely different animal altogether, come on now some of you old timers you have to agree every now and then you find thar super reed ....John
Yep,
It's called an ATG'd Fibracell. ;}

John :):);}
 

aldevis

Surrealist Contributor.
Cafe Moderator
Messages
12,125
Legend says Marcel Mule had one reed he absolutely loved and used only for recording.

It sounds to me like you might have some table/facing issue. Do you usually keep your mouthpiece near the fireplace?
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
Absolutely true!

I currently have 84 of these super reeds, and they all give me pleasure.
I do sometimes wonder whether we sometimes buy reeds that are actually too hard for us and just occasionally find the softest of the box, which we then give a high rating to.

Similarly we can choose a Cut of reed that is not so suitable for the mouthpiece we use. I primarily use Jazz Cut reeds and they always play well for me. Is that because of the reed quality (The Vandoren ZZ is the only Vandoren that I really like playing), or is it more to do with suitablity for the mouthpieces that I use. Or is it due to the quality of the mouthpieces that I use (all hand-made).

Interesting questions.
 

Bigtwin

New Member
Messages
161
The perfect reed is moistened by water from the spring of eternal youth held in the holy grail.



..kissed tenderly my a computer controlled Japanese milling machine manufactured to a tolerance of fractions of an inch.

Aaah, the romance of the saxophone....
 
Saxholder Pro
Help!Mailing List
Top Bottom