Saxophone Forum


by Kitch22
(98 posts)
10 years ago

Reed Strengths

I currently use 2 1/2s. I've had a recommendation to switch up to 3s or 3 1/2s because I do "pinch" a lot. But with a harder reed, I just can't the sound loudness and tone that I can with softer ones. Is it just me? Are harder reeds harder to play on? Do they just take some breaking in? Tell me what you know . . .

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  1. by FutureBandTeacher
    (45 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    I play on a 3.5, and it's working very well for me. They seem difficult at first, and hurt your lower lip, but they drastically improve tone quality and ease of dynamic changes.

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  2. by mrsaxmanut
    (2 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    It depends on your mouthpiece. If you use a piece that has more of a closed tip, like a Slemer c*, I would go with a harder reed. If you use a more open piece, like me, I tend to like softer reeds more.

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  3. by sax_maniac
    (984 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    Take the money you'd spend on a box of reeds and spend it on a lesson. And I'm not being sassy. It would be best for someone in the know to set you up properly. 2.5's are ok if you're playing on a very open tip. What kind of mpc are you using? Harder reeds ARE harder to play on to a certain extent. If your embouchre is under-developed, you'll get tired faster using a stiffer reed, but like anything, that goes away with practice. Don't be in a hurry to rush into stiffer reeds - meaning "stiffer better player". It's not how stiff it is that matters, it's what you do with it that counts... or something like that.

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    1. by Kitch22
      (98 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Reed Strengths

      I use a Lakey 5*3 mouthpiece or a Rousseau SJ8 for jazz (mostly the Lakey). . .

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  4. by barisax999
    (400 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    i use 3 1/2 in jazz and 4 in wind ensemble. but i cant get my reaction out of the 4s co im switching back to 3 1/2 all around. 2 1/2 are weak, but if u cant get good sound on higher strengths, then dont use them

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    1. by SaxMan
      (559 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Reed Strengths

      i can get down to 5 p's on a 3.5 with a .07 tip. up to about 5 f's - you just got to know where to sand them so that they still have the properties of a 3.5 but play at low notes.

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  5. by Rben20
    (35 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    Hmm well I think that lower strength reeds create a lot more tunning problems and gives you a bright sound. I recommend that you switch to 3 and 3 1/2s. Your sound will be more stronger and fuller and your tunning will be even easier. Dont worry about sounding airy and not as good. Your sound will eventually focus and you will get use to stronger reeds. Trust me just try switching and playing with them. Your sound will sound fuller and bigger not to mention better in tune.

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  6. by Spunky2sax75
    (75 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    If you ask me, its all about personal preference. I use Med-Hards and 3s, but there are people who I play with that can get the same sound out of softer reeds. If you are overblowing a reed, get a harder one. I don`t think it is just you... it took me a while to get used to harder reeds, but now I like them a lot. Try some different strengths and see which ones you like better.

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  7. by Sax Mom
    (964 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed Strengths

    Who recommended you switch? Did that person hear you play? Was the recommendation made because of your sound, or because that person thinks a stronger reed means a better player? Regardless, I would suggest using the stronger reed for about half your practice time for a while, so your embouchure can learn the difference. After a couple of months (maybe 6), record yourself with each type, and listen. Decide for yourself which is better for you.

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    1. by Armstrong Alto!
      (19 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Reed Strengths

      WEll.....i play on 4's....and those are fricken hard. I've been playing on those for maybe 6 months (?) and i still run out of breath and embochure (spelling?) muscles every once in a while. 4's are the extreme, but i would recommend moving up at least a half size if you're pinching.

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      1. by tenor562
        (297 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: Reed Strengths

        What is the point of playing really hard reeds when you are "and i still run out of breath and embochure (spelling?) muscles every once in a while. " I'm trying to move up to 3's soon, but is it worth it? How are alexanders relative to vandoren in reed strength? I really like Alexanders, but if you like something cheaper other than V16 or Blue Box, tell me. I think I really need to move up though. My tone kinda stinks right now, especially on my junk YTS23.

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        1. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Reed Strengths

          What's your mpc?

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        2. by tenor562
          (297 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: Reed Strengths

          Yamaha 4C, but really really really willing to change. I despise that thing. I have a good horn though, a YTS62II. I kinda feel like I could be getting a way better sound out of that thing, the 4C just doesn't cut it anymore. I've heard that the more closed the mouthpiece, the harder the reed should be, so does that mean if I get like a 6, or a C** or a D, that I'll have to play on 1 strength reeds?

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