Saxophone Forum


by tenor562
(297 posts)
10 years ago

Reeds & Setup

Since I don't have any auditions or concerts or competitions for a while, I'm trying to experiment with different kinds of reeds. So far my favorite is Alexander Superial and Vandoren V16. But I'm a legit player, so my instructor says I should try more legit sounding reeds. I reallly like a lot of response and a good legit tone, but not too dark. I've tried all the rico, rico royal, rico international, vandoren blue, V16, and Alexander Superial. What reeds does everyone use for legit? Is alexander classique any good? I have a Brand New 62 Tenor and a standard 4C mouthpiece and a robert vinson lig. Need to improve my setup too, any tips? Currently in the market for a really awesome mouthpiece around $100 What reeds work the best for you in General? I guess I just I'm trying to understand the amazing world of saxophone reeds.....

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  1. by SaxMan
    (559 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reeds & Setup

    I used to use the V16 for legit, but canned them for inconsistancy - they are fine for legit. I bet your insturctor is NOT a sax player. am I right? The problem is the m/p, not the reed. the 4c is basically a copy of the S-80, which is a total piece fo crap, but the 4-c was improved a bit and now is down right terrible. try the rouseau - they arent the best, but are pretty good and cheap, thats what I have now, but am not particularly happy with it, but dont have the time or money to experiment wiht anything.

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    1. by golferguy675
      (600 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Reeds & Setup

      Actually, the S-80's a little better, because of a bigger chamber, thus not sounding so wimpy. Saxman, what you may not know about the 4c, is that it was made by Rouseau for Yamaha. Anyways, if you really like legit, you'll definetly need a better m/p. Try out the Vandoren Optimum Lig, I love it. It's got 3 plate patterns,so you can change your tone with one lig,but the jazz plate is no good.

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      1. by SaxMan
        (559 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Reeds & Setup

        What the hell difference does that make? My teacher has a dukoff made by freddie gregory. Its the design that counts, not the manufacturer. (at least most of the time.)

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        1. by golferguy675
          (600 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Reeds & Setup

          I wasn't saying that the 4c is worth anything or sounds good at all, I was just pointing it ou, because you suggested a Resaou m/p after you just said the 4c was terrible(which I agree that it is).

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      2. by tenor562
        (297 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Reeds & Setup

        no he is, he's like the best sax player in my area. Very good sax player. He's performed in jazz bands all around the nation, and soloed (spelling?)with some really good Symphony Orchestras I think maybe he was aiming at trying to improve my tone with my reed, rather than my reed. Buying a mouthpiece doesn't come till until christmas, I just got a new horn, so finding a good reed is the best thing right now to improving my tone. My tone with my 4C sounds all honky tonky, and when I play legit, it's hard to sound right. Don't buy a 4C, they're the worse piece of junk I've seen, and I've gone through two of them. Vandoren Blue definitely gives me a better concert and legit tone then V16, I find V16 to give me more of a jazz or rock tone. I've got to get a really good legit tone, because this kid keeps trying to challenge me , and there's not much to compare the two of us with, we play almost identically. (same sax teacher,and he's my solo and ensemble partner) He uses V16's and a standard lig and a standard Mouthpiece we have basically the same setup because I use a YTS23 for school. (he has something like a Jupiter Carnegie that is supposed to go for $2000 new?) Never buy Rico Grand Concert! I tested them today cause I had a box laying around, and they stink. Terrible inconsistancy. In my whole box of Five, all of them are bad. Maybe I just got a really bad box. SaxMan, what's your reed and mouthpiece for tenor? Thanks for helping too. Talk to you later!

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        1. by KCSaxGal
          (46 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Reeds & Setup

          I am not familiar with teh Rico Grand Concert Reeds but wanted to add that many reeds take a 'breaking in' period. It may be that all 5 of them are bad or maybe you are not giving them enough time before making your decision. Also, reed strengths vary from brand to brand.. A 3 in one brand may be a 2 1/2 in another.

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          1. by golferguy675
            (600 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I like 3 1/2 or 4 blue box Vandorens. Also, a cool thing I found out, is that blue box bass clarinet reeds are killer for jazz. Lenny Pickett's idea.

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          2. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I have had these reeds since the End of June. I bought them as backups for band camp to my superials thinking they were good reeds. I soaked them once a week for a couple minutes and played with them a little until around the end of july, but then I gave up. Yeah, they might be a little too hard for me. On the reed comparison sheet from WWBW, they actually say that they're the same as the reeds I'm playing now, V16 2.5. What reeds does everyone use?

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          3. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            there is very little break in time if any on any rico reed - dont have to worry aobut that. When I play tenor once in a blue moon, I use what ever reed I can find - usually vandoren z reeds which are fairly bright, hemkes or bari sax traditionals. BUT, my mouthpiece is a selmer airflow - I think its been about a year and a half since ive had that out of the moth balls - whatever it is, its an exceptionally dark piece, so pretty much whatever reed I stick on it, it will sound good. BUT, try using a bari reed - whichever tenor reed worked the best for you, get that in a bari reed half a strength softer, it will make the tone deeper and darker and bigger.

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          4. by johnsonfromwisconsin
            (767 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I like the V16s. On tenor, they are what I find to be Vandoren's consistant and responsive reed.

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          5. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            yea, I do too. I tried them just for fun this summer, and got hooked. I have had a few really bad of them, but some that just really are nice reeds. My best reed ever was actually a rico royal....until it warped. It lasted a good two months though. Alexanders' are awesome, but you have to take really good care of them, and me as an eighth grader, I don't understand reed care and modification well at all. ZZs any good? Hemke?

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          6. by The_MarkVI
            (80 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I use a meyer 5m for jazz and C* for legit with oleg ligatures with lavoz and java reeds for alto. on tenor i use C* soliost with V16's and otto link 7* (metal) with rico jazz select 2H

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          7. by The_MarkVI
            (80 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            i dont like hemke they break easily and come in boxs of five. if u have the money buy the hand select vandorens (30$)

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          8. by Armstrong Alto!
            (19 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            i have a selmer C*....and Vandoren 4's most of the time. I can't find any other types of Vandorens, like the jazz ones, so i have to stick with the hand select ones. Oh well.

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          9. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            those hand selects are like five dollars a reed wow. Do they really work well? 4's a hard reed. I find 3's impossible to play. www.wwbw.com my only source for anything sax they've got everything How are the Selmer Soloists? What about Larry Teals? Jody Jazz Vintage Hard Rubber for a versatile piece? Say I got a mouthpiece. What facing or number would I get. I play a 4C Yamaha, but I know 4 is really closed. I need something with more projection, better tone, and ease of playing.

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          10. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            golpher - ok, I see what youre saying now. Tenor, the hand selects ALL play except maybe 2 in a box, which is a contradiction for vandoren - it thought it was illegal for them to make a full box of good reeds. The thing is though, most of the other 9 or 8 die really quick out of 20 hand selects, 16 of them died in a month - that was a year ago. But the nice thing is, the ones that last last FOREVER. I am still on the last 4 - almost exclusively play on those 4. Don't use wwbw, check here at saxquest, he should have the basic stuff, then check at shophorndoc.com - thats the shop I work at, but right now our website is incomplete so you probably wont find what you want, and it isnt organized yet either - you click on sax reeds and go through them strength by strenght in all the makes and instruments - lots of searching. if we don't have it, check weiner music. whew...winded after so many endorsements.

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          11. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            yea, I've been thinking of buying out of saxquest. But, I trust WWBW, I've never had a bad experience with them. Bought my clarinet, tenor, sax mouthpiece, reeds, you name it, they've got it. Kinda hard to move to somewhere else when you know it doesn't get much better, you know? I'll check your shop, it's always nice to help music shops out, they keep dissappearing. My city's only good shop that had any woodwind stuff just went out of business, even if they were mostly guitars. Now I"m stuck taking sax lessons in a guitar shop. Glotin any good?

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          12. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I guess you were lucky then - ive had 2 really bad experiences with wwbw - telling me they had something, that they really didnt that had to be backordered, waited 2 weeks for a box of reeds, when I asked for a refund, they wouldnt give it cause the order had already been processed. The other experience was similair. I also have a friend that ordered a morgan excalibur from them - pretty much the only mouthpiece on the regular market that can be garaunteed to be completely lacking in problems. They friken did something to it, go it too hot or imersed it in alchohol, and the sulphur was coming out. I suspect that they dont condition the air in their warehouse, becuase I know other people that buy saxes from them and then have problems with the bumpers falling off - which would be caused by a too dry of an environment. I have been wanting to try argendonax reeds for a long time - I am absolutely disgusted with vandoren for their inconsistany and price, and lack of attention to many of their reeds - I really wish the handselects werent filed, then we would know whether they were using proper cane or not for their reeds - which with the V16's, they sure as hell are not. But the thing with those odd brand reeds is that you cant really get them unless you order 40 boxes I think it is the minimum for argendonax - there is close to no demand for them so the shop cant just buy them and hope they sell, they have to sell them ALL to you. The place I work at tried alexander about 3 or 4 years ago - a single order, we still havent gotten rid of those, whereas we have sold over 200 boxes of rico royal in the last couple months with school starting again. So I might just stick with vandoren until I can find something else. but now that vandoren bought out rico, I can almost assure you that prices are going to go WAY up, if that happens, I'll take those 40 boxes of glotin before I give those ass holes any profit. You dont play guitar do you? I am going to be starting pretty soon - on a la patrie collection model, I was told that the tuners and saddle kind of sucks and that replacing them with bone would help the tone alot, but i would want to make sure that it made the sound darker - not brighter, which I dont have a clue if ivory would be darker or bone would.

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          13. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            nope, I don't play guitar. I have this guitar that my parents bought me in like second grade, it's some asian no name brand. i believe it's the helmke of guitars. It's trashed. I guess everyone's first instrument is. But I keep it up in my room now that i appreciate what music really is and I can play 1 string blues. not much, but enough to keep me occupeied. I'm looking into buying another mouthpiece, if not wwbw, where should i buy it? do you like jody jazz? whoa, vandoren bought out rico? lol, guess I didn't know that. I thought rico was way bigger than vandoren. I actually like the rico royals, when I get a good one. Much better than Vandoren Blue. I payed five bucks for one of those from my local music store when i was desperate for reeds. A total ripoff. What reeds are you on now? V16 is still doing me ok for now. What about javas?

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          14. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            well, this la patrie is more of a professional instrument, but cheap, according to the reviews I have read, people have said that if they were to get a guitar form someone else of same quality, they would have to pay 10 - 20 times more. They dont make the best guitars, but there pretty nice form what I have read. Weiner music is good - they actually know something about instruments, unlike the people at wwbw who tell you all this crap and they totally dont have a clue whether it is true or not. they also have a pretty big selection. I've never played the jody jazz, but for me, my meyers and gregories are absolutely perfect - nothing can touch them as far as I am concerned, anyting more and it will be too bright or loud, anything less and it will be too weeny. I am using the hand selects, but am not particularly happy with them, alot of them played right from the off, but most died in a HUGE hurry, only 4 survived more than a couple months, but I am still playing those 4, now a year later. they arent quite as dark as I would like either, but I can adjust for that. As for javas, i have never played them, but the general consesus that I heard was that they were alright, but no one was really happy with them. THe zz's, however are fabulous, about 8 play in a box, and are cut reall good. THe onyl thing though, is that they are fairly new and most have not been aged long enough so they dont last as long as a regular reed.

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          15. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            yea, I've found that people who work at WWBW don't know much about anything. I went there and got a trumpet player of a salesman and he didn't know anything. We ended up waiting like three hours for a horn to come, and by the end of it, we had to get someone else to get it for us. ZZ's, I'm thinking of trying those, but I'm not a jazz player at all right now, I had to quit jazz ensemble to go to advanced math class. I was so mad. Java? Alexander Classique? Ponzol? I was talking to this kid who's a chair behind me (out of two, lol) he was bragging that he plays 3 strength, is that supposed to be good? He says all the good players play as hard as a reed as they can find. Doesn't Michael Brecker use a 2.5? Whenever I play a 3 or a hard 2.5, I can't play good at all, it just takes way too much effort. I'm stuck on 2.5's.....and that's where I started. What do you think I should do. Aren't 4C's (what I have) supposed to let you play harder reeds than you should? I hit an altissimo G the other day, don't know how it came out though. But I was pretty happy. It actually sounded good. i can't even play high F sharp with the key without slurring up from F. What's your opinion on this? Thanks for all the help

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          16. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            zz's. are plenty useable for legit, because they have a heart, I use to use them, but they were just a tad too bright and didn't wuite give me all the qualities I wanted - I play by the french school, which as far as I am concerned, is the correct school. I tried alexanders once and Iw as disgusted, not a single damn reed played in the box, on 1 or 2 I could make a sound, but just barely, I set them on a mahogany table, and tapped witha pencil eraser and the friken things trembled back and forth. Then if you look at the top, they are cut all crooked - i will never buy another box of alexanders again, and I mean this more than, "I will never buy another box of vandorens." I have never played java, but I do know that those are a rather loud jazz reed. Tell the kid below you to shut the hell up, he doesnt know what hes talking about. Some pros play the softest reeds they can get - ayone can play on anything, but for classical, 3 is usally about the minimum to get the proper tone, but you can play just fine on softer strengths. If I were you, I would try to move up to 3's, it will help your tone alot as well as perhaps your tuning, but you get fewer workable reeds in the box as well - sort of a catch -22. As for altissimo - I used to be into that, and I can still hit REALLY damn high notes but aobut a year and a half ago or so, I had a revelation - there is almost never an excuseable reason for altissimo. listen to rascher trash concertino da camera with altissimo, then listen to mule perfect it. I mean, there are places where altissimo can add to a song, but those are few and far between. there are a total of 3 altissimo notes I ever use - the F#, rarely, the G, rarely and the C once - on the glazanov concerto - never use any other note.

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          17. by KCSaxGal
            (46 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            What does everyone think of synthetic reeds? I am thinking of trying out a couple different ones but not postitive I want to spend the money just to find out they are crappy.

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          18. by SaxMan
            (559 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            fibracells are a joke, they play nice (for jazz.) but dont last very long. Legeres last a long time, and play pretty on thr bight side of neutral, but aren't very good for legit. Bari's are rediculously bright and are unfit for even jazz with the right m/p combo. I keep a legere as a backup and for screwing around when I have an epiphany or something like that and need to play fast. Use can reeds for ym main stuff.

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          19. by tenor562
            (297 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            if I was ever to get a synthetic reed, I would go for Harry Hartmann, (spelling?) I've heard a lot of great things about them. What's french school? My Alexanders roared when I played them in the summer. Too much they cost so much money. The only problem is that I don't have the best tools to take care of them, so they usually went faster than I expected, like a month or so. That kid keeps bugging me with all his "sax knowledge" He thinks he's the best sax player ever to live, and he's lead tenor in jazz band, out of one. I was lead tenor last year, but I couldn't do it this year. It just so happens that this is the year with all the tenor solos. He's challenging me in concert band monday, and spent the whole band class today trying to sike me out...., pretty annoying stuff. Trying to work on preparing for highschool auditions. I want to get into a pretty high band, but there's a lot of good upperclassmen tenors. Any tips on what I should work on, or how I should improve my setup? Yamaha 4C, Robert Vinson Lig, V16's and a YTS62II at home, and a YTS23 at school. Any tips or anything? scale work, methods for improving sightreading, new mouthpiece. What do all the first chair players use for concert band in high school? I'm also trying to learn jazz. Tough stuff. I can only improv moderately using the Blues Scale. Any books, setup tips, or anything to help me start? I played a year of jazz band as lead tenor in seventh grade, but had to quit now, and that kid I was talking about is more jazz oriented, and he plays soprano, which he thinks makes him even better than the upper class because no one plays it in hs. He got a solo in every jazz band song. What did you use when you were starting to learn jazz really well and perfectly? Thanks for the help!

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          20. by michmura
            (3 posts)

            9 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I tried a Legere alto almost a year ago and found that it (for me) provided a pretty good legit sound. (I'm using a Larry Teal on my alto). I was impressed with the tone, overall response, and longevity. I don't play as heavily as some of you out there (I play almost as much bassoon and flute as I do sax). I do not like my tenor Legere as much (I'm trying it with an older Selmer metal Jazz m/p), but the clarinet Legere seems to be pretty good.

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          21. by sax_maniac
            (984 posts)

            10 years ago

            Re: Reeds & Setup

            I have a lot of experience with Bari and Fibracells. I'm not particularly crazy about how Fibracells are cut or how they feel in my mouth. Try Bari hard unless you are using a very open mouthpiece, then go with medium. I've been using Bari reeds since the late 1980's when I first discovered them - I play them on SATB and they are fine for general purpose so long as you use one that is hard enough not to be buzzy. I like my sound to be nice and clear (not necessarily edgy, per se), whereas some people prefer a more "muffy" tone and synthetics are usually detested by those folks. The only challenge I've had with synthetics is finding one good for legit soprano. There are times when only cane will do for certain tone concepts, so don't throw them out entirely. Like any horn, mouthpiece, lig, neckstrap, etc - the ONLY way to find out if you can live with synthetics is to buy one (or two in different strengths) and see how you like it. They last a long time and are extremely consistent.

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