Saxophone Forum


by YanagisawA-901
(312 posts)
10 years ago

Reed question..

this might belong in jazz forum.. actually it probably does but this is a general forum meaning i can ask anything.. ever since ive played sax ive been unsure of the whole reed situation.. size, hardness, what does it all do?? what do reeds go up to?? is the smaller number harder or bigger?? will smaller ones give you a better tone or what?? i always thought the smaller reed you played the more inexperienced you were.. but i checked that setup thing and more than 1/2 of the ppl are playin a 3 or less.. will a smaller number reed clear my tone up a bit?? i find my tone getting stuffy every now and then, unmanagable.. i play a 3 1/2 java.. maybe a 3 would work?? explain reeds to me damnit!! hhahaha

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  1. by kneejerk52
    (397 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed question..

    did you start out playing a 3? if so that's pretty amazing! usually the softer the reed the more easy to produce good controled sound. you need to be able to stay in control of ALL the notes not just middle of the horn. also if you ever played loud, like in a rock band it requires, at least for me when i did, a very hard reed for it not to collaspe on the mpc. so different reeds for different situations, maybe. each manufaturer makes them different thickness. small number thinner, softer, easier to play, and to break in. this is just what i know from MY experience. i am sure somebody can give you more technical help.

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  2. by saxxything78
    (14 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: Reed question..

    ... and to top this off, different manufactures can affect the sound too. You'll see a lot of posts about Vandoren being widely used. I just bought a new soprano, and oddly enough, found the stock reed that came with it, "better" than Vandoren - go figure.

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    1. by propshaft
      (2 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: Reed question..

      the thing that gets me is the hundereds of ways to prep a reed. myself i soak them over night, break it in, then put away in the reed guard until needed, and i,ve never known if thats the right way, or is there a better way, or a correct way to do this, would anyone be able to tell me ?

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      1. by FredCDobbs
        (77 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: Reed question..

        The lower the reed number, the less stiff the reed, and everything else being equal, the easier to get a tone from it, the easier to control it, and the longer you can play before your lip gives out. However, the stiffer the reed, the more projection, and if you're up to it, the sharper your control. The thing is, everything is never equal--factors such as how developed the player's emboucher is, the facing and tip size of the mpc, even the material of the mpc can all change the formula. For example, I have a pretty hard time controlling my hard rubber Berg Larson 105/2 with a 2.5 Vandoren ZZ on my tenor, but an easier time controlling my metal Otto Link STM 7 with same reed, even though both pieces are comparable in tip opening. Consistent with that, the Berg is a lot brighter, and on the 10M has killer projection. The Link is darker, and contrary to expectation, does not scream like the Berg. But I play the Link more often, because given my emboucher, with the same reed it's easier. My understanding is that in general, the strength and quality of your emboucher is the critical factor---the stronger and more develped, the harder the reed you can successfully use, and the wider the tip opening you can be comfortable with on your mpc. The individual player's optimum ratio of tip size to reed strength can be adjusted: smaller tip size, harder reed (larger number), bigger tip size, softer reed (lower number). More experienced players may have better and more accurate info on this, but that's my take on it. Hope it's helpful.

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        1. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Reed question..

          You said it best Fred! When first starting out, I wouldn't use anything harder than a 2 1/2 reed! If your band director tells you that you need a harder reed, you tell him connsaxman_jim says he's full of crap! I've been playing for over 20 years, and I've tried just about every combination you can think of. I get a better, more consistant tone with a large open chambered mouthpiece with a med. tip size and a 2 1/2 reed.

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        2. by FredCDobbs
          (77 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Reed question..

          Jim, when I read your setup quite a while ago, it made me feel a whole lot less wimpy, and changed my approach to reed and mpc. I had this macho idea of using the stiffest reed I could stand. After just an hour of practice, I felt like I'd been mouthing a motor boat's propeller. I dropped back to a softer reed and everything improved, including my confidence. The bottom line: Find the setup that's comfortable for you, and don't worry about what other players are capable of. It's about the journey, not the destination. Why travel in shoes that don't fit you?

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        3. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Reed question..

          Just to add to the confusion, different makers use different numbers or letters to represent their facing; like a #3, #5, C* G* etc. These numbers are not consistant between manufactures. A Meyer 5 facing is different than a Dukoff 5 or an Otto Link 5 for example. You don't want a mouthpiece with a tip opening too small. Your horn will sound stuffy and unresponsive with loss of projection. The more open the mouthpiece is, the softer the reed that you'll want to use, but this can create a problem playing upper register notes and altissimo. You need to find the "happy medium". Typically a #5 facing and a #2 1/2-3 reed.

          Reply To Post Yahoo!