Saxophone Forum


by Jazz Man
(9 posts)
10 years ago

synthetic reeds?

Synthetic reeds,where do you get them?, do they affect sound qualite?, are thay better or worse than regular wood reeds? , pros/cons?.

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  1. by FutureBandTeacher
    (45 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: synthetic reeds?

    Synthetics are convenient and hard to break. The main con is the sound quality.

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  2. by ameetp
    (14 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: synthetic reeds?

    I agree with some of these guys; if you tend to break reeds in marching band, use them; and if you decide to use them, get Legere. I play Bari, and reeds are expensive, so I got a legere. The sound is not as warm as wood. You'll find that after playing for an hour, they tend to 'melt' and become super soft; but you don't have to wet them! They're ready to play right away.

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  3. by barisax999
    (400 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: synthetic reeds?

    ill get straight to the point, why would you purposely buy a reed knowing that it sounds worse??? it doesnt make any sense, even if they last longer. heres how it is, buy a box of V16's and buy a reed trimmer, theyll last plenty long

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  4. by The_MarkVI
    (80 posts)

    10 years ago

    Re: synthetic reeds?

    Synthetic reeds do have some pros but more cons. If you are in marching band and you blow out reeds or break them alot, synthetic are for you (BUT ONLY FOR MARCHING) try legere. Some cons are that they will not compare to the sound of a orginal cane reed

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    1. by Jazz Man
      (9 posts)

      10 years ago

      Re: synthetic reeds?

      So what your saying is that i should just avoid them,because i play jazz and im not in a m-band

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      1. by jaggtagg7
        (40 posts)

        10 years ago

        Re: synthetic reeds?

        i would never use synthetic reeds. (mainly just a personal preference) although i am in marching band and i do know some ppl who use them on clarinets adn they have found that the reeds last a long time and a hard to snag and break.

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        1. by The_MarkVI
          (80 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          if your not marching, stay away

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        2. by TrentG
          (15 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I'm in a marching band and this post caught my eye. Can you get them at your "local music store?"

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        3. by jaggtagg7
          (40 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          i've never asked if they carried them, so i dont know. they dont seem that rare so they might.

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        4. by Dirty_Reggae
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          If they sell normal reeds, then they almost always have synthetic reeds as well. Now, i hate synthetic reeds, but i did use them for marching season cuz im a poor jew and I was buying a box a week. I went with a Fibercell. They are made of kevlar and come in many different strengths. I used a medium hard. It's the most normal-reed-feeling synthetic out there, and only for a couple bucks more. Also, you dont have to wet them. Still, I would only use it if gettin normal reeds are tough for you. I actually keep my kevlar reed just in case of an emergency. Anyways, hope i was of some help.

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        5. by mosplace
          (26 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I like both for different reasons. The normal reeds have a full and warm sound. But they are sometimes a lot of trouble. They squeek, you have to get them wet before playing, they quit sometimes in the middle of a song etc. etc. Syntetic reeds are always 100% there. You put hem on the mouthpiece and they play. I like to play Bari and Fibracell´s. Especialy when I play with the band. They are louder than the normal ones and a little funkier in sound. They last a whole lot longer and they are more hygenic. I love them both.

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        6. by mojocoggo
          (97 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I think synthetic reeds are great. I use a Bari (brand) baritone sax reed of medium strength with a Yamaha 5C mouthpiece. It amazes me everytime that I can play a low A just as quiet as a middle C. Even on a sax that is old and busted, the volume control is great. Another thing I found with these reeds is that hitting altissimo notes is much easier and almost efforless. So yeah, I really like these reeds.

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        7. by chiamac
          (586 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I liked them (and contenue to like them) for a few reasons... one WILL (should) last at least a few monts while playing in band every day. Yes they are more expensive, but they last that much longer. The sound is ok, good enough to use in band everyday (see cost reasons). I would use a real one in concerts, because (as pointed out before) they do sound a little different. They don't need to be warmed up, and are good to go right away. Which is nice when you don't have time to wet them down, or when you're like me and just leave the horn out and ready to play. Finally, I haven't touched either of my horns now for about 4 months, and i haven't played regularily for about 4 years... My plastic reeds are still good to go and play well, 5 years after I got them. as for a jazz sound... some people like the way bari reeds play for some situations, they are responsive, loud, and loud...

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        8. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I've done most of my playing on synthetic reeds since 1988 - BARIs and Fibracells. On soprano, I've not found a good replacement for cane that plays warmly and in tune, but I've not switched between too many mouthpieces to find the "perfect set-up" using a synthetic. I sometimes triple at church, so I can't afford to be picking up a dry reed. My new favorite mouthpiece on tenor is a Couf 6*R Special. A BARI medium puts a nice edge on the sound, but a Fibracell Med Soft gives that really fuzzy warm jazz reed buzz moreso than what I'd call "edge" if you know what I mean. But the BARI has more headroom in terms of volume. A Medium Fibracell might be the sweet spot with that setup - I'll know later this week when I pick one up. A broad brush stroke here, but BARI's offer digital crispness compared to Fibracell's analog warmth. So I've been playing on synthetics longer than I played on cane and have become quite accustomed to them. It takes some time to sort out what set-up works for you to get the sound you're shooting for, but that's true with cane reeds, too. I like the idea of going and buying a new reed exactly like the old one. Again, it's what you are used to or what you allow yourself to adapt to. I have some dreadfully old but interesting Brilhart plastic reeds I acquired once that I've not yet played. They don't appear to be as durable as modern synthetics as the plastic is very thin and brittle, but they are really cool to look at nonetheless. As the science of synthetics and composites improves, surely the various reed designs will keep coming out. Carbon fiber, etc...

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        9. by The_§ax
          (147 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I have played many concerts with cane reeds in concert bands, because all the other brands of synthetics were rubbish. !!BUT!! I went to a swing band concert and there was this really popular sax player (who is the best in town) playing with a Legere reed. I was blown away by his bright warm sound and i had to order one. When it got shipped down I played it right away and it was amazing! My alto had never played better! So people that don't like synthetics try a Legere Studio Cut reed and you will change your mind. They give out a nice warm, bright sound and they last longer than lots of cane reeds, so they are cheaper in the long run. Give them a try, you might just like them. Selmer_Owner

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        10. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I've tried the Fibracell reeds for both tenor and alto, and I HATE them! I don't like the feel or sound at all! I think they sound terrible! I like LaVoz and Rico Jazz selects; unfiled. I get a great sound with them.

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        11. by barisax999
          (400 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          im gonna have to go with the connsaxman whatever here. we may not agree on saxes, but as far as reeds go, no synthetics, thyre terrible. they give you a synthetic sound. however i would like to add the vandoren zzs and v16 to the list of suggested reeds

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        12. by The_§ax
          (147 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          Once again i am defending synthetics. If you are thinking of alto synthetics then try Legere STUDIO CUT reeds they are magic. They sound like the perfect cane reed you have been searching for all of your life They last ages too. you can go through a really really long hard blowing concert and they will be reliable the whole time, where some cane reeds might fail. If you are completely against synthetics and can't be converted then use Vandorens. All vandoren brands are good with one or two good reeds a pack. Steer clear of other brands especially Rico. Rico are made of low quality cane soke your reeds for half an hour in clean water and they will be more reliable, but do try Legere.

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        13. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I've had pretty good luck with Rico Jazz selects, although I prefer LaVoz. A friend gave me a couple Alexander reeds for alto to try and I really like them. I'd like to try some for tenor. I prefer an unfiled reed.

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        14. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I gave a Fibracell to a fellow tenor player this past week and it cured numerous problems they were contending with - unstable tone, fuzzy octave A, etc. Synthetics, relatively speaking, "suck" no worse than the inconsistency, break-in, and durability of cane. Everyone needs to take the time to figure out what works for them. Some people aren't happy with anything but cane. Some people (like me) find a set-up using synthetics that works extremely well. I've not been asked to revoke my local saxophone union member's card on account of using synthetic reeds, and no other player - beginning or experienced - should be worried of that either.

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        15. by connsaxman_jim
          (2336 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          A lot of players like the Fibracell reeds. They were highly recommended to me by a friend who is a very tenor player. They do have their advantages. I just don't like the sound or feel. I had seen several posts about reeds, and the various steps people take to prepare their reeds. Usually I just pull them out of the box and slap them on! I slobber a good loogy on it play! Seldom do I even break out the reed rush! I've only gotten a few reeds that I couldn't use right out of the box. The Vandoren V16's just seem too soft or too green. I don't care for French cut reeds or filed reeds. I'd much rather have the unfiled.

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        16. by The_§ax
          (147 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          It is true that you must find the reed brand that is right for you. My personal preference for practicing at home is vandoren traditional, but when it comes to concerts for concert bands I prefer Legere Standard Cut. Legere Studio Cut reeds are great for swing, latin, Jazz and other free blowing music.

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        17. by jaggtagg7
          (40 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          hmmm... after participating in pit orcherstra for our musical at my school i have to say sythns have the advatage of not needing to be wet if you double. i often found it a problem to switch after not playing my alto. it would be like 20 mintues. although, i have no desire to use synthetic reeds. i think of it like this. Adolphe Sax ment for it to be cane. so why would you change something that is good?

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        18. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          I double or triple at church or in concert band and don't always have time to wet them properly and keep them wet. I think that if Adolphe Sax had access to Fibracells, he would have probably helped optimize their design for use as it just makes sense to have something durable and consistent - given that the tone is acceptable, of course. Polymer science was quite limited in those days. Can't say he would have been in favor of BARI's excpet for marching bands.

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        19. by barisax999
          (400 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: synthetic reeds?

          i triple on bari, clarinet, and bass clarinet in a pit. get a mouthpiece cap, put a good wad of spit of it, and that way you still get a good sound

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