Saxophone Forum


by Tenorgirlforclarinet
(1 post)
9 years ago

REEDS!

Hey, i am in eigth grade and play Tnor sax and clarinet. i am currently using a Vandoren 5 reed on my clarinet and have been for a year now ...i have recently moved to a 5 jazz reed on my tenor. i dont notice a problem , but many older saxaphonist , like at kennely keys , are concerned and tell me i should need to play a redd this high. but i like the challenge....should i continue to use a strength 5 or go back down???

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  1. by barisax999
    (400 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: REEDS!

    what is the tip size on your mouhpeice?

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  2. by musicman_horton
    (19 posts)

    8 years ago

    Re: REEDS!

    I would ask the question, do you enjoy playing on that kind of strength for the challenge, or for the sound you get. I agree with other posts that say play the reed that will give you the best sound. When I was in high school, about 12 years ago, I thought that the stronger the reed, the better off you'll be. I tried a Vandoren 4 and hated it. I use a three on my Selmer Paris S90 alto mouthpiece, and a three (both are vandorens) on my Eugene Rousseau soprano. Just go with a strength taht you will sound good on. Realize that the strength that you play on your clarinet will probably be higher than what you play on your tenor....my experience only.

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  3. by barisax999
    (400 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: REEDS!

    what is the tip size on your mouhpeice?

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  4. by barisax999
    (400 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: REEDS!

    what is the tip size on your mouhpeice?

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    1. by CountSpatula
      (602 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: REEDS!

      Wowza...size 5?? you must have a small mpc... I play on a 2.5 or 3....you should really get a more open mouthpiece...unless your already playing on one...what good is the challenge if you get a horrible sound from it anyways..

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  5. by Sax_Shark
    (134 posts)

    9 years ago

    Re: REEDS!

    LOL......this reminds me of my first band director. He told me that me more expierenced a person became on sax, the higher the hardness of their reed would go. So, being the impressionable young 6th grader that I was, I thought for the longest time that the professionals used like 9 and 10 sized reeds. LOL - that was some fun times. Anyways.....the point of that story was to simply say that yes, the harder reeds do challenge you to play on them but I have been able to get a better sound on the softer reeds that any of the harder reeds that I have ever used. BUT, I would keep that ability to play the harder reeds. That ability has helped me break in softer reeds when I needed them on short notice (or when all the reeds in my case chip).

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    1. by CountSpatula
      (602 posts)

      9 years ago

      Re: REEDS!

      I thought the same thing but pros like sanborn still use 2.5 and 3s....

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      1. by chiamac
        (586 posts)

        9 years ago

        Re: REEDS!

        I didn't even know vandoren went up to 5... I used to play 3 or 3.5 and those were getting way too hard, caused me problems, and so on.

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        1. by sax78016
          (6 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          3.5 reeds cause me problems too especially during marching season!

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        2. by CountSpatula
          (602 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Depends on the mouthpiece I cant use a 2.5 or 3 reed on my selmer C* cuz its too small and i cant get a sound out cuz it wont vibrate but a 3.5 works perfectly On my metal one, a 2.5 is kinda small but good enough, 3 i have to tighten up and a 3.5 is like impossible.

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        3. by SaxyQue
          (13 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          The size of a reed usually refers to its thickness. The higher the size, the harder the reed is. Some companies, like La Voz, simply put soft, hard, ect. on them. Vandoren and Zonda, on the other hand, use numbers to indicate thickness. The thickness of a reed a musician should use depends on their instrument, mouthpiece, personal preference, and whether or not their mouths can handle a thick reed. I'd suggest that you play on the thickest reed that you can play comfortably. The thicker the reed that you can play well, the better your tone. If you play a lot of high and altissimo notes, you will generally need to play on a thicker reed in order to get the notes out. If you play a jazz mouthpiece you will need to play thinner reeds than if you are playing on a classical mouthpiece since the mouthpiece tip is farther from the reed on a jazz mouthpiece. If you just started playing or do not play a lot, gradually up the size of your reed as your mouth muscles develop and you have the needed breath support. If you are buying reeds for the first time and have no clue what size to play, try medium sized reeds first (generally reeds saying medium soft or medium hard, 2 1/2 or 3). From there you can get a better idea of which reed size you need. If the reed is too thin your tone will sound rather buzzy and also bright. Notes in the upper registers will be flat. In addition, some notes may not speak since the reed will easily be pinched too close to the tip of the mouthpiece. On the other hand, playing a reed that is too thick and stiff will cause your tone to become very stuffy. It will be difficult to play quietly, especially lower notes. Also, your articulation will suffer.

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        4. by mingusfan69
          (9 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          I double that notion. I also add that most of the time its simply the mouthpiece. My clarinet friend plays vandoren 4's and i play 3's, but if i play with her mouthpiece, the 4's work better anyways no matter who's playing it.

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        5. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Sorry SaxyQue, I have to add a correction to your post, and this is for every reed player that reads this. As the numbers indicating reed strength go up, the reed does NOT GET THICKER, the reeds are increasingly STIFF depending upon the variable present in the natural fibers of cane. Everything else SaxyQue said applies, but please do not get the idea in your head about the number=thickness, the number=stiffness of the reed, the stiffer the reed, the more resistant to vibration, therefore a stronger embouchure and more air is usually required to make it vibrate vs. a more limber reed on a comparable tip opening mouthpiece. I use Vandoren 2 1/2's on my C* and Rico Jazz Select 3s on my Meyer M7M. Different tip openings, different reeds. And if you disagree with my SaxyQue, please do some research on it, the Vandoren website has some excellent info and even a video of what goes into making a reed. Oh yeah, I wrote a paper on this subject for part of my junior year sax studio requirement in college. selmerfan

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        6. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          PS, Vandoren manufacturers all of their reeds to the same thickness, but classify them by computer as to what stiffness they are, then they are marked 2, 2 1/2, 3, etc. selmerfan

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        7. by SaxyQue
          (13 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Ok Stiff A**.... Scuse me for being the only one targeted about a dayum reed. For your clarification.... my information was taken from a website too..also from a REED section. So perhaps if you will..have a look. (

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        8. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Easy does it SaxyQue, I'm not going to sink to the level of a rant here, but at least I wasn't quoting someone else's personal site... I did go to the link, and I entirely disagree with the author/website owner regarding reed thickness (and maybe we're discussing something as ludicrous as semantics...). There is nothing wrong with making comments, but you also are espousing them as facts, and mixing up fact and opinion is something that confuses people and gives them misconceptions. Look up some information (not necessarily web-based) on reed strength vs. reed thickness. All manufacturers manufacture their reeds to different specifications regarding thickness at the heel and at the tip and at the heart, but within in each kind of reed (Vandoren Trad, Java, ZZ, Alexander Superial, D.C., Zonda, Hemke, La Voz, etc.) they are each manufactured to specific tolerances regarding thickness and finished, THEN they are tested for strength (how stiff they are). That is where the hardness rating comes from, not from varying thicknesses at the tip. If the tip of a 5 strength reed was twice as thick as the tip of a 2.5 strength there's no way on God's green Earth anyone could get a sound out of it. Please, please do some more research. I'm not trying to tear you down or flame your post, just trying to educate you and whoever else reads this. I hate it when I have new private sax students come in with misconceptions about sax equipment that they have accepted as facts written in stone that are someone's opinion or misinformation. selmerfan Hmm, maybe that was a rant, sorry. Tried to be gentle though....

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        9. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          SaxyQue, Your rant was completely out of proportion to the response Selmerfan gave earlier. After all, he did say that most of what you had said was right on. Please learn to receive correction with a little grace. We all make mistakes, and must learn to receive correction, or we will continue in our ignorance.

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        10. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          I'm glad I'm not the only who thought that about the response. I can't help being a teacher even when I'm on the web, I simply won't let what I know to be misconceptions go uncorrected, and I generally try to do it gently. My goal is not to make anyone mad or tear anyone down, but I have a very difficult time reading something that is stated as fact when it's either incorrect or opinion. I try to qualify my statements between stating facts and I make it very clear when I'm stating an opinion. My opinion is that 2.5 Vandoren traditional reeds are the best pairing with my Selmer C* S80 mouthpiece, but I won't criticize anyone who has better luck with 3's or 4's, but I will criticize anyone who says, "you can not get a good tone without playing at least a 4 strength reed". I've played with pros that are playing on 2's, it's like buying shoes or underwear, very personal, and what works for one, doesn't work for another, but various experiences can be helpful, but make sure you try them out for yourself. For example, I've read good things about Alexander Classiques being better than Vandoren traditional. I tried them out, didn't care for them, to edgy for my taste, but that's personal, I'll never tell someone from my little experience, "don't ever get Alexander Classique, they're crap!" but if someone asks me what I think of them, I'll tell them my experience, then tell them to go buy a box and try them out! That's the difference between stating facts and voicing opinions. selmerfan

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        11. by Sax Mom
          (964 posts)

          9 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Responding to the "high reed strength=great tone" idea--- That's probably true only if you have not developed control in your embouchure. A well-developed embouchure can do awesome things with a soft reed.

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        12. by SaxyQue
          (13 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Selmerfan and Sax Mom, Look I have to say I'm terribly sorry about the comments I made. I have been a little on edge back then when this post was made. I'd like to apologize and say that I did re-read the information and except your compliment as well. i do say I was not trying to use someone elses material as my own..but just sharing what I've read and where I go for my information and learning. But I do too as well remember what I learn and what I've been taught. Again, I apologize for coming off the wrong way. I'm not the person I'd like to be hated on this site...its totally off my league. I just have had too many problems at home going on and with out a job at this time..so my sax is my only sanctuary from all this bull. You two have a wonderful day and hope that we can perhaps have a fresh start. Saxy Q

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        13. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Apology accepted, forgiveness granted. I love being a Lutheran! :) selmerfan

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        14. by straightj23
          (103 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          I just got back from saxophone camp, and one of the instructors, who is going for his doctorate in saxophone, also works for vandoren. He pushes their products, goes around and does presentations at schools describing how the reeds are made and such. I think that when it comes to reeds, Vandoren is the king with Rico in a close second. I told the guy that I tried Hemke reeds and he replied, "Are you kidding? Dr. Hemke doesn't even play his own reeds."

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        15. by jamterry
          (573 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          I was taught that Rico was an entry level reed. As for Fred Hemke, I'll ask him what he plays on. You have to realize that when someone works for a company, he or she must push its products. Fred Hemke could sound good on any reed. Also, when I first met Fred Hemke, there was only one Vandoren reed available. I still use the traditional Vandoren and LaVoz. I like LaVoz for live applications. A doctorate in saxophone will get you a job as a teacher. It doesn't make you a good player. Terry

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        16. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          jamterry, a doctorate in saxophone usually will get you a good job teaching, but you had better be a good (be able to handle most of the major legit pieces written for saxophone for examplet ) player in one genre or another or you won't get the doctorate. As for the doctorate qualifying someone to tell them exactly what set-up equipment to use, no amount of experience gives anyone the right to dictate such personal matters, although many, many teachers do exactly that. selmerfan

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        17. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          jamterry, I went back and read the previous post, now I see what you're saying. This guy from camp met this guy going for his doctorate in saxophone, therefore this doctoral student MUST be a great player and we should do what he says...not quite, and I agree with you from that point of view! selmerfan

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        18. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          While maybe true that an experienced player might still be on 2.5 this is only half the story. I also use a 2.5 vandoren on a Selmer S80 C*,,, but after 35 yrs of playing classical I have also loosend up my embouchure considerably over the years as a matter of fact i no longer overlap my bottom lip over my teeth and i have no bite mark into the lower lip having said all this,,, it means that I use the full opening of the mouthpiece and the reed's full strength Actually most experienced players end up going this route they would refer to it as a flexible embouchure,,,, all this means it is free from biting and ready to make minute changes as the musical colors require it One cannot make adjustmenst for pitch and timbre while biting hard just to be able to play As for thick and thin the reed blanks are the same but the vamp and especially the tip can be cut thinner or thicker this will yield different reed strength ,,,both are correct

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        19. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Hey Countspatula can't get a sound out of a 2.5!!!!! Count-you loosen up a bit,,,,, do you place band-aids on you bottom lip,,,, you need to hardly touch the reed when you play ,,who taught you to play that way ,,,drop your jaw,,,, loosen your bite I mean loooooooooosen it ,,,,,push your mouthpiece almost all the way in and force yourself to play notes steady and a little flat at first ,,,stop choking the thing let the reed vibrate on its own. You will find you need a lot of air to play this way air that you might never have developed How long can you play for ????Can you go for hours without getting a sore lip?Can you play the entire sax range without any lip pressure adjustments. Can you drop two octaves without lipping? If not,,, YOU ARE BITING AND YOUR TONE IS SUFFERING ,,,, Strong reeds are sometimes just a macho thing !!!

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        20. by CountSpatula
          (602 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Ive played at all day rehearsals several times... 3.5 IMO isn't very hard for a C*, I use size 3s on my RPC 90. And yes I can do all that you asked=)

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        21. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Hmm, am I the only smelling a slight ammonia smell around here.....? selmerfan

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        22. by selmerfan
          (67 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Hmm, am I the only one smelling a slight ammonia smell around here.....? selmerfan

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        23. by selmer 4evr
          (309 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          Countspatual If you are truthfull and clearly understood what exactly I asked ,,,then you would get a sound out of a 2 1/2 ,,,, even a pro like Delangle uses a 3 on a Vandoren A17 which is more closed than a C* and he used to use a 2 1/2 on his C*

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        24. by CountSpatula
          (602 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          selmer 4evr, I play on which reed I feel works best for me. I use java reeds, and I usually switch between 3s and 3.5s, not very picky (sanding the 3.5s down quiet a bit though), and javas run 1/2 a step softer than trad. reeds, so a 3 reed is equal to a 2.5 regular vandoren, if it makes you feel any better.

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        25. by bigred
          (43 posts)

          8 years ago

          Re: REEDS!

          i use orange box ricos 3 1/2 on my 9* link fo tenor and 3 1/2 ricos on my meyer 7m. try ricos they give you a nice straight sound.

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