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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Everyone,

I decided to waste a lot of money today and open a bunch of boxes of reeds. Here's a clip of me on 5 reeds that all seem to work pretty well with my mouthpiece (Brian Powell Berg .116).

I'd love to get some feedback on what you hear, I was kind of surprised that some that didn't feel good ended up being my favorite sounding.


Thanks in advance!
 

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Fun to listen to the differences. The v16 sounded slightly resistant, but clear and the rigotti gold more bright. The Java had some buzz in the sound and it sounded like it took less effort. The legere sounded neutral, open, and round, but a bit soft. The lavoz sounded like the java with a soft buzz.
 

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This is all so silly to me. All this concern and chatter about the cut and filed vs. unfiled is all meaningless. I always start with reeds that are too hard and sand them down with 220 wet or dry sandpaper, thereby completely destroying anything remotely resembling a particular reed manufacturer's "cut."

If the reed is manufactured by one of the major companies, it will be reasonably well cut and crafted to play well in a typical range of strengths. All that matters is two things. 1) Is the cane of good quality in term of resilience, meaning is it vibrant and full sounding? 2) Does the cane warp or not? Some very good sounding and loud cane warps after being played for a few hours and then it doesn't sit flat on the table of the mouthpiece causing it to simply not play at all. Other cane is mushy and dead and also warps. The trick is finding cane that sounds big and loud and doesn't warp. Good Luck.
 

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This is all so silly to me. All this concern and chatter about the cut and filed vs. unfiled is all meaningless. I always start with reeds that are too hard and sand them down with 220 wet or dry sandpaper, thereby completely destroying anything remotely resembling a particular reed manufacturer's "cut."

If the reed is manufactured by one of the major companies, it will be reasonably well cut and crafted to play well in a typical range of strengths. All that matters is two things. 1) Is the cane of good quality in term of resilience, meaning is it vibrant and full sounding? 2) Does the cane warp or not? Some very good sounding and loud cane warps after being played for a few hours and then it doesn't sit flat on the table of the mouthpiece causing it to simply not play at all. Other cane is mushy and dead and also warps. The trick is finding cane that sounds big and loud and doesn't warp. Good Luck.
That sure sounds like a lot of silliness to me.

I think that’s true if you work your reeds. I, sadly, don’t have the patience to do that, so I want one close to the feel I like straight out of the box.
yup, me too, I reach into a box of Rigotti 3 light and I'm good to go. Really liked your comparison video, thanks for taking the time to record and post it! The V16 was my favorite, but I've never liked playing them. Maybe I should revisit them sometime.
 

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3-5 minutes tops. Thats how long I need to sand down a reed. Especially if I'm familiar with a particular strength of a brand I know almost exactly how many swipes with the small square piece of 220 wet or dry I need to make. I get pretty much 90% of my reeds to work. I save so much time and money, I don't have any ridiculous and silly reed break in proceed. What nonsense. Actually don't have the patience NOT to work on my reeds. I'ts a very rare day I find a reed that plays in the zone straight out of the box.

I think that’s true if you work your reeds. I, sadly, don’t have the patience to do that, so I want one close to the feel I like straight out of the box.


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Yeah, I’m really glad that works for you. I generally just put them on and play. They’re not all perfect, but I tend to ruin reeds when I work them. I also don’t generally want reeds that play perfect right away, as they don’t seem to last long for me. If I break in 4 harder reeds, once they settle in, I can get about 6 months on them.

I’ve taken lessons on it and tried to get better at reed working, but I have pretty shaky hands and I just am really bad at detail work like that. Guess I’ll never be a brain surgeon either. :)

Really, most of the highest level pros I know don’t work reeds (although some do), so I think both ways are acceptable.




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This is all so silly to me. All this concern and chatter about the cut and filed vs. unfiled is all meaningless. I always start with reeds that are too hard and sand them down with 220 wet or dry sandpaper, thereby completely destroying anything remotely resembling a particular reed manufacturer's "cut."

If the reed is manufactured by one of the major companies, it will be reasonably well cut and crafted to play well in a typical range of strengths. All that matters is two things. 1) Is the cane of good quality in term of resilience, meaning is it vibrant and full sounding? 2) Does the cane warp or not? Some very good sounding and loud cane warps after being played for a few hours and then it doesn't sit flat on the table of the mouthpiece causing it to simply not play at all. Other cane is mushy and dead and also warps. The trick is finding cane that sounds big and loud and doesn't warp. Good Luck.
I hear you, but isn't thinking about "cane that sounds vibrant" or "cane that sounds big" quite awkard? I mean if you find these experiments silly, I think that those terms are silly as well. Dealing with differences in how reeds feel is just that and one should be able to achieve the desired sound regardless of those fine differences by being at least that flexible to manipulate a reed. All that given you have a mouthpiece that is well made.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That sure sounds like a lot of silliness to me.

yup, me too, I reach into a box of Rigotti 3 light and I'm good to go. Really liked your comparison video, thanks for taking the time to record and post it! The V16 was my favorite, but I've never liked playing them. Maybe I should revisit them sometime.
Thanks!

Yeah, I didn’t give them much of a chance either, but the v16s are growing on me. I’ve been on LaVoz for the last 20 years though, so they feel the most like home.


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Hey Dave, you get a nice sound on the Java 2.5...your upper register/alt sounded a lot thicker, has more body to your sound! than the other's...don't care for the legere sound at all!...keep up the good work!
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Fun to listen to the differences. The v16 sounded slightly resistant, but clear and the rigotti gold more bright. The Java had some buzz in the sound and it sounded like it took less effort. The legere sounded neutral, open, and round, but a bit soft. The lavoz sounded like the java with a soft buzz.
Thanks for the feedback. You’re pretty spot on with how felt about them!


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I liked the LaVoz, Rigotti and Javas, in that order. I did not like the attack on the V16s at all and the legeres just had a weird sound to me. Thanks for the comparison.
 

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3-5 minutes tops. Thats how long I need to sand down a reed. Especially if I'm familiar with a particular strength of a brand I know almost exactly how many swipes with the small square piece of 220 wet or dry I need to make. I get pretty much 90% of my reeds to work. I save so much time and money, I don't have any ridiculous and silly reed break in proceed. What nonsense. Actually don't have the patience NOT to work on my reeds. I'ts a very rare day I find a reed that plays in the zone straight out of the box.
Do you sand the back of the reed or the vamp?
 

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Dave, I heard some subtle differences, but probably not enough to matter that much to a listener. You sound good on all of them. But, imo, what REALLY matters is how the reeds feel and respond for you. Obviously these particular reeds all play well enough for you to get a decent sound, but I bet some are more resistant or take more work to get that sound. And that's where the difference becomes important.

I played V16 (2.5) reeds for years and I still like the sound I can get on them, but once I started playing Rigotti (3 light), I can't go back to the V16 because the Rigottis seem to respond better with more resonance. Maybe a bit brighter also, but not significantly. So for me, it's mostly a matter of how a reed feels and responds.
 

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I'm a confirmed Legere Classic & Sig user, but I liked your sound best on the Rigotti. Just a great buzz and presence. You sounded great on all the samples, though.
 

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Yeah, I’m really glad that works for you. I generally just put them on and play. They’re not all perfect, but I tend to ruin reeds when I work them. I also don’t generally want reeds that play perfect right away, as they don’t seem to last long for me. If I break in 4 harder reeds, once they settle in, I can get about 6 months on them.

I’ve taken lessons on it and tried to get better at reed working, but I have pretty shaky hands and I just am really bad at detail work like that. Guess I’ll never be a brain surgeon either. :)

Really, most of the highest level pros I know don’t work reeds (although some do), so I think both ways are acceptable.




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This is a very sad comment. The only "high level pros" I know who don't work on reeds are the ones who are (were?) so busy that they didn't have time. I'm with LateNiteSax - it takes 5 minutes tops to adjust a reed, and a little kid can do it. Shaky hands or not. It's NOT surgery.

When I became a professional (50 years ago) EVERY sax and clarinet player I knew worked on their reeds (with the afore-mentioned exceptions - my wife tells a story of Don Menza throwing reed after reed onto the stage at Dante's in frustration...) I think it's part of being a woodwind player to work on reeds. Imagine if a professional oboist said that...

StrongD, you are a very fine player - take a couple weeks and apply yourself, you will be happier. For someone like you that's tried and failed, I suggest the Ridenour ATG system, I think you will be surprised at how easy it is.
 

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This is a very sad comment. The only "high level pros" I know who don't work on reeds are the ones who are (were?) so busy that they didn't have time. I'm with LateNiteSax - it takes 5 minutes tops to adjust a reed, and a little kid can do it. Shaky hands or not. It's NOT surgery.

When I became a professional (50 years ago) EVERY sax and clarinet player I knew worked on their reeds (with the afore-mentioned exceptions - my wife tells a story of Don Menza throwing reed after reed onto the stage at Dante's in frustration...) I think it's part of being a woodwind player to work on reeds. Imagine if a professional oboist said that...

StrongD, you are a very fine player - take a couple weeks and apply yourself, you will be happier. For someone like you that's tried and failed, I suggest the Ridenour ATG system, I think you will be surprised at how easy it is.
Maybe I'll give it another shot at some point. I have been playing for 31 years, and have come back to it many times over the years, and while I could get the reeds to play better initially, they didn't last as long as when I brute force them. Don't get me wrong, I still pick the "good" reeds out of the box, I just don't fiddle with the ones that don't play well. Those good reeds (If I can get four out of a box) last me 6 months or more. So I really only have to do it a couple of times a year. When I've worked them down to where they play right away, they die quickly.

At this point, I have a full time day job, a busy schedule of gigs, and I'm newly remarried. I'm lucky if I can get practice time in much less reed working, so it's hasn't been high on my priority list.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Dave, I heard some subtle differences, but probably not enough to matter that much to a listener. You sound good on all of them. But, imo, what REALLY matters is how the reeds feel and respond for you. Obviously these particular reeds all play well enough for you to get a decent sound, but I bet some are more resistant or take more work to get that sound. And that's where the difference becomes important.

I played V16 (2.5) reeds for years and I still like the sound I can get on them, but once I started playing Rigotti (3 light), I can't go back to the V16 because the Rigottis seem to respond better with more resonance. Maybe a bit brighter also, but not significantly. So for me, it's mostly a matter of how a reed feels and responds.
Yeah, I agree. I think you can (maybe) hear how hard some are compared to others. Maybe not! The Java was the most work, but it did get some fullness. The Rigottis are super responsive, but maybe a little too much for me. I like a little push back.

Thanks for the feedback!
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I liked the LaVoz, Rigotti and Javas, in that order. I did not like the attack on the V16s at all and the legeres just had a weird sound to me. Thanks for the comparison.
Thank you! That's actually about my preference too, I was surprised I liked the Java, they're usually not my favorite.
 
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