Discussion starter and ender.
+1. And a 2.5 isn't really a 'soft' reed; it's pretty middle of the road. Many players move to reeds that are too hard, only to back off and move to a softer reed (sometimes after years) once they have a well-developed air stream. Best to stick with a medium strength reed for now and work on getting a good sound and on your technique. In the future you can experiment with different strength reeds and see what suits you best, but it won't do you much good now.... As a beginner it's usually best to stay with a brand and strength that does NOT cause you to use extra pressure. That only leads to a bad habit called biting.
If the 2.5's are working for good tone, articulation, and comfortable mouth muscles (it's called your embouchure) stay with them.
Thanks, Mom! Seriously, I get that biting thing totally, I was thinking a few minutes a day might be helpful. I'll watch the bite carefully. My logic is the same as exercises like holding a pencil in the mouth. That drove my wife batty, but I didn't do it too long. It did seem to give me more strength.As a beginner it's usually best to stay with a brand and strength that does NOT cause you to use extra pressure. That only leads to a bad habit called biting.
My personal experience is this. When I start playing again after not playing/practicing for a while I usually go down 1/2 reed strength which depends entirely on the mouthpiece I am using at the time. After a number of hours of playing, the muscle tone in my embouchure returns and I an go back up a 1/2 strength. I try to find reeds with just enough "resistance" to produce a clear and "bell like" tone in the high register (think Desmond, or Rousseau), but at the same time play responsive enough to play the lowest notes p or pp without a subtone. On jazz tenor, I can accept a bit more "buzz" and brightness in the upper register, but I want an even better response on the lowest notes.This may have been a thread already but after a search, I didn't see it. I'd like to know how you know when it's time to try a 3 when you've been playing on a 2 1/2 and also does the tightness of the embouchure change and require more strength? I ask because I bought a bunch of different reeds. This is probably a distraction, since I am just learning, but I yearn to feel that I have the best reed and strength. I like the Legères, but have cane from Rico, Vandoren blue and some black coated Plasticovers. I also bought a Vandoren 3. My theory is to play through them over a two hour session, then at the end do a few minutes a day with the 3 as an exercise. Is this a positive or negative value in your opinions? My feeling is that it's harder to produce a note on the 3, but tightening the mouth seems to make it easier.
Should the mouth muscles change in effort with a stronger reed, or is it just a matter of breath?
The "physical exercise" idea is understandable, but it doesn't really apply here. One could argue that it takes a 'stronger' embouchure and better breath control to play a softer reed, staying in tune and controlling your sound. But really this isn't about building up muscles; it's much more subtle than that. It's a matter of control. My point is, you can gain that control just fine by sticking with one reed strength, rather than jumping up a step at the end of your practice session. IMO, that can only mess you up because you are suddenly changing an important parameter.@JL, appreciate the feedback. You think it's a bad idea to get the physical exercise at the end of practicing? Say no more than 5 minutes?