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Discussion Starter #1
A local shop has Alexander DC tenor reeds in strength #2 on sale.
I haven't touched my tenor yet (Yamaha YTS 52) since I got it about 8 years ago but I'm soon planning to return to sax playing (had a trumpet break ;)).
Before that I played on alto for a about a year and I never progressed beyond Vandoren #2 Blue box or Vandoren Java 2.5 on a relatively closed tip .07" A15 mp.

Would Alexander DC #2 be of low useability for an average tenor player? Meaning they would be too soft for playing in the high register or maybe just too soft overall?
Oh, mind you, I perfectly understand there is no such thing as 'an average tenor player' or an 'average tenor setup'. Those are "good terms" to bash me for but please just help me out: I need a quick rule of thumb answer.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Let me clarify my question and make it less blurry in terms of mp/reed set-up:

- Will I likely experience intonation/other problems with playing Alexander DC #2 tenor reeds on a relatively closed mp such as Otto Link Rubber Tenor Sax Mouthpiece #6 0.090" ?
- How much will I need to go up in terms of tip opening to make Alexander DC #2 work reasonably well on that mp if my first question gets positive answer?
 

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Let me clarify my question and make it less blurry in terms of mp/reed set-up:

- Will I likely experience intonation/other problems with playing Alexander DC #2 tenor reeds on a relatively closed mp such as Otto Link Rubber Tenor Sax Mouthpiece #6 0.090" ?
- How much will I need to go up in terms of tip opening to make Alexander DC #2 work reasonably well on that mp if my first question gets positive answer?
Well, first off, a 0.090 facing is not "relatively closed". Something like a Selmer C* at 0.071" would be "relatively closed". I would call 0.090 "medium". 60 years ago, 0.090 would have been "relatively open".

Try them and you may like them. Most of us old guys with a lot of years experience find ourselves playing softer reeds over time, without any loss of control or ability to project, just because our ability to manage the reed and manage air flow improves with experience.

If they turn out to be too soft out of the box, clip them till they aren't too soft any more.

No worries.
 

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Most of us old guys with a lot of years experience find ourselves playing softer reeds over time, without any loss of control or ability to project, just because our ability to manage the reed and manage air flow improves with experience.
That’d be an interesting poll. 2 on a .090” seems like a too soft setup to me, but I’m just over 60, so maybe I don’t qualify as “us old guys”. It’ll depend on what kind of music you are playing, too. If you play in the community band at The Home, I can appreciate that you may not play as loud. :bluewink:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well, first off, a 0.090 facing is not "relatively closed".
...
If they turn out to be too soft out of the box, clip them till they aren't too soft any more.
No worries.
Does clipping really work in making reeds harder while maintaining their tonal qualities? I've heard that you can't make a reed much harder compared to its original strength and if you do it you've already clipped off too much.

That’d be an interesting poll. 2 on a .090” seems like a too soft setup to me, but I’m just over 60, so maybe I don’t qualify as “us old guys”. It’ll depend on what kind of music you are playing, too. If you play in the community band at The Home, I can appreciate that you may not play as loud. :bluewink:
Tell me more please!
So, if I take an Alexander DC #2 and a .090” mp will I be able to maintain proper intonation? Won't my high register suffer too much? I'm NOT concerned about volume at all. I'd prefer to play softer at home.
And I'm talking about normal sax range, no altissimo.
 

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Tell me more please!
So, if I take an Alexander DC #2 and a .090” mp will I be able to maintain proper intonation? Won't my high register suffer too much? I'm NOT concerned about volume at all. I'd prefer to play softer at home.
And I'm talking about normal sax range, no altissimo.
Whether you maintain proper intonation will depend on whether you have a tendency to bite. A soft reed on a small tip opening may exagerate the effects of biting. That is likely part of the control that Turf was citing.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Whether you maintain proper intonation will depend on whether you have a tendency to bite. A soft reed on a small tip opening may exagerate the effects of biting. That is likely part of the control that Turf was citing.
In other words, Alexander DC#2 isn't too soft to be able to play the whole tenor range in tune witn a .090 tip mp if one knows how to do that?
That is, there are no equipment physical limitations for playing that setup well at a softer volume?
Think of playing some standards/ballads at home.
 

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In other words, Alexander DC#2 isn't too soft to be able to play the whole tenor range in tune witn a .090 tip mp if one knows how to do that?
That is, there are no equipment physical limitations for playing that setup well at a softer volume?
Think of playing some standards/ballads at home.
Give it a go.

There are a wide variety of setups that "work" for someone, yet may not work for you. Their experience (good/bad), their expectations (demanding/none), etc. will vary. And you will similarly get the gamut of recommendations.

I suggest you check in with an experienced teacher for evaluation of your embouchure, air support, and tone. Else, just buy a box o' reeds, and see if you're happy.
 

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That’d be an interesting poll. 2 on a .090” seems like a too soft setup to me, but I’m just over 60, so maybe I don’t qualify as “us old guys”. It’ll depend on what kind of music you are playing, too. If you play in the community band at The Home, I can appreciate that you may not play as loud. :bluewink:
Well, it would be too soft for me, too, but the OP is just coming back to playing saxophone after a long layoff.

Personally, I've been playing pretty much the same or very similar setup on alto and bari (my two main instruments) for 30+ years: Meyer #7 on alto and Meyer #8 on baritone. By today's chest-thumping standards I suppose these would be considered "medium" though I would consider them "medium open". I'm typically using #2.5-ish reeds. 30 years ago, I was using #3 ~ 3.5s. 30 years ago, if I blew hard, I would close up a #2.5; nowadays I know how to blow just as hard and not close up the softer reeds. Let me just say that on baritone, playing with a full 16 piece big band, I don't need no stinkin' mikes to play a solo. It's all about how you use the air.

If I were the OP coming back to playing tenor after a long layoff I would probably be starting with something more on the Meyer 5 end and #2.5 Vandorens to get stability in the embouchure before moving to a more open piece. I am doing something like this now as I get back into soprano after not playing it seriously for 35 years or so - more closed MP and harder reed.
 

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Further to the original question: no one can tell you whether xyz combination will work for you or not. I can say that a 0.090 tenor MP and #2 reeds is not a wild setup far out of the norm, so there's a reasonable chance it will be satisfactory for you (for example, if you wanted to play classical saxophone quartet literature with a Berg Larson 130/0 and #4 Plasticover reeds; or screaming tenor solos in a high energy funk band with a Rascher mouthpiece; then people would rightfully urge you to rethink those choices).

The only way to know for sure is to give it a go.
 

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Further to the original question: no one can tell you whether xyz combination will work for you or not. I can say that a 0.090 tenor MP and #2 reeds is not a wild setup far out of the norm, so there's a reasonable chance it will be satisfactory for you (for example, if you wanted to play classical saxophone quartet literature with a Berg Larson 130/0 and #4 Plasticover reeds; or screaming tenor solos in a high energy funk band with a Rascher mouthpiece; then people would rightfully urge you to rethink those choices).

The only way to know for sure is to give it a go.
I agree. I can tell you that have a couple pieces that all measure the same tip opening, and I use a 3.5 on one, a 3 on another, and a 2.5 on the last.

Unfortunately this is one of those things that requires some trial and error. Which isn’t always fun because it costs money. Without knowing your playing tendencies it is hard to make a blanket statement one way or another.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Further to the original question: no one can tell you whether xyz combination will work for you or not. I can say that a 0.090 tenor MP and #2 reeds is not a wild setup far out of the norm, so there's a reasonable chance it will be satisfactory for you (for example, if you wanted to play classical saxophone quartet literature with a Berg Larson 130/0 and #4 Plasticover reeds; or screaming tenor solos in a high energy funk band with a Rascher mouthpiece; then people would rightfully urge you to rethink those choices).

The only way to know for sure is to give it a go.
The only reason I focused on the suject is because those DC#2's are on sale and otherwise the reed prices over here are mad.
So I needed just a basic guidence. I want to buy the whole bunch they've got left at the store.

I see majority of you while accepting DC #2's + .090" tip as a valid combination nevertheless say that #2.5 is the lowest strength you'd go for.
So this #2 strength must be at the edge of a 'valid combination' as far as I get it.
Anyway, I better grab that bunch of 35 reeds before someone else gets it first and leaves me puzzled "I wonder, would they work for me if I actually got them at that time?". ;)

By the way, what about clipping? Will it solve the problem of softness even if at the slight expence of reeds' tonal qualities?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
These are overpriced reeds with poor quality control and belligerent customer service. If they're "on sale", it's for a reason.
Avoid them at any cost.
Does that apply to all Alexander reed products?
They also have Marca #2 and #3's on sale. All those reeds they sell are old stock. The store was down for some time and before that the prices were more or less regular.
When they recently resumed business under a new owner they placed many reeds on sale.
 

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The only reason I focused on the suject is because those DC#2's are on sale and otherwise the reed prices over here are mad.
So I needed just a basic guidence. I want to buy the whole bunch they've got left at the store.
I totally understand the desire to be thrifty and get the most reeds possible for a given price. But when it comes to something as important as the reed (arguably the single most important bit of equipment for a sax player), I don't think saving a few dollars should be the primary consideration. And I realize the fact you are asking the question means you don't necessarily think so either. I would be hesitant to buy such a large batch of reeds, even at a great price, if I hadn't already determined they were reeds that I liked. You sure won't have saved any money if you find yourself with a large batch of reeds you hate.

So I would reiterate what robbieg pointed out: "Unfortunately this is one of those things that requires some trial and error. Which isn’t always fun because it costs money." What that means is you need to try a few different brands/sizes to figure out what works best. Why not buy a few of those bargain-priced reeds (one box, maybe) and see how they work for you? Then go from there. Since you are returning after a long lay-off, I don't think the #2 reeds will necessarily be too soft, but who knows if you'll like the Alexanders, regardless of strength? It would be worthwhile to try a couple other brands as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I totally understand the desire to be thrifty and get the most reeds possible for a given price. But when it comes to something as important as the reed (arguably the single most important bit of equipment for a sax player), I don't think saving a few dollars should be the primary consideration. And I realize the fact you are asking the question means you don't necessarily think so either. I would be hesitant to buy such a large batch of reeds, even at a great price, if I hadn't already determined they were reeds that I liked. You sure won't have saved any money if you find yourself with a large batch of reeds you hate.

So I would reiterate what robbieg pointed out: "Unfortunately this is one of those things that requires some trial and error. Which isn’t always fun because it costs money." What that means is you need to try a few different brands/sizes to figure out what works best. Why not buy a few of those bargain-priced reeds (one box, maybe) and see how they work for you? Then go from there. Since you are returning after a long lay-off, I don't think the #2 reeds will necessarily be too soft, but who knows if you'll like the Alexanders, regardless of strength? It would be worthwhile to try a couple other brands as well.
Thanks JL. Those are wise words of a man who looks like a seasoned Jedi. I trust you.
 

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Does that apply to all Alexander reed products?
My experience is with Alexander Superials, tenor #3. After my first box of useable reeds, I bought five more "on sale" and didn't get one useable (for me) reed out of any of those tins. I posted a picture of the reeds in one box that were visibly irregularly cut. Though I didn't complain to the company, some folks here with similar experiences did; and the response was wholly belligerent and with a non-cost-effective refund/return policy.

I tried some Marca reeds when I was shopping around and they were fairly generic and not my cup of tea. Currently I use Vandoren Java Green #3 which do very nicely for me (but ain't cheap).
 

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Since you haven't played a sax in 8 years, your embouchure is undeveloped, so those reeds should be good for your mouthpiece.
As you develop, if you find the reeds not hard enough, you can buy another mouthpiece with a larger tip opening, like a Rico Metalite.
You might try one reed in the store to reduce your risk.
 

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Perhaps tell us the price vs other brands.
I stick with vandoren and they are generally a lot cheaper than Alexander...so it may also come down to hwo cheap is cheap
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks to all, really all for good tips and wise words!
- I agree, it'll take me some time before 2's feel too soft; great idea - I have a couple more different pieces and since I'm an amateur musician I'll adjust gradually without problems.
- I got a whole bunch of different makes and strength from the store. Cost? - Believe me, real cheap, 3 to 4 times cheaper than the corresponding regular price Vandorens.
Those were closeout offers as I explained earlier. They should be fine.
 
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