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Hello all,
I noticed that when I am playing softer reeds on tenor, I can initiate and play my altissimo notes with softer dynamics, and can get those notes easier than when using a harder reed. The downside of this is that I don't sound as strong and full across the horn. Does anyone know why this may be, or if there is a particular part of the reed that enhances altissimo playing?
I was always under the impression that harder reeds made altissimo playing easier, and I am finding the opposite to be true on both tenor and soprano.
And ironically, I can access my altissimo notes easier on soprano than tenor, I also wonder why that is?
For reference, on tenor I play 7* metal mouthpieces, and 2.5 - 3 strenght reeds, and about 0.07 tip openings and 2.5-3 strenght reeds on soprano.
Thanks
OO
 

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Make sure you have no upper stack or LH palm key leaks, they will REALLY limit your ability to produce a good altissimo.


Good luck
 

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OOlufoks said:
Hello all,
... I was always under the impression that harder reeds made altissimo playing easier, and I am finding the opposite to be true on both tenor and soprano.
And ironically, I can access my altissimo notes easier on soprano than tenor, I also wonder why that is?
That is interesting because I find my tenors sing tht altissimo and I struggle with altissimo much more on the soprano. From what I have found, the mouthpiece makes a bigger difference than the reeds.

W.
 

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i find harder reeds get beter harmonics, i find that soft reeds absolutely kill the harmonics since if you try and put any power behind them they crack
 

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backwards

your experience seems exactly the opposite of most cases.

I've always found that a harder reed garners a more effortless altissimo range where as a softer reed tends to pinch and crack up top.

Bigger mouthpiece softer reeds and you'll be flying
 

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My altissimo is easier to control with a harder reed. As they get soft they get better on the bottom worst in the altissimo. Eventually when they get too soft you can't push them anymore and your tone goes blotto. Being able to articulate softly and fluently in the altissimo is a hard skill to master.
 

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littlewailer said:
your experience seems exactly the opposite of most cases.

I've always found that a harder reed garners a more effortless altissimo range where as a softer reed tends to pinch and crack up top.

Bigger mouthpiece softer reeds and you'll be flying

How about bigger tip opening and sticking on the #3. Then he will have a way bigger sound and be able to push air like the big boys!!!!!!!!! Of course your lip may feel like it's going to fall off for a few months, but it's the price you pay.
 

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playitfunky said:
How about bigger tip opening and sticking on the #3. Then he will have a way bigger sound and be able to push air like the big boys!!!!!!!!! Of course your lip may feel like it's going to fall off for a few months, but it's the price you pay.
Nice! But do not underestimate the value of good air support when playing a harder reed. You will actually get a good ab workout, too.

:D
 

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I have found that initially a harder reed helps, but if it is too hard you can not get it vibrating enough to produce good (if any) altissimo.
 

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A firm reed is more dependable when it comes to consistent altissimo. Of course you don't need to go too hard. Altissimo and overtones are more mental than physical.
 

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Well...

The reed strength is a never ending story...

Yes, harder reeds tend to be better for upper register, but if your reed is too hard, higher than D#4 won't be that easy, if your mouthpiece has a big tip opening.

Really, what helps, is to have a setup to work with. Changing reeds and mouthpieces and even ligatures won't help altissimo or your playing, unless you have dedicated time enough to the setup.

Choose and work, practice, practice and practice...

We all know reeds are inconsistent, but that is a fun part of playing the saxophone. If you pick a harder reed... maybe it won't be that hard when you pull out a new one...

I use Plasticovers, mainly for the altissimo I get from them, but no reed is like other one, same brand, same number...

All the best,

JI
 
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