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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been messing around with sax for about 7 years. I'm good enough to play at blues jams, rock etc. Between my tenor, alto and sop, I find the sop to be the most fun. It's a Jean Baptiste curved dude in excellent shape which I bought used 2 1/2 years ago. It came with an unidentifiable, probably original MPC and that Berg Larsen cited above. Of course, the unmarked MPC is easier to play but it sounds way too harsh and piercing. The Larsen sounds much more mellow, perhaps darker in sax talk, but it's much more difficult to play. I've been using a Vandoren 1 1/2 reed on both. So, I'm in a bit of a quandary. I know that I can experiment with different reeds, but that's a hassle and reeds ain't free. So, to get a darker mellow sound out of the original MPC do I go up or down in reed stiffness or to make the Larsen easier to play do I drop to an even lower reed? Is it the case where stiffer reeds are more difficult? I know one suggestion would be to just practice more with the Larsen ( I see what they cost new and only now realized that I got an amazing bargain when I bought the horn because a new Larsen costs just a little less than what I paid for the horn). BTW I'd been enjoying playing my Martin Indiana tenor with a Meyer 6M but it was too dark, so I recently read a post here about Metalites, so I bought one and now my wife thinks I'm a pro....What a difference in tone and playability. I'll deal with my alto issues some other time. Last BTW essentially all of my performing and recording on 14 positively reviewed rockabilly, blues, rock genre CD's are on the oft poo pooed and highly disrespected harmonica. Just saying so as to not be assumed as one wandering aimlessly through music. Thanks.
 

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This is not meant to be an insult, so please don’t take it that way. You obviously have musical skills. But I’ve only ever seen absolute beginners play 1 1/2. Those would close up as soon as you start developing a decent amount air support, which should happen within the first few weeks of playing. I would jump to a 2 1/2 and practice your butt off until you can play it. It may feel like boot camp, but you’ve missed something critical in the development of your chops that you need to build up.

I’m not saying reed strength increases with skill across the board. Not a all. I play 2 1/2 myself, but on very open mouthpieces. I’m just saying 1 1/2 is tissue paper and suitable only for the very early stages of learning.
 

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The Larsen sounds much more mellow, perhaps darker in sax talk, but it's much more difficult to play. I've been using a Vandoren 1 1/2 reed on both. So, I'm in a bit of a quandary. I know that I can experiment with different reeds, but that's a hassle and reeds ain't free. So, to get a darker mellow sound out of the original MPC do I go up or down in reed stiffness or to make the Larsen easier to play do I drop to an even lower reed?

The issue is probably a warped table and facing on the Berg Larsen. The soft reed helps with that, but is a workaround rather than a solution. It should play easy with a 1,5 reed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Not an insult at all. I've been using a 2 1/2 on my tenor and a 2 on my altos forever. I guess I've been under the misconception that difficult mouthpiece + easier reed = certain playability. in other words, if you use a beginner mouthpiece with a hard reed you'd be able to play more advanced. I suppose it's somewhat true. Anyway, I had a few number 3 reeds sitting around and tried one with the Larsen and it was interesting. I see that you need more pressure to control a stiffer reed so I look forward to this evening when I can practice with it. Also to me it's interesting that with the tenor I never used anything less than a 2 1/2 reed. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks all. If the Bergs are notoriously whacked, it's interesting that they fetch such high prices even on eBay.... Not questioning the comment at all. Perhaps it means that when they're good, they're very good.

Cheers!

BTW thanks for not dissing harmonica players...yet
 
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