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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have tried the legere signature reeds on alto tenor and bari and I get a dull sound on them. They are not overly hard to play. If I play each reed 20 hours or more will they break in and sound better? I am not convinced that will be the case? I have not been able to get my best sound on any synthetic reed.
 

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I have noticed a SLIGHT break-in effect with other synthetics but I was able to use them from the start. IMO if you cannot use a synthetic from the start, you're not going to be able to use it at all with the same mouthpiece without altering it in the same way you would a cane reed if that's even possible. All the synthetics I have tried were vibrant/buzzy enough - the problem I have is finding the ones that are the right strength while not being too bright but still lively. The major problem with them is they are expensive and you obviously can't return them. Since you have no alternative, the best thing to do is just keep the ones you can't use in case you find you can use them at some point in the future. This worked perfectly for me with a Hartmann Fibereed Hemp, baritone 'medium'. On my previous set-up, there was no way I could perform with the reed because it was too hard and bright. However, a year later I got a different mouthpiece. Trying some reeds one day on it I remembered the Hemp in the back of my reed drawer and tried it again - magic! I'm still using that same reed - about a year - but I already bought another one. I always take it off the mouthpiece after playing. I wash it every so often and keep it in the clear plastic case for a Fibracell bari reed I was previously using. The Hemp is a superior reed to the Fibracells on this set-up although I use them on alto, but of course they cost three times as much.
I play bari about 20% of the time on my gigs, of which I do about 20 a year. I have to use synthetics on bari and alto because they sit on their stands so much of the time that there's no way to keep a cane reed ready to play. Even on bari, as good as the Hemp reed is, I have no doubt that if reed-drying were not an issue I would be using cane reeds. I have never found a synthetic that even came close to being usable on tenor although I have used Plasticover in the past which is a cane reed with a resin coating that plays dry.
I don't know what your situation is, but unless you have a reason to use synthetic, I don't see going to the expense and trouble.
 

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Yes, the Legeres do break in, although it does take a while. They are more friendly with some mouthpieces than others. This is actually the opposite problem I've had with any other synthetics I've tried besides the signatures; they're all waay too soft and buzzy. Also, keep in mind that the Signature is more of a classical/generic cut along the lines of a Vandoren Blue Box. If that's not what you normally play then it makes sense that you're not getting the right sound. For something brighter, try the Studio cut, or maybe a Forestone.
 

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The Studio is definitely brighter but for me it is way buzzier and I also find it more difficult to control especially up high. It wants to get wild and loose for me so I don’t use those. You may have a different experience. I found the Signature reeds to be much easier to tame and I didn’t find them dull, but you also need to make sure you get the proper size. You need to look at their reed strength chart so you can see how they compare to other reeds that you may have used.

If you want more punch and brightness, I would definitely go with the Studio and see how that is for you, or try the Fibereed.
 

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The Studio is definitely brighter but for me it is way buzzer and I also find it more difficult to control especially up high. It wants to get wild and loose for me so I don’t use those. You may have a different experience. I found the Signature reeds to be much easier to tame and I didn’t find them dull, but you also need to make sure you get the proper size. You need to look at their reed strength chart so you can see how they compare to other reeds that you may have used.

If you want more punch and brightness, I would definitely go with the Studio and see how that is for you, or try the Fibereed.
The studio works for me, but when they start to wear out, I get the same control issues you mention on altissimo....in fact, that's the signal for me to toss it and open a new one.
 

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They get a little softer after 20 minutes of playing or so. Like 1/8 of a reed strength.

If they are dull I find going 1/4 softer in strength often gives a more vibrant sound. Switching cuts can help too. I generally prefer the Studio cuts but I am not sure what makes them different.
 

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Hi Matt,

Thought to chime in on this one.

Please do double-check that the tip of the reed is aligned perfectly with the tip of the mouthpiece. If there are alignment issues, it can lead to dull tone or have issues with tone production.

Beyond that, it may also be a bit too strong a reed for the mouthpieces. What's the set-up you're using? Many players try a few different strengths until they "dial in" the Legere that works best for them.

If you want to talk shop about what's going to work best, write in using the form at www.legere.com/contact-us and I'll help you find the right fit for you.

Hope that helps!
 

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The Studio Cut reeds are being discontinued. I picked up a bunch on WWBW.
 

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The Studio Cut reeds are being discontinued. I picked up a bunch on WWBW.
Say it ain't so....

I see that user, Legere Reeds is monitoring this thread. What say you?

50 years in I find a reed that's no hassle and works for me without modification. I guess I should have suspected it was too good to last.
 

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I may have to look further into Legere, Hartmann Fibereed or Forestone. I recently had a run in with Fibracell. They won't stand behind their reeds at all and won't even take back new ones that won't play (new). See full description the the General Discussion section. A bit different to this as I've been playing Fibracells for over 10 years and then suddenly get two dud reeds. When you pay a lot for a single reed that's manufactured you expect consistency and quality. What's the point of paying premium prices for reeds that don't play? Now voting with my wallet and looking for a replacement. Have once tried Legere and found the signature line OK, but not as good as Fibracell for the low notes. Hopefully something will be found. If consistency isn't there then synthetics are no better than cane and just more expensive.
 

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After 25+ years of using Hemke 2 1/2 Bari sax reeds, and being reasonably happy with them, I decided to try a Legere 2, and this was about 2 years ago. I've never gone back to natural reeds. The Legere worked right away, in combination with an older slim bari mouthpiece and Rovner Lig. The low C/B/Bb/A have never been so responsive and the high notes, which were always a risky thing, became solid and in tune. These reeds changed the way I played and the sound I was able to get - and this after more than 30 years of playing on my old Yamaha YBS32. I keep the Hemke reeds around for specific needs, but for a 3-4 hour show, a new Legere reed every hour (they do get soft after about 50 minutes) and I'm good to go.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you all for all of the replies! The reason I am trying to go synthetic is because I have 5 saxophones-soprano alto cmelody tenor and bari. Too much work to keep several cane reeds going for each horn. Also the backs of reeds warp a lot here in Denver and then they won't seal on the table of the mouthpiece. Yes I know how to work on reeds and am good at adjusting them and fixing problems. Even plasticover reeds will warp on the back and not seal. I have tried legere studio cut reeds on tenor and did not like them. I can't go any softer on alto with the signature as I tried a couple of them in strenght 2 which is as soft as they go. they were not hard to play just dull. I did try them on a few diffrent mpcs and it did not make a difference. I have been trying BARI reeds for a long time. I know how to adjust those if needed. I just played my bari yesterday with a BARI reed and it was working pretty well. I am going to try the bARI reeds again as I am coming close to getting results that I will be happy enough with. As an example for the weather here today snow and 18 degrees tonight and high humidty and yesterday it was 75 and low humidity. Some days it is 5% humidty and others 100%.
 

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Sounds to me like they're not a good match for your mouthpiece, or they're just simply not your style. I tried a Bari once, absolutely hated it, could barely get a sound out of it, and sounded buzzy like a Rico 1 1/2. Everyone's different, the same setup's never going to work for everyone.


After 25+ years of using Hemke 2 1/2 Bari sax reeds, and being reasonably happy with them, I decided to try a Legere 2, and this was about 2 years ago. I've never gone back to natural reeds. The Legere worked right away, in combination with an older slim bari mouthpiece and Rovner Lig. The low C/B/Bb/A have never been so responsive and the high notes, which were always a risky thing, became solid and in tune. These reeds changed the way I played and the sound I was able to get - and this after more than 30 years of playing on my old Yamaha YBS32. I keep the Hemke reeds around for specific needs, but for a 3-4 hour show, a new Legere reed every hour (they do get soft after about 50 minutes) and I'm good to go.
I also went directly from Hemke to Legere (on alto and tenor, nearly 10 years ago now), I have found them to be pretty much identical, about 1/4 to 1/2 softer then a Vandoren Blue Box.

I also try not to play the Legeres for long periods of time. I use them for teaching, in the pit, etc., but for long rehearsals that drag on for 2+ hours, I will use a cane reed. In my experience, this definately helps them last longer, my last clarinet Euro Signature lasted 2 years.
 

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Oh no !! Legere, don't discontinue Studio !! Why ??
The only reed I use from Legere - bright, good reed for R and R
If no Studio, then I won't be using any reeds from Legere
 

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... All the synthetics I have tried were vibrant/buzzy enough - the problem I have is finding the ones that are the right strength while not being too bright but still lively. The major problem with them is they are expensive and you obviously can't return them. ...
I agree with the no break-in period and that either it plays well immediately or it does not. In my experience (with Legere reeds), if they do not play well you either did not place it correctly (they are extremely sensitive to that for some reason), or it is too strong for that mouthpiece.

However, it is not true that you cannot return them. Legere, for example, does do reed exchange. You fill in the form, attach a proof of buying the reed, and after approval you send your 'problem' reed and they send the replacement. I bought one that was too strong when I started using Legere reeds on alto, and I received the new one within a week. As for them being expensive, my first Legere reed lasted 11 months.
 

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This thread is interesting as I have started using a Legere Signature yesterday. So as I write this, two days practice time. 3 hours per day. I like it. For me it solved a lot of problems I had with cane reeds. Inconsistent strength/playability problems have stopped. Period. That’s for cane reeds that worked. Maybe two or three reeds out of a box of ten. Then there is sanding reeds, whittling reeds with a Reed Geek tool, WAY to much B.S. for me to get a reed play. I want to play my sax, not be a woodworker. Is a Legere synthetic reed different? Yes, but I can adapt, it’s not that different. So, as I write this I’m a happy camper. We’ll see how I feel about them in a few months.
 

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If you play Legeres for 3 hours a day, they won't last long in my experience. I still use try to cane reeds for long sessions, which definately helps the Legeres last longer. If you like them that much, then you can rotate between multiple Legeres, like you would with cane, I do this on Clarinet. It does make a difference. My previous Clarinet Euro sig has been going for 2 years and still playing, got a new one a couple of months ago and wasn't as 'moderate' with it, played 2 musicals on it, already shot after a couple of months.

I have also found the bigger the reed, the quicker it wears out, ie., a bari reed will wear out faster than an alto one. But again you can still get good use out of them if you are careful about not playing them too hard, for too long.
 

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I think it's fair to say that for a setup where the Bari synthetic is anywhere close to hitting the spot, then yeah, a Legere isn't going to have it. The Baris really cut. Bright, clear, focused, buzzy, whatever you want to call it, they're kind of by themselves on one end of the field. I used to like them with a large chamber, not too open bari sax mouthpiece.

If the Bari can't be tamed, along with the other alternatives that have already been mentioned, you might look at the G-Reed series. I guess it's mainly that they look similar, but the ones I've tried have a little of that same tonal clarity too. As far as I know, they are not subject to any playing fatigue or anything, you can put one on and play until your face can't take it any more. (Maybe that isn't a problem with Legere, either, but rumor has it, it is.) You do have to look out for the reed, as they're a little more brittle at the thin edge than Baris or Legeres.
 
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