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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi Everyone,

I posted about this a while back, but since then I haven't been able to solve this issue and it's starting to really kill me now. Like literally kill me (at least mentally).

When I play my saxophone (Selmer Mark VI low Bb bari), my reeds always bend up towards the tip of my mouthpiece. I don't know why, and I've asked everone from Jeff Coffin to Gary Smulyan and still can't figure it out. Because they bend upward, my tone quality goes way down, my intonation suffers up in the higher register along with making the high register more difficult to get (except for on the Vandoren V16 for some reason), and the reeds start to feel dead very soon after playing a new one out of the box, or one that I've already broken in. I currently have in my possesion a Yamaha 5C, Selmer C**, Otto Link rubber 5, vandoren V16 B7, Metal Berg Larsen 110/1, Otto Link metal 10, and I just got rid of a jody jazz classic 6 the other day. On all of these mouthpieces I have tried reeds ranging from sizes 2-3.5, with absolutely no luck. I've also tried leather and metal ligatures on some of the pieces, with still no luck. What I do notice is that the reeds bend less on my yamamha 5C and bend more the more open the tip is...maybe that's just becausethe 5C tip is really small to begin with and doesn't leave much room for the reed to bend?

I didn't notice this issue up until shortly after I switched from a metal otto link 6 to the metal berg larsen 110/1, which was almost 2 years ago now. It's possible it could have been happening before then, but I don't think so.

Basically, I'm getting really, really desperate here, and would appreciate any and all suggestions. I understand that all reeds tend to have a slight bend when you play them, but my reeds bend a LARGE amount and it's really interfering with my practicing and just my enjoyment of the instrument.

Thanks guys
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Switch back to the mouthpiece that didn't show signs of the problem...
That's part of the problem...I've tried all my old mouthpieces that I don't remember having the issue with, but they all have this issue now.
 

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This is a really odd problem. How do you care for your reeds between playing sessions? Do you have a tendency to bite? Does it happen in every environment you play in (at home, gigs, rehearsal spaces etc...)?

Man, I hope you can fix the problem.
 

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I had a spell of this on my tenor Florida Link several years ago with Vandoren reeds. I believe it was the period when they were using some inferior cane due to a shortage or something like that.

Have you tried different brands of reeds? Also consider going with a Fibracell. I've gotten where I really like these on tenor. With the newer ones, a Rovner dark will just about knock out the buzz and you can play just about as dark as you want. And the Fibracells seem to solve most problems associated with cane reeds and they greatly increase response.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
This is a really odd problem. How do you care for your reeds between playing sessions? Do you have a tendency to bite? Does it happen in every environment you play in (at home, gigs, rehearsal spaces etc...)?

Man, I hope you can fix the problem.
This sure is an odd problem, I haven't heard of anyone else on the planet with this same issue, so I'm hoping maybe its something I can fix...in between playing sessions, I store my reeds in my vandoren hygrocase, but before that, I kept them in the plastic sleeves in the boxes they came in, and it didn't make a difference. I don't bite anymore, I used to when I played tenor, I always had a cut lip, but somehow I got out of that habbit. And Yeah, it happens literally everywhere.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I had a spell of this on my tenor Florida Link several years ago with Vandoren reeds. I believe it was the period when they were using some inferior cane due to a shortage or something like that.

Have you tried different brands of reeds? Also consider going with a Fibracell. I've gotten where I really like these on tenor. With the newer ones, a Rovner dark will just about knock out the buzz and you can play just about as dark as you want. And the Fibracells seem to solve most problems associated with cane reeds and they greatly increase response.
I've tried all different brands, but didn't think of synthetics, maybe since they're made of composite or plastic materials, they'll be resistent to bending...thanks for the tip.
 

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You are putting too much pressure on the reed - AKA biting. All reeds do this to a greater or lesser degree.

It helps if you do the following:

* Rotate among at least 4 reeds, playing a different reed every day (or two or three a day, depending on how much you play - you will need more in rotation in this case)
* Store the reeds in a reed case, so they are kept flat between use.
* Take more mouthpiece in your mouth, so that your lips are at the break point (where the facing curve begins) or just slightly in front of the break point.

But the real answer is that you are putting too much pressure on the reed. The fact that you "used to bite" on tenor speaks volumes. The bigger the horn, the more you need to relax your embouchure.
 

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I had the same problem some time back and got rid of it by using softer reeds and reworking my embouchure to be more loose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
You are putting too much pressure on the reed - AKA biting. All reeds do this to a greater or lesser degree.

It helps if you do the following:

* Rotate among at least 4 reeds, playing a different reed every day (or two or three a day, depending on how much you play - you will need more in rotation in this case)
* Store the reeds in a reed case, so they are kept flat between use.
* Take more mouthpiece in your mouth, so that your lips are at the break point (where the facing curve begins) or just slightly in front of the break point.

But the real answer is that you are putting too much pressure on the reed. The fact that you "used to bite" on tenor speaks volumes. The bigger the horn, the more you need to relax your embouchure.
Thanks for the advice skeller, I usually rotate 8 bari sax reeds at a time (currently 13), and I store them all in the vandoren Hygrocase. I already take in what I believe to be a lot of mouthpiece, but I'll try taking in even more and I'll see what happens.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I had the same problem some time back and got rid of it by using softer reeds and reworking my embouchure to be more loose.
Alright, get some soft reeds: got it. So after I get me some softer reeds, how do I go about reworking my embouchure to be looser?
 

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Have you ever tried a double (French) embouchure? That will make you really more aware of how much pressure you might be putting on your reed. Just seal your lips, and see what you've got. Worth a try?
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Have you ever tried a double (French) embouchure? That will make you really more aware of how much pressure you might be putting on your reed. Just seal your lips, and see what you've got. Worth a try?
That's when your lips cover both the bottom and top teeth right? I think Stan Getz used this?
 

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Because they bend upward, my tone quality goes way down, my intonation suffers up in the higher register along with making the high register more difficult to get (except for on the Vandoren V16 for some reason...
I must be missing something, but your statement above suggests that the V16 reeds don't do this, so why not just use them? Like I said, i must be missing something there.

Looking at the photo you posted, I don't see any extreme bend to the reed. I'd bet most reeds bend at least a little bit after some playing time. I wonder if that's actually the problem. Maybe it's something else, having to do with your embouchure or something.
 

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Do you have a teacher? If not, do you have a friend who plays sax? You need somebody to look at your set up and at your embouchure when you play to understand exactly what the problem is in order to figure out the solution.
 
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