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Hi!

I want to know what are the most common music styles that saxophonists play using filed reeds. The same with unfiled reeds... Please!!!


^^ Kassandra ^^
I've never heard of filed or unfiled reeds being connected to a particular style. Why do you ask this strange question?
 

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I've never heard of filed or unfiled reeds being connected to a particular style. Why do you ask this strange question?
Well... I started playing the saxophone 3 weeks ago, and I'm currently using unfiled reeds. I've been told that filed reeds sound great in styles like ballad, Venezuelan "joropo", bossa nova, smooth jazz... and unfiled reeds are great for military marches, rock, pop, blues... is that true?
 

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There are many variables in the design of a reed that will impact how it responds and sounds, well beyond being filed or unfiled. Usually (but not universally) reeds for classical work are filed. Cuts marketed for jazz and more contemporary styles come in different types and it becomes a matter of preference for the individual player.
 

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If you've been playing for 3 weeks, I wouldn't worry too much about the cut of the reed you're using. Find something you're able to produce a sound on and work on the fundamentals of embouchure and breath control. Once you have that down, you can start to experiment with different preferences (hopefully under the guidance of a good teacher).
 

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I think there is a difference but it’s small enough that it might be in my head. Honestly after years of playing and going through a whole mess of reeds, I’m playing Rico orange box. The most basic thing you can get. For a while I played Royals which are the same but filed…

Any decent brand at the right strength will play well enough. What makes the difference in a song is the expression of the player. The reed is just a tool for that. There are bad reeds (even a good brand often has one or two in a box that’s just not as good as the rest), but in general it’s not the reed getting in people’s way.
 

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Well... I started playing the saxophone 3 weeks ago, and I'm currently using unfiled reeds. I've been told that filed reeds sound great in styles like ballad, Venezuelan "joropo", bossa nova, smooth jazz... and unfiled reeds are great for military marches, rock, pop, blues... is that true?
Short answer - no, that’s not true. Long answer, do not listen to the person or persons who told you that for any advice or information - they are either pulling your leg, or are completely idiotic.
 

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Lots of myths surrounding musical instruments in general, and saxophones/clarinets in particular. Take everything you hear/read with suspicion and decide for yourself as your skill-level progresses.

I've been playing saxophone since 1956 and have a large shoe box filled with various reeds, reed brands, reed cuts, reed strengths, and cane and synthetics. My experience has been that most reeds are inconsistent coming new out of a box. Hence, I adjust them all when they are new. In all those years, I couldn't identify which reed was which cut or brand unless I looked at it first. Once broken in, it doesn't matter to me. Does it play and respond well or does it not? That's all that matters. DAVE
 

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I think Kassandra should be commended for coming the the Saxophone Forum and asking an interesting question after only playing for 3 weeks? Sounds like a potential saxophonist in the making.

As others have said, the distinction your friend made between filed/unfiled reeds is too small to matter after only playing 3 weeks. Find a reed, wet it, perform the "pop test" to see if it seals properly on the mouthpiece, and practice. Change the reed when it doesn't play well. Enjoy, repeat.

Congratulations on your choice of instruments!
 

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I think there is a difference but it’s small enough that it might be in my head. Honestly after years of playing and going through a whole mess of reeds, I’m playing Rico orange box. The most basic thing you can get. For a while I played Royals which are the same but filed…

Any decent brand at the right strength will play well enough. What makes the difference in a song is the expression of the player. The reed is just a tool for that. There are bad reeds (even a good brand often has one or two in a box that’s just not as good as the rest), but in general it’s not the reed getting in people’s way.
I play both orange box and royal. Seems to me like royal is cut and finished differently besides just the filed part. I don’t see how removing a little bark on that part could possibly make any difference, but a different cut elsewhere definitely makes a difference. To me filed/unfiled is purely aesthetic.

I really liked Royals back in the 70s and 80s, but seems like they wear out more quickly these days.
 

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I think there is a difference but it’s small enough that it might be in my head. Honestly after years of playing and going through a whole mess of reeds, I’m playing Rico orange box. The most basic thing you can get. For a while I played Royals which are the same but filed…

Any decent brand at the right strength will play well enough. What makes the difference in a song is the expression of the player. The reed is just a tool for that. There are bad reeds (even a good brand often has one or two in a box that’s just not as good as the rest), but in general it’s not the reed getting in people’s way.
I play both orange box and royal. Seems to me like royal is cut and finished differently besides just the filed part. I don’t see how removing a little bark on that part could possibly make any difference, but a different cut elsewhere definitely makes a difference. To me filed/unfiled is purely aesthetic.

I really liked Royals back in the 70s and 80s, but seems like they wear out more quickly these days. Could just be me though.
 

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This is how reeds work. It's all based on the box color:

White box - lame, do not use for any type of music
Blue box - obviously for playing the blues
Orange box - music of moderate tempo and feel
Red box - for playing the "hottest" music; proceed with caution
Green box - only for beginners
Black box - only use for music played late at night
Grey box - when you're just not sure what to use
Brown box - for that "brown sound"

Did I miss any?
 

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Play various types of reeds, find the brand and strength you like, and use that. Period.

Lots of people say things like "Vandoren blue box are no good for jazz" - well, I've only been using them for jazz for the last 30 years or more. Reeds don't segregate according to style.
 

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Well... I started playing the saxophone 3 weeks ago, and I'm currently using unfiled reeds. I've been told that filed reeds sound great in styles like ballad, Venezuelan "joropo", bossa nova, smooth jazz... and unfiled reeds are great for military marches, rock, pop, blues... is that true?
FWIW, I find a reed that works then play whatever music I like.

I certainly would not switch reeds in the middle of a concert just because a different tune is called.
 
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Play various types of reeds, find the brand and strength you like, and use that. Period.

Lots of people say things like "Vandoren blue box are no good for jazz" - well, I've only been using them for jazz for the last 30 years or more. Reeds don't segregate according to style.
This right here! Don't worry about the reed marketing. If it plays well for you, that's what matters.
 

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Filed vs unfiled makes no difference at all. That part of the reed is thick and firmly held to the mouthpiece, so it doesn't move much.

I've tried both the green box (unfiled) and red box (filed) Vandoren Java reeds and noticed no difference between them. I've taken unfiled reeds and filed them myself using a knife and sandpaper. Again, no difference. It's all marketing.

Pick a reed that has a sound that you like, and don't worry about whether it's filed or not.
 

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I've tried both the green box (unfiled) and red box (filed) Vandoren Java reeds and noticed no difference between them.
I’m new to sax but even a few months in I could perceive a difference between the green and red javas. Now I’m not suggesting the difference is due to filed vs unfiled, but at least at the strengths I was buying (2, 2.5, 3) the greens are softer for the same number. So switching from red to green on the same mouthpiece was less resistant, buzzier.
Rectangle Font Slope Parallel Electric blue
 

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I play both orange box and royal. Seems to me like royal is cut and finished differently besides just the filed part. I don’t see how removing a little bark on that part could possibly make any difference, but a different cut elsewhere definitely makes a difference. To me filed/unfiled is purely aesthetic.

I really liked Royals back in the 70s and 80s, but seems like they wear out more quickly these days. Could just be me though.
I've noticed that the Rico Royals have better consistency. I bought a few orange Rico boxes recently. Absolutely horrible! Half of the reeds had lopsided cuts where one side of the reed is thicker than the other, and the resistance varied greatly when playing them. The Royals didn't have this problem, but like you say, they don't last. I maybe only get 3 play sessions out of a Royal before it gets too soft and starts closing up. In contrast, blue box Vandorens seem to last for ages.
 
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