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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Has anyone compared a Harry Hartmann Fiberreed Carbon for tenor sax with a Fibracell?
How do they compare sound wise?
How do they compare strength wise?

I only know how they compare price wise…
At 30 euro’s a pop they are rather expensive. They are almost twice the cost. Do they last longer than Fibracell?

I’m really looking for something like a Fibracell, but without the risk of delamination.
This occurs more frequent lately than I would like.
I could ask the same for soprano.
 

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I had issues with the Fibracel reeds delaminating when I was playing them on bari so I know what you mean. I bought and compared all the synthetic reeds available for tenor about 15 years ago so TIFWIW since it's a pretty old data point but I found the Hartmann reed to be a bit softer, brighter, and buzzier than the Fibracel.

I played a Legere for a few months until I began having issues with it and realized it had taken such a set to the shape of my mouthpiece facing that I had almost no tip opening. Played the Fibracel for about a year but never liked the way I sounded on recordings with it so finally gave up. Now I keep Forestone synthetics in my cases just for emergencies when I'm playing outdoor gigs in the summer and I'm having trouble with reeds drying out. Here in Colorado we have days with 90+ degree temps and single digit humidity. If a reed is not in your mouth or sitting in water it dries out almost instantly- a nightmare for doubling.
 

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I haven't played a 'Carbon' but I am using a Hartmann Fibereed 'Hemp' Medium on baritone where I was using a Fibracell Premier #3. The Hartmann simply has better projection, some sizzle on the upper octave and good deep lows. Plus, it has no 'skin' on the bottom to delaminate. I always take the reed off the mouthpiece after playing and keep it in a case that holds it flat (any and all reeds) so I never have experienced the phenomenon of the reed staying bent and failing. Delamination on the Fibracell still caused me some problems, particularly on baritone, although I also use them on alto and soprano and haven't seen any problems in long-term use. I like the Fibracells on alto and soprano because they are a little darker.
I need to use synthetics on all three because I play tenor most of the time and I need the others to be instantly playable. The Fibracell 'jewel case' is what I keep the reeds in, including the Fibereed, between uses and I wash them with hydrogen peroxide every few gigs. This case has a silicone rubber 'bump' in the top that will force the reed flat and keep it still if you fiddle around with it to find the 'sweet spot' where it will do that and still close. Any of them would be fine in a Reed Guard too. The Hartmann Fibereed will definitely outlast the Fibracell so it could be that it is pretty close to the same economics in the long run.
I've said this a few times on here but synthetic reeds have a tremendous advantage over using cane, and that is the same reed on the same horn and mouthpiece plays exactly the same every time. IOW, you know exactly what the horn is going to do before even warming up. This has a cumulative positive effect on your playing over time - the sax takes on the repeatability of a brasswind as you adapt to the reed and get no surprises as you go along.
 

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I'm in agreement with the above and also recommend synthetic reeds, especially for players who are learning as it takes all of the reed variability out of the equation. Learning is tough enough so having that BIG variable out of the way means that all the other issues can get the attention they need. However I'm no longer recommending anyone buy fibracells under any circumstance. I almost exclusively used fibracells for many years and recorded lots of tracks with them. Recently I've received mostly dud reeds. The company was contacted and refused to cover them, take them back or even consider that something could be wrong. Synthetic reeds are expensive. How many duds do you need to buy before they are no longer worth purchasing? For me it's 3 out of the last four purchased that are unplayable! Why should anyone give a company their $$ when they don't stand behind their product? AVOID!!!! I've switched to the Hartmann reeds and have tried their full range. The hemp reeds are slightly dampered which may work for some types of tone like what some people want from a baritone sax. I (personally) don't think they are that good on higher pitched horns where you may want a brighter tone. The onyx reeds are excellent and priced very competitively. The only problem is that the reeds are fragile, so you've got to be very careful with them. The Fiberreed Carbon is a good all rounder that I'd gladly recommend.

I've also tried many of the other synthetic reeds. The Forestone line is OK, but IMHO not as good as the Hartmanns. All the rest just don't do it for me or don't fit with the style or tone I'm using. Reeds are a very personal thing and finding one that fits with your tone concept is critical. I don't think it's a one size fits all situation, but the Hartmanns come darn pretty close.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks for your reply. I’ve read that the strength of a Hartmann fiberreed is a little less than that of a Fibracell.
So I’m using 2.5 Fibracells. Would that compare to a Hartmann fiberreed Carbon M?
I could always sand an M, but if I start out with an MS it could be too soft and unusable.
 

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I think that the Hartmann Carbon has to be the most economical reed available. I used Fibracell for quite a few years and was a fan, but when they started to delaminate I tried Hartmann for alto and tenor. Turned out I liked them better. I've used them on a lot of different mouthpieces and I just like them. I couldn't help myself and bought a few other synthetics over the years, including Hartmann Hemp and Onyx. Of the synthetics, I kept returning to the Carbon M and MS. Since most of my mouthpieces would be considered "dark," the complaint that the Carbons are too lively doesn't bother me.

The economy is mind boggling. I now have four Carbons for tenor. I put a tiny chip in one so I ordered a couple more just to have them on hand. Turns out that I could simply touch up the tip with sandpaper, so I didn't really need to buy more. I was in "cane reed" mode and thought that I needed a supply on hand. Now I can't tell the old ones (8 years old) from the new ones (5 years old). After several years of daily playing, the name and strength printing slowly disappears, but that it the only complaint I can think of.

I still have boxes of cane reeds. I split them in thirds and use them to apply contact cement. The best use that I have found for cane reeds.

Mark
 

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Just started seriously trying a Hartmann Carbon classic on tenor, very nice so far, I used Fibs for yrs, then the delams happened, tried Legs, too much fuss, and I can't see them anyway..
 

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Just curious what source players find to have the best prices on Fiberreeds. I'm a longtime user of Fibracell, but the discussions about their recent inconsistency has me considering other alternatives.
 

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Is there a break in period with Harry Hartman Fibereed Carbon reeds? Also, I use a 3 Fibracell on bari. Would that be like a M Fibereed?
No break in required. They just play. I use a MS Carbon Fiberreed, and also Fibracell 2.5 on bari and find them similar. The HH may be just a touch softer. It's a bit hard to tell because the HH reeds are so free blowing. The M should be close to a 3.
 

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No break in required. They just play. I use a MS Carbon Fiberreed, and also Fibracell 2.5 on bari and find them similar. The HH may be just a touch softer. It's a bit hard to tell because the HH reeds are so free blowing. The M should be close to a 3.
Hey a question for you. Do you find that the Feberreed lasts longer than the fibracell?
 

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Hard to say. I usually have two or three Fibracells in rotation for big band gigs, and use the HH for my rock gigs. I've been using the HH for well over a year. Gigs once or twice a month and a couple rehearsals per month. I don't use the HH when practicing so they will last longer. ou do need to be careful with the tip on the HH. They will chip. Having said that, I have an old one with a couple dings in the tip and it still plays pretty well.
 

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Long ago, I think I may have tried a Fiberreed. Looked kind of like the "natural", sort of a greyish off white with the big lengthwise fiber strands. It was quite thin, with a piece of orange rubber tacked on to make it as thick as the body of a normal cane reed. Same thing? Pictures suggest they now are normal reed thickness where the ligature is, with no extra parts needed. Do they play better now? That one didn't have a very pleasant sound.
 
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