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I've been having hard times with my tenor lately. First my trusty STM Link (refaced) suddenly started to became resistant after playing it for a while. On rehearsals I took a fresh Rico Royal #3 reed which played fantastic but after few breaks it started my play resistant. By resistant I mean that articulation became harder and notes didn't speak instantly. Normally the response is very quick but after this you'd have to blow hard with full air stream to even get a sound.

My first though was that my baby boy (10 month old) grabbed the mouthpiece out of my sax case few weeks ago and dropped it. I though this incident somehow ruined the facing although I didn't see any visual damage to the mouthpiece. Now this same problem has started to occur with different mouthpieces too. So the next thing to suspect are the reeds. My Rico Royals have never acted like this before. Few years ago the same thing happened but it was only with one mouthpiece and it later was found out that it was due a non-flat table of the mpc.

So, this problem happens with different mouthpieces currently (DG Crescent, STM Link, HR Link). I've tried Vandoren Javas too. The same thing happens with those but the problem is a bit smaller with those. So, if it isn't the mouthpiece (?) or reeds it has to be the horn then??? On gigs I use a older YTS-23 which has been serviced about one year ago. I use either the original neck or a Selmer Ref 54 neck on it. Haven't noticed any difference between the necks what comes to this problem..

Any advice is welcome!! I have few gigs coming verrry soon so this would be nice to solve before those..
 

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Just a quick thought.. It's been very cold lately here (-20 - -25 celsius about -11.2 ºF) and I wonder if the cold somehow ruins the reeds when I carry my sax outside.
 

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Hi TH,
Livin here in your "neigbour" I can tell you that I have exactly the same problems and it took me a while to understand that the problem is the REEDS.
We have had the weirdest winter ever, from +4C to -40C (we had +4 in januari,which is supposed to be the coldest month) and that effects the reeds, they just get dry extremely fast and stop working.
It feels like the mouthpiece says "STOP" and you start pushing more air into the piece and you feel like you have to work very hard.
It´s the reeds,I promise you that!
Try to keep the reeds in moisture place when you are not playing, that helped me.
Good luck!
 

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Yes, it's the reeds that's what happens when they are very very very dry , it happened to me somewhere where the heating made the air far too dry , the only thing that would play were synthetic reeds or long soaking in water.......I threw out lots of reeds before understanding what was going on
 

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Hi -TH, I have this same problem going on my alto only. In my case the reed is swelled and causing leaks on both sides of the reed.

When you feel it becomes resistant, take the reed off and put it on a flat surface (glass) table-side down, then gently press it with your fingers on different spots to see if you detect a wobble. If there's a wobble, the reed is swelled.

The solution I use are 1) to wet the reeds up to only 3cm from the tip and 2) to sand the table side of the reeds so that it's flat when the reed is ready. There may be a little concavity when the reed us dry, but doesn't matter. So far this solution works quite well, but some reeds will swell more than others.

EDIT: On second thought, maybe some part of the reed is going dry too fast?:scratch:
 

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I bet that the Norther Europe climate is different from Honk Kong Ricanna...... the chance that a reed is over-swollen with water is............minimal.
Living in a central heated house dries everything
 

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If It's a reed issue you could maybe get a synthetic reed such as a légère. They will work in any climate. However, if you have the problem with different pieces and reeds it might also be the horn. -40C is really cold, who knows what happens to leather pads at those temperatures.
 

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If you are playing outside in those temperatures never mind what happens to the pads and start worrying what happens to you! To start from you fingers, unless you can play with mittens! :D
 

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Discussion Starter #9
No, I'm not playing outside :) Just moving from my home to rehearsals and gig places. Although I've played few gigs outside years ago when it was -25 celsius (military band, playing the clarinet).. Won't forget that experience!!
 

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I bet that the Norther Europe climate is different from Honk Kong Ricanna...... the chance that a reed is over-swollen with water is............minimal.
Living in a central heated house dries everything
Yes milandro, silly me.:baby: Humidity in HK never goes below 30%.
Seems long soaking is the most reasonable thing to do...if not going to synthetics.
 

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I'm almost certain the cause is your reeds are warping. One doesn't have to be outside for the dryness to affect them. Let your reeds soak for 1-2 minutes before playing. Make sure to soak them each day, even if you don't play them. This way they wont dry out too much. Often times the warpage will go away or at least decrease significantly.

Did you change ligatures or anything? Sometimes different ligs do better job of preventing leaks around the facing.
 

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To the OP, try this trick:

1) Soak your reed for a minute in lukewarm water.
2) Rub down the reed to remove excess moisture.
3) Move the ligature as far up the mpc as you can, preferably near the facing break. Then tighten the ligature as much as you feel comfortable. Your lig may be covering part of the vamp, but that's OK.

If it plays better and responds after doing this, then you've diagnosed the problem as reed warpage. In emergency situations, I'll do this just to restore a seal between reed and mpc. It's not ideal, but it works.
 

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I'm shifting the focus away from reeds for a moment. Even though you've tried more than one neck, make sure the necks are clean inside and that the hole for the ocatve key is open. I stupidly played for a long time without cleaning the neck when I was younger. When I finally cleaned it all kinds of goop came out, and the horn nearly rattled the teeth out of my head. Takes only a few minutes, give it a try.
 

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With Frank, check the neck.

Also, rotate your reeds more?? I know that I rotate my reeds quite frequently (maybe every 30 mins during rehearsal) and it seems to stop some reeds from just up and dying. Also, gives you something to look forward to in the form of a fresh stick!

- J
 
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