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Discussion Starter #1
in search of the perfect FILED reed btwn RJS 2H and 3S (more details inside)

Hi! Can anyone recommend a filed reed between RJS 2H and 3S?

Java Red 2.5 feels close...but I don't like the sort of "built in" sound...Wish I could get that feel and the sound profile of a V16, V12, or RJS....
I've tried Rico Royal 2.5's and haven't been happy with the results...Closer but no cigar...

Anybody help me?

Is there a way to file reeds well at home?


Thanks,

J
 

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You could try Rigotti Gold. They are unfiled reeds, but are very consistent and have a certain "life" to the tone and quick response which in my opinion feels very similar to a filed reed. I play them on soprano, alto and tenor and absolutely love them. They tend to also last a lot longer for me than the RSJ. Though I will say that reeds are very personal to not only the player but also the particular mouthpiece that player uses, so there is a lot of trial and error involved unfortunately.

Also, do some searching around as there is a lot of info on here about working reeds and such. Make sure to use that search function!:mrgreen:
 

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Why do you insist on a FILED reed? You're limiting you choices for no good reason (that I can think of).

Wait a minute, suddenly the title now says you're looking for an unfiled reed? Which is it?

Either way I wouldn't worry about whether or not the reed is filed or unfiled; it's how it plays that matters.
 

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Re: in search of the perfect FILED reed btwn RJS 2H and 3S (more details inside)

Is there a way to file reeds well at home?


Thanks,

J
Working reeds is an essential skill for woodwind players. There are many who do a great job with a reed rush or a sharp blade, but for me the Ridenour ATG system has fixed numerous less than perfect reeds with very few fails.

http://www.wwbw.com/Ridenour-Professional-ATG-Reed-Finishing-System-472119-i1414112.wwbw

I bought mine in the forum here for a lot less than the advertised price. I guess what you are really paying for is the knowledge of how to do check response and make the necessary adjustments, rather than the physical stuff in the box.

Its worked very well for me for fine tuning the response of the few RJS that dont work well for me out of the box. Mind you, Im still using old stock Ricos, Ive not had to try the d'Addario version yet!

Personally I dont feel or hear any great difference in performance between the french filed RJS and the unfiled, but each to their own.

One of the things I like about JRS is the (relative) consistency of strength within a box. I suspect this is due to sorting into 3 groups between 2 and 3 (2S, 2M, 2H) compared to 2 groups (2, 2.5). However, with a natural product like cane variation is a given, and it seems unlikely than any manufacturer is going to be able to consistently pin the strength to between a 2H and 3S. IMO your best bet if you like the RJS otherwise is to learn to tweak the hardness to what is perfect for you.
 

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Re: in search of the perfect FILED reed btwn RJS 2H and 3S (more details inside)

Working reeds is an essential skill for woodwind players. There are many who do a great job with a reed rush or a sharp blade, but for me the Ridenour ATG system has fixed numerous less than perfect reeds with very few fails.
+1 to that. But I think the OP was asking about making a filed reed out of an unfiled reed, which has to do with how the bark is cut. Not the same thing as adjusting reeds.

I'd still like to know why Joyful needs/wants a filed reed only.
 

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Re: in search of the perfect FILED reed btwn RJS 2H and 3S (more details inside)

+1 to that. But I think the OP was asking about making a filed reed out of an unfiled reed, which has to do with how the bark is cut. Not the same thing as adjusting reeds.

I'd still like to know why Joyful needs/wants a filed reed only.
I only play filed reeds. Never could get on with unfiled. La Voz, Vandorens that aren't.... Rico. I just could never get a fast enough articulation.

I've been bouncing around quite a bit but have really found a love for the Blue Box Vandoren's. I work them a fair amount though.
 

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I think if you just buy RSJ (excuse me, DSJ...), 3S and a sheet of sandpaper you'll be all set...
 

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+1 for sand paper. With so little adjustment it's hard to screw a reed up.

I've filed reed by hand before just for fun. Take a box cutter, cut a horizontal line across the back of the reed through the hard portion of the reed however deep you want the file, then take your knife and flake off the bark (from the shoulders, towards the back). Clean up the "newly filed" area and there you have it.

Does it change the response a little? Yeah. Does it matter much, to me? Not really.
 

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This is a tiny adjustment you are talking about, so quick to make using sandpaper just as suggested by others. I use 600 to make a small adjustment like this. If you work with the stronger reed, keep off the heart, taking a bit off on the top surface parallel to the sides (not focusing on the very edge of the side) going 20% inward, then, while staying away from the last 1/4" of the tip, sand behind there some on the top surface, test, then sand a tiny bit more if it is still too hard.....you'll get there quickly.

If you start with the softer reed, just use really fine (1000 or finer) and take back the tip A BIT, keeping or improving the curve to match the mp, then test. Don't worry, if you take a bit much then soften the reed a bit.

If you are not working with reeds, you are really missing a lot by not being able to tune them into to be exactly what you want. We are only talking a few minutes on a part that is only worth a few dollars. You can afford to wreck a couple and you will make it up by all the reeds you will be able to save and play.
 

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Still haven't got my question answered as to why the OP only wants to play filed reeds, but I won't lose any sleep over it.

Now my question is why the discrepancy in the title (how does that happen)? One says 'filed', another 'unfiled'. Definitely changes the meaning.

All these mysteries....
 

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Re: in search of the perfect FILED reed btwn RJS 2H and 3S (more details inside)

One of the things I like about JRS is the (relative) consistency of strength within a box. I suspect this is due to sorting into 3 groups between 2 and 3 (2S, 2M, 2H) compared to 2 groups (2, 2.5). However, with a natural product like cane variation is a given, and it seems unlikely than any manufacturer is going to be able to consistently pin the strength to between a 2H and 3S. IMO your best bet if you like the RJS otherwise is to learn to tweak the hardness to what is perfect for you.
The RSJ third strength thing doesn't actually line up that way. The actual strength increments are basically the same as a half strength on any other cut. They numbered them differently for some marketing reason that clearly made sense to at least (and probably at most) one person.
If you really want a slightly softer reed than a 3S, get a 3S and give it a little time with some extremely fine abrasives.
Filing a reed by hand would be interesting. You could try different methods on the bark of a reed that is already dead to see if anything works.
 

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Re: in search of the perfect FILED reed btwn RJS 2H and 3S (more details inside)

The RSJ third strength thing doesn't actually line up that way. The actual strength increments are basically the same as a half strength on any other cut. They numbered them differently for some marketing reason that clearly made sense to at least (and probably at most) one person.
If you really want a slightly softer reed than a 3S, get a 3S and give it a little time with some extremely fine abrasives.
Filing a reed by hand would be interesting. You could try different methods on the bark of a reed that is already dead to see if anything works.
View attachment 75694
Hadnt realised that. It might just be because I've only used 2H/3S/3M and they cover very narrow ranges according to this chart... In any case I find them to be pretty consistent (for cane). The chart would seem to indicate that the difference between 3S and 2H is minimal as far as the OP goes.
 

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Get a small penknife and scrape a too-hard reed till it's OK.

Don't waste a lot of time agonizing over it. Get it kinda close to what you want and then just play the fool thing. In 20 minutes it'll be completely different anyway.

If you learn how to play well on reeds that aren't quite Goldilocks level perfect, you'll be able to spend less time fiddling with reeds and more time doing...well, almost anything.

How many oboe players does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but by the time he gets done with it you won't want it anymore.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Hi! Thanks for the replies and taking time to help, y'all...Sorry I've been away so long.

I prefer filed reeds because of the ease of response in the low register, which allows me to make mezzo piano entrances from G down...(this is a precious spot to me on the horn)....and because for me, on tenor, filed reeds seem to offer a calm clarity in the sound that the unfiled reeds do not. Unfiled reeds give me a sound with more "power", weight, or "wallup" to it, but that's the problem for me -- there's a plain, unarmed, non-confrontational, direct, pure, placement or blossom to the tone that I want. (pardon my many adjectives, I just want to have really tried to express what I'm aiming at well.)...More Bill Withers than Ray Charles...more relaxed than strident, More Turrentine and Branford, less Brecker....Unfiled reeds tend to give me a "push" or brightness or energy in the sound that I am not looking for most of the time.

JL -- sorry for the title changes...it was quite late at night, and at first I meant to ask about a filed reed. (which is really what I want.) Then, I wondered if filing a reed myself was possible, and so I meant to invite unfiled reeds into consideration, thinking maybe I could file them...I DID NOT handle articulating this well - my bad. I think my ideal reed would be likea filed ZZ 2.5 or filed V16 2.5 on tenor. Realizing that made me want to hear about others' experiences with unfiled reeds in this same strength range between RJS 2H and 3S.

There's the recommendation to buy a RJS 3S filed, and sand it down to the ideal strength. That's something to think about for me on alto. I HATE RJS's on tenor and bari, though....so maybe I should start with something else filed if I am going to go the "find a filed reed too hard and sand it down method" (thanks IBEOMEGA). I am thinking about that seriously...I have adjusted reeds before, and this just didn't dawn on me. Could be the solution right there (for my alto situation). On other axes, I kinda am still hoping towards the method of "find a great unfiled reed and file it if I can" method... I have searched youtube, and find videos on adjusting (scraping) reeds (heart, tip, etc), but nothing clear on how to file a reed that is not filed...If this can be done at home, and simply, then this would open up a beautiful world of options for me. Anyone know how?
 

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"...I prefer filed reeds because of the ease of response in the low register, which allows me to make mezzo piano entrances from G down.......and because for me, on tenor, filed reeds seem to offer a calm clarity in the sound that the unfiled reeds do not. Unfiled reeds give me a sound with more "power", weight, or "wallup" to it, but that's the problem for me -- there's a plain, unarmed, non-confrontational, direct, pure, placement or blossom to the tone that I want. (pardon my many adjectives, I just want to have really tried to express what I'm aiming at well.)...More Bill Withers than Ray Charles...more relaxed than strident, More Turrentine and Branford, less Brecker....Unfiled reeds tend to give me a "push" or brightness or energy in the sound that I am not looking for most of the time..."

Wow. Is this for real?

I hate to be too harsh but this sounds like the princess and the pea. I think you need to play more and worry about reeds less.

If the reed is too stiff, scrape it. If it is too bright and tends to chirp, take more off the lower part, if it's too dull sounding take more off the tip. If it is too soft, clip it. When it gets worn out and rubbery, toss it.

You would be astonished to find out how many great performances and recordings were done with plain old Rico #3 reeds right out of the box. Or, alternately, whatever the music store had in stock the day before.
 

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... You would be astonished to find out how many great performances and recordings were done with plain old Rico #3 reeds right out of the box. Or, alternately, whatever the music store had in stock the day before.
My (old) favorite, though I like 3 1/2. Today's Rigotti's are very much like yesterday's Rico's :) And still would be quite happy with Orange Box 3 1/2 if that's all I could find.

I agree that the difference between unfiled and filed reeds is illusory. If a filed reed is really better, then I would question whether the mouthpiece was in good shape, specifically whether the facing curve wasn't too long. If you just like filed reeds better for aesthetic reasons, well that's fine. But they change the sound or response of the instrument? I find that highly doubtful. Of course I find the whole premise of finding a reed that's in between a 2H and 3S doubtful...
 

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Discussion Starter #19
It's funny to me the variety of responses people give!

I guess I'm either looking for the Holy Grail OR a box of Rigotti Golds depending on who I ask, apparently...Guess you have to be looking for the Holy Grail to find it. Or at least to find some Rigotti Golds....

Could they actually be....one and the same?....

Skeller -- you say that a filed reed being better causes you to question the facing curve being too long. That's an interesting point -- but my first question is - too long for WHO?

I actually do prefer longer facings, but they are not "too long" for the other design features that I enjoy in a mouthpiece. By finding a difference in sound or response "doubtful" due to the filing of a reed, does that mean you have not actually tried filed and unfiled reeds of the same make? "Doubtful" sounds like your conjecture (though you may be right)...Have you tried this, though? That would confirm your doubts, and then you would be able to say, "this makes no difference for me". That advice, counsel, and result coming from empirical experience would be valuable to me, even though my own empirical experience disagrees - it would at least challenge me to re-examine my conclusions (if my convictions weren't so resolved.)

Also, if you check out vandoren's reed chart, you'll notice that there is quite a bit of space between RJS 2H and RJS 3S - and this is exactly how they play for me...with more of a gap between 2H and 3S than 3S to 3M, and 3M to 3H. Java Red 2.5's get in that space. VBB 2's get in as well (tip too thin though, cut is wrong for me). Again, does your use of "doubtful" mean you disagree from empirical experience, or that you are simply not likely to pursue any empirical experience to speak from?

Thanks, ye helpful ones.
 
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