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Discussion Starter #1
After 6 months back on soprano I was having a great time using Fibracell 2.5.
Beautiful tone and spot on intonation even in the palm keys. The only problem with the Fibracells is that delamination starts really soon and renders the reed unplayable before its predicted end of life.

So I tried a really expensive Harry Hartmann Carbon Medium, which according to the charts should be a little bit stronger than a Fibracell 2.5.
I tried it out this weekend. First impression was, wow this thing has a harsh sound. I tried playing some arpeggios and I had a real difficult time keeping the thing in tune. The palm keys are almost unplayable. Week, difficult to get them to speak and really, really flat. Some notes in the 2nd register and up were closing up on me.
In a nut shell, intonation is all over the place. For me it is really unplayable. Maybe the Meduim was labeled wrong and they send me a MS or even S per accident?
I even slapped on the real cane reed that came with the sax, which I had never played before, and the sound and intonation were great again. Same goes for the Fibracell. It’s just perfect.

I also bought a Tenor HH Carbon M and I knew it was going to be a little stiffer than my 2.5 Fibracells.
And it was. So there was no real issue, except for the first altissimo notes that are really hard to play.

I’m really disappointed of tossing away that kind of money for a reed that is utterly unplayable.
Has anyone got some experience with those HH Carbon Fiberreeds on soprano?
 

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Not sure what happened with your Hartmann on soprano as I've yet to try one. I've started using Hartmanns on tenor and they are the best. I've totally given up on fibracells as I've recently got nothing but unplayable reeds from them, not just de-laminated, unplayable from the first toot. Fibracell refuse to take them back and tell me that I don't know how to use them (after over 10 years of playing their reeds?). AVOID FIBRACELL! They don't stand behind what they sell and will insult you on top of that. Worst company I've ever dealt with.

Contact Hartmann and tell them what your problem is and see what they say. If you only have one reed of theirs and haven't used one before than it's impossible to say what's wrong. Unfortunately with Fibracell I can absolutely say that everything is currently wrong...the reed itself, their attitude, refusal to stand behind their product, etc.

If Hartmann agree to take the reed back and check/test it, that a first good sign (Fibracell refuses to). If they offer advice or a further service like exchanging or at least advising you if it's otherwise OK and possibly just to strong, then that also OK. But it's up to you to accept or reject their opinion. The best customer relations attitude is when they assist you with exchanges like Legere do. I don't like the Leger reeds as much as Hartmann, but they are well known for excellent customer relations.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Not sure what happened with your Hartmann on soprano as I've yet to try one. I've started using Hartmanns on tenor and they are the best. I've totally given up on fibracells as I've recently got nothing but unplayable reeds from them, not just de-laminated, unplayable from the first toot. Fibracell refuse to take them back and tell me that I don't know how to use them (after over 10 years of playing their reeds?). AVOID FIBRACELL! They don't stand behind what they sell and will insult you on top of that. Worst company I've ever dealt with.

Contact Hartmann and tell them what your problem is and see what they say. If you only have one reed of theirs and haven't used one before than it's impossible to say what's wrong. Unfortunately with Fibracell I can absolutely say that everything is currently wrong...the reed itself, their attitude, refusal to stand behind their product, etc.

If Hartmann agree to take the reed back and check/test it, that a first good sign (Fibracell refuses to). If they offer advice or a further service like exchanging or at least advising you if it's otherwise OK and possibly just to strong, then that also OK. But it's up to you to accept or reject their opinion. The best customer relations attitude is when they assist you with exchanges like Legere do. I don't like the Leger reeds as much as Hartmann, but they are well known for excellent customer relations.
Thanks for your good advise. I contacted Fiberreed and explained the situation. Lets wait and see...
 

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Start using cane reeds, Vandoren bluebox. Using plastic reeds is a fruitless effort.
I tend to agree with this. The only synthetic reed that has worked for me was Legere Sig. for baritone. Anything I’ve tried on alto or soprano, I’ve put aside. I’ve been very happy with Rigotti gold on alto and soprano. Rico orange works well on bari. So, I’m in the cane camp for now (and probably stay there).
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I won't start using cane reeds. I’ve been there, done that.
I’m digging Fibracell for many years on Bari, Tenor and Soprano. Only one issue with them: delamination issues of the plastic foil on the flat side of the reed.
That’s why I was looking into Fiberreed. On Tenor it seems to work fine. So I’m more inclined to think it’s more of a wrong strength issue. Maybe a stiffer one could do the trick. Or sanding down the tip a bit?
And I don’t like Légères. Way too stiff, even the number 2’s. But what I really don’t like about them is their sound or the inability for me to sculpt the sound. I can’t put any nuance in the sound like I can with real cane or Fibracell.
I’m just an amateur. But when I play music, I don’t want to think about how to voice a note or how to get a beautiful tone. Preferably I don’t want to think at all, at least not about equipment.
 

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I'm with you SoulMate. When you know what works for you and what you require, having a "traditionalist" recommend their solution isn't necessarily a help. Paying more money over the same time for cane that is an inherently variable product where lots of reeds are useless, others need a lot of attention to work, you have to adapt to the quirks of each individual reed and once you do it only last a short while? Sorry, in my semi pro playing for 61 years I always knew that what was needed was a good quality synthetic. The Fibracells did the job for quite a long while. They don't now and the company doesn't seem to care.

If you live in a hot, dry climate, go in and out of air conditioned spaces, or double, then you'd know the limitations of cane. No issues with changes in humidity or temperature with synthetics. You can pick up the horn and play immediately. If you double, you don't have time to say to the band "hey stop there, I've got to soak my reed".

A cane reed can be very good, but a synthetic can also be as good and better in terms of consistency, cost, tonal colors, longevity, and ability to play instantly at any time in any conditions. Do you have to spend time and $$ to find a synthetic that MAY work for you? Yes, of course! Is it worth it? Well it is for me. If you enjoy the "rituals" of cane then that's YOUR THING. Others have found their solution in synthetics. Am I trying to sell you on synthetics? NO, not really. So why are you two traditionalists even answering a question that doesn't pertain to you? Do you think that people who play synthetics are somehow defecting from your team/religion and must be saved?
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for your support Whamptoncourt!
The company I ordered the reed from (Thomann) were so kind to refund the reed. Well, not exactly a refund, but I could order a new one which I did. I ordered a MH. This harder reed will probably work better for me.

I even got a reply from Harry Hartmann himself. He was happy to help me out.
Seems you can order directly to find the reed that suits you best. All other reeds that don’t work for you, you can send back. You only lose the shipping cost.

If I would have known that before!
 

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Hey SoulMate. Glad to hear that. When you pay a lot for a reed and are trying to find something that works for you it's nice to know that you've got support from the manufacturer and that they will help you find what you're looking for. That's where Fibracell has lost the plot.

The cane reed players don't get is any kind of support, and they all expect to have crap unplayable reeds that they pay for (no refunds!). Maybe eventually they will wake up and leave behind their "rituals" and concentrate on making music.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I did receive my slightly harder reed (HH Carbon Medium Hard) from Thomann.
Bottom notes are harder to get, but intonation has greatly improved. But not to the point of being spot on.
The Fibracell or regular cane reeds still have better intonation and sound on Soprano.
So I will keep it as a practice reed.
 
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