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Forum Contributor 2016, The official SOTW Little S
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My sax playing friend has been on tenor for about a year. She uses a Vandoren V16 size 2. She has been explaining something to me, but I don't know the answer. She says when she first puts on the reed, it plays fine but after only about ten minutes it feels like the reed is too soft and she is out of control. The only thing I can think of is she needs a harder reed. Does this seem true? I told her I would ask the question on the forum, and she says thank you in advance. :)
 

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"Does this seem true? " Probably. Easy enough to try out a 2.5 or 3
That might fix up the reed feeling to soft, but as far "she is out of control" goes, you might have to check her meds.
 

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bluesaxgirl said:
My sax playing friend has been on tenor for about a year. She uses a Vandoren V16 size 2. She has been explaining something to me, but I don't know the answer. She says when she first puts on the reed, it plays fine but after only about ten minutes it feels like the reed is too soft and she is out of control. The only thing I can think of is she needs a harder reed. Does this seem true? I told her I would ask the question on the forum, and she says thank you in advance. :)
What type of mouthpiece ??
 

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bluesaxgirl said:
She has a stock with her YAS 23 and a Selmer C*. I don't know which one shes using though.
tell her go to 3 or 3.5 .. :D #2 is way too soft for a c* especially on tenor .
 

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Has the reed turned black yet?
 

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When I first started, I had a C** on tenor and had the same problem with 2s. Crazy out of control. It was a sight. But I bet a 3.5 will feel like a railroad tie if she's used to a 2. I remember being ok with Lavoz mediums.
 

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Let me hijack this thread with a slightly different question. Are you supposed to change or re-wet your reed during a practice session? Sometimes after an hour or so it seems like my reed is drying out.
 

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If you're playing pretty much constantly for an hour, your reed shouldn't be drying out but your embouchure might be giving a bit. Why not have another (preferably broken-in) reed at the ready, soaking in a cup of water; when you feel like your reed is "drying out" put on the new one and see if you notice a difference.
 

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Sounds to me like her embouchure is tiring very quickly. Maybe practises irregularly? Anyone with a decent embouchure can play softish reeds on a C* and be ok through the normal range, in my opinion. As long as they're used to playing softish reeds - which she should be.
 

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if it was a tenor wouldn't it b a YTS-23? Not a YAS-23?

Oh well. And honesty, 2's are way to soft in my opinion unless your just starting to play, or have medical problems. How long has she been playing? I moved up to a 2 1/2 after about 6 months, and a 3 after a year.
 

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dylanroebuck said:
if it was a tenor wouldn't it b a YTS-23? Not a YAS-23?

Oh well. And honesty, 2's are way to soft in my opinion unless your just starting to play, or have medical problems. How long has she been playing? I moved up to a 2 1/2 after about 6 months, and a 3 after a year.
dylan, IMHO, this is bad advice and it's misinformed. To consider reed strength as somehow inevitably involved in player progression is just plain wrong. Sorry to be so blunt but you offer your advice with a terrible certainty and what you're saying leads me to believe that you should be more circumspect.
 

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RootyTootoot said:
dylan, IMHO, this is bad advice and it's misinformed. To consider reed strength as somehow inevitably involved in player progression is just plain wrong. Sorry to be so blunt but you offer your advice with a terrible certainty and what you're saying leads me to believe that you should be more circumspect.
I think this is right but I would put it differently

simply because softer reeds are what everyone has to start on, it doesn't mean that they should necessarily be abandoned after a period of time - that is much more dependent on the type of music played, the volume sought, the tone preferred - for a softer smokier sound then soft reeds may be the thing for ever; they are not just beginners fare: a premature switch to a harder reed may put off a developing player

experiment - but play what sounds good

km
 

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Also keep in mind that V16s are a bit harder at a given strength than many other reeds. So a 2 may not be too soft for a relative beginner. However, the more closed mpc is a real factor and may need a harder reed.

Based only on what bluesaxgirl says about her friend in the original post, I would suggest her friend try some 2.5 reeds and see how that goes. Also, reeds wear out, of course. Is she having trouble with a reed she's been using for several weeks? In that case, just put on a new reed.
 

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JL is right; a V16 2.5 plays in between a 2.5 and a 3. And I don't know about anyone else, but when I play, my reed keeps getting wetter (we're not talking gallons or anything, but it gets mildly "easier" to warp the tone etc. after playing a bit).

If her embouchure is strong, then she might just be overpowering her reed/facing setup. If it is weak, then I think she would realize it... muscles straining, air escaping through the sides or something. In that case keep on practicing and it will come.

In the end, perhaps a thicker reed will help her, but at the same time, she should be able to play with the softer reed... maybe not hard rock or altissimo, but she should still be able to play in tune.

If she wants to try something more (which will help build the "sax" muscles), then I would say a 2.5 VanDoren regular, or a V16 2.5. This is a good setup with a closed mp for a beginner on tenor.
 

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Alternative Solution - soft reed

How about an alternative solution which may help the reed "softening ", and simultaneously remove the need for "water pretreatment "- I suggest using a synthetic Fiberreed MS, I changed from V16 2.5's, or Alexander Superial 2.5's, and have not used a cane reed since!
 

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Blowhard2 said:
How about an alternative solution which may help the reed "softening ", and simultaneously remove the need for "water pretreatment "- I suggest using a synthetic Fiberreed MS, I changed from V16 2.5's, or Alexander Superial 2.5's, and have not used a cane reed since!
I know a lot of people who have recommended this setup. Practicing about 3-4 hours a day uses up my reeds pretty quickly. I can't wait to try out the fibercell reed I recently ordered, should come tomorrow.
 

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i moved from size 2 to size 3 in less than 6 month, and i m playing well, mainly because i cant stand blowing reeds which are too soft.. and after using a vandoren trad given by my fren, i couldnt have myself playing rico orange which i perceive as too bright and thin..

Is there anything wrong which such perception? i hope i m not over pushing it...
 
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