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Hey everyone!
I hope this post doesn't come across as insulting or lame.

I just started reading the book, "The Art of Saxaphone Playing", and there was a section on how to adjust reeds (which seems to require quite a bit of equipment!). Is alot of time spent on this?

The reason I'm asking is I'm currently learning the flute, and it is an instrument I can just pick up, warm up and begin to practice. I'm not sure how much additional "maintenance/setup" time I need to spend with the sax - as much as I would love to play some of my favourite bossa nova tunes on the sax, if too much time is needed I may not pick up the sax just yet. Plus, where I come from (singapore) I'm not sure how much supporting stuff like reeds and techs are available. I would love your thoughts!

Alvin
 

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You don't have to adjust the reeds -- although alot of people do, it does not have to be done in order to play . -- reeds will work right out of the box .
 

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The only reed prep I do is to soak them in a shot glass of water while i am putting my sax together. This is only a minute or two and them I put them on the mouth piece and start playing. I guess I have never felt the need to do any more than this. I just play for fun and personal enrichment, not professionally so there is lest at stake from a poorly functioning reed. Good luck with you musical endeavors.
 

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hey Alvin,

You don't have to adjust reeds at all. I'd just use room temperature water to wet them for 1-2 minutes before playing. The only essential reed items i think are:

1) Reed guard or reed case. Like those made by LaVoz, Vito or Vandoren. Don't use the holders that come w/ boxes of new reeds once you've wetted them. They'll dry funny and warp if you use them.

2) 35 mm film container w/ lid to use for soaking.

If you decide you do want to adjust your reeds, all you need to do is go to a hardware store and get some sandpaper. I like 320 grade wet/dry.

-Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys! I was quite concerned about the extra non-playing time for this instrument - I am quite busy so time is very precious :)

Thanks for the advice, I'll probably get the sax pretty soon!

Regards,
Alvin
 

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The only adjusting I do tends to get done with my swiss army knife. Reeds tend to vary a fair bit and aren't always balanced. If, after a reasonable break-in period, the reed feels a little too stiff for me I'll shave down the vamp a bit using my jackknife. If it feels a bit stuffy I'll see if I can visually see an imbalance and focus my shaving to one side or the other (then repeat until the reeds starts to feel more balanced). All of these adjustments are done by taking a very small amount of material off, you shouldn't hacking big amounts off your reeds just very minute amounts of fine shavings.

Adjusting reeds can get to be a bit of an obsession for some, but a small bit of effort can get reeds working better than they otherwise would. Early on in your learning it will be difficult to tell whether your issues are coming from the reeds or from your own variations in embouchure, so I wouldn't spend too much effort until you've developed a consistent embouchure. So I wouldn't worry too much about reed adjustment at this point, just keep it in mind when your starting a new reed that you just can't get to work.
 

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AlvinY said:
Thanks guys! I was quite concerned about the extra non-playing time for this instrument - I am quite busy so time is very precious :)

Thanks for the advice, I'll probably get the sax pretty soon!

Regards,
Alvin
If you get an artificial reed like the Legere, then you dont even need to soak them.

I just stick cane ones in my mouth while I get everything else together...its never been a problem. To this day I have never met a sax player with a film canister to soak their reed in...it never even occured to me.

As you advance you will probably want to dabble in tweaking reeds to optimise them, but its more a finesse thing... nearly all reeds will play, some will play great. It doesnt take a lot of time or effort to make the middle of the pack ones that bit better once you know how, but until you are a good player it probably wont matter too much. The better you play, the more it probably matters that you can get a reed "just so"

Saxes are complicated beasts, but there is really no more adjustment going on than for a flute. A good sax will stay in adjustment pretty well, its only if screws come loose or particularly if a small adjustment corks fall off that you stop and think about it...and thats thankfully rare. The occasional very light oiling if the keys is good for them, but you wouldnt do that in a "spur of the moment before practicing" kind of way anyway as you are best sitting down and removing the screws and applying a tiny drop of oil, rather than applying it to the outside of the mechanism.

Singapore seems to have a fair number of sax savy people there I think.

Good Luck..Sax sounds far nicer than flute, but you knew that anyway right :twisted:

However if you dont have much time to practice, mastering any instrument is a lot to hope for.
 

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Just don't play with reeds that are too hard, pick a strenght that you are comfortable with.
Reed adjusting is something that you might want to get into later on (the section on reeds in Larry Teal's "The Art of Saxophone Playing" is very good for that) but it's not really necessary and it's relatively easy compared to oboe reed adjusting.
 

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Reed adjusting is a lot like wearing a neck tie. Some just clip them on and go. Others tie them on and don't think twice about them. Others like a nice firm knot with the tie just the right length and in a color that coordinates with the rest of the outfit.

Don't worry about it.
 

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Alvin, I'll slightly contradict one statement and point out that reeds don't necessarily play well right out of the box. Some do, but usually you have to play them a couple of times to break them in, and they begin to play better. Some reeds will be better than others. And as someone mentioned a few seconds with a piece of sandpaper can help. It's not all that time-consuming. If you search around here under reeds you'll find all kinds of info on this. Certainly it's not that big a deal to put you off the sax, though.

I've been to Singapore. Very interesting place, and GREAT FOOD!
 

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Well for me, I usually dont buy in boxes, I would pick one by one and look at the heartwood of the reed. Depending on a french cut or american cut. I wont buy in boxes.. saves me the trouble of trying out one by one. Ones I choose sound reasonable to me so far and I dont really know how to sand it.

Once out, I would put it in warm water for 1-3 mins. Then dry it, but still wet with a moisture inside. I'll play with it but I wont play above forte or altissimo it. This way, it kinda 'warms up' the reed and prolong the life. hee hee. Thats my way.
 

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Wow, Ive never known anyone able to consistently pick a good reed just by looking at it. Some of my better reeds looked like complete dogs.

Once you are settled on a brand / strength In the long run you will save a lot of money buying in boxes, individual reeds cost twice as much it seems to me, plus the cheaper online outlets only sell by the box, and once you figure out how to work them nearly all of the ones in a box are useable.

My LMS charges about $3.50 for individual Ricos, and doesnt hold my prefered rico royals. I can buy them online for $14 for ten, so even if I only order one box, after shipping I'm still saving a buck and a half per reed, and Im getting the brand/cut I want.
 

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icic canadiain..

look at it against a bright light, you are able to see an inverted V shape in the middle of the reed. Thats the heartwood. Also you can look at the colour and condition of it (ex dark colour, black spots). Some of the 'V shape' are kinda off center or nt even.. well. Look for a unison invert V shape.. hope u get my idea... =/

hm.. maybe i try buy in boxes.. you are right, its cheaper to buy in boxes but as many in the members here mentioned before, the percentage of getting good reeds in the box isnt that high.. thats why I rather look one by one.
 

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bLu3sU3d3 said:
look at it against a bright light, you are able to see an inverted V shape in the middle of the reed. Thats the heartwood. Also you can look at the colour and condition of it (ex dark colour, black spots). Some of the 'V shape' are kinda off center or nt even.. well. Look for a unison invert V shape.. hope u get my idea... =/

well thats my way of buying reeds.
Yes, that is the visual check, but the best reeds I've ever played have seriously flunked the visual test. You are missing out and overpaying for reeds.
 

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hi carl i was editing my post and saw yr post. Yeah as what canadiain said, I would listen to you guys and buy in boxes. =) Silly me, spending so much.
 
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