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Discussion Starter #1
Friends, I am playing a vintage Martin with slant sig Otto Link with a five facing. It is a great piece with the 3.5 V16's. Problem is that I can kill a new reed in hour of playing. I will soak it, slap it on and it will play just lovely. Within a half hour or so, it starts to close down, and within 30 more minutes, I can blow into it and literally not be able to get air into the horn - like the tip of the reed has collapsed. I have tried Legere synthetics and did not have the same problem, but never found a strength or sound I liked. I am originally a clarinet player and probably have a tighter emboucher than a dedicated sax player. I do not have the same problem with my alto, or with the the clarinet. I have tried varying my emboucher. I have altered how much piece I have in my mouth and whether to pressure the teeth or not. Nothing seems to make a difference. The same thing happens with other reeds as well - like Alexanders, which I really like. Perhaps I should go with a harder reed than the 3.5's, or try a more open piece. I would appreciate any suggestions. I play lead tenor in a big band. I am sure you know how frustrating and unnerving it can be when you have to worry more about your horn than the music. Thanks in advance.
 

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Try focusing more on breaking in your reeds. Play them a little bit when they're new, then put them away. Add a little bit of time each day for about a week, then you can go all out with them. This can really help response and longevity of your reeds.
 

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Get a reedguard that holds four, and play on four reeds just enough so that they are worked in. By then, you should be good and they shouldn't go bad so easily. I get a good about eight hours of play with mine. But they are Vandoren 3.5's (alto). The La Voz for my bari appear to last longer, but I always seem to throw them out prematurely anyway. But, if this doesn't work, you could always try a different reed. I have no experience with these reeds, perhaps it is because it is synthetic? You should have someone else help you with that one.
 

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bluesaxgirl said:
I have no experience with these reeds, perhaps it is because it is synthetic? You should have someone else help you with that one.
V16s are not synthetic. It is odd that a 3.5 is breaking down so quickly. I used to use the on my alto C*, and they lasted forever.
 

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i'm just talking about personal experience but -- i think tenor reeds when they start to go just start to get a little out of tune.

the closing up you describe i think is just too close of a mouthpiece.

you should be able to play softer reeds and they are just a little out of controll and too loud and a bit out of tune.

as you move up in reed size you should find a place where the sound darkens up a little and intonation is perfect.

i think you need to look for a mouthpiece with a tip opening big enough where you find this type of experience with the different reed sizes.

clarinet requires lots of chops so don't be suprised if you find yourself going up to like an 8 or 9.
 

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Deliberate, I missed the part about you being a clarinet player. Me too! I'm actually a clarinet major in college. I had problems with the reed closing off when I first started playing sax a few years ago. Turns out I just needed tons of embouchure work. TONS. Loosen up and take in more mouthpiece.

In my experience, it's good to have a sax embouchure that bears very little resemblance to a clarinet embouchure. My clarinet embouchure is similar to the "Teal" saxophone embouchure, externally, at least, with the pointed chin, tight corners and the O shape (ideally!). My sax embouchure is more of a "stick the horn in your mouth however it's comfortable" kind of thing, with lots of mouthpiece in the mouth. I'm working hard to get lessons from the saxophone teacher here at my school so that I can get some real direction in terms of my sax playing.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the suggestions. If it is my clarinet chops that is kiiling the reeds, perhaps someone could explain the cause and effect. I still can not figure out why a reed would catastrophically fail because of the way I position the mouthpiece or power it up. As you might imagine, I am constantly focusing on relaxing and taking more of the mouthpiece into my mouth - despite that clarinet gag reflex. Thanks again.
 

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If you haven't done so already, you might check the the mouthpiece pitch when it is off the sax using your normal embouchure tightness. The standard pedagogy for classical playing on tenor is a G concert. Many jazz players play a step to a step and a half below this pitch. If your pitch is above the G it probably indicates that you are biting too hard on the reed and playing too high on the pitch which can cause the reed to close off after playing a short period of time.
 

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deliberate1 said:
Thanks for the suggestions. If it is my clarinet chops that is kiiling the reeds, perhaps someone could explain the cause and effect. I still can not figure out why a reed would catastrophically fail because of the way I position the mouthpiece or power it up. As you might imagine, I am constantly focusing on relaxing and taking more of the mouthpiece into my mouth - despite that clarinet gag reflex. Thanks again.
I think it's a combination of the reeds getting broken in and you biting the reed closed. When the reed is new, it's stiffer, so the amount of pressure that you are putting on it isn't quite closing it off. Once they start to get broken in, they get too soft and you bite them shut. I used to do that.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Looks like I was just not meant to play the OL. I pulled out an old OL metal piece with 7 facing. Played with 2.5 strength Van Dorens with out any "shut down." While it may not have that silky sweetness of the old hard rubber piece, it is a hell of a lot better than nothing. Thanks to all.
David
 

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If you like the rubber one, then play it. Historically, one or two clarinetists have been albe to learn to play the sax. :D
 
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