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Discussion Starter #1
I recently tried an alto sax Studio Cut 2 1/2 which seemed promising. I've been having problems with Java 3's no longer working for me. RJS 3S's are ok but not quite right. The Legere was ok for the first 3-4 times I blew it but then got real stuffy. Is this common? Do they get harder or softer? Before this happened, it seemed about the right strength, though the feel was different and I was not using it in exposed situations.
 

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When I used them they stayed pretty constant for a looooong time, and then gradually went dead after months. I dont think what you are experiencing is common.
 

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MM, you might want to read some of the other Legere threads, I think a couple of others have opined about this. As I recall though, there was no consensus.

My experience with the regular cuts (I've not found the studio cuts promising enough to warrant much time with them) is not so much that they get "softer" or "harder" but they seem to vibrate a little better after 3 or 4 playing sessions. Not sure I can describe it too well - but for me they seem to play more comfortably after they've been "broken in" over several playing sessions.
 

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The ones I've tried play exactly the same now as when I opened them about 18 months ago. I wish I could have gotten them to work for me. They're definitely a high-quality product, but they weren't right for me.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I read the other threads. Roger has mentioned they weaken when played heavily but then recover. I would think it ought to recover in days, not months. i didn't see anyone else mention this.

I may experiment with different placements on the mpc.

I saved mine in an older cardboard reed holder which should not significantly pinch the tip, which Legere says is a no-no.
 

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I also tried the studio cut reed, but it played like a crappy cane reed to my ears.

Oh well, I'll go try the regular cut next time.
 

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MM said:
I read the other threads. Roger has mentioned they weaken when played heavily but then recover. I would think it ought to recover in days, not months. i didn't see anyone else mention this.

I may experiment with different placements on the mpc.

I saved mine in an older cardboard reed holder which should not significantly pinch the tip, which Legere says is a no-no.
There's that issue too, which is discussed on the Legere website: they weaken after an hour or so of hard playing. I think they recover in a day or so.

I still think I notice a short break-in period, but understand that others disagree.

As for the regular cuts - they are a dark reed, and strong relative to the nominal strength. If you play an open jazz mouthpiece they may be too dark and even the lowest strength (2 for alto) may be too hard.
 

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The Legere Studio plays WAY SOFTER than a Legere regular in the same strength. By way of comparison, I use a #2.5 regular on my Morgan 6C. I've gone up to a #3.5 Studio and it still didn't feel like it had enough resistance and a strong enough tonal core for what I need.

According to Guy Legere, a Legere reed will soften somewhat after playing on it heavily for around an hour. This will vary according to individual circumstances. I've gone for around 90 minutes at time before hearing a change in my tonal quality and response. Once I went 2 hours.

Anyway, I simply follow Guy's advice and rotate reeds after about an hour. I normally have 3-4 reeds in rotation in a Selmer reed case. This system works perfectly fine for me.

I haven't figured out approximately how long it takes a Legere reed to return to normal playing strength. But, it's not very long...perhaps a few hours. Definitely NOT days. The key thing is to use the reeds in rotation and to have enough reeds in your reed case to get you through any gig.

MM -- What ligature are you using? I've been using Legere reeds exclusively for the past 2 years. I discovered that some ligatures that are work great with cane reeds don't seal Legere reeds correctly....especially along the tip rails. When that happened to me the reed seemed stuffy and it was harder to get a good qualty of sound. Sadly, FL and Peter Spriggs ligatures fall into that category. I also found Bay and BG metal ligs to give me less than good results.

The Vandoren Masters ligature works very well with Legere. It's not expensive. It might be worth a try. But, the ligature that totally hit the ball out of the park for me is the Vandoren Klassik string ligature. Absolutely fantastic! Anyway, I'm thinking that the problem you're having MAY be due to the ligature rather than the Legere reed itself. Of course, I've been known to be wrong on occassion. ha ha ha

MM -- A couple of other things....

Storing my Legere performance reeds in a cardboard reed holder would make me nervous. I think it's important to use a reed case -- like a Selmer -- that has downward pressure along the entire reed in order to keep it flat. I don't know if your reeds are having a subtle warping. But, it might be possible.

The placement of the Legere reed on the mouthpiece is CRITICAL. Really, it's a big deal between having a Legere reed sound really good and it sounding not so good. I'm careful to place the reed tip so it's against the end of the tip rail....not extending beyond the tip rail or in front of it. I press the reed with my thumb to get the exact spot. After much trial & error with Legere reeds I found that I get the very best results with the reed tip in that position on the mouthpiece.

Good luck!

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Roger,

My lig is a Rovner ED (or possibly and ED-II.) Any idea if that is Legere-hostile?

Is it really that critical that Legeres be pressed flat while in storage? Why is that? Do they permantly deform if not held flat? Did Guy Legere mention this? If this is critical, I'm suprised that Legere does not stress this point. Also it's confusing that downward pressure on the reed is good but a reed holder that pinches the tip is bad.

I have tried the regular Legeres. While they are ok for me on clarinet, I prefer the Studio Cut for saxophone...or at least it did until it went south! Yes, I understand about the difference in strength. The Studio Cut is more like a normal "jazz" reed while the regulars are even harder than a Vandoren Classic of the same number.
 

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MM said:
My lig is a Rovner ED (or possibly and ED-II.) Any idea if that is Legere-hostile?
I find that Rovner ligs work just fine with Legere reeds on sax and clarinet.

MM said:
Is it really that critical that Legeres be pressed flat while in storage? Why is that? Do they permantly deform if not held flat? Did Guy Legere mention this? If this is critical, I'm suprised that Legere does not stress this point. Also it's confusing that downward pressure on the reed is good but a reed holder that pinches the tip is bad.
He does, right here on his web-site, paragraph 5. I've quoted it here:

The reeds should be stored on a flat surface, but not in a case which applies pressure to the reed tip. You should not keep your reed in the shipping package.

MM said:
I have tried the regular Legeres. While they are ok for me on clarinet, I prefer the Studio Cut for saxophone...or at least it did until it went south! Yes, I understand about the difference in strength. The Studio Cut is more like a normal "jazz" reed while the regulars are even harder than a Vandoren Classic of the same number.
I like the Quebec cut better on clarinet than the regular Legeres. If you haven't tried them yet, it might be worth it for you.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
How can it be possible that the Legere shipping container would deform the reed? If so, it won't play when you get it, right? I don't do this anymore though.

I've never been a believer in those expensive reed holders and would be suprised that it is more critical for a synthetic reed than cane. But I guess strange things happen.

Which are the reed holders that apply pressure to the tip of the reed and should be avoided? Are the LaVoz and Vandoren considered of this type?

Thanks.
 

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MM said:
.....
Which are the reed holders that apply pressure to the tip of the reed and should be avoided? Are the LaVoz and Vandoren considered of this type?

Thanks.
Yes, they may apply a little pressure to the tip, depending on the thickness of the reed. The idea is to apply the presure across the center of the reed, making the reed lay flat, to prevent a wet reed from warping when/while it dries. I've never compared it to an expensive/"designer" case. So I don't know if there's a real difference in effect, as far a wood reeds go.
 

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MM,

I agree that a ED lig should be fine with Legere. So, that can be checked off as not causing the stuffiness you described.

Unplayed Legere reeds are fine in their individual container. Rather, it's a matter of after Legere reeds have been played and how they are stored from that point on.

With a LaVoz reed guard the reed tip is inserted directly into a holder inside the guard. This is what Guy Legere warns against. I used LaVoz reed guards many years ago and often had problems with my cane reeds warping and becoming moldy. Thus, I'm not a fan of the LaVoz reed guard. I also used cardboard reed holders many years ago -- we all did, of course -- and I remember having warped reeds.

The design of the Selmer reed case is something that makes logical sense to me. The reeds are placed flat on a glass plate and there is a gentle downward pressure (ie, toward the glass plate) along the entire length of the reed from a cushion inside the lid when the reed case is closed. The reeds are kept safe and flat. I'm sure there are other reed cases that are just as good as the Selmer. The Selmer case was recommended to me by the folks at Muncy Winds. I've not had a bit of trouble with my Legere reeds since I started using the Selmer case.

Other than the ligature and the way of storing played Legere reeds, the only other thing that comes to mind that MIGHT explain the stuffiness is the match between Legere reeds and your mouthpiece. It's been my personal experience that Legere reeds don't do well on some mouthpiece facings and, conversely, sound stunningly beautiful on other facings. This gets us into a very subtle area and I do not pretend to understand why it is. It's simply been my experience with trying Legere reeds on different mouthpieces. In conversations I've had with Walter Grabner it's his feeling that one gets better results with Legere reeds by using mouthpieces that have relatively closer tip openings. I've found that to be the case on clarinet and bass clarinet. However, on tenor I had better results in going from a Morgan 3C to a 6C. I have no idea how to explain that!!! One of life's mysteries I guess.

Finally, please remember that it takes a while for one's chops to adapt to Legere....as Legere reeds play rather differently from cane. There is a different feeling with them. It took me 2 weeks of heavy shedding on clarinet to get used to Legere on that instrument. Legere seems to play with more resistance than cane. Thus, I had to build up my chops to off-set the greater amount of resistance. Once I became comfortable with Legere reeds I discovered that I really like the sound that I get with them.

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Roger,

Thanks for the long discourse! I am puzzled by something though. Why should it be bad to store a Legere reed in the shipping container after it has been played. Does the plastic somehow become susceptible to warping after being wet? The material does not seem to absorb moisture, so I find this hard to believe. In general, my expectation is that all of these annoying hassles with warping cane should be a thing of the past with synthetic reeds. Maybe I will contact Legere and the other synthetic reed makers on this subject.

I understand your comment about needing time to adjust to Legeres. Certainly when the reed was playing for me, I noticed a different feel and response compared to cane reeds. But when it changed this was something else altogether.

I forgot to mention I have some older metal LaVoz reed holders. I think they have newer plastic ones. The metal ones have a clip that holds the vamp of the reed, not really pressing on the tip.
 

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MM,

I'm not able to answer your question. If you really want to know the facts I think it would be best to call the Legere company (phone number on their web site) and ask.

Personally, my primary motivation for using Legere reeds was that I was sick & tired of reeds drying out in doubling situations....as well as hassles with cane reeds in hot & humid summer weather. I haven't had any problems with warping reeds -- cane or Legere -- since I started using a good reed case. For me, the cost of a Selmer reed case has been worth every penny. I never have to worry about warped reeds. I simply pull a reed out of the case and I'm good to go.

Roger
 

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I got my balloon popped, sorta:). Legere's reed sizes are inconsistent with themselves. Fact is, one of the main reasons I bought Legere, a syn reed, is because I thought there'd be more consistency than cane reeds.
Anyhow, I bought one, liked it so much that I bought a backup. Man, that second reed is at least a 1/4 strength size softer than the first. The upside is I can send it back to Legere and, for three bucks, they'll send me a replacement of any size I want. I'm going to do that, and stick with the same strength because, I figure, having tried three of them I might be able to triangulate something or other, decipher?, whether I need to change strength or not, go up or down a 1/2 step.
 

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synth reeds do not wear like cane reeds do but they do wear. If you buy several reeds of the same strength they will be fairly consistant. Way more than cane reeds. But if you play one of those reeds exclusively for a while it will play softer than the others. I think they thin out from vibrating against the tip and rails long before they wear out. After I have been playing on one for a good while I can see a definite wear imprint of the rails and tip on the reed. Cane reeds of course do this too but they wear out faster so the difference is not as noticable.

When I played cane I would keep four good working reeds in rotation in my reedguard at all times. If one was damaged or wore out I would work on another one and put it in rotation. I do the same thing with my synth reeds. They just last longer and don't need as much working. Legeres never needed working. With Bari's I find I need to sand off some of that V in the vamp to get the low end to respond.
 

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spiderjames said:
synth reeds do not wear like cane reeds do but they do wear. If you buy several reeds of the same strength they will be fairly consistant. Way more than cane reeds. ....
Well, that's what I hoped/thought, that technology would be more precise. But there was as much variation between these two syn reeds as I've seen between two cane reeds. Maybe one of these reeds is a fluke. I'll be able to decide what to do when the third one arrives. It's worth a shot because the first one is really fine, gives me as much tone clarity as I've ever had.
 
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