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I haven't played in 30 years. Recently P/U horn in Dec and it came back fairly quickly. I am in a band now and having a great time. My mouthpice is a Meyer 5 Medium. Using a 2.5 reed and I am finding good tones and bad at times. I know all reeds are different. I am actually thinking of going down to a # 2 reed. I know alot of pros that use a soft reed. My question is does anyone use this mouthpiece and find a particular # Reed and brand that works. I am using RICO which I know is not the best. THXXXXXXXX
 

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the mouthpiece is very good, try rico jazz select, all the pros dont necessarily use soft reeds, most players, pro or not use a 2 to 3.5 i use 3/3.5 but all people are different
 

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Reeds may be the most critical part of a player's set-up. They are cheap enough that you can buy several boxes of different brands, strengths, and cuts and decide for yourself what works best on your mouthpiece with your embouchure.

And, you should teach yourself to adjust them (plenty written about this topic in the REEDS thread) so that almost every reed in a box plays better (or even great).

There is no "norm" for who uses what reed-strength. Some like harder reeds and some like softer reeds - the choice is VERY personal and certainly not a test of manliness or "chops." The test is "how does it sound?". Get to work, then come back and tell us what you discovered. Best of luck! DAVE
 

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On a piece which I consider a bit closed, the Meyer 5M, I would try a La Voz Med. Hard, or a Java 3 or 3 1/2
 

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'Had my horn sitting in the closet for 27 years. I picked it up a little over 2 years ago and am now having a blast playing in a band (blues/country/rockish). We have around 4-5 gigs/month, nothing too serious (can't give up the day job).

When I started playing again, I continued to use my high school horn & mpc, a HR Selmer S80 using Rico Royals, 2.5 to 3. I had a tough time with this combination. I then picked up a Claude Lakey Jazz mpc, then switched to Vandoren Jazz, and life started to get good. After a year, I switched to Fibracells* and things improved very quickly. I next got a Runyon Quantum 7, I absolutely loved it with the Fibracells, but my dog ate the mpc. And finally, I picked up a used metal Dukoff M 6 from Merlin and am doing very well with it. For a change, I have ordered some Legere synthetic reeds but I'm still waiting for them.
*I had a heck of a time with reeds until I switched to synthetics, Fibracell medium-soft to be exact (tenor and soprano.) The absolute beauty of these reeds is consistency between reeds, ability to hit all the notes, and most importantly, you just slap them in and you're away...no worries about getting it moist. It really is amazing.

On the downside is the high price (in Canada anyway-$18 a pop), the tone quality isn't as good as with a really good cane reed (and how many of those are in a box of 5 or 10?) and they don't last as long as advertised.
In my situation, our band's PA is kinda crappy (I'm competing with guitars so I rarely play "unplugged") so this neutralizes the tone improvement with a really good cane reed. As well, my skills as an occasionally paid "amateur" are only so good so I'm nowhere near needing a thoroughbred to get me thru gigs. My good quality, moderately open mouthpiece with the Fibracell works very well for me. (My horn is a 1949 10M).

In all honestly, I couldn't believe how easy it was to play with synthetic reeds. For me, it was my Eureka moment.
 

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Ian: I'm with you on Fibracells, but in my experience, they need a certain kind of mouthpiece to really play good enough that you don't bust your chops. I can't use them on my regular pieces with which I use cane reeds. But on certain mouthpieces, WOW, they really sing.

I find that when I put the Fibracells on a closer-tipped piece, they work better - for me. And, mine last a LONG time.

Have you tried the latest versions - the ones with the numerical ratings (as opposed to the SOFT, MED-SOFT, etc.)? I bought a few not too long ago and really liked the 1 1/2 on soprano and alto. I'm still using a SOFT on clarinet. DAVE
 

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Hi Dave. I've just visited the Fibracell website and I see they offer reeds in both descriptive strengths and numbers (premier). Is there a difference? The store I get mine at only sells the medium-soft, etc.

I guess I should quantify duration: If I play 25-40 hours a month they'll last 1-3 months for tenor, half that for soprano. I don't blow hard and I'm pretty careful with them.

Do you rotate Fibracells on a daily basis of even during a gig?
 

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Ian: There is a thread in the REEDS section (if I recall it correctly) about the new "Premier" Fibracells. Honestly, I don't know if what I recently bought were Premiers or just regular Fibracells with numerical ratings.

I didn't find any differences between my older ones and the numerically-rated Fibracells. I bought several in two different strengths (1 1/2 and 2) and settled on the 1 1/2 reeds. The #2's were okay but didn't play as easily for me as did the 1 1/2's. I keep the #2's as back-ups should the one I'm using fail. I HAVE had Fibracells fail before, but it was probably because of the length iof time I'd played it.

I don't rotate them. I've had one SOFT on my clarinet for years now and have found no need to change it.

Whenever I set up at a gig, I take the reed off the mouthpiece and re-set it before tightening the ligature. I do the same with my newly discovered alto set-up (a 1 1/2 Fibracell on a Don Sinta mouthpiece).

I still use cane reeds on soprano, though. But I do have a soprano Fibracell set-up that I take with me (along with alto and clarinet set-ups) when I don't have my horns, just in case an occasion may arise where I could play a horn. DAVE
 

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I play a YAS-21 with a Meyer 5. I really like the Vandoren Java's. I've been moving up from 2 to 2.5 to 3.

I've tried the Rico Royale but I like the Javas. I plan to try the ZZ but Amazon, Music123 and Sam Ash are all out-of-stock on ZZ #3's.
 

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Dave, you use reeds that I would have considered being too soft. Do your mpcs have a large tip opening? What style of music do you most often play? (I've got lots to learn about reeds.)
 

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Ian: I play traditional jazz (the original jazz of the 1920's) with the Golden Eagle Jazz Band, using soprano (mainly), alto, and clarinet. I generally use open mouthpieces and #2 cane reeds that I've shaved down . . . Morgan Vintage 7 and Selmer Super Session J on sopranos, the Don Sinta, Super Session F, Meyer 6S-M, Morgan-Bilger 6, Soloist F on alto, Meyer 66 on clarinet.

I abhor playing into microphones and shun amplification when offered (except for the time I've spent in a recording studio, which is not a usual thing for me, but I've done it several times) so volume and projection are important to me. I have no problem being heard with those mouthpiece/reed combinations. For what its worth, most New Orleans' style traditionalists do not amplify their instruments.

My recent acquisition of the Don Sinta alto mouthpiece was an anomaly for me. I was told it was similar to a Selmer C* tip. Maybe so, but with the Fibracell 1 1/2 reed, the thing has as much fulness and center as any of my favorite open-tip alto pieces. The Sinta does NOT play like a C* when I put my Fibracell on a C*, although the Fibracell tends to make my C* play with more authority.

But, everyone is different. I've played with some marvelous jazzers who used the C* and regular cane reeds. There is no standard reed-strength for everyone. DAVE
 

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sikorajm; Some pros do use soft reeds - on open mouthpieces. It probably would be hard to find one playing a #2 on a #5 Meyer. I'm wondering about the mouthpiece - is it one you played before and had success with or is it new to you? I think it's probably big enough but wonder if it's a good mouthpiece in the first place. Then there's the reed question - regular Ricos are okay but you may go through quite a few of them looking for a good one. Each reed is an individual even in the high-price category, but you get more good ones per box. A #2.5 Rico can do what you need if you find a good one. You should consider getting a LaVoz Reedguard for four reeds and keep four known good reeds in it. Always take the reed off the mp when you put the sax away or finish a playing session. Put the wet reed in the Reedguard. At least an hour before the next playing session, moisten all the reeds and put them back in the Reedguard. Try them all and settle on one to use. You'll have to wash the reeds periodically - scrub them with hydrogen peroxide on a toothbrush and put them back in the Reedguard. Keep the mouthpiece clean too. You need to be practicing long tones to build your embouchure and your sound. Of course, if the mouthpiece is one of the newer Meyers it might just stink to start with, because mouthpieces are individuals, too, and you sometimes have to try many of the same model. Check out Woodwind & Brasswind and Music 123 on the web - you can try out mouthpieces by mail order. There are so many to pick from that it can get real confusing, but you might try a few Runyon Customs, say #5,6 and 7. Use your same reeds and see if any of the Customs light up your sound.
 

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1saxman said:
sikorajm; Some pros do use soft reeds - on open mouthpieces. It probably would be hard to find one playing a #2 on a #5 Meyer. I'm wondering about the mouthpiece - is it one you played before and had success with or is it new to you? I think it's probably big enough but wonder if it's a good mouthpiece in the first place. Then there's the reed question - regular Ricos are okay but you may go through quite a few of them looking for a good one. Each reed is an individual even in the high-price category, but you get more good ones per box. A #2.5 Rico can do what you need if you find a good one. You should consider getting a LaVoz Reedguard for four reeds and keep four known good reeds in it. Always take the reed off the mp when you put the sax away or finish a playing session. Put the wet reed in the Reedguard. At least an hour before the next playing session, moisten all the reeds and put them back in the Reedguard. Try them all and settle on one to use. You'll have to wash the reeds periodically - scrub them with hydrogen peroxide on a toothbrush and put them back in the Reedguard. Keep the mouthpiece clean too. You need to be practicing long tones to build your embouchure and your sound. Of course, if the mouthpiece is one of the newer Meyers it might just stink to start with, because mouthpieces are individuals, too, and you sometimes have to try many of the same model. Check out Woodwind & Brasswind and Music 123 on the web - you can try out mouthpieces by mail order. There are so many to pick from that it can get real confusing, but you might try a few Runyon Customs, say #5,6 and 7. Use your same reeds and see if any of the Customs light up your sound.

OR you can leave them clamped on the mouthpiece as I have for the last 50 years. It keeps them conformed to the shape of the table & rails. I leave all my horns set up on stands so I can pick them up any time during the day and play. I just take the reed off, wet it, reinstall, and play.

For any of my 4 altos I have not found anything better then a 30 year old Meyer 5M ( not the valuable one that says BROS on it). The new 5M or the new "G" did not work as well either. Neither did the Links which I absolutely love on Tenor and Soprano
 

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Mountainman -you must have the right temperature/humidity for reeds where you are. If I leave reeds to dry out on the mouthpiece, the tip tends to 'wrinkle' at first when I play it again, especially if the reed has been used infrequently for a week or so.

Taking the reed off, wiping the surfaces, and putting in a metal reed clamp seems to extend the life of a favourite reed - and ensure that I rotate my little 'pool' of blown-in reeds, otherwise I'd just play one-at-a-time 'to death' using your system...
 

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hey guys i have a question
during band last year i noticed that my mouth peace had a long groove in the top where my tooth is. a while later (after being on 2 1/2 reeds for almost a year)i noticed it was much harder to play and i had a kind of low like sound mixed with my sond. my question is: is it the mouth piece groove that is the culprit or do i need a harder/softer reed plz reply i would realy apriciate it
thanks,
Mal (alto Sax)
 
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