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When I was at Berklee College of music in the 80s, I used cane reeds. When I went to the New England Conservatory of Music a few years later, I first discovered the Bari synthetic reeds. It was a lot easier than trimming, cutting, and attending to cane reeds, so I went for it. Didn’t love the sound or the feel but it was easier. Ok, I was lazy too. :)
I had become a nut in making sure every cane reed was as perfect as could be, and just got tired of that.
After a short period with those I just couldn’t take it anymore because they were so plasticky feeling.

Then I went to the Fibercell and those were better for me but a little too warm and didn’t have enough punch that I was looking for at the time. After that, I tried some other brands that were OK and eventually settled in on the Hahn reeds which I liked the best of any of the synthetics. They had punch and brights. I used those from the time they came out till the time they stopped making them a few years ago. I had some left over so the last few years since they haven’t made them anymore, I’ve still been able to use what I’ve had here and also during that time I also used the Legere reeds. Loved those but they have more buzz to the sound and I was enjoying that until a couple months ago when I decided it would be nice to go back to having that nice big open warm sound again without the buzz. I will check out the Legere Classics to see how those are for me also.

It’s funny how we change our tastes over time but luckily I am in tune with what I enjoy, so I just go with it. Its all a fun journey. I had a couple older Fibercells here and I put them on and for the last few months I have really been enjoying these. They are warmer and don’t have the buzz that the signature series Legere have. I checked out the Legere Studio reeds too, but I didn’t like those at all because I found the intonation to be very off up high, and they were extremely buzzy. Too thin. It just depends on what you need them for, but for my tastes, it was too much.
These Fibercells have been working out great and the sound is warm and open again without that buzz.
I’ll be trying some more synthetics that I haven’t checked out to see how those are, and I’ll report back.

Just wanted to give you a rundown in case you’re going through the synthetic reed blues and want to check out some different stuff too.

I’ll be checking out the carbon fiber hemp reeds, the Hinoki reeds, and whatever else is out there.
Right now I am enjoying the Fibercells and want to see how the others are too.
Stay tuned over the next few months.....
 

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I have enjoyed Fibracell reeds since finding them in college. No desire to look anyplace else!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That’s great. I am happy too and don’t really need to try anything else, but I figure I might as well as there aren’t that many other brands out there. I’ve always liked a little more buzz in the sound so now that I’ve gone back to a warmer sound, these are really working out well. It’ll be nice to just check out what else is out there and see if there’s anything I like better. So far the fibercell and my Robusto hard rubber are a gorgeous match. More updates as I get some other stuff in.
 

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I liked the Fibracells 10 or so years ago, before they had numbered strengths, but I always found them to be pretty soft. How are the newer numbered ones? How do they compare strength-wise to, say, the equivalent numbered Vandoren Java?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Funny you say that, because the ones I have here have the dark blue lettering and are medium soft. I don't think I can get these anymore, so Im going to check out the red label ones with the tip sizes on them.
 

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....oh the reed journey. As a relative novice I quickly figured out the hassle of cane reeds and now just use Legere Signatures......I find that as my embouchure continues to develop, I sound different on the same reed. Perhaps this is why so many of of change periodically....our embouchure changes.
 

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Funny you say that, because the ones I have here have the dark blue lettering and are medium soft. I don't think I can get these anymore, so Im going to check out the red label ones with the tip sizes on them.
Heck the ones I was using had a sticker on top with the "Medium" or "Medium Hard" etc. I'd stopped using them by the time they started printing on them. I wouldn't mind re-visiting these possibly...
 

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I've been on the Fibracells for about 15 years. I, like Mark started with the medium softs. When they changed to numbers I went with a 2 1/2 on a .110. During the transition, they seemed to be a little quirky with quality and how they played. But, it didn't seem to take long before they were acting like the older ones...maybe it was just me. But I've been happy with them and our alto player has now started with them and agrees.
 

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I decided it would be nice to go back to having that nice big open warm sound again without the buzz.
. . .

I’ll be checking out the carbon fiber hemp reeds, the Hinoki reeds, and whatever else is out there.
The least buzzy Forestone reed is the Black Bamboo. It also yields the darkest tone. The Forestone Hinoki is positioned as more of a jazz reed, so you might like it better overall, but it does have a bit more buzz. The White Bamboo is sort of in-between. All these tend to run soft due to their thin tips.
 

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I will check out the Legere Classics to see how those are for me also.
Hi Mark - Long time Legere Sig tenor user - but I've gone over to the Classic. You really may like them too. They just do certain things better like leaps down from 2nd to 1st register i.e., D2 down to Ab1. They seem to last notably longer, have a bigger sound, and somewhat easier altissimo. It does take a few days to get used to them. I'm a rock and funk player. They are harder than Sigs - On my Durga3 8 tip I used 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 Sigs. With the Classic 1 3/4 - 2 max is all I need. Now when I go back and try Sigs - they're kinda thin and weaker sounding. Usual Legere warnings: They can be somewhat inconsistent in playability and strength. And it seems they even changed the look (and probably the consistency) of the plastic type every now and then.
 

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I found that using synthetic reeds to practice was very efficient and you could "beat up on them". I found that cane is still better overall in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I appreciate all the feedback. I will check into these things for sure. I’m really enjoying the fibercells but I’m open to checking out everything that’s available.
 

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Hi Mark - Long time Legere Sig tenor user - but I've gone over to the Classic. You really may like them too. They just do certain things better like leaps down from 2nd to 1st register i.e., D2 down to Ab1. They seem to last notably longer, have a bigger sound, and somewhat easier altissimo. It does take a few days to get used to them. I'm a rock and funk player. They are harder than Sigs - On my Durga3 8 tip I used 2 1/2 - 2 3/4 Sigs. With the Classic 1 3/4 - 2 max is all I need. Now when I go back and try Sigs - they're kinda thin and weaker sounding. Usual Legere warnings: They can be somewhat inconsistent in playability and strength. And it seems they even changed the look (and probably the consistency) of the plastic type every now and then.
I’ve also found the classics better for me.
Way less buzz and a bigger sound.
Having sad that, the classics I have are a little harder than I would normally use which may account for some of these traits.
And possibly more importantly, I am speaking of the Baritone reeds here as I haven’t tried them on Tenor.
I’m keen to try the Black bamboo reeds also as they sound interesting.
Fibracell have also worked well for me on Baritone when using my old Masterlink pieces.
 

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Thank you. I’m going to definitely check out the classic and see how that is. The other ones are just too buzzy for me right now and the fibercell has really taken away that buzz and left a beautiful big fat and warm sound. I am really enjoying these and really looking forward to checking more synths out ...thank you.

There just aren’t that many in the marketplace that it would be impossible to check everything out, so this will be fun. If people have more experiences with the synthetics, please post and I look forward to all of the great feedback. Thank you guys!
 

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The least buzzy Forestone reed is the Black Bamboo. It also yields the darkest tone. The Forestone Hinoki is positioned as more of a jazz reed, so you might like it better overall, but it does have a bit more buzz. The White Bamboo is sort of in-between. All these tend to run soft due to their thin tips.
I tried a Hinoki, and agree it had some buzz to it. That's not really something I'm going for in my sound concept, but overall I still liked it, as it gave me a pretty open thick sound. My main disappointment was that it seemed to have softened within a couple hours of play, to the point where it was choking off and I couldn't get much air through the horn. I don't know if that's characteristic of the Hinokis, but that was my experience on the one and only Hinoki I tried.
 

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I tried a Hinoki, and agree it had some buzz to it. That's not really something I'm going for in my sound concept, but overall I still liked it, as it gave me a pretty open thick sound. My main disappointment was that it seemed to have softened within a couple hours of play, to the point where it was choking off and I couldn't get much air through the horn. I don't know if that's characteristic of the Hinokis, but that was my experience on the one and only Hinoki I tried.
The next strength up might be better for you. As I noted, Forestone reeds tend to feel soft, especially under hard blowing. On the other hand, if you got a couple of hours of good playing out of your reed before it felt mushy, that's not too bad. Many synth reeds soften up after playing. Legere, e.g., explicitly warns about that tendency. The change is not permanent.
 

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When I was at Berklee College of music in the 80s, I used cane reeds. When I went to the New England Conservatory of Music a few years later, I first discovered the Bari synthetic reeds. It was a lot easier than trimming, cutting, and attending to cane reeds, so I went for it. Didn’t love the sound or the feel but it was easier. Ok, I was lazy too. :)
I had become a nut in making sure every cane reed was as perfect as could be, and just got tired of that.
After a short period with those I just couldn’t take it anymore because they were so plasticky feeling.

Then I went to the Fibercell and those were better for me but a little too warm and didn’t have enough punch that I was looking for at the time. After that, I tried some other brands that were OK and eventually settled in on the Hahn reeds which I liked the best of any of the synthetics. They had punch and brights. I used those from the time they came out till the time they stopped making them a few years ago. I had some left over so the last few years since they haven’t made them anymore, I’ve still been able to use what I’ve had here and also during that time I also used the Legere reeds. Loved those but they have more buzz to the sound and I was enjoying that until a couple months ago when I decided it would be nice to go back to having that nice big open warm sound again without the buzz. I will check out the Legere Classics to see how those are for me also.

It’s funny how we change our tastes over time but luckily I am in tune with what I enjoy, so I just go with it. Its all a fun journey. I had a couple older Fibercells here and I put them on and for the last few months I have really been enjoying these. They are warmer and don’t have the buzz that the signature series Legere have. I checked out the Legere Studio reeds too, but I didn’t like those at all because I found the intonation to be very off up high, and they were extremely buzzy. Too thin. It just depends on what you need them for, but for my tastes, it was too much.
These Fibercells have been working out great and the sound is warm and open again without that buzz.
I’ll be trying some more synthetics that I haven’t checked out to see how those are, and I’ll report back.

Just wanted to give you a rundown in case you’re going through the synthetic reed blues and want to check out some different stuff too.

I’ll be checking out the carbon fiber hemp reeds, the Hinoki reeds, and whatever else is out there.
Right now I am enjoying the Fibercells and want to see how the others are too.
Stay tuned over the next few months.....
I have used Bundy Fibrecane reeds since c. 1970. I used to shave or cut in the early days and also started on a long process later of altering my Otto Link hard rubber 8. Over many years I got close to "perfection" or lost control a bit. Using an erick Brand book for some guidance, I kept at ti, all the while my relationship to pressure, air flow velocity and other subtle factors changed. Now (I'm old) I have got it to great attack and control, with a consistent big tone at volume in the Hawkins, Webster, even Boots Randolph, Turrentine, Cobb areas, It comes back to a lovely sound for Bossas and ballads. I seem to play with less direct vertical pressure but a "turbo air flow if necessary. My old reeds get recycled, recover, become favourites or spares. I'm using nmow on the old Mark VI that is thirty six years old, looks and sounds excellent. I only ever used Soft ( so marked) as others used ones heavier they though matched their boastful markings on cane, e g. 3.5 or more. They used to cut the edge of the lip. so I'd sand most carefully. even a mist of some blood would come after a heavy night's blasting.Not any more; rinse under warm water, old toothbrush scrub, light touch embouchure, big volume air flow, soft control for touch and voila!! Years ago I would use some 2.5 cane reeds on Bari, quite O K so the change was not drastic. Bundy Fibrecane have long gone.
 

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I have been using Legere on my bari and I eliminated the buzz by pulling out the reed just a hair. I'm using a Theo Wann Durga, love it.
 
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