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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've been playing synthetics for more than 15 years now, mostly Fibracell.
I recently tried to switch back to cane. So I ordered some Rigotti Gold 2.5 m and D'Addario Jazz Select 2M and 2S.

These reeds have a good reputation, still I could not make a single cane reed work. Low register was hard but had a nice sound. The middle register was weak.
The upper register including altissimo was fine.
The most annoying thing was that I started to squeak after a few minutes.
I have tried to sand down a few, but to no avail.

I finally gave up, put a Fibracell on again and it felt like coming home. I sounded good again and it was effortless to play.
Have I reached a point of no return? I sounded like a true beginner. I mean, I'm not that good a player. But after 25 years on tenor I didn't expect that.
 

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I'd say yes.

The guys who've been playing Plasticovers for years say the same thing too.
 

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I can make cane reeds work, but in general they are so much less responsive than synthetic reeds that playing does feel more difficult at first. I think you can switch back, but it will take more time than you expect.

Remember that by the standards of synth reeds, every cane reed can be described as a "bad reed": it won't even play right without being kept very moist at all times!
 

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Remember that by the standards of synth reeds, every cane reed can be described as a "bad reed": it won't even play right without being kept very moist at all times!
Massive generalizations don't help anybody.
 

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Except for yours?

I played Plasticovers for decades. I am probably doing it all wrong,
But no problem adapting to cane or Fibracell (alto) or Legere (tenor).
Still playing cane on the other sizes.

I expect most folks have a rather narrow comfort zone.

dsm
 

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I'd say yes.

The guys who've been playing Plasticovers for years say the same thing too.
I had no trouble going back to natural cane after playing Plasticovers years ago. They're real cane with a crappy thin plastic coating that comes off on your bottom lip.
 

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I been on synths only about 4 yrs. I wondered myself if I could sound good again on a real cane. Thing is I'm a seasoned player and honestly never did have 2 canes that played exactly the same anyway.

My F'cell and Legeres are remarkably consistent, ease of alt etc and pretty easy to play. But I listen some of my old recordings and the real cane has something special inside the tone that I miss with the synths..
 

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I suspect it has a lot to do with what you get used to. If you play a synthetic reed for years, it's not too surprising that going back to cane would be an adjustment that might take more time than you care to take. And to avoid over-generalizing, this may not be true for everyone, but will be the case for some. In my case, I just can't seem to make the jump to synthetics. It's kind of strange because when I first put on a synthetic reed it seems to play and sound great. Then after a playing session or two, not so great, and when I go back to cane I find I much prefer the flexibility in tone (and there definitely seems to be that 'something special' in the tone of cane that Cash mentioned). We all have different preferences; best to go with what works for you.
 

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I've been playing synthetics for more than 15 years now, mostly Fibracell.
I recently tried to switch back to cane. So I ordered some Rigotti Gold 2.5 m and D'Addario Jazz Select 2M and 2S.

These reeds have a good reputation, still I could not make a single cane reed work. Low register was hard but had a nice sound. The middle register was weak.
The upper register including altissimo was fine.
The most annoying thing was that I started to squeak after a few minutes.
I have tried to sand down a few, but to no avail.

I finally gave up, put a Fibracell on again and it felt like coming home. I sounded good again and it was effortless to play.
Have I reached a point of no return? I sounded like a true beginner. I mean, I'm not that good a player. But after 25 years on tenor I didn't expect that.
I had a talk with mouthpiece maker Wolfe Tannenbaum about this, I think he was the guy that made synthetic reeds popular with his Bari brand. I told him I felt that his plastic reeds caused players to have bad habits that and he agreed with me. I think it might take a little time to come back to cane and it will be worth it. Just try some exercises, maybe long tones or the ones on my blog but it can be done. Phil Barone
 

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I base my comment after hearing from (directly or from a good source) James Carter, Gene Hardy and Sam Butera (Had) all have tried to use something else after spending decades on plasticovers. And they hounded Rico so bad when they were going to cease production of them that they continued to make them.

I however found them much too bright, projecting, got rid of the amount of resistance I like and uncontrollable that I never developed a liking for them. Tried for a few months on a couple mouthpieces but have been using Vandorens for a good 10+ years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thanks for all you replies!
I guess I will stick with what works for the moment.
When more spare time is available, I will give it a second shot.
 

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Same with me I have been using fibracells for 20 years and I can’t get a decent sound out of cane I hate cane and with the fibracells I slap it on and just play focusing on the Music instead of trying to get a cane reed to work . If fibracell ever goes out of business I’m in trouble!
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That’s exactly what I'm worried about right now. If Fibracell ever ceases to exist, I might get lucky with Légère or another similar synthetic. But cane…too much trouble for me.
Sometimes I think I’m less of a player not using real cane. But on the other hand it works perfectly for me.
 

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Are you totally sure you matched the strength of your Fibracells with the cane reeds?

Sounds like you need slightly stronger reeds... since your problems sounds like "a soft reed bending too much over the mouthpiece... chocking the sound".
 

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Sometimes I think I'm less of a player not using real cane.
Stop the school bus.. Watch your self-talk!

A similar personal experience revealed that I had developed certain habits. It works for you, so keep truckin. If they ever stop production, you can get make the transition to another brand.
 

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None.
But there are hybrid reeds that are more into the "cane feeling".

Like for cane reeds... Synthethic reeds have different sounds if the cut is different... it's not just the different material.

For example, Vandoren Green Java, ZZ, V16... sound different because are different (dimensionally).



The same is for synthetic reeds... Légere Signature's sound different from Légère Studio's.
 

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I think it might take a little time to come back to cane and it will be worth it. Just try some exercises, maybe long tones or the ones on my blog but it can be done. Phil Barone
This ^^

Assuming you are dissatisfied with the synthetic reed (or they discontinue it!) or are wondering if maybe, once you find the cane reed you like, you will be getting a better sound on it, you may find it's worth the effort. You have to take the time to make the adjustment, but also have to consider the fact you may need to experiment with some different brands/sizes of cane reeds, as we all did, to find the one that suits you best.
 
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