Hey everybody...does anybody know the quality of plastic reeds? i want to try them out but they are pretty expensive compared to the good old fashioned reeds. will i still get a good tone out of my sax if i use them? thanks!!
There are a number of synthetic reeds being produced that are amazing close to high quality cane reeds in their quality of sound, level of response, and projection. They are not the same as the "plastic reeds" of the past. That's not to say that they are exactly the same as cane. There are differences of course. However, as new developments are made by synthetic reed companies (such as Legere, Forestone, Hahn, etc) the discernable differences -- as heard by an audience -- between synthetic and cane reeds are becoming smaller and smaller.
As an example, Legere is in the process of developing what they call Signature Series reeds. Legere describes Signature as being made from an advanced version of the polymer used for their reeds. I was extremely impressed with the Signature clarinet reeds I tried a couple of months ago. Articulation and response with Signature is every bit as good as with cane. It's my understanding that Legere is in the process of developing Signature saxophone reeds. I'm really looking forward to giving them a try when they are ready.
As MartinMusicMan said, there's been quite a bit of discussion about various kinds of synthetic reeds on the forum. If you scroll & page down, you'll find a lot of good information. It always comes down to what works best for us as individual players.
Yes, I know the quality.
Compared to a GOOD cane reed they suck. Learn to select, then cure good cane(a simple not life committing process that you easily incorporate into your practice routine). Only disadvantage? A tad more money (you will throw away non-vibrant reeds) ... oh yeah ... and you have to care about the very thing that facilitates your sound.
Larry Combs, who recently retired as Principal Clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony, had a direct role in helping Legere develop the Signature clarinet reed. Combs has positive things to say about how close Signature is to top-quality cane. Also recently, John J Moses, one of the top NYC clarinetists, posted postive feedback about Signature on the woodwind.org clarinet forum.
I was a cane reed fanatic for most of my musical life and quickly tossed plastic reeds into the trash can after trying them. However, when I first tried Legere I found them to be different. They actually sounded quite good and I saw their potential. As I've described on other threads (and don't want to repeat too much here), I spent a period of time adjusting my chops to Legere and fine-tuning my set up in order to get optimal results with these reeds. Now, I'm 100% happy with Legere and my sound on each of my horns is every bit as good as when I used top-quality cane reeds.
In case someone might think I cannot tell the difference in sound between Legere and a good cane reed, I'm a trained composer (MA in composition) and I have a sensitive ear for sound. In addition, I've had trusted musician friends listen to my sound as I worked to optimize my set up with Legere. Positive feedback from each of them.
It comes down to personal taste. If one does not like synthetic reeds don't use them. It's as simple as that.
For me, I figure that if musicians of the stature of Larry Combs and John J Moses are getting good results with new-generation synthetic reeds like Legere that's a pretty good indication that the reeds cannot be all bad.
I was real impressed recently when I tried out the Medium Bari Star & 2.5 Legere Studio Cut Tenor Sax reeds, & played the Legere last nite at a gig & jam. Had some issues with it at the jam. I still like the projection on the 2M Rico Select Jazz Unfiled which I'm gonna use tonite on my Aaron Drake Custom Contemporary prototype mouthpiece.
A million years ago I played one of the very first plastic reeds on bass clarinet. It sucked badly. I've always hated even the idea of plastic reeds ever since. Then I joined SOTW. I got reed GAS, among other forms of GAS. I tried a Fibracell and decided I kinda liked it. It wasn't any where near as bad as the plastic reed I remembered from my youth. Then I tried a Legere, and then a Bari. Each had slightly different characteristics, but I liked 'em all. Then I tried Plasticovers. They have the feel and response of a cane reed, but they last through many gigs. I'm now a Plasticover man, all the way, all the time. Try 'em, you might like 'em.
For the record, I've hated every synthetic reed I'd tried (Bari, Bari *, Fibracell) until Legere original cut.
Like Roger, I had an adjustment period, but it was only a few hours.
My wife, who is the harshest critic of saxophone sounds I know (she's a trained violinist), prefers my sound on Legere over most cane reeds, and feels it's equal quality (albeit a little different) to good examples of my old favorite cane reed (Alexander Classique).
My friends and bandmates (including a drummer I've played with for twenty years) also like the sound.
The reed material makes no difference to me; if I ever find something brighter/with more projection than Plasticovers, I'll gladly go for it. While on my search, I've tried every vandoren, every rico, BARI, Fibracell, Hahn, and Legere. The only synthetic I liked was Legere, but they dont suit me like Plasticovers do.
It looks like you're quoting from my message. They are NOT saying that Legere reeds are inferior to cane. If that was the case, John Moses would not use Legere reeds for important performances and recordings. But, he is.
As I've said on other threads about synthetic reeds, Legere reeds do not work well with some mouthpiece facings and ligatures. At least, that's been my experience. Just recently I tried a Pomarico clarinet mouthpiece with Legere and this set up sounded terrible to me. If all I knew about Legere reeds was based on that experience, then I might come to the conclusion that the reeds are terrible. However, the same Legere reed used on a Walter Grabner K14 produces a sound that is drop dead gorgeous.
Why the difference? After quite a bit of trial & error, here's what I've found to work for me:
* It's been my experience that Legere reeds work better on mouthpiece facings with somewhat wider tip and side rails. Along with that, middle-of-the-road tip sizes give me better results with Legere than more open tips.
* Ligatures, too, can make a big difference. After trying a good selection of ligatures, I found the Optimum (with plate #1) to work superbly with Legere. However, on Bb clarinet I prefer the Vandoren Klassik string ligature. Some ligatures that work fine on cane do not seal Legere reeds correctly -- especially, along the side rails.
* Legere makes different versions of their reeds for some instruments. On clarinet, Quebec really does it for me. I don't care for the quality of sound I get with their other clarinet reeds. On saxophone, I prefer regular Legere and don't like Studio. Thus, finding the kind of Legere reed that best matches your tonal conception is important.
After I figured out these things, each of my set ups (see signature below) became gold and I'm now 100% happy with the quality of sound and level of performance I get with Legere.
As many of us have learned in forum discussions, no single piece of equipment (even a MK VI) is going to work well for everyone. Each of us is an individual player. Based on that, if synthetic reeds do not work for you then by all means stick with cane. However, there are players who get a great sound with synthetic reeds. For us, the reeds don't suck.
Man, Galt! If your only reason for coming on here was to stir s*** up, we've got enough of that already. :shock: Play whatever you want. Nobody cares! Go back to Galt's Gulch and grow your own cane. Nobody cares!!![Impnt]
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