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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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Perhaps you're right. If I said "they are quite inferior" would you have an issue? If so, instead of a thicker reed, I would recommend a thicker hide instead. I suspect its not the how I said it, but the what I said you object to.
No. It's how you said it. The vast majority of SOTW could care or less if you or any other member use different reeds than they do; if you're happy with them, we're good to go. But your tone borders on inflammatory. Here's an example:
"You dont care about reason? You dont care about commercial shills infesting this site? You dont care about everything saxophone? There's so much jive infesting this site, there isnt enough "stirring up" as far as I'm concerned.
"Play what ever you want", just dont voice an opinion, or even worse, use logic and reason to debunk the obvious shills that try to manufacture some sort of reality here? Listen to yourselves . . ."
You're being emotional not reasonable in this quote. Most of us here at SOTW are familiar with Roger, and he is honest to a fault as far as I'm concerned, certainly no "commercial shill". If he says that Legeres work well for him, then that's just what he means! It doesn't mean that they will work for you, (they don't work for me either, FWIW), or that you should try them. By the same token, simply because cane reeds work for you and synthetics suck for you, that doesn't mean that this holds true for other sax players. Our physical make-up, our concept of tone and our experience playing, (how much time we've put in playing, as well as what we're used to playing), come first anyway; equipment comes after that in the equation.
To be sure there's a lot of G.A.S. and other silliness on SOTW, but why all the bile from you? I want to believe you have a good point that you're trying to make in your posts somewhere, but if you want other people to understand where you're coming from, I think you need to take a deep breath and back off your condescending tone. My $.02. Peace.....Daryl
 

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The word "suck" is a word used every day on prime time tv and across the land. I will refer to the question posed: "Does anybody know the quality of plastic reeds?"
My response "Compared to a good piece of cane, they suck".
I stand by that statement.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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2,892 Posts
The word "suck" is a word used every day on prime time tv and across the land. I will refer to the question posed: "Does anybody know the quality of plastic reeds?"
My response "Compared to a good piece of cane, they suck".
I stand by that statement.
Again, you're welcome to your opinion, John; synthetic reeds--all synthetics are not plastic, John--don't work for everyone and the same can be said for metal mouthpieces, Rovner ligatures, Chinese made saxes, MK VII tenors and a multitude of other things. And whether you used the word, "suck", or not, to me at least, is not an issue. You have a strong opinion and you express it, no problem here. But I disagree with your point, (which seems to be), that synthetic reeds must suck for everyone because they suck for you and that people who use them are inferior players or are delusional. I think you're wrong because I've heard too many people play a wide variety of equipment, including synthetics, with very different results. Clearly it's the player, not the equipment. "Play what works for you" isn't a cop out, it's common sense.
 

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871 Posts
I got back into playing almost 2 years ago. I tried a Fibracell on my tenor and was not impressed. I got a MK VI Bari in February. I have tried many reeds and I have the Van Doren reed sanding kit. Another sax player told me that a Fibracell 2.5 was the way to go with the Bari. I just tried it out and was very impressed. Free blowing, high and low notes easy to reach, and a good sound.

When I first got the Bari I tried a Legere, and I did not find it to work that well for me.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
Alto: YAS-62S Conn Trany 6M Jupiter JAS-868 JAS-769 / Tenor: YTS-23 & 52 P. Mauriat 66R Holton 241
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I play only Hahn reeds, I don't ever think to go back to natural reeds. I tried almost all synthetics (Legere Traditional Cut, Fibracell, Bari and Hahn). The reed choice is as personal as the mouthpiece choice is, what works for you may or may not work for others.

I found hahn reeds to be the more similar to natural cane in terms of response and tone. You can achive the tone you want using whatever you use, I could take more or less work but the sound will appear. I enjoy Hahn reeds since the first second I tried one. Nobody can notice I'm playing a synthetic when hearing me. Sometimes I give my saxophone with my mouthpiece and my Hahn reed to saxophonist fellows without telling them anything about the reed, they play and don't realize the reed is not natural until they see that into detail.

The word "plastic" isn't too accurate to speak about synthetic reeds because they're made of fiberglass, kevlar, acrylic or specifically developed polymers.

What follows is a list of links of different synthetic reeds websites (in order of preference):
http://www.hahnreeds.com.ar
http://www.fiberreed.com/
http://www.fibracell.com/
http://www.legere.com
http://www.bariwoodwind.com/site/Reeds.html

I really think synthetic reeds are worth to try, and in the worst case to keep one as a back up in your saxophone case.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
Alto: YAS-62S Conn Trany 6M Jupiter JAS-868 JAS-769 / Tenor: YTS-23 & 52 P. Mauriat 66R Holton 241
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BTW, I have recordings (simple clips of me playing alone, most of them for promoting saxophones and/or mouthpieces I have for sale) done with Hahn reeds and different mouthpieces and saxophones. I could post a link to those clips if somebody want to hear them.
 

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I don't know if cane reeds are less consistent these days, or maybe I'm less patient. Ideally, I prefer a cane reed.

However, my experience has been Fibracell reeds are more consistent and easy to play. I put them on and they just work. I've used some Plasticover too, but the feel of the Firbracell is more similar to a cane reed. So, I've been using those.

I think it really is about what works for you, and with your mouthpiece. All this talk has me thinking about breaking out some cane reeds again...

shawn
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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6,360 Posts
I made the switch to synthetics after hearing about them here - Legeres work very well for me. A big advantage is for doublers in live situations too as they don't warp and are tough. Another is the consistancy. Over time, I think your playing improves with one less variable in the mix. I have done many side by side comparisons with legeres vs cane. They have a bit more "buzz". Some of us like that. You can also over time train that buzz out of your playing just as you can adjust your tone with other variables. When I first tried them, I went back to cane. Several months later I tried again but I sanded the reed a bit and found a sound I really liked. They run a bit hard. I still used cane in the studio but the legeres were perfect for doubling and especially outside. These days, even though I have at least 30 good to excellent cane reeds from Rico - Hemke - La Voz and everything in between - I never use anything but the Legeres. I guess I'm saying I actually prefer them to cane.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2017
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About thirty cane reeds would net me about 4 or 5 that would actually be vibrant enough to be selected for play in my rotation.
Yet another excellent reason to at least consider synthetic. I'm already on stage by the time you figure out which 4 or 5 might work. I used to go through that same process. It's funny but there are actually numbers and code I've written on all the cane reeds I've kept. Once I figured out how to make synthetics work for me, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I'm also much more secure in the knowledge that my first note of the night won't be a honker due to the reed. Now I have to blame it on the guitarist.. :)
 

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I personally use and prefer Vandoren javas on all my mouthpieces and find at least 4/5 work well enough or can be adjusted to work well. I used to use Bari, then Fibracell, for years, tried Legere Studios and still returned to cane.
All that to say this.
A few days ago I heard a swing band playing and the tenor player was getting a really nice older kind of 40's sound, kind of like Illinois Jacquette sounds like on his recordings. Later on during the break I asked him about his set-up. He was on a late 50's mark VI using a Vandoren JUMBO JAVA and a hard Bari plastic reed. So, a high baffle piece and a plastic reed producing a very authentic big band era tenor tone. It worked for him! And that's one of the main points people have been trying to make around here regarding reed choice.
I went home, put on a Bari reed and still prefer the feel and tone of my Vandoren Javas. Use what works.
 

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Yet another excellent reason to at least consider synthetic. I'm already on stage by the time you figure out which 4 or 5 might work. I used to go through that same process. It's funny but there are actually numbers and code I've written on all the cane reeds I've kept. Once I figured out how to make synthetics work for me, I felt as if a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I'm also much more secure in the knowledge that my first note of the night won't be a honker due to the reed. Now I have to blame it on the guitarist.. :)
"Preparation" solves all those problems you mentioned. I'm not selecting anything right before going on stage. All my reeds play exquisitely and for a long time, not if I played them out of the box, and no, I dont spend alot of time fussing with them. I never blame a reed, its my job as a player to be prepared. There is however, plenty that the guitarists can and should be blamed for.
 

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Larry Combs, who recently retired as Principal Clarinetist of the Chicago Symphony, had a direct role in helping Legere develop the Signature clarinet reed. ... 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.
Larry Combs also plays a mean sax: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOqjiuB0qSc#t=03m30s
 
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