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in my experience, and by direct comparison, they have suffered since being take over by D'Dario (am I spelling that right)? No matter what Dadarrio (I will keep trying different spellings; one will make sense) says, they are NOT the same.
This may be true. I have some old ones, in 4 and 5 strength, and on my really great close-tip Florida STM they simply sing. Very "lively". Of course, they are each different within a box since they are cane inside... so that is a general statement. But the good ones have a great sound, at least from these old boxes.
 

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No mention - yet - of the flaking black plastic bits that come off the Plasticovers (and into your mouth). For me, it isn't so much about the way they play (although I don't care for them in that regard), it is about the long-term health issues that may come to light after ingesting the particles of black plastic that come off of them.

And please, if it has not yet happened to YOU, please refrain from saying it won't happen - because it has happened to many here on SOTW, including me. Just check the other threads that have discussed these reeds before. DAVE
 

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These have not worked for me either.

I have 2 boxes ( tenor, #2 1/2 and#3) that I will happily send to a new home for the price of postage. The box of #3 is unopened = 5 reeds; there are 3 reeds left in the box of 2 1/2.

Please pm me if interested.
 

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No mention - yet - of the flaking black plastic bits that come off the Plasticovers (and into your mouth). For me, it isn't so much about the way they play (although I don't care for them in that regard), it is about the long-term health issues that may come to light after ingesting the particles of black plastic that come off of them.

And please, if it has not yet happened to YOU, please refrain from saying it won't happen - because it has happened to many here on SOTW, including me. Just check the other threads that have discussed these reeds before. DAVE
Ah yes, the flaking plastic bits. It does happen. They sometimes stick to your lip.
 

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I've used plasticovers for over 20 years. There is a breakin period, but it's usually minimal. Remember, these are still bamboo, and need to be saturated, just like regular reeds. The good news is that once you get a good one, it usually lasts for a LONG time. If yours are sounding stuffy, I suggest you explore different ligatures, or ligature placement. Also, sometimes a different mouthpiece works better with a new kind of reed. But in my experience, the number ONE cause of "stuffiness" is trying to play too hard a reed. There's a lot of mythology out there saying basically "the harder the better." I've found that to be bunk. When you're just learning to play, harder reeds are more challenging for your chops, so you'll have to work harder, and develop more stamina. If you're gigging regularly, make it easy on yourself.

My favorite reed is a Rico Plasticover 1.5! (equivalent to an "extra soft" in some other reed brands.) I use a mouthpiece with an extra large chamber inside, minimal roll-off baffle, and an extremely open tip (Berg Larsen Stainless 125/3 Tenor) The #3 chamber creates turbulence for better dark partials, harmonics and altissimo, while the soft reed and wide open tip make it blow extremely easily and allows for great sensitivity and a nice, clear, focused tone. My experience is that it's better to go with a setup that leans towards the bright and crisp, because you can always lip a bit of darkness back in there, but if your setup is too dark, you'll never cut through an electric guitar or drum kit. Oh, I also use a rovnor lite ligature, set fairly tightly, and clamped quite far toward the butt of the reed. You can also set your reed just a fraction high on the facing to get some interesting timbre variations.

If you can stand the noise, break the reed in by blowing just through the neck. It gets the bamboo fibers started breaking down just a bit, and then the plastic coating tends to preserve the reed at a nice, usable place.
Hope this helps!
 

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Remember, these are still bamboo, and need to be saturated, just like regular reeds. (...)
When you're just learning to play, harder reeds are more challenging for your chops, so you'll have to work harder, and develop more stamina.
All of what you said sounds like it is true, for you anyway (which is what matters).

But I would just point out that:
(a) Reed cane is actually a grass, and is a completely different plant from bamboo.
(b) I don't know if regular reeds need to be saturated as part of break-in. But I've tried to play reeds while saturated (the reeds, not me), having accidentally left them in water overnight, and they sounded terrible and played about a semitone flat... They were soprano reeds. Anyway, I thought the plastic coating was designed to not allow the cane to become saturated (?).
(c) This is a bit of semantics, but I tell students that too soft a reed is also more challenging for your chops. It's challenging in a different way, and counterproductive, especially for beginners. Pitch control is too difficult, and your trying-to-develop chops end up all over the place, struggling to find a good neutral position in terms of your embouchure. It's definitely true that too hard a reed can kill the resonance needed for a nice sound, and I think a good Plasticover can sound good, in the right strength.

Having said all that, I did try a Plasticover last night on alto (which I had not prior to this, nor soprano), and I'd be hard-pressed to say one of those reeds could ever sound good on alto. Not for me, anyway, not on alto, with that mouthpiece (a non-radical, very nice, conventional Meyer-like object in a medium facing). And I don't think it was only that particular Plasticover. That's not been my experience on tenor or baritone.
 

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I started using Plasticovers when in college marching band simply because they seemed to survive the elements better and because they tended to not warp as bad as regular cane reeds. I didn't notice a huge difference in sound at the time, especially when you are only playing loud. I always thought they were a brighter sounding reed for me.
 

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I used them and found them quite edgy. Still have them for back-up. Gotta a good deal on amazon, (I think). 2 1/2s like the OP's.
No break-in time for me.
 

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For anyone playing R&B, the extra edge these provide is a plus. The altissimo is blood curdling and I ALWAyS get 3 out of the 5 in the box to play. I've been on these for tenor the last 20 years, I'm open to trying different reeds but reed experimentation is frustrating and expensive. Plasticovers always come through for me.
 

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For anyone playing R&B, the extra edge these provide is a plus. The altissimo is blood curdling and I ALWAyS get 3 out of the 5 in the box to play. I've been on these for tenor the last 20 years, I'm open to trying different reeds but reed experimentation is frustrating and expensive. Plasticovers always come through for me.
So is "blood curdling" altissimo a good thing?
 

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I usually keep one plasticover in my reed case of twelve gig reeds. For whatever reason on some days all my reeds are effected by weather? and are hard to play. I have had gigs where the only one reed that works is the Plasticover. I do work the reeds with my Ridenour Reed glass (not me, Tom Ridenour) and balance the reed. I learned that from Al Garth of the Eagles band. When touring around the world he said these reeds stayed much more consistent from place to place rather than cane. So if it works for you great, but these are still reeds made from cane/wood and need to be balanced unless they have the perfect machine working. Frankly I balance every reed I play. I don't care how great they are out of the box, I like them the way I like them K
 

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A number of well-known sax players have used Plasticovers and still do. One of the foremost is Pete Christlieb who played in the 'Tonight' show band and is heard on many records. I just recommended them to someone today here on the forum who has to set down his alto for extended periods on the gig and has had no luck with synthetics. I used one on alto last night because my Fibracell sort of took a dive as I was doing the pre-gig fooling around at home - lucky I had some to pick and choose.
But to the original question on how to break them in, I tried something last night that several players have posted here over the years - I call it 'reed-tenderizing' and it is an art that you need to learn. As has been reported, Plasticovers these days seem to be way too hard for their grade and that's what I found yesterday, but I needed a playable reed fast, so I remembered this procedure.
How I do it is to dismount the reed and remove the ligature or get it out of the way. I place the reed crossways on the table of the mouthpiece (still on the neck) so the whole tip is flat on it, covering the table from side to side and holding it down with one thumb, then just gently pull up on the rear of the reed with the other hand and let it go - kind of a 'pluck'. I might do this a few times, then play the reed. If it needs more, I do the same thing except push the reed to the right about 1/8" so the thicker vamp gets 'exercised'. You just have to have a feel for not over-bending it - the butt is raised only about 1/8" to 1/4" the thinner section can take more flex than the thicker section.
You do not 'reverse' the trick by flicking the reed down - only pluck it upward.
This reed 'came in' for me in just the few seconds it took to do this simple procedure and was great for the whole gig.

I feel like I have to speak to the notion expressed above that you 'soak' a Plasticover, which since I have been playing them since about 1959 really is bizarre to me. The whole point of the Plasticover is the resin is supposed to keep the reed dry, so after playing it, the reed can't dry-out and wrinkle. This works great, and as you may surmise, eventually the resin thins/breaks down and loses its water resistance. Typically by that point the reed is done anyway. Whatever, the point is you open a box of Plasticovers and start playing them with no preparation involving liquids. That means you play it dry and hope it stays dry. The resin coating also makes it comfortable to play a dry reed just like the material of a synthetic does.
Hopefully more of you who are looking for some kind of synthetic reed for saxes that are subject to reed drying on shows will try Plasticovers again and use the 'tenderizing' procedure and start getting the benefits you're looking for - cane reed sound with synthetic reed water resistance.

BTW, the 'reed pluck' also works the same on any other cane or synthetic reed - just take it easy at first and work up to it.
 

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Plas Johnson (of Pink Panther fame) played them as well too, if I'm not mistaken.

They end up being a little too bright for me. I used on on this recording and I felt like it ended up more bright than I usually like. But if I was going for that much cut, they would have their place.

 

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Plas Johnson (of Pink Panther fame) played them as well too, if I'm not mistaken.

They end up being a little too bright for me. I used on on this recording and I felt like it ended up more bright than I usually like. But if I was going for that much cut, they would have their place.
Didn't he use Baritone reeds as well?
 
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