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Discussion Starter #1
I play on a metal Berg Larson with a 130 opening. I'm using it on a super old Conn, which doesn't have the best intonation up high. So what I wanted to ask people's opinions on reed choices. I need a thin reed for such a large opening, but I do not want to sacrifice the intonation in the higher ranges. I'm thinking of going with Java 3s, but I'm not sure. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
 

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What chamber Berg O,1,2,3. Is it possible you need a larger chamber piece for this vintage horn. I'm not sure the brand of reed will make a difference.
 

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It's a 2m. Should have mentioned it. I'm not as concerned about the brand as much as the strength. I put on a size 3 1/2 blue box Vandoren just for kicks one time, and it didn't even fit. The screws on the lig were too short.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Strength of reed in relation to intonation is subject that gets mentioned a few times, and there is no real "one size fits all" answer IMO.

I find that softer reeds give you more flexibility of pitch. This means that if you are aware of intonation issues with a particular horn (or setup of that horn) then it can be easier to adjust the pitch by lipping, but it's usually easier to lip down than up.

OTOH if the intonation problems are because the player is more at fault than the instrument, ie their embouchure is too flexible, then a harder reed can sometimes help.

I have ended up choosing a reed strength based more on the dynamic response I get because if I worry about too many things (tone, dynamics, intonation) then I get confused, there will always be some kind of compromise.

I sometimes use a Conn 10M with a wide tipped mouthpiece, and I use 2 or 2.5 reeds, because any harder and I don't get the low notes as quietly as possible. This means I may have to work a bit harder to get high notes strong and as in tune as I want, but I prefer to do that than to play a harder reed and struggle with quiet low notes.

As i said above, this soft reed also allows more flexibility of pitch, but does mean that you need to rely more on your ears all the time, which can't be a bad thing if they are in good working order. One thing that I did discover a while back was to tune the saxophone slightly sharper than you might normally, and then relax your embouchure and shape your mouth cavity to bring the pitch down when necessary.
 

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by the way........it's Berg LARSEN ! Cheers
 

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One thing that I did discover a while back was to tune the saxophone slightly sharper than you might normally, and then relax your embouchure and shape your mouth cavity to bring the pitch down when necessary.
Absolutely! Did you discover that yourself, or did someone say something that lead you to it? I think I knew it already, but Steve Gregory told me 'tune sharp, blow flat' which sums it up well. I wonder who told him.......?
 

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by the way........it's Berg LARSEN ! Cheers
Ain't it the truth haha. I played mostly alto throughout my career, and I've never been a fan of metal mouthpieces for alto. So I'm working real hard to get used to it. I love the Berg, but it's definitely a beast that needs to be tamed.
 

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Also, I am aware of the fact that there is no "one size fits all" reed. But it is true that a Rico Royal 2 1/2 won't hold up as well as a Java 2 1/2. Can anyone recommend a good reed for this mouthpiece that will give me good stability up high?
 

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Also, I am aware of the fact that there is no "one size fits all" reed. But it is true that a Rico Royal 2 1/2 won't hold up as well as a Java 2 1/2.
I have used both, no problems with either.
 

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I usually use Vandoren Java 2.5 green box on my 130/2 Berg. I once used Rico Royals and was surprised I could use 3's on the Berg. My Berg was fixed up by Mojo and plays nicely in tune on most of my saxes, including a '29 Martin Handcraft. Possibly due to the larger opening (actual opening is .124) reeds on the Berg don't seem to last as long as they do on a smaller opening, such as a Ponzol M2 .110.
 

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I use 2 1/2 Fibracells on my 120/3 Berg SS,The Martin. Intonation is good up high....not "reedy"....but that may be partially due to the "3" on the Berg.
 
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