Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 20 of 30 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I moved from Legere Signature back to cane, and it seems like all I'm doing is trying to find a reed to shed on, or adjusting it. I went from shedding hours a day to pleading with a piece of wood to behave and getting almost no shedding done at all. I'm squeaking all the time, which I didn't do before. I realized every other player is able to deal with this, but I haven't evolved beyond it, yet. I've been on Legere for years. Lot's of 'em.. Here's the major SUCK: I tried to go back to the Legere, and can't for the life of me get a sound that isn't brash and horrible. YAY.

Just ranting so I don't throw my [CENSORED] horn.

Abbreviated rant over.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2015-
Joined
·
32,939 Posts
Have a better day tomorrow.

We all (well, most) have been there.



Tenor - It’s all that matters.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,043 Posts
Try a different brand, cut and strength of reed then. I use Vandoren Red Java 2½: I never get a bad one. I can't get on with synthetic and plastic-coated reeds —

I [CENSORED] HATE SYNTHETICS.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
12,711 Posts
Just curious..is your mouthpiece in proper shape?

Crooked facings make for less reed friendly pieces.

....or maybe the cane gods are mad at you for previously abandoning them?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,458 Posts
Well, everyone's different. I gave the plastic reeds a good try about 20 years ago and wasn't impressed; not really sure what it was, but they just didn't have the right feel to me. Then a friend gave me something like 20 boxes of baritone reeds (my primary instrument) and with a lifetime supply of cane reeds assured, I haven't felt the need to explore the advancements in plastic reed technology since then (I suspect there have been some significant advances).

Weirdly, as I get older, the equipment seems to matter less and less to me, it seems like I can make pretty much anything that's reasonable work OK for me. Maybe my standards are declining in my dotage, though it doesn't seem to me that this is happening. Night before last I discarded a reed as "not worn out but just wrong, somehow" for the first time in a long time.

I noticed your mention of squeaking. It might be that though the overall stiffness of the cane reed is similar to the synthetic you were using before, that the localized stiffnesses of the tippy-tip, and a little down the tip, and further down, and the heart, and so on, are different. You may have to either give yourself some time to re-adapt; or adjust the cane reeds; or experiment with different numerical strengths - I mean, I'm imagining a scenario where you end up going up a half number on cane to kill the squeaking compared to plastic, even though it makes soft low register playing a little stiffer, but it also makes high register and altissimo easier - you know, that kind of thing.

Which I think will be my cue to suggest that there may be benefits to having one setup for years on end. In my case, I KNOW that I will be playing La Voz Medium Hard baritone reeds probably for the rest of my life. After playing (from the same 20+ boxes mentioned above) for 20 years or so now, I know exactly how they respond, exactly where they want to be adjusted, and so on. Combined with playing the same mouthpiece for 12 years now and the same horn for 35 years now, I basically never have to adapt to a change. I think this is useful in some ways but haven't had enough coffee to explore all the positive and negative implications. I will say that I've been through some changes on tenor lately and that's been interesting, but since I don't play a lot of tenor anyway, it's really hard to draw solid conclusions. And I am playing a little soprano again for the first time since the early 1980s, and that's been an experience as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,241 Posts
Well, everyone's different. I gave the plastic reeds a good try about 20 years ago and wasn't impressed; not really sure what it was, but they just didn't have the right feel to me. Then a friend gave me something like 20 boxes of baritone reeds (my primary instrument) and with a lifetime supply of cane reeds assured, I haven't felt the need to explore the advancements in plastic reed technology since then (I suspect there have been some significant advances).
"Significant" is putting it mildly. 1999 was an entirely different era.

OP, I think that some of your current difficulty is transition-related rather than product-related. In other words, your transition from synthetic to cane, or from cane back to synthetic, is taking a while, and during that phase you're interpreting the awkwardness you're experiencing as fundamental defects in the reeds themselves, regardless of material. Your synth-reed blowing techniques may be making cane feel hard to play. Conversely, your cane-reed blowing techniques may be making the Legeres feel brash and/or strident. I think you need to pick one or the other product and just stick with it until things stabilize. Trust yourself -- e.g., if you played Legeres for many years and sounded good on them, you should be able to get back to that position if you're patient.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member
TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
Joined
·
7,432 Posts
One more thing, and this is very common among experienced players; we get used to the horn by degrees as it's condition deteriorates between overhauls/re-pads/tune-ups and its resistance increases proportionally. Then we get to a point where 'the reeds stink' or 'this mouthpiece sucks', when the problem at least in part is the sax itself. This will creep up on you and the solution is to inspect the sax frequently. Keep it clean inside and out. Lube the friction points and use a treatment on the pads. Get/make a leak light and use it every so often - fix any leaks you find or take it to the shop. Its really a good idea to take it to the shop every so often depending on how many hours a month you spend on the horn.
It is amazing how reeds can improve so dramatically with a sax in good order.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #10
You guys are awesome! I'm at work, so I can't reply to each, but I read them all and they're full of useful wisdom, thank you! I think it could be a combination of everything you all have brought up (I read it and think, "yeah, I can see that!") and I may have hit a serious plateau, which is a really good thing; it's like being preg.. well, not quite, but it's probably more like having ordered something awesome and waiting for the UPS person who's taking their suite time. I know the issues will be resolved, in time, and I'll break through the plateau ceiling.

Again, thank you all.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
You all may find this as funny as I do this morning, and probably going through many more, but I ain't no pro. :) This is the work space and batch I'm currently working through (haven't received/ordered some of the suggestions on other threads, yet):

View attachment 238160

Top row is alto, those don't count.

Edit: Huh. Let me see if I can correct gravity:

View attachment 238162

Edit: Nope. :whistle:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
100% agreement here as the leave no stone unturned approach is essential.

One more thing, and this is very common among experienced players; we get used to the horn by degrees as it's condition deteriorates between overhauls/re-pads/tune-ups and its resistance increases proportionally. Then we get to a point where 'the reeds stink' or 'this mouthpiece sucks', when the problem at least in part is the sax itself. This will creep up on you and the solution is to inspect the sax frequently. Keep it clean inside and out. Lube the friction points and use a treatment on the pads. Get/make a leak light and use it every so often - fix any leaks you find or take it to the shop. Its really a good idea to take it to the shop every so often depending on how many hours a month you spend on the horn.
It is amazing how reeds can improve so dramatically with a sax in good order.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2013-2019
Joined
·
1,010 Posts
Oh man - I'm your same situation. I went to synthetic reeds about 10 years ago (and specifically to Legere Sigs about 7 yeas ago) after giving up on futzing around with cane. But one of the recent discussions here inspired me to give cane another try, so I have a box of Rigotti gold coming this week. Hope it works out better for me than it did for you. :)
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,019 Posts
Both LostConn and 1saxman made very good points in their posts above. For sure get your horn checked out! And also, switching around from one type of reed to the next, especially btw cane & synthetics, may require an adjustment period.

However, it appears you STILL haven't tried the Rigotti Golds that I have suggested over & over. Not to say that will be the answer, but it was for me...

(And, fwiw, I wouldn't go to super hard reeds and a tiny tipped mpc as you said you might on another thread. At least not until you sort out the issues you're having now.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #16
Both LostConn and 1saxman made very good points in their posts above. For sure get your horn checked out! And also, switching around from one type of reed to the next, especially btw cane & synthetics, may require an adjustment period.

However, it appears you STILL haven't tried the Rigotti Golds that I have suggested over & over. Not to say that will be the answer, but it was for me...

(And, fwiw, I wouldn't go to super hard reeds and a tiny tipped mpc as you said you might on another thread. At least not until you sort out the issues you're having now.)
1. Agreed, and those are being ordered today ( I listened :) ).
2. I also agree with your second point.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,206 Posts
Discussion Starter #17
Oh man - I'm your same situation. I went to synthetic reeds about 10 years ago (and specifically to Legere Sigs about 7 yeas ago) after giving up on futzing around with cane. But one of the recent discussions here inspired me to give cane another try, so I have a box of Rigotti gold coming this week. Hope it works out better for me than it did for you. :)
Good luck!
 

·
SOTW Columnist, Distinguished SOTW Member
Joined
·
23,019 Posts
"Happiness is a wet Rico* reed" --Dexter Gordon

*(Substitute your own favorite brand of cane.)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,754 Posts
Make a short pause in your playing (one or two weeks).
Good idea. Sometimes it's not the reed. No matter what you do, sometimes, you can't get a decent sound. At least that's been my experience.


I've been playing 4 different reeds of late and one in particular had that sound I've been working toward for the last year. Just everything I have been trying to do suddenly showed up a few days ago. Then yesterday I put it on and it sounds thin and old and for no reason I can understand I can't find that sound again. So I'm coming to the conclusion that a lot of it is me and not the reed. I have 3 or 4 mouthpieces but only 1 that I like and use daily. I like how it plays and the responsiveness etc. so it's not that. It's me. Some days the chops are okay and others the suck. I don't know how you professionals handle that. If you show up for a gig and can't get that sound you had yesterday you just have to suck it up and play anyway. Sometimes I think most of it is in our heads. We probably don't sound much different from day to day to an disinterested bystander.
 
1 - 20 of 30 Posts
Top