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:walk:

So lately I've found that after I balance a reed its still not blowing quite as expressive as I'd like. I'll test one side and its good- then the other side and its pretty good too, but then I'll blow it normally and its less colorful....

What would be your next adjustment step?

Thanks in advance!

set up:
meyer hard rubber alto mouthpiece an Selmer 2 screw lig.
Rigotti Gold 2.5s
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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Buy reeds that work for you and forget about making them.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
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Buy reeds that work for you and forget about making them.
I actually agree with this.

You can't polish a ****. So to speak. You should also not buy reeds that are so hard and need to be adjusted so much that you take off large amounts of material from the reed in order to be able to make a sound.

If you have balanced a few reeds and play them and think that it could still be better then you should look at a different cut of reed or just get used to playing the ones you've got.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Bass Sax Boss
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New reeds are sometimes not flat on the back. Reedgeek is very easy to use to fix This. As for balancing and improving, google Ridenour ATG system. It's easy and it works.
 

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So lately I've found that after I balance a reed its still not blowing quite as expressive as I'd like.
Not all reeds are going to play as well as you'd like, even after working on them. I find the best ones usually play great without any adjustment. Then some reeds do well after a bit of adjustment. If after a little bit of adjustment and a few short playing sessions, the reed is still sub-par, no amount of further adjustment seems to work. For me the Rigottis work well; I get about 8 out of 10 to play well, with very little, if any, sanding/scraping. And maybe 5 out of 10 are truly great. ymmv
 

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I second the recommendation for the ATG system. But if you don't want to spend $80 on it, then just make sure you are sanding the entire length of the vamp when you balance one side. I sand at the very side on the back of the vamp, moving toward the center until i'm covering about half the reed at the tip. This avoids sanding the heart and spine of the reed.

When you do the side to side test, use only the mouthpiece on the neck, so you can more easily twist the mouthpiece. And make sure you are playing the same way, with the same strength on each side - you are testing the reed, not testing how well you can make this reed sound. You should be testing only for resistance and resonance, don't worry too much about the tonal changes from side to side.

This assumes your mouthpiece is in reasonably good shape - table flat, rails even side to side. With a Meyer that's not always a safe assumption, that's why I mention it.
 

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The side to side test does not seem to work for me (only the mouthpiece on the neck).
All my reeds seem unbalanced when I do the test. If I play it rotated clockwise, it sounds good.
If I rotate it counter clockwise it plays dull and more resistant.
Even if I sand the less responsive side (in this case the right side) it doesn't change much.
But when I play it normally, it sounds fine. Go figure.

If I understand correctly, all this balancing is done in reference to the mouthpiece and not to your lips.
I have a tendency to play the mouthpiece rotated slightly clockwise. This is because of my crooked teeth and my bottom lip is a little thicker on the right side.

So in trying to “balance“ two Fibracell reeds, I turned them into something unplayable in the “normal” position. Waste of time and money.
I guess that this balancing is great for people with straight teeth and lips playing the mouthpiece horizontally.
 
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