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After I about six months of playing I discovered that it really mattered for me where I placed the reed. It turns out that I couldn't get much of a sound unless the reed was placed slightly over the the tip of the MPC.
Now, years later I've re-examined this idea and found that placing the reed even with tip works much better for me. I do take more MPC these days and I have developed the use of an open throat. I've heard that some players place the reed in different places in order to change the intonation. It seems to me that I can only play effectively with the reed in one spot which has now become even with the tip of the MPC. Is this an issue for others?
 

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I play with the reed even with the tip of the mouthpiece as well on all of my horns. I found that if I am feeling that the reed is unresponsive, adjusting its placement left to right can sometimes aid in that. It seems that placing the reed even with the tip is the most effective and efficient placement for the reed's vibrations. If the reed is placed further than the tip, the reed's vibrations could be stifled. If the reed is behind the tip, a greater volume of air would be needed to get the reed to move. I have not heard of reed placement having an effect on intonation.
 

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For me, the state of any given reed will determine its placement relative to the tip. If the reed is too soft, I place it slightly beyond the tip rail. If the reed is the right strength, I line it up at the tip rail. Reed placement is always a moveable feast.

It should be said that the vantage point – the angle at which you view the reed/tip rail alignment – is difficult to reach consistently. For me, it's all very "ball park" – determined more by feel (when test-playing for the right spot) than by a visual parameter.

And in addition, for me ligature placement also affects the reed/tip relation. I set the ligature further back (toward the cork) when the reed is a little soft, and further forward for ideal (or too firm) reeds.
 

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It may just be me, but I have found that depending on the reed depend on where it needs to sit to "play"
with a set position on the mouthpiece for all reeds I find some reeds play increasingly sharp in the upper register making the palm keys and altisimo very hard work to play in tune with others, some reeds play just fine good intonation accross the board responsive and just so. others sound stuffy and even flat in the upper register palm keys and altisimo.
Moving the read above or below the tip by small amounts maybe a range of 1.5mm usually correct the reeds tendancy to play off tune.
I may have Scotish blood buried deep in me but I don't tend to have dud reeds and usually adjust a reed minimally with a reed geek for a few seconds when new and flatten the underside every few weeks just to level them up. My reeds tend to last ages (lucky I guess) by this I mean easily 4-6 Months of palying what must be an average of an hour or so a day.
I play an SA80 mouthpiece Vandoran JAVA Reds strength 3, reeds are sort of rotated but only when a heavy day of playing is required and I have been playing on the reed for a few hours I tend to swap it for another. I usually carry a reed box of gig reeds that have 6 reeds I know I can just pick and play, and when it gets down to three I get some new reeds played in and they go in the box to make up the numbers.

So in short I guess its the reed that tells me where it wants to sit on the mouthpiece, but then again I am used to being dictated to.
 

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What JPWGibson said. My understanding "which may be wrong" is that when the reed is moved slightly past the tip it puts more of the thicker part of the reed into the area which vibrates therefore making it feel stiffer. The opposite is true when the reed is moved down a bit. I have found you can only go so far with this adjustment. I have "fine tuned" my reeds like this for years. I no longer trust my eyes and the angle of looking at the mouthpiece. I set the reed position by touch these days.
 

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I have found that yes, when the reed sticks out further from the tip the reed plays harder, when it's back from the tip a bit it plays softer. But neither plays as well as when it's just right, ie at the tip. But very often the end justifies the means so I see no reason to stick to what is "correct" if you get a better sound or response moving it to a different position.
 

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I agree with the things just said. As soon as I feel something's funny when I start on a reed, I check to see it's just at the tip.
The nice thing about it being even with the tip is that it's easy to set there in low light conditions! If you have to look at it carefully, it's harder still to position it.
 

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I agree with the general consensus here that yes, reed placement does make a significant difference to how the reed responds. I've found that somewhere close to even with the tip works best most of the time. However, by 'even with the tip' I mean when the reed tip is closed against the mpc. Partly depending on tip opening, in order for the reed to match the tip of the mpc when closed, it may look like the reed is slightly above the tip when not being pushed against the mpc.

In any case, I put the reed on, play a few notes and then readjust the reed if necessary.
 

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Interesting comments. Every piece of reed advice I had ever received, until I read this thread, was to put the reed at or slightly below the tip of the mouthpiece. (I typically set it up less than 1 mm below the tip of the mpc). About 6 months ago I was in a shop testing out a Keilwerth. I had issued playing the horn so I pulled the tip out to slightly above the mpc.. The salesman then proceeded to ask me why I had the tip out so far.......he thought it was strange.

Do what you like. I normally find my horn easier to play when the reed is slightly below the tip....but that is clearly, just me.
 

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I have only ever placed the reed slightly below the tip. I never considered there was another way to do it. Very interesting advice!
I would say it really depends on the reed, and what you want from it.

I usually place it flush with the tip, play a few phrases (including staccatos) and then adjust if needed.
 

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To some extent reed placement depends on the mpc. On some mpcs, the best placement may be slightly below the tip, on others right at or slightly above the tip. And also as a reed gets softer it may help to push it up a tiny bit.

So, bottom line, you cannot make a general statement about exactly where to place the reed. You have to find out for yourself, with the mpc & reed you are using. The one general statement that can be made is that reed placement is important; very subtle adjustments can make a significant difference in reed response.
 

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To some extent reed placement depends on the mpc. On some mpcs, the best placement may be slightly below the tip, on others right at or slightly above the tip. And also as a reed gets softer it may help to push it up a tiny bit.

So, bottom line, you cannot make a general statement about exactly where to place the reed. You have to find out for yourself, with the mpc & reed you are using. The one general statement that can be made is that reed placement is important; very subtle adjustments can make a significant difference in reed response.
That was a much better explanation than my "I play a bit, and adjust if needed" :)
 

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That was a much better explanation than my "I play a bit, and adjust if needed" :)
I'd say yours is a perfect explanation; no excess verbiage needed.

Hey Nef, I'm referring mainly to how the reed looks without being pushed against the mpc. So, as I think I mentioned earlier, when the reed appears to be slightly higher than the tip, it's actually likely to be even with the tip when pushed flat to the tip. I think this is especially true for a more open tip, which I use.
 

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If you push the reed towards the tip and it is even with the tip rail, that is you can't see any tip rail, the reed is actually sticking out a little more than that when you pull your thumb away. This is exaggerated with bigger tip openings.

For my mouthpiece I like to have it just ever so that I can see the tip rail. Like a little tiny bit behind. And then when I pull my thumb away and look from the side, both the reed and the mouthpiece stick out to the same length.
 

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I have found that stressing the importance of reed placement on the very first lesson and checking for quality placement on every lesson afterwards gets beginners to get really good at it really fast and deep the benefits from early on. It’s amazing how quickly I can tell within around 2-3 seconds if a student has placed their reed poorly. My method is having the student put the reed facing them at eye level and be able to see just a hairline of the black of the mouthpiece over the reed. Of course there is some variability depending on the mouthpiece facing, but most of my students use either the S-80 C* of the AL-3. I have them use a thin mouthpiece patch, .3mm from the very first lesson as well. I use my key to scrape in the exact position they should have their top teeth. Having proper reed and top teeth placement from the very beginning can get students to improve significantly faster than if they are not doing it.
 

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After I about six months of playing I discovered that it really mattered for me where I placed the reed. It turns out that I couldn't get much of a sound unless the reed was placed slightly over the the tip of the MPC.
Now, years later I've re-examined this idea and found that placing the reed even with tip works much better for me. I do take more MPC these days and I have developed the use of an open throat. I've heard that some players place the reed in different places in order to change the intonation. It seems to me that I can only play effectively with the reed in one spot which has now become even with the tip of the MPC. Is this an issue for others?
"I do take more MPC these days"
I wonder how much is adjusting the reed to the mouthpiece, as opposed to adjusting the reed to your embouchure positioning relative to the mouthpiece?
 

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When you guys are talking about where you put the reed are you talking about as you look at it or pushing it down against the mouthpiece?
I tend to do that with the mouthpiece in my mouth using my tongue to feel where the reed is in relationship to the tip rail.
If I want the edgier “bacon sizzling” sound on my STM, I place the reed slightly below the tip rail.
 
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