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Discussion Starter #1
So I was playing Soprano Sax for my High School jazz band and I played a Vandoren Java 2 (I usually play 3 to 3.5) and my sound was extremely loud and well sounded very Jazzy. (We played a Quincy Jones and Sammy Nestico arrangement of Grace) So does the reed strength affect the tone and other gimmicks in sound?
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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Hi. Yes. You could do a search on "reed strength" or just "reeds" that might help you on this.
 

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Texacan: Some young players become caught up in the reed-strength chase, trying to out-do others by playing harder and harder reeds. The truth is that reed/mouthpiece compatability is best enhanced by matching reed strength to the individual mouthpiece, with some consideration for the maturity of the player's embouchure.

For instance, I play soprano as my main saxophone - and have for over 50 years. I use open mouthpieces (Super Session J at .069" and Morgan Vintage 7 at .070", to name two of my favorites). On those pieces I usually use a Vandoren Java #2 or Alexander 2 or 2 1/2. I shave all of my reeds down to bring them into playing shape. I don't use amplification and don't need it. I've also decided that the SS-J actually requires a softer reed than the more open Morgan Vintage - for me.

You may be just learning that those harder 3 and 3 1/2 reeds don't play nearly as well as a softer reed. It isn't a matter of macho reed strength as much as it is finding the correct strength for YOUR chops and mouthpiece. Find a good reed and enjoy it. DAVE
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Dave Dolson said:
Texacan: Some young players become caught up in the reed-strength chase, trying to out-do others by playing harder and harder reeds. The truth is that reed/mouthpiece compatability is best enhanced by matching reed strength to the individual mouthpiece, with some consideration for the maturity of the player's embouchure.

For instance, I play soprano as my main saxophone - and have for over 50 years. I use open mouthpieces (Super Session J at .069" and Morgan Vintage 7 at .070", to name two of my favorites). On those pieces I usually use a Vandoren Java #2 or Alexander 2 or 2 1/2. I shave all of my reeds down to bring them into playing shape. I don't use amplification and don't need it. I've also decided that the SS-J actually requires a softer reed than the more open Morgan Vintage - for me.

You may be just learning that those harder 3 and 3 1/2 reeds don't play nearly as well as a softer reed. It isn't a matter of macho reed strength as much as it is finding the correct strength for YOUR chops and mouthpiece. Find a good reed and enjoy it. DAVE
Yeah I have been noticing that. I was using a soprano stock mouthpiece. But for my alto I play a JodyJazz Classic 6, so what reed strength would you recommend
 

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I don't have a clue . . . sorry. Stock soprano pieces are usually REALLY close in the tip-opening and normally work better with harder reeds. But as you increase the tip-opening, the general rule is to use softer reeds. For me, that's what works.

On alto, I use a Meyer 6S-M, Selmer Super Session F, Morgan-Bilger 6, to name three. I can use my Java #2's shaved down on all of them. I'm not sure what those tip-openings are for my alto pieces, but I they are more open than stocks (and surely more open than a Selmer C* - obviously).

I have tried JJ mouthpieces before and didn't care all that much for them, but recognize that others like them. I also assume the JJ 6 is more open than a stock piece, so maybe a 2 1/2 or 3 to start should be a decent starting place.

Much of what you ask about is subjective - meaning there is probably no correct answer. You just have to experiment. If you end up with a reed that is too hard, don't be afraid to shave it down with a sharp knife (scrape a little off the vamp then re-test; repeat until you like the reed better - much posted on SOTW about that).

Do you have a teacher? If not, you probably should get one. That would be a HUGE help to you.
 

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Yeah I will do that and I do have a teacher. He is a great sax player and teacher and I will ask him too about this question. :)
 
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