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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Experienced something yesterday for the first time in over 60 years of playing - took out a newly overhauled sax to a band practice and the reeds I have been playing for some time (Rico 2.5) suddenly were so soft I couldn't use them. I had also taken four new Rico Royal 2.5 but I had to stop using these a year ago because I thought they were not as good as they used to be - too stuffy/resistant, but I put one on anyway - wow, this was more like it! They are harder than a regular Rico, but now with the overhaul it looks like they are still too soft. My next move is to dig out a box of RSJ 3 Soft, unfiled I've had for a long time. I stopped playing those for the same reason - stuffy and resistant. I suspect they might suddenly be just about right again.
This was so surprising because nothing like this has ever happened to me before, and I've had many different horns and overhauls and have used many types of reeds and mouthpieces. Moreover, I'm playing less often these days and really don't practice, so my embouchure is not what it used to be, so technically this should not have happened - a reed is a reed - it doesn't change because you get an overhaul or even a new sax. Assuming the same mouthpiece is used it should play with the same embouchure requirement as usual - but it didn't.
I did play for awhile earlier in the day and picked out four Rico 2.5 to take to practice. They played normally at home so I had no reason to expect what happened later. Now, there is a huge difference between playing at home and being in a live music environment but obviously this is no surprise to me. I have stated many times that you should always try new mouthpieces, reeds, necks, saxes, etc., on the gig before deciding on them - but these are reeds I have been playing on gigs for a year on the Selmer USA and the MK VI tenors! When I started naturally to play a little harder with the band, they simply closed up. I have been playing this horn at home ever since getting it back and these reeds have been fine. In fact I bought a new box just the other day that I haven't opened yet - I guess its going back now.
So I'm left with the conclusion that the horn is in such good shape that it takes significantly less force to play, and I'm used to having to play harder, especially live. I guess my embouchure is not as 'weak' as I thought it was but I still don't fully get how a reed type of a certain stiffness on a given mouthpiece suddenly becomes relatively softer on a different/modified horn.
Whatever, I have to go with it because it is extremely fun playing this thing now. My next step is getting the MK VI overhauled and I hope it turns out the same way - I don't want to have to maintain two kinds of reeds for two tenors.
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