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Discussion Starter #1
I am curious if fellow posters have had similar issues as I have with reeds... I'll do my best to elaborate.

It seems during transitional seasons such as fall or spring, reeds like to die suddenly and horribly, in terms of response and tone. They like to be come muddy and sluggish, the tone thinning up top and getting muddy down low. This has caused some issues in recent history, all my fairly new reeds dying in time for my PSU audition this February, reeds currently not sounding so hot, and reeds wanting to choke up during my district PMEA festival (but not regionals or states). After the PSU debacle, I invested in a reed case, the Jakob Winter brand for its relatively inexpensive price and good build quality. I figured the issue was that my reeds were not drying on glass, causing warping.

However, a few months later, the issue persists. I tried throwing one of those Rico humidity controllers into the case, but this seemed to not help at all. Most importantly, the issue seems much more prevalent on my classical setups, rather than jazz. I suspect the small tip opening makes any change much more prominent. The classical setup itself seems to not matter too much, it happens on everything, from my Rascher setup to both of my Bob Scott S80s, pre and post refacings. Even more oddly, this happens only on tenor, I have never noticed it on soprano, alto, or baritone.

Why does this seem to happen most during these transitional seasons? Does the PA temperate climate have anything to do with this? Most importantly, what can I do? This has been responsible for many mouthpiece, ligature, and reed transitions, all of which seem to come back to this problem.

My setup is in my signature.

Thanks!
 

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Yes, same problems with the change of seasons in the midwest. Drives me nuts, but not much to do about it. I find once the season settles in the reeds become more stable. I just work more on preparing reeds in various strengths to be ready,
I usually find reeds feel suddenly more stiff and unresponsive and at times seem too dry but also soak up water very quickly and become waterlogged. Quite annoying to say the least....also find the most problems with tenor, alto seems easier to deal with---likely the size.
 

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Last week the weather over here was warm and very humid. A reed that I had left on the mouthpiece to play at a jam was so warped it looked like corrugated cardboard.

I find the humidity of the air is the defining factor in how reeds respond. It's no wonder since reeds are hygroscopic - like wood the material shrinks when dry, expands when humid.
 

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i always found that reeds quality depends on seasons and weather. Although some of them still say u need reed preparation, soak in soak out. fixing...... but when it is a bad batch. is really bad
 

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the rico reed case with the moist control pouches diminishes the problem quite a bit , most reeds come out the way they went in.
I also have more trouble with tenor reeds then with alto reeds in this regard. Can get a little frustrating when a reed that was okay one day fails to deliver the next (on the gig) .
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Tried another S80 today at school and it seems that's some of my problem as for muddiness down low. Ah well, good thing my Optimum TL3 for college sax studio comes in soon anyways.

Anyways, what do you guys do to cope? Something like the Vandoren Hygrocase would be great, if it wasn't so darned expensive. Perhaps a cigar humidor or something...
 

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Well now I have one more reason (among many) to be glad I live in the SF Bay Area.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Well now I have one more reason (among many) to be glad I live in the SF Bay Area.
Curses. :help:
 

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Try the Légère Classic Cut reeds. They have the warm, thick tone that will compliment your current setup, and will not have the humidity problems!
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Try the Légère Classic Cut reeds. They have the warm, thick tone that will compliment your current setup, and will not have the humidity problems!
Before I change reeds, I'll try my Vandorens on the tenor Optimum. I found today that using the Optimum on alto helped increase reed friendliness, substantially. Half of it could have been my S80's, who knew. Anyways, if my reeds cannot be coaxed, I'll consider this, although I'd rather prefer to avoid synthetics.
 

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Break in your reeds using Joe Allard's reed prep method:

1) Soak a new reed for about 10-15 minutes & let dry (I often skip the drying.)

2) Take a blade with a straight edge and scrape the table of the reed until it is flat all the way across (many reeds have uneven tables.)

3) Put a piece of printer/copy paper (or very fine wet/dry sandpaper) on a flat surface - hold the reed table down and with a swirling motion polish it about 100 times.

4) Place the reed on a flat surface and with your fingertips press from the top of the heart sweeping down to the tip. Repeat numerous times until the surface is smooth. (A round pen/pencil works as well/better)

5) Take the butt of the reed on a flat surface and polish it vigorously until smooth. (extra step I learned from a Steve Neff video)

Do this and you will have a reed that has a flat table, sealed pores, and is ready to go. You will get more playable reeds per box, guaranteed.

More info on this reed method can be found here: http://davidvaldez.blogspot.com/2010/03/joe-allard-saxophone-method-unveiled_21.html
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Break in your reeds using Joe Allard's reed prep method:

1) Soak a new reed for about 10-15 minutes & let dry (I often skip the drying.)

2) Take a blade with a straight edge and scrape the table of the reed until it is flat all the way across (many reeds have uneven tables.)

3) Put a piece of printer/copy paper (or very fine wet/dry sandpaper) on a flat surface - hold the reed table down and with a swirling motion polish it about 100 times.

4) Place the reed on a flat surface and with your fingertips press from the top of the heart sweeping down to the tip. Repeat numerous times until the surface is smooth. (A round pen/pencil works as well/better)

5) Take the butt of the reed on a flat surface and polish it vigorously until smooth. (extra step I learned from a Steve Neff video)

Do this and you will have a reed that has a flat table, sealed pores, and is ready to go. You will get more playable reeds per box, guaranteed.

More info on this reed method can be found here: http://davidvaldez.blogspot.com/2010/03/joe-allard-saxophone-method-unveiled_21.html
This doesn't seem like it'd prevent sudden death or warping of the reed post-treatment, though. Does it?
 

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I think you might be mistaking warping for something else altogether.

A reed with a wavy tip is not warping. That can be solved by getting the reed slightly wet and hold the tip of the reed table side down against the table of the mpc for about 15-20 seconds. The reed should be flat after this.

Warping occurs when the table of reed swells.

It actually does make the reed last longer and hold up during long sessions. The sealing helps from it become "water-logged" for lack of a better term.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I think you might be mistaking warping for something else altogether. When end of the reed being wavy is not warping. That can be solved by getting the reed slightly wet and hold the tip table side down against the table of the mpc for about 15-20 seconds. The reed should be flat across after this.

Warping occurs when the table of reed swells.
I'm aware of the difference. It just seems like the treatment is suited to get the best out of new reeds until they change due to humidity, temperature, what have you. Perhaps the treatment makes reeds more impervious to these detrimental factors?
 

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I'm aware of the difference. It just seems like the treatment is suited to get the best out of new reeds until they change due to humidity, temperature, what have you. Perhaps the treatment makes reeds more impervious to these detrimental factors?
I have been doing this with my reeds for about 3-4 months with great success.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I'll start this then. Could this work on somewhat used reeds too?
 

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Put your reeds in a plastic container w/ a Rico Humidipak.

I bought a Hygrocase and it was a compete waste of money, in my opinion.
 

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I'll start this then. Could this work on somewhat used reeds too?
I have tried.

When the table isn't flat (and you'll be able to tell when it isn't) it should improve the reed's performance. Other than that, it might just be a worn out reed w/o a chance.

Although, Joe Allard purportedly could make any reed into the best reed ever.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Did some of this curing with three reeds, one Vandoren 3.5 and two Rico Reserve 3.5s. Wow. It totally freed up the sound, as if someone removed a pillow that was stuffed in my saxophone. RESONANCE! Also, it evened up the response and timbre on my S80 (although I prefer the Optimum now). Thanks for the reed method, I'm sold.
 

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Yeah man. This is THE method.

I'm just glad I know about it.

Maybe we shouldn't go spreading the word too much??? :bluewink: :mrgreen:
 
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