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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a month ago, I ordered a mouthpiece and reed package containing a Kessler 50NY piece and a new box of Vandoren V16 reeds. I asked Dave Kessler about this and he told me that the V16s perfectly matched the facing and design of the piece. Because of his helpful advice and the low price, I simply purchased it.

I am actually not new to the Kessler 50NY, as this is my third Kessler piece. However, before, I have usually paired his pieces with classical reeds such as the Rico Reserves and Vandoren Classiques, for the common notion was that classical reeds were the darkest and richest sounding reeds available. Ironically, this setup, while still had a warm characteristic, provided a bright and buzzy nature.

Now, having again the Kessler NY, but now paired with V16 reeds, I'll be direct: this setup may be the darkest, richest and possibly best jazz setup I have ever had! It is rich, fat and even from the bottom to the top, without any signs of harshness. More importantly, it is probably even better than the countless setups I have had in the past.

In short, while I am not advertising to buy Kessler pieces or Vandoren reeds, I strongly want to stress out the importance of matching mouthpieces and reeds. Find a mouthpiece and experiment with as many different types of reeds that you can. Or better yet, ask the manufacturer what reeds match with the piece. Doing this can help you save crucial amounts of time and money on finding your ideal setup, which in turn, you can use to practice and play more!
 

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Exactly right!

As I mentioned on another thread, several months ago I asked Erik Greiffenhagen to make some adjustments to my treasured Morgan 6C tenor mouthpiece. When I sent the mouthpiece to Erik, I included a new Legere tenor reed to enable him to optimize the mouthpiece facing for Legere reeds. Erik did a superb job and the mouthpiece came back playing with a stunningly beautiful sound and great response.

In a similar way, Legere reeds work exceptionally well on Walter Grabner's clarinet and bass clarinet facings. A whole new world opened up for me on clarinet and BC when I switched to his mouthpieces. On the other hand, I discovered that Legere reeds sound absolutely terrible on several other facings I tried.

So, you're definitely right about matching mouthpiece facings and reeds. One size definitely does not fit all.

Roger
 

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How about a members' list of which reeds match which mouthpieces in their estimation?
I find Francois Louis work well with Vandoren V16 T75, are a bit less reliable (though still OK) with a Jody DVNY, which seems to prefer RJS (though the quality of those recently has been pretty poor).
 

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I'd be interested in knowing which stength of reed and brand works best with which mpc and the other factor faceing length.Which mpc have a short or long faceing.I have only played Morgans, one SS 90/3m Berg and my present Custom Conn Steelay .110 short lay, so maybe someone with a lot of mpc experience could list mpc and reed combo's
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I discovered that Legere reeds sound absolutely terrible on several other facings I tried.
I have had the same experience with my Legere reeds some months back. Some mouthpieces would sound horrendous with Legeres. For instance, I had a Hite Premiere and Artist that I paired with normal Legere reeds and they sounded bright, buzzy and harsh. On the other hand, when you truly find a mouthpiece that matches well with the Legeres, it is heaven. One example was with a Rousseau 4R and Vandoren AL3 matched with Legere reeds - perfect!

One other notable mentioning is that the signs of compatibility between Legeres reeds and a mouthpiece seem to be more sensitive and apparent than with cane reeds. While you can still use cane reeds with a mouthpiece that does not match, doing the same with Legeres is not the case. As you and I have shown with some of our examples, it is either a "hit or miss."

daigle65 said:
I actually go about it the opposite way.
I've settled on my reed of choice (vandoren trads) and I pick my mpcs according to how well match up to them.
I used to do this all the time until I read Ralph Morgan's advice on using new reeds with a new or different mouthpiece. According to him, using used reeds would not bring out the full potential of the new mouthpiece, as it has conformed to the facing of the previous mouthpiece.

andrewbowie said:
How about a members' list of which reeds match which mouthpieces in their estimation?
I find Francois Louis work well with Vandoren V16 T75, are a bit less reliable (though still OK) with a Jody DVNY, which seems to prefer RJS (though the quality of those recently has been pretty poor).
This would be an excellent idea. We should also post a list of what manufacturers recommend for their mouthpieces.

If we can have a list of both that are genuine and valid, it would tremendously help many saxophone players.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Update:

I have tried a Morgan Jazz (6M) before, however, I truly did not like it. Paired with Vandoren Classiques, it provided a rather bright, buzzy and thin tone. In short, I really hated the piece and thought it was truly horrid.

However now, thanks to the successful Kessler 50NY example, I decided to give the Morgan Jazz another try. I recently obtained a Morgan Jazz 7M and paired it with Vandoren V16 reeds in 2.5 strength. What was the result? A dark, rich and smooth tone that also had massive power. Also, it had excellent pop and response. Overall, it was the complete opposite of my first experience with the Morgans.

The obvious reason for this was the matching of the mouthpiece design with the reeds. I searched for websites that had information that explained this. Unexpectedly, I found the answer in a clarinet refacing site:

http://www.tcnj.edu/~mckinney/mouthpiece_refacing_and_customiz.htm

According to the website,

"B. High Baffle
This is the exact opposite of the Low Baffle, being convex in shape. Figure 3. There is a noticeable roundness as it approaches the tip-rail of the mouthpiece. One of the characteristics of this mouthpiece is the edginess of the tone. Usually louder in dynamics, it is also thinner and rather nasal. Unless the tongue is kept in perfect position and the reed is really good, there is a strong tendency to "squeak." A reed with a really thin tip will squeak constantly. For best results, the tip of the reed should be thicker and the vamp or "heart" of the reed thinner. A high baffle compresses the air near the tip of the mouthpiece springing the reed away from the tip, thereby making the facing appear more open. On saxophone, the low notes will be difficult to emit."

The Morgan and Kessler 50NY are both high-baffled pieces. The Vandoren Classique and Rico Reserves have thin tips and thick vamps while reeds such as the Vandoren V16s have thick tips and thin vamps. This explains much of the positive and negative differences that I have experienced on both pieces with different reeds.

I hope my findings help others searching for the right reeds for their mouthpieces and also encourage others to provide inputs on this matter as well.

-SaxyJ
 

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I used to get rid of reeds that didnt work for me, but then started storing them for "future" mpc's. I can tell you that Plasticovers didnt work well with my MBII, but they work wonderfully with my BBQ. This is very important to me since I double on tenor and bass and have Zero time to warm up a reed/mpc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Update:

After reading the article and even testing much of it, it seems to conclude the following:

If the mouthpiece has a high baffle (as shown in the article), then the matching reed must have a thick tip and a thin vamp. The same applies for the opposite. If the mouthpiece has a low baffle, then the matching reed must have a thin tip and thick vamp.

Now the question is: what reeds have these characteristics? I have searched for links and found Alexander Reeds to supply much of this information. It can be found here: http://www.superial.com/comparisons.html

I believe this thread will benefit many in their search for the right reed. It might be time to have this as a "sticky" for this section. ;)
 

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I was surprised at the V16 being so "right" for your Morgan as Ralph Morgan claimed the V16 was not a good saxophone reed. He advocated Vandoren Java or Alexander DC reeds for his mouthpieces, as I recall. Despite this, what works for you is what works for you!

Anyway, back the the thread, yup, you gotta a matched pair. Lately I tend to gravitate towards the combinations of a round chamber, rollover baffle mpc such as Meyer, Morgan Excalibur and a bright, responsive jazz type reed such as Java or Rico Select Jazz or possibly the go-both-ways reeds such as Gonzales or Hemke. This is for alto or tenor.

When I play a mpc with a baffle, I like Rico Royal for bari and LaVoz or V16 for tenor.
 

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Update:

If the mouthpiece has a high baffle, then the matching reed must have a thick tip and a thin vamp. The same applies for the opposite. If the mouthpiece has a low baffle, then the matching reed must have a thin tip and thick vamp.
I have to disagree.

I play V16 3.5's on tenor on several high baffled ss Bergs and also on Link STM 's 7*.

The V16 3.5's are great on both the high baffled Bergs and the low baffled STM's.

VI6s for me are just great reeds.

Edit: VI6s have more meat in the tip but I question if they have a thinner vamp.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I was surprised at the V16 being so "right" for your Morgan as Ralph Morgan claimed the V16 was not a good saxophone reed. He advocated Vandoren Java or Alexander DC reeds for his mouthpieces, as I recall. Despite this, what works for you is what works for you!
Despite Morgan's recommendation against the V16s, they still work well, as they still have a thicker tip and a thinner vamp that is similar to the Javas, Alexander DCs (the v16 is thicker, however) and fits under the recommendation from the website above. Also, according to "Dave" from Junkdude, he stated to me that Ralph Morgan specifically recommended Alexander Superials. However, he also noted that Javas would be a 2nd recommendation, as they are widely available.

saxphil said:
I have to disagree.

I play V16 3.5's on tenor on several high baffled ss Bergs and also on Link STM 's 7*.

The V16 3.5's are great on both the high baffled Bergs and the low baffled STM's.

VI6s for me are just great reeds, period
As MM has said, "what works for you is what works for you!" I can tell you, however, that when I started applying those rules in the website listed above, I have gotten many reeds to work after proper breakage unlike before.

The only factor that I need to worry about is temperature. I was playing tonight and the temperature was a little less than 40* F. The reeds were not responding very well to the cold weather. I'll probably have to revisit synthetics again!
 

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Just traded for a Dukoff D6 that was modded by Mojo. He cleaned it up and opened the tip to .084. I tried my trusty LaVoz Med. on it and it sounded horrible. Squeaking and chirping, really poor mids and lows. This reed worked great on my JJ Classic #5, baffle in. Well I tried V16, 2.5 and like magic they made the Duke sing. Tried them on the JJ and they sounded bad. Oh yeah, tried a FL Brass lig. The stock lig was much better.
 

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I would love to see a chart with members favorite reed/mouthpiece combinations. Perhaps people could add a bit of their "trial and error" experiments and a reason why they like the particular choice they have come to use. Information that needs to be included include: Mouthpiece name and model, tip opening, and "refacing", reed choice including strength, style (s) of music the player prefers to use this set up for.
 

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Can I get some opinions, maybe suggestions, even some helpful advice...

After being out of the circuit for a while, about 12 years or so since I have actively played, I got the oppurtunity to buy myself my own sax. I got a Yamaha YTS-52 for a great deal, the great part of it was the extended terms on the warranty.....2 years!!! Anyways, I have it now and have been practicing. I am slowly but surely gettin' my chops back, and still remember a few little licks I always like to play. I got used to the 4c mouthpiece that came with it and quickly began to dislike it. After doing extensive research, I decided to buy myself a berg larson SS 105/2/sms. The first reed I used on it was a vandoren 3 and was running out of breath like if I was trying to run a marathon. Bought a 2 and everything seemed good. the sound was perfect, "to me"... until now, now it sounds kind of buzzy or reedy.... How do I know the difference?? Is it my reeds that are doing this?? I plan on buying a box of V16's very soon. Has anyone had any experience with this type of mouthpiece??
 

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Thats all good and fine but personal taste rules in the end. For me, I personally detest v16 reeds. They have a heavy tip and I always feel like they are slapping the facing. I dont play them. The only reed I dislike more is RJS which many people love. A good facing will play with a variety of reeds and generate a wide variety of tones. Makers frequently suggest certain reeds for their pieces. In the end I believe most players experiment until they find what works for the way they blow and the sound they are seeking. Some players use reeds I like on the mouthpieces I make. Some use and are very happy with reeds Id never use. Its all a shooting match in the dark. If we all played a formula life would be very dull.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Ultimately, the choice depends on the musician. While there are no such articles as "magic formulas" or "bullets", the information above helps lead players to reeds that compliment the design of a mouthpiece.

I can attest that when I started applying the information above, reed selection has never been a problem. I have referred this thread to others and they, too, do not have anymore problems with reeds.

What does this mean in the long-term? We save time and money, which in turn, can be used for the important aspects in our lives. ;)
 

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Ultimately, the choice depends on the musician. While there are no such articles as "magic formulas" or "bullets", the information above helps lead players to reeds that compliment the design of a mouthpiece.

I can attest that when I started applying the information above, reed selection has never been a problem. I have referred this thread to others and they, too, do not have anymore problems with reeds.

What does this mean in the long-term? We save time and money, which in turn, can be used for the important aspects in our lives. ;)
Amen to that.
 
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