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I have some experience to verify the refacer's claims. I have a Rico Royal Metalite M7, a mouthpiece with a high-baffled and big tip opening that I use occassionally when I am in loud or outdoor environments. When I use a reed that has a thin tip, but a thick vamp (like a Rico Reserve, Vandoren Classique), squeaks and loose control are very apparent. On the other hand, when I pair it with a reed with a thick tip and thin vamp (Vandoren V16, Alexander NY), the problem is quickly solved.

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Oh, good. I have a box of V16s and was kinda wondering what they were for. I didn't like them for any mouthpiece that I happened to try them with. But I just got a Metalite...

P
 

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jazz, rock, funk, fusion and gospel on tenor, alto and soprano
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Yes, of course reed and mouthpiece combinations are a matter of personal taste, at least to some extent. But herein lies the problem for me. I'm having a hard time settling on a reed brand, regardless of what mouthpiece I use. I keep hearing about the alleged inconsistency of Vandoren reeds. I've experienced this a lot lately. I'll have an awesome gig with a V16 or a Java on my trusty Meyer 7M on the alto, then a gig or 2 later I'll have poor results when using another reed out of the same box. I was happy with RJS a few years ago, but I agree that the quality of these has gone way down hill. So its back to the quest for the ultimate reed/mouthpiece combination, and until I find it, I'm going to do all the theorizing, comparing, speculating, experimenting, and reading of SOTW forums that time permits. BTW, can anyone explain the difference between V 16's, Java's, and ZZ's? They are all supposedly jazz and/or fusion reeds, correct? They say V 16's have a thicker tip in order to produce a jazz tone. So how are the Java's and ZZ's designed in order to produce a jazzy tone?
 

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i'm a newbie in playing saxophone, i want to ask about reeds. i use primo 2,5 reed. is the quality good? and how is the sound compared to vandoren reed? and one more, where is the most appropriate reed position to make good sound? is it parallel with the mouthpiece?
 

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The article has some good information. But this statement is incorrect IMO: "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." High baffles create a low pressure (Bernoulli effect) that makes the reed speak easier. It makes the facing appear more closed.
I feel the same way. High Baffle pieces seems to be narrowed tip than lower baffle MP with the same tip opening. I agree with the thin tip/low baffle and opposite.
 

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I'm of the opinion that a good mouthpiece with a good facing curve and large enough tip for your airstream will work with any brand/model reed (that isn't a bad one in the lot) in a strength around what the player is used to playing. I know this sounds improbable but I think it has some truth in it.
 

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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 do the same thing here. I already have 3 reed brands that I like using the most and have it played on the pieces I acquire. I like the LaVoz, Vandoren ZZ and RJS accordingly and if one doesn't work with a piece, I'll try it with the other two. If that doesn't work, then I move on to get a new piece, there's no way I can change my reed preferences because my embochure and muscles are already used to using these reeds.
 

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What you shouldn't forget is, that a reed, after being played for a while on one mouthpiece, is adapting slightly to the facing of this mpc. If you later try to use this reed on a different mpc with another facingcurve it is possible, that it will not respond as good as on the one you've played it on before or on the one you did the break in process of the reed.
I once did a test by using a new reed for 5 minutes on 5-6 different mpcs (5 minutes for each mpc) before returning to the one i started with. In the beginning the reed sealed and sounded pretty good. In the end the sealing was bad and response and sound were suboptimal. I did this with new reeds and ones that had already got a break in process. The outcome was nearly always the same.
concluding for me: If the reed sounds good on a mouthpiece don't use it for a mpc with another facingcurve if you don't want to ruin the reed.
 

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Grafton + TH & C alto || Naked Lady 10M || TT soprano || Martin Comm III
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What you shouldn't forget is, that a reed, after being played for a while on one mouthpiece, is adapting slightly to the facing of this mpc. If you later try to use this reed on a different mpc with another facingcurve it is possible, that it will not respond as good as on the one you've played it on before or on the one you did the break in process of the reed.
I once did a test by using a new reed for 5 minutes on 5-6 different mpcs (5 minutes for each mpc) before returning to the one i started with. In the beginning the reed sealed and sounded pretty good. In the end the sealing was bad and response and sound were suboptimal. I did this with new reeds and ones that had already got a break in process. The outcome was nearly always the same.
concluding for me: If the reed sounds good on a mouthpiece don't use it for a mpc with another facingcurve if you don't want to ruin the reed.
While this is very often true, I have found it can sometimes be OK, e.g. if you are going to a mouthpiece with a wider tip or shorter facing.

There's also the factor of time it takes for the reed to take on any significant bend. In my recent alto mouthpiece shootout test I used the same reed in order to make a good comparison. I don't think I gave any one mouthpiece enough time for the reed to bed down to the curve.
 

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I find right now I'm struggling with finding a good reed on my Guardala MBII for Tenor, La Voz are great but die so quickly, RJS worked on my studio but not on my MBII. I'm thinking of trying V16 2 1/2s or 2's. Possible thoughts?
 

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Hi ALL :
I am trying to develop a good embouchre as I am returning after many years without playing the sax. Is it a good idea to practice using a reed a little harder than the one you feel ok ( example: I am using Java 2 1/2, and I feel it is easy to play with it, but using Java 3 I feel it a little harder and difficult to produce a good sound ) would it improve my weak embouchure practicing long tones with Java 3 instead of Java 2 1/2 ?
Many thanks
 

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Hi ALL :
I am trying to develop a good embouchre as I am returning after many years without playing the sax. Is it a good idea to practice using a reed a little harder than the one you feel ok ( example: I am using Java 2 1/2, and I feel it is easy to play with it, but using Java 3 I feel it a little harder and difficult to produce a good sound ) would it improve my weak embouchure practicing long tones with Java 3 instead of Java 2 1/2 ?
Many thanks
No, that is not a good idea. It will promote biting which is detrimental to your embouchure re-development. I suggest reading the stickies that Phil Barone posted several years ago regarding tone production. http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showthread.php?53228-Tone-Production&highlight=barone+tone+production and http://forum.saxontheweb.net/showth...-Phil-Barone&highlight=barone+tone+production
 

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...would it improve my weak embouchure practicing long tones with Java 3 instead of Java 2 1/2 ?
I don't think so. A 'weak embouchure' has nothing to do with reed strength. Some would argue you need a stronger embouchure or better air support to play a softer reed properly. I'm not really in either camp. Reed strength is dependent on what works best for you on the particular mpc you're using. 2.5s & 3s are pretty middle of the road so if you prefer one over the other, use it.
 

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would it improve my weak embouchure practicing long tones with Java 3 instead of Java 2 1/2 ?
I don't think so. A 'weak embouchure' has nothing to do with reed strength. Some would argue you need a stronger embouchure or better air support to play a softer reed properly.
I would be one of those who argue that. At least that is the way it has worked for me, I used to play hard reeds, then switched to softer which helped enormously with low notes and range of expression, but in spite of being easy to blow, were not so easy to get a good solid sound. I had to go back to basics on that and work very hard to get the full range of sound I was after from soft reeds.

And I agree, using hard reeds thinking it will "strengthen" your embouchure is a fallacy

Weight lifting won't help your darts playing.
 

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Pete : OK, understood... but, could you please tell me what kind of work will led me to a better sound when you say : " I had to go back to basics on that and work very hard to get the full range of sound I was after from soft reeds."... Some guidance will be very useful... Thanks
 

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the key is mouthpiece aperture VS reed strength. more open more softer.
This is only true when comparing the exact same mouthpiece make and model. If you compare different mouthpieces, you also need to fact in the facing curve not just the tip opening.

A mouthpiece with a tip opening that is wider and the facing curve is relatively similar, yes a softer reed could well be appropriate, BUT if the tip is wider but the facing curve is longer, then there is a good chance you may want the same strength reed or even a harder reed. Or a a reed with different cut to work best with the longer facing curve.

So its not always as straightforward is an equation between tip opening and reed strength.

But certainly, if you were to compare two mouthpieces of the same make and model, e.g. Link STM, then you'd probably want a softer reed as you increase tip size.
 

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Interesting post, but no one mentioned filed vs unfiled reeds. I have found that to be more of a driver in mouthpiece compatibility and everything else to be personal preference. My Meyer is great with Java Reds (filed), but the Jody Jazz DV squeaks, squeals, cries, whines and makes a whole bunch of horrible noises with filed reeds. The Jody plays great on traditional Javas and if you read his website his favorites Rico Select Jazz unfiled or LaVoz (which are also unfiled!).

Personally I find that the Javas (Green or Red depending...) work well on whichever piece I find myself using, I was never a fan of V16s, but haven't tried them since I was in high school over 10 years ago, maybe I'll give them another shot. I know a few people who swear by them, but the ZZs weren't my cup of tea. I wish Vandoren sold sampler packs of reeds, trying all the "Jazz" varieties gets expensive fast. Maybe a 10 pack with 2 Java Reds, 2 Java Greens, 2 V16s, 2 ZZs, 2 traditional all of the same strength???

Doing a quick Google search for "unfiled vs filed reeds," I came across this Rico post...

http://ricoreeds.blogspot.com/2009/03/filed-vs-unfiled.html

The highlight is this:
Filed
• Meyer
• Otto Link
• Selmer rubber

Unfiled
• Dukoff
• Beechler
• Selmer metal
• Guardala
• Berg Larsen
 

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.... I came across this Rico post...
I found this interesting:

An option to fine-tune the sound, the file is often preferred by players who use traditional, moderately resistant, dark-sounding mouthpieces- the file helps such mouthpieces blow more freely.

For those who play relatively easy-blowing, moderate-to-bright mouthpieces (especially jazz or pop sax mouthpieces with a high baffle), an unfiled reed is usually preferred.
 
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