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Ok... so on my 1923 Buecher TT C-Mel, I have been practicing (using a modern c-melody MP) with new/old stock #2.5 c-melody cane reeds (1940s vintage)....Well I just bought 2 vintage #2 Alto plastic reeds (a Maccaferri "Miracle" and a "Betcha"). Both look unused and in their box/sleeves. First let me say that even my untrained ear and even less experienced embouchure, found the tone to be very pleasant compared to the cane sound...the problem is I about needed a paper bag to stop hyperventilating as I was out of breath in a matter of minutes....I also detected the increased sound like air escaping behind the notes which I don't think was my embouchure...
Should these #2 alto plastics be harder to play than the cane #2.5s? I would not have thought so? I did notice that I had to change my embouchure and blowing pressure to initially get a sound from them.
Fester
 

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I have found plastic reeds (modern) seem to be harder than their cane counterparts on my altos and tenor saxes. Especially with Bari plastic reeds, and to a lesser degree with Fibracell and even Legere, some embouchure adjustment was necessary for me. Also, you're talking about 70 year old plastic which most likely has gotten harder or more brittle over the years.
 

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Years ago, I "discovered" Bari-brand plastic reeds . . . bought them for each horn and thought they were great . . . until I played them on a gig. In 20 minutes, I was finished. Back to cane.

One trick, though, with all synthetics (at least for me) is to find a mouthpiece that will accept synthetic reeds. it doesn't work for me to just pick up the piece I've been using for years and slap on a synthetic reed. But when I find a mouthpiece that goes well with synthetics, I'm happy. And I've done so for clarinet and alto (which are "doubles" for me, so they tend to sit on the stand and aren't played as much as my soprano). I use Fibracells but have tried Legeres, too. I always go down in strength when playing Fibracells. DAVE
 

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I went up in strength on Fibracells on Soprano (the only sax I use Fibracell on). I play a #4 on my Drake ceramic .055 and a 3 1/2 on my Rovner Deep V metal #6. Honestly, I could play the 4 on the Rovner, and a 5 on the Drake! We'll see if I need to even higher (or buy bigger tips) after some performance time with these setups.

I used to play 2 1/2 and 3 on the same pair of mpcs. The high end was just too unpredictable, and the low end warbly. The up in reed strength fixed both issues.

I play BARI and BARI* reeds on the other 4 (Alto, C Melody, Tenor, Bari). I double saxes so often, that cane drying out was getting to be more than a nuisance. I have been playing BARI brand reeds since 1995.

It is true that they have to "match" the mouthpiece. Because of this, every mouthpiece I own, does play well with these reeds. And the ones that did not, or were marginal, I no longer, or am selling.
 

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True about matching the reeds to specific mouthpieces. I can use Bari hard reeds on an old brilhart Ebolin 4* Tenor piece and baritone sized medium on a Dukoff D7 tenor mouthpiece as well as on a Brilhart Levelaire Metal piece- Runyon made. Otherwise, no such luck.
I have preferred cane for the last 7 years or so on all my mouthpieces for the tone which they give. I used to use sythetics exclusively but don't like their response or tone anymore.
 
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