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hi,

Using an older/used reed produces more hissing. However, a thought occured to me: isn't it a good exercise to use an old reed rather than a good one, to be able to produce a good sound without hissing and having a better embouchure? Seems to me that it would enforce proper embouchure; sort of like if learning to bike on an old unbalanced and heavy bike will prepare you better than using the latest electrically powered balanced state-of-the-art bike .. ? Am i mistaken?
thanks !
 

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Yes, I believe you are mistaken. For one thing, reeds generally get softer with wear, so instead of strengthening your embouchure this practice could have the opposite effect when you try to play a fresh reed again. Playing saxophone well is already challenging enough without trying to make it more difficult than it needs to be.

A better idea is to find the mouthpiece/reed combination that works best for you and practice with good quality reeds. If you practice every day with good technique, you will develop your chops without having to resort to any gimmicks. Good luck!
 

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I see what you are going for but I have to agree with Mrbluenote. You should practice with a good reed. Once they get old and mushy trying to make them sound okay distorts your normal embouchure.
 

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I love to play on crappy reeds because it better prepares me for when things go wrong on the bandstand.




Not.



Practice on good reeds so you can produce a good sound. Keep good reeds always ready to go - several if you are gigging.
 

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None of my old reeds hiss. Practicing on good reeds is far more beneficial to developing a proper embouchure.
 

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I've never found old (soft, worn out) reeds to hiss. In any case, using a reed that is worn out won't help you to "enforce proper embouchure." It will just be frustrating and make you want to put the horn away. Best to practice on a set up as close as possible to what you intend to play on a gig.

Having said that, I don't usually practice for any length of time on my very best reeds. I would enjoy doing that, but I like to save those excellent reeds for gigs. The reeds I practice on most are new ones that are good but need a bit of 'breaking in' time. I also practice on a reed that was great but is starting to wear out to the point I don't want to use it on a gig, but is still playable. Once it gets too worn, I toss it out. This way I get the most out of the reeds.
 

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I don't think it's useful to make a distinction between "gig reeds" and "practice reeds". Sure some reeds are better in certain situations, humidity and sonic environment might affect things. Just rotate through them at least daily, and try to keep 4 - 8 reeds ready to go at all times.
 

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That's a good point, I keep 6-8 going and carry them around in a Selmer reed case (with glass). They have to stink 2-3 times before I crunch them.
 

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That’s the spirit! BTW, by “stink”, do you mean sound bad or smell bad? I’ve had some that sounded good but smelled bad...
 

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I don't think it's useful to make a distinction between "gig reeds" and "practice reeds".

Just rotate through them at least daily, and try to keep 4 - 8 reeds ready to go at all times.
I do find it useful, though. Everyone has to find the best solution that works for them. I rotate through around 4 - 8 reeds, which are ready to go. However, the best 4 reeds are in a reed holder in my case to be used in rotation on gigs. That way I always have 4 excellent reeds ready to go. I have another 3 or 4 reeds that I use for practicing and some of them will make it to the 'gig reed' case, while others won't.

This method has worked well for me over the years. Others will use a different method; some might not differentiate between different reeds and just play them at random, some players like to keep their reeds soaked at all times, some use synthetic reeds, etc...
 

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I use one reed at a time, but in my defense i can condition another very fast by wetting and bending both ways around a glass or bottle.
I only sand if the reed is deformed which is rare.
If that happens I choose another and fix the messed up one at home.
Once a reed is moist from my mouth it's warmed up.
 

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I use one reed at a time.
I used to do it that way, but I wanted to keep a few more reeds in reserve, ready to go. Then I found myself rotating between them without really planning it that way. I still tend to play one of the reeds more than the others so I know it will be the first to wear out. Whatever reed is in '1st place' in my reed holder gets more work (on gigs) so as it starts to die out, I can replace it with the next in line. Even though I have played the others on occasion, I can trust they are still going strong. Bottom line, I always want a few great reeds on hand.
 
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