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I saw a saxophone player take a credit card(or something like that, maybe a room key for a hotel i dont know) and he took it and put it between the reed and the mouthpiece. What is he doing?
 

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A few possibilities:
Maybe he was seeing if it was warped?
To see if the ligature was too tight (therefore making the reed farther away from the mouthpiece)

I'm not really sure...
 

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My old teacher told some of the students to do the same with a paper, and whenever it stopped is where the facing is flat and your bottom lip should go...something like that.
 

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He is checking how long the facing is so he can see how much mpc he needs to take in.
Where the card stops is where you place your upper theet.
 

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Are you sure it was something hard like a credit card? If you put a piece of cardstock type paper or matchbook between the reed and mouthpiece it absorbs the excess moisture. It works.
 

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daigle65 said:
He is checking how long the facing is so he can see how much mpc he needs to take in.
Where the card stops is where you place your upper theet.
What?? When your reed starts to get soft, it bends towards the tip (moreso with big tip openings). More than likely, he was bending it in the opposite direction by putting a card in there (I use my mouthpiece cap) to get rid of the bend towards the tip.
 

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whaler said:
What?? When your reed starts to get soft, it bends towards the tip (moreso with big tip openings). More than likely, he was bending it in the opposite direction by putting a card in there (I use my mouthpiece cap) to get rid of the bend towards the tip.
Yeah...maybe you're right, a credit card is a bit too thick for a facing check.
 

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whaler said:
What?? When your reed starts to get soft, it bends towards the tip (moreso with big tip openings). More than likely, he was bending it in the opposite direction by putting a card in there (I use my mouthpiece cap) to get rid of the bend towards the tip.

Yep, I agree
 

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whaler got it, it's an old sax player trick, he's bending the reed back to give the effect of a harder reed, or a more open facing. It's usually done in the middle of a set when your reed is going soft but you don't have time to change it. As stated, the mouthpiece cap can also be used for this purpose.
 

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Yep, the trick is used to give the reed a bit of a bend between numbers or sets if the break is short.
It helps you out when the reed is softening quicker than you counted on.

I carry a cut off from a credit card in each sax case for this purpose. Works a treat.
 

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Phil Phistry said:
Are you sure it was something hard like a credit card? If you put a piece of cardstock type paper or matchbook between the reed and mouthpiece it absorbs the excess moisture. It works.

I've seen this done many a time. The bari player in my quartet in college swore by it. It also (for some unknown reason) seems to help initial attacks on notes especially in the lower register.
 

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MojoBari said:
He was trying to pay his dues...
Good one, Mojo :salute:
 

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I once saw Gene Ammons doing this. I had no idea what he was doing at the time. Now I know. Thanks! Maybe I'll give it a try.
 

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MojoBari said:
He was trying to pay his dues...
Gotta give you credit for that one.
 

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This is interesting and something I haven't come across before. Is it as easy as just gently bending the reed away from the mouthpice? It it easy to totally stuff your reed up? How long do you bend it for?

I'm often caught out at big band rehearsals, with a reed that's dying. If this trick works, it'd be a lifesaver.
 

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On alto, I could never get it wrong. Just insert the piece of credit card and push it up into the lay until the reed bends back a bit. It can go a fair bit without problems. Leave it for up to 10 minutes, and get a lot more life out of the reed.

On tenor, at least for me, I have to be more careful, or the reed takes a while to play again. I push the card up until I feel the pressure and the reed just moves the tiniest bit, and then I can leave it. Push too far and the reed will either refuse to play or will take a while to come good again.

It is a matter of practice to get it right. If you have a regular big band rehearsal, you have the ideal opportunity to experiment.
 

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Alexk said:
On alto, I could never get it wrong. Just insert the piece of credit card and push it up into the lay until the reed bends back a bit. It can go a fair bit without problems. Leave it for up to 10 minutes, and get a lot more life out of the reed.

On tenor, at least for me, I have to be more careful, or the reed takes a while to play again. I push the card up until I feel the pressure and the reed just moves the tiniest bit, and then I can leave it. Push too far and the reed will either refuse to play or will take a while to come good again.

It is a matter of practice to get it right. If you have a regular big band rehearsal, you have the ideal opportunity to experiment.

If you have 10 minutes I'd just slap a new reed on
 
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