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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi All-

I use synthetic reeds on clarinet for shows and big band, and would like to try them for tenor.
I play a metal Larson with a "5" Rico Royal reed on tenor for blues & rock.

Two questions:

1. which brand of synthetic reed is recommended?
2. what strength of that brand would be the same as a "5" Rico Royal?

Thanks for all suggestions.
 

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A synthetic equal to a Rico 5...that’s like a plastic tongue depressor, right? Seriously though: you won’t find anything in the Bari, Hartmann, Fibracell, or fiberreed brands that stiff. People seem to like Legere a lot. Synthetics get soft and thin sounding pretty quick and don’t last long at all IMHO.
 

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The Legere Signature Series are a huge step forward for synthetic reeds, IMO. They play and feel more like cane than anything else I've tried; if you're doing blues and rock, you will do just fine with a Legere Signature. I've played them exclusively on tenor for a few years now, and just started playing them on alto. I'm not as excited about them on alto, although they do play pretty well.

Some people say they tend to run a half-strength harder than their number; if I were you, I'd order a 4, 4-1/2, and 5 if possible and try them and see what you think. Good luck!

- Saxaholic
 

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Brand choice seems to depend on mpc choice too..

I have 2 main tenor mpcs. My hard rubber 8* prefers Legere Sigs, my Vigilante metal definitely prefers a Fibracell..go figure..:whistle:
 

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The Legere sigs are great. I use them for blues, rock, and jazz. They tend to be quite variable in their strength. I play 2.25s but they range in actual strength from about 2 to 3. You can return them for exchange if the strength is not right for you. I believe they go up to 4.25 which should work for you. I also find that they are very picky in terms of the mouthpiece you use and the placement on the piece. I use different sigs for a couple of different mouthpieces I use. I also find the the fibracells (whose sound and playability I don't really like) seem to be stiffer than the Legere Sigs of the same number. The Hartmann reeds seem to run true to strength, but they all sound like a kazoo to me - way to bright - but it might work for rock depending on the sound you are looking for.

I really like the sound of the forestone hinoki reeds, but they run soft and they seem to die after an hour or so. Unlike swperry1, I find that the sigs hold their strength not only over a three hour gig, but for months on end. I keep three in rotation, so maybe that helps. With that many in rotation I get 1 - 2 years out of them.
 

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Hi there,

The Legere Signature Series tenor reed goes to strength 4, and the Classic Series goes to strength 5. The Signature would be worth a try even though it's lower than a strength 5, as some people find it plays a bit stronger than a 4.

And remember you can exchange it with us if it doesn't quite work, strength-wise.
 

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A huge shout out to Legere, their personal support of players is fantastic, not to mention the easy exchange policy.



Thanks from a player
 

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OP, the hardest synthetic reed known to man is the Legere Classic model. A Rico No. 5 is equivalent to just a Vandoren blue box No. 4, and you can easily surpass that with the Legere Classic. However, as noted above, the Signature may be able to get you where you need to be. It's not as stiff as the Classic, but it's a generally better, more responsive reed.

My favorite reed right now is the Forestone Black Bamboo, but although these are somewhat stiffer in nature than the Hinoki mentioned above by mi000ke, all Forestones tend to feel softer than you might expect. I would not recommend them to anyone seeking to deploy the tongue-depressor option.
 

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A 5 strength reed is an unusual selection for a Blues performance. What is the tip opening on your Larsen mouthpiece?

Other than that, Legere Signature synthetics are what I use and I am thrilled. If you want to match hardness to the Rico, try either a 4, 4.25 or 4.55. They play a bit differently than traditional cane so you will probably have to exchange it after trying one. Not a problem doing that with Legere, but it takes time.
 

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A 5 strength reed is an unusual selection for a Blues performance. What is the tip opening on your Larsen mouthpiece?

Other than that, Legere Signature synthetics are what I use and I am thrilled. If you want to match hardness to the Rico, try either a 4, 4.25 or 4.55. They play a bit differently than traditional cane so you will probably have to exchange it after trying one. Not a problem doing that with Legere, but it takes time.
I agree. In my experience the Signature is the only viable synthetic reed. I hated all synthetics until i discovered that one. I sound a bit like a shill I know, disclaimer: I am actually a Legere endorser but only because they are so good.

Typically look for .25. or .5 lower than you would use for a Rico.
 

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I have tried one Legere reed, but it must have been a dud, I can't get a single sound on it, not even a horrible squeak!

it's a 2.25, lighter than my usual 2.5 Vandoren Java or Fibracell reeds which work fine on all my pieces, but I couldn't get a sound on a single alto mouthpiece I own.

The reed sits in my drawer, and I use Fibracell.
 

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I love the tone I get with Forestone Black Bamboo on soprano, alto, and tenor, but find that they go soft pretty quickly on tenor and need to rest and recover before being playable again. I also have good luck with Legere Studio Cut, but the strength chart on their site says they don't make a Studio Cut hard enough to match a RR 5 (tops out at about RR 4 equiv.) I've been wanting to try the Signatures on tenor because I like them on soprano. According to the chart, the Signature 4 is close to a RR 5, and the Classic 4 is even closer. That said, charts aren't necessarily accurate, so you might have to try a couple.

Fortunately, Legere has an exchange policy. Contact them within 30 days of purchase and you can exchange up to 5 reeds a year (IIRC) for a different strength with a copy of your receipt, pending authorization. One exchange per reed, and it usually takes a couple weeks, but I've had good luck with this in the past.
 

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I have tried one Legere reed, but it must have been a dud, I can't get a single sound on it, not even a horrible squeak!

it's a 2.25, lighter than my usual 2.5 Vandoren Java or Fibracell reeds which work fine on all my pieces, but I couldn't get a sound on a single alto mouthpiece I own.
What kind of Legere is it? A Legere Classic 2.25 for alto is equivalent to a Java 3.25.
 

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I have tried one Legere reed, but it must have been a dud, I can't get a single sound on it...
We have found that they are more sensitive to being aligned to the tip of the mouthpiece than a cane reed. It's worth a shot to try moving it around a bit along the mouthpiece to see if that solves that issue. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss it further.
 

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We have found that they are more sensitive to being aligned to the tip of the mouthpiece than a cane reed. It's worth a shot to try moving it around a bit along the mouthpiece to see if that solves that issue. Feel free to PM me if you'd like to discuss it further.
I have found the Legere Sig ranging from 2 to 1/2 on a 10mFan Metal Robusto 9* or HR Merlot 10 works great from subtones to altissimo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Thanks all for the responses.

I play a metal Larsen: 120 0 M usually on a 60's Mark VI.

I got it in a trade many, many, moons ago for 6 blank Maxell cassette tapes (yes- that correctly dates me).
The blues-rock I play leans more toward the rock. I have been playing it with 5's for a very long time and it seems to work fine (but I've been told not to quit my day job).

I am a bit relunctant to try too many different brands and hardnesses as the reeds are a bit pricey.
Does one really get to try it and return it?
 

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I recently acquired a new soprano saxophone mouthpiece that I am LOVING (a Vandoren SL3). Today, it dawned on me that I haven't tried any synthetics on it, so I pulled out a bunch of Fibracells and one Legere #2 for clarinet. I did not have a Legere soprano sax reed.

The Legere (a Signature #2) clarinet reed played really well on my new soprano sax mouthpiece. So much so that I just ordered two for soprano sax (a regular and a Signature, both #2) from WW&BW.

My past experiences with Legeres have not been very good (stuffy - all of them, on alto and clarinet), but the clarinet reed was surprising. I'll report the results when I get them. DAVE
 

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Thanks all for the responses.

I play a metal Larsen: 120 0 M usually on a 60's Mark VI.
To each their own, but have you tried softer reeds? A 5 of anything sounds really hard for a 120. I'd have to have the bite strength of a pitbull to make that work for me!

I am a bit relunctant to try too many different brands and hardnesses as the reeds are a bit pricey.
Does one really get to try it and return it?
Unfortunately I think Legere only offers exchanges, not refunds, but if anyone knows otherwise please correct me. Hartmann Fiberreed's US distributor also offers exchanges within 14 days for purchases made directly from them, but I don't have experience with that.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
To each their own, but have you tried softer reeds? A 5 of anything sounds really hard for a 120. I'd have to have the bite strength of a pitbull to make that work for me!
Maybe the Rico Royal 5's are not that hard? While I use "normal" (2.5-3.5) reeds on soprano, alto, and bass, I use Rico Royal 5's on both my metal Larsens- tenor & bari- and I think I play less pit bull and more black lab. (although now that I think about it, pit bull might be an appropirate name for my playing style)


Unfortunately I think Legere only offers exchanges, not refunds, but if anyone knows otherwise please correct me. Hartmann Fiberreed's US distributor also offers exchanges within 14 days for purchases made directly from them, but I don't have experience with that.
Exchange would be fine. I just don't want to start a collection of $30 reeds that don't get played. Where do you all buy your Legere reeds from?
 

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See my post above (17) . . . Woodwind and Brasswind is where I ordered mine. I suppose many internet-businesses (like Weiners in NYC or WW&BW) would be able to take your order.

Legere's exchange program sounds good on its face, but it is limited to one exchange and in my case, it required more than one exchange (for alto and clarinet) to pare down the reed-strengths for my needs. Hence, I did not pursue it, and ended up with expensive reeds sitting unplayed in my box of collected stuff. Maybe in the end that will work itself out IF the just-ordered soprano reeds play like the clarinet reed on my soprano. We'll see . . . DAVE
 
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