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Okay so the other day i bought some reeds and they were 3.5's which i thought was what i used but after i had opened them i realized that they were a half a size too big. Is there any way i can use them? it is really hard to play with them. i am a high schooler that has been playing for 6 years and this has never happened to me. :(Btw they are alto sax vandorens if that helps.
 

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TENOR, soprano, alto, baritone
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I doubt if you can take reeds back, but you might ask the store. Otherwise, you'll have to buy the right strength and just keep the 3.5s for a year down the road. If you're already playing a 3, you probably will work up to a 3.5 soon. Get a couple Reedguards. Moisten the 3.5s and put them in. About an hour later, take them out one at a time and play a few notes on them. You'll find that they all will play a little different - some harder, some softer. Mark the one that plays the easiest and take it out about once a week and play a few notes (about 5 min), then put it back in the reedguard. Pretty soon you'll find that your regular reeds are too soft - when you go to play loud, they'll close up. This is how you move up in reed strength. You can hurt your embouchure if you try to jump all at once. The same goes for a more open mouthpiece. On the other hand, I find it passing strange that a six-year player doesn't know what strength/brand of reeds he uses.
 

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If you're already playing a 3, you probably will work up to a 3.5 soon.
Not necessarily. Many of us have done just the opposite. Played on reeds that were too hard for too long until we finally realized we were playing reeds that were too hard! If you can get a good sound and response on a #3 reed, then that's what you should use. Now, I'd agree that in time the OP could "move up" if he said he was playing on a 1.5 reed, but a #3 is pretty standard and even on verging on the hard side, especially if you use a larger tip mpc.

Rubster you might be able to salvage some of those reeds by sanding them down a bit, or playing them for a while, but if they are just too hard, then you've at least learned something. Next time buy a softer size.

p.s. Rubster, I see from your second post you've been using a 2.5 reed. Maybe that's the best size if it's been working for you. 2.5 is also a pretty standard size reed.
 

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You can practice with them for a few minutes in order to strengthen your embouchure and then go to softer ones for the rest of your practice session.
 

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I played on 3.5's for years.. Then some 4's. Then I got some Lavoz Mediums, and I don't plan on changing any time soon. If they're not your usual, give a few out of the box a try, see if you like them. If they're not for you, try selling them to your friends. For a while, a lot of guys in my section would buy a box, then try a few and sell the rest. It's how we all found the reeds that we like the best, without going broke.
 
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