April 7, 2019 at 10:49 am #84486
I had to upgrade to a size 3 reed because the 2.5 reed I was using had a really soft tip that would close off at the tip opening. The reed closing off at the tip opening wasn’t a problem with a size 8-9 MP on Tenor with a tip opening of .116 to .120. when I played before. Now that I’m getting back into playing shape, I’m using a 6* with a tip opening of .110 on the Tenor. I had to use a stiffer reed to prevent the reed from closing off and that fixed the problem.
I thought a stiffer reed would be more difficult to play on an MP with a smaller tip opening, but it wasn’t. For me, a medium-soft reed doesn’t work on smaller-sized MPs. I did a short video recording of myself, comparing the 6* with a size 3 reed and an 8* with a 2.5 reed. The size 6 MP/size 3 reed was much more compact, focused and in tune than the other set up that I used before. The lowest notes also come out a lot easier with less effort with a size 6 MP/size 3 reed.
Finding the right reed for our set up can be a strange, finicky thing to do 🙂
I started doing short videos of my practice sessions this week, in the form of a video diary, so I can keep track my progress over the next few months to help me address common problem areas. I also set up a modest mirror in my practice area so that I can watch my hands practice while practicing chromatic scales, to make sure I keep them close to the keys.April 7, 2019 at 6:16 pm #84532
good for you Michael, the videos will help as you move along…weeks and months from now. I tell everyone to do this, it’s the best thing to do.
which reeds are you using?April 7, 2019 at 6:49 pm #84536
reeds a never ending pursuit, but yes as you stated, the smaller the tip size the strong the reed you would need,, typically , alot of people have big tip sizes and still use strong reeds, that must tire some lips outApril 7, 2019 at 8:27 pm #84538
@johnny Java Greens size 3. My Sax teacher told me this past Wednesday to start making a weekly video diary–plus using a mirror. The difference with working with a real teacher vs. someone in a music store who professes to be a teacher is like night and day! He taught me some other cool tricks about tuning–super helpful!
I have some Fibracell synthetic reeds arriving in the mail from Amazon tomorrow–will see how it goes. I do want to check out the line of reeds you’re using too–less time spent on caring for cane reeds is more time spent on practice time. I haven’t caught on to synthetic reeds before because all of the ones I’ve tried–like Legere–sounded really thin and nasal-sounding. My instructor told me it can be a huge plus for me at this moment in time because they’ll give me more consistency and I can always use a Cane reed when playing live/uploading videos if I choose. Talking about Sax lessons, he told me in the next few lessons he was going to teach me alternative fingerings for common notes like middle D, middle C, low/middle F#, etc.. I had no idea alternate fingerings for those notes even existed. I knew about the 4 alternate ways to finger Bb, but not any other note–crazy stuff LOL He told me there times when knowing them can make my playing a little bit easier–not that we use them to replace our common fingerings, but to know how to use them when we need them.
@brother cavefish Before my Oral Cavity ordeal, I was using an 8*-9* MP with a 2.5 reed. For me, the size 3 was too much on an MP with a big tip opening. I got a better sound with a 2.5 reed. So I was really hesitant when it was suggested to me that I use a size 3 reed with the current set up because I thought it would be too thick for me. It was a lot easier than I thought and I was scratching my head about it LOL I was told MPs with smaller tip openings usually play better with stiffer reeds, whereas MPs with bigger tip openings usually (not always–depends on the player) player better with medium or medium/hard reeds. Softer reeds can close up on MPs with smaller tip openings, so stiffer reeds prevent that from happening. But it’s usually not a problem with bigger MPs because of having a bigger tip opening and the reed can’t close up as easily.
For anyone on Johnny’s blog who is reading this post and is considering taking weekly Sax lessons from a teacher: Make sure the person is a qualified Sax teacher. Don’t just take their word for it like I did when I first started learning. I did that because, frankly, I didn’t know any better. When we’re new to the Saxophone, we just don’t understand these things. Even if that person in the music stores does have some Sax skills, they can only teach how to play the Sax up to a point. But you’ll reach a point in your playing where you stop improving and you have no idea why. They don’t have the ability to point out common mistakes that can turn into a bad habit. Only a true Sax teacher can help us to prevent playing problems that will be twice as hard to fix later on. So do your research, and make sure the player/teacher really is who he/she says they are.
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