Home Alt Forums Recording Your Saxophone Reed Testing

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    Ok – today i received a new copper reed (size 2), a new Onyx reed (soft)

    THE GOOD NEWS IS, THIS COPPER WORKS, THE LAST ONE I BOUGHT WAS DEFINITELY A DUD – which is a bit off putting if you buy a synthetic reed at that price and it doesn’t work, a bit like cane reeds 10 yrs ago? I read comments about no two synthetic reeds sounding the same….

    Anyway Size 2 copper is definitely my size, the Onyx soft was too weak (i was playing safe by buying the lowest size. All these synthetic to cane reed manufacturer comparisons are definitely miss-leading, to get you to waste money trying out all the different sizes?)

    So i did three jazz recordings, ignore the timing, i haven’t practiced enough to play the tune properly in time, just concentrate on the sound on each reed.

    AT the END of each recording, i tried playing From High D up to Altissimo G. The Onxy reed was too soft, which i can appreciate, i need to buy a higher strength onyx reed.

    I’d like to know which reed sounds the best.


    My onyx medium and my copper reed 2 work very well.My 7* mouth pieces and my MBII fatboy blow well using the onyx medium reed and copper reed size 2


    Good for you robin, can you tell any difference between my 3 recordings?

    One of things you cant tell from the 3 recordings, when i did the cane recording, i didn’t give the cane reed time to warm up, i just played and recorded it straight away, so it was a bit unfair on the cane reed, as a cane reed does need a couple of minutes to settle down.

    The copper reed was twice as loud as the cane reed, there was no effort in getting a very loud sound, which is hard to notice in the recordings.

    The onyx reed sounded a lot different to the copper reed, unfortunately it started closing up on me higher up the sax, because it was too soft for my embouchure. When they have the next size up in stock, i will buy one and try it out.

    There is one vast difference, if you play classical orchestra stuff, the synthetic reeds wont give you that warm soft mellow cane sound that blends in with clarinets and oboes. That’s when you notice the synthetics do sound plasticky. It reminds of the difference between plastic recorders and wooden recorders, similar sound when you listen to plastic and wooden clarinets. But thats a fair comment as synthetic and cane are two different materials, so you cant expect them to sound exactly the same. Acoustic guitar players would vomit if you gave them a guitar made out of plastic.

    However for the jazz and rock music synthetic is ok for all that loud screeching sax playing, that tends to go off key.

    I’m definitely a convert, the copper reed does rock with the rock music.


    The Onyx reed sounded better than the copper reed. I find the onyx reed easier to blow compared to the copper reed. I had to move down to size 2 from 2.5 with the copper reed. Holding a note longer was easer with the onyx reed. The copper reed seems to be for rock and roll.


    Thanks for feedback Robin, you’re a true gent.
    Honest feedback is the best, i won’t be offended, but use it to my advantage.


    Unfortunately had to delete my soundcloud account.
    Have to set up a new one later on.


    interesting…Harry Hartmann put the Copper reed together after working with a contemporary classical saxophonist (Randal Hall) and making some prototypes for his preferences. In the end he loved it and so the Copper reed was born.

    Now it has become one of my favorites as well and I’m no way a classical player nor do I go for that type of sound….but it works for me as a rock and roll reed….very interesting.


    Thanks Johnny,
    It’s early days yet.

    i’ve ordered a next size up Onxy medium soft from germany, which should arrive in the next few days to try out.

    I’m not a die hard classical player, but i like good music in any genre, a good classical, jazz, funk, rock sound – i will even stretch to punk rock ‘twisted fire starter’ – is genius.

    So i want an all round reed, that doesn’t exist.


    Well i’ve spent a few hours using the synthetic copper reed, and it’s not the same sound that i’m used to hearing with my cane reed.

    I can play several songs by ear on the cane reed, but with the copper reed i don’t recognise the same pitches so i don’t know which keys to press next. I’m hearing too many overtones while playing with copper reed. So i’ve stopped using the copper reed.

    There are different types of synthetic reeds in the harmann range, i want one sounding closer to the cane reed i use, and the copper reed definitely isn’t the one.

    I should get a medium/soft onyx reed next week to try out, my guess is that one will be too bright, for the stuff i practice with.


    Got my next size up (medium/soft) alto carbon onyx reed, today (took 4 days to arrive from germany, There’s only one shop here in the Uk that sells them, and day were quoting me 4 to 6 weeks before it was in stock, everywhere sells legere reeds.)

    Tried it out for a couple of hours and it sounds closer to my cane reed than the copper reed. Doesn’t play very well beyond altissimo A, i could be border line next size up, as the cane reed i play is a medium/hard reed)

    Try it out for the next few days, see how it holds up.

    I did a sound recording, and uploaded it , to see what other people think of its quality.

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