Home Alt Forums Reeds Reeds for Newbie

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    Craig Duckering

    I just started playing a few weeks ago after 30 years. I am renting a Giardinelli GTS-300 Tenor, and so far it has been great to learn on as I am having to learn again how to read music, fingerings, etc. It came with a basic mouthpiece, not sure what brand, possibly same brand, and I got started with a box of 10 Rico 2.0 reeds. Watching the lesson video on reeds, I was surprised to find out how many in a box would possibly not work well, and I am finding that to be the case, but was hoping for a sanity check if anyone has some input. I have been testing 5-6 reeds, and found 2 so far that seem easier to blow and get a good sound. One of the others I thought at first was OK, but realized it seemed hard to blow, especially when I got to middle D with the octave key. It just seemed like too much work and I wasn’t getting a good sound especially in the lower notes. So put one of the good ones back on, and it was so much easier. Does that sound like normal behavior for a reed that is not great? And what to people do, just get a box of 10 and end up throwing out 6 or 7 of them?

    With that, I am reading about the Fiberreeds, and I am interested. Any issues with using that type of reed on a student level mouthpiece? Related, it sounds like mouthpieces are personal preference, but is there a type that may be easier to blow? Whether carbon or metal? Thanks!


    i had loads of problems with reeds when i started playing years ago.

    i buy these reeds

    they are so good, that i don’t buy them by the box anymore, i just go in my local music shop and buy one reed. Every single reed i have bought has played perfectly, and lasted between 6 months and a year, in fact most of the ones i changed, were accidentally broken.

    It’s how often you play the same reed, how you store the reed that makes it last longer. My reed is on average played between one to two hours a day, so it’s not subject to a lot of wear and tear. If i played 8 hours a day, then i would rotate reeds, as that would wear them out a lot quicker.

    I’ve got no bones against using synthetic reeds, lots of learners find them handy in terms of just wanting to slap on a reed and play straight away. If you went down the classical orchestra path, i wouldn’t use synthetic reeds, as classical players start getting very sensitive about their dark sound.


    Yes Craig.this is a problem for all sax players you are lucky to get 4/5 decent reeds out of a box of 10.
    I have tried them all= L Voz, Rico, Vandoren,last box i tried was Rigotti gold not one in the box i would call ok.
    I have now gone onto synthetic reeds, the Hartman fiberreed like the hemp and carbon onyx are very good but i have just
    purchased a Legere Signature series (2.75) and really happy with it. A lot of the pros are using them and there are some good reviews about them also the sizes go up in quarters, they play straight from “off” and sound very nice bit pricey but
    i recommend you to try one and you can send them back to Legere if you are not happy or you have chosen the wrong strength
    you only pay the postage.

    Craig Duckering

    Thanks Pete, great feedback!

    Craig Duckering

    Thanks Walley, I’ll check those out!

    brother cavefishbrother cavefish

    well i dont have much problems with bad reeds, they seem to work well for me, once in a while a reed just dulls out, i have had a great streak on reeds, but select jazz unfiled is sweet, i like ZZ vandorans, Javas and most vandorans , but for a newbie your going to have to find your style and brightness/darkness you wnt and the mouthpiece contribultes to it


    I’ve heard good things about those, but never tried them out. They’re workin for you so you keep using them. it’s a good thing for a sax player to find a reed that feels great AND lasts that long….amazing really.


    interesting article on reeds


    legere reeds, do a reed for classical players, that play with a darker sound. Mouthpieces contribute more to dark or bright sounds, but certain types of reeds used also play an important role in working better with either a dark or bright mouthpiece.

    legere has more info on the choice of their synthetic reeds

    Saxophone Reeds

    Synthetic reeds will obviously outdo cane reeds in terms of reliability, and cost.

    But in terms of sound quality differences between cane and synthetic reeds , thats down to each persons opinion based on their quality of hearing, which no getting away from it, does decline with age.

    You can spend all day arguing which type sounds better, and nine times out of ten, a lot of people are incapable of hearing the difference between which type of reed a player is using on their sax.

    The only difference i can tell in the sound between cane and synthetic reeds is based on listening to lots of recordings, and that’s just MY opinion, to me cane reeds sound more impulsive, sound like they respond and are more in touch with a players mood and feeling, vary a lot across the recordings, whereas all the synthetic recordings sound the same.

    Don’t get me wrong, listening to someone playing an instrument in front of me is completely different to listening to a recording of someone playing an instrument.
    And i have listened to some clarinet players using a synthetic reed, and they sound amazing, and i wouldn’t dream of telling them to use a cane reed.

    brother cavefishbrother cavefish

    cane sounds softer and woody, to me , now i like a darker sound, and synthetic is usually bright,, i used to use V16 and Javas they are great but switched to select jazz unfiled and ZZ

    Craig Duckering

    Thanks everyone for the great input. I have the Fiberreeds on their way, should show up tomorrow (thanks Johnny), so I’ll try those for a bit, but the Legere sounds interesting to try later as well, I may dabble there.

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