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Thread: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

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    Bubba06's Avatar
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    Default Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    I searched to no avail...

    A friend of mine did her audition and lesson with a professor near here. From what she told me he took her 2 1/2 reed from her, gave her a 3, and told her not to ever play on a 2 1/2 again. I'm sure it was most friendly than that, but you understand the effect. She was doing classical tenor in the lesson. I'm not sure of her setup, but what's the thought process behind this?

    She's been working for two weeks on getting up a reed strength, but it's not working out well, she says. She has an audition a week from today, and can't play her 2 1/2s due to squeaks, and the 3s sound atrocious.

    Thoughts? Thanks,
    Bubba

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Her professor heard her play. We haven't. He probably thought she would sound better on a #3 reed.

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Harder reeds sound better....there's no way around it. They add body and color to anyone's tone. Though I believe you should use what you like...and I know most all "teachers" are full of ****..fact remains...harder reeds(and a 3isn't hard)..just sound better.
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Depends on tip opening. A 3 on a C** is not that hard.
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    My first sax teacher (23 years ago or thereabouts) encouraged me to move to a harder reed rather quickly. I tend to agree there generally seems to be a more clear tone with a harder reed and typically better and more consistent pitch (soft reeds tend to play flat). And as we all know, a #3 reed varies quite a lot from one manufacturer to another. I would encourage her to try a few different brands and stay the course. But then everyone has to find their path through the learning curve of playing the sax and dealing with *#&$& reeds. Hope it all works out well for her.

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Perhaps I just thought it all pertained more to your piece opening then your physical abilities. My understanding was that they made different strengths because of the different openings, and that you would sounds the same essentially. Suppose it makes sense... Maybe I need to start doing long tones on harder reeds in warm up...

    -Bubba-

  7. #7

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Thoughts? She should be practicing more.....

  8. #8

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas View Post
    Harder reeds sound better....there's no way around it. They add body and color to anyone's tone. Though I believe you should use what you like...and I know most all "teachers" are full of ****..fact remains...harder reeds(and a 3isn't hard)..just sound better.
    Though a Professor is probably less full of ****.....especially one in a major city (Cincinnati)....so.....

  9. #9

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    A vandoren 3 or more like 3 1/2 is the reed for a C*, for a classical student. He is right. She will get used to it & advance as a player.

    This is THE STANDARD for studying legit sax and concert band playing. Tried & true. She is a student & not a professional. The student's job is to learn & advance & get better. This is the way.

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Granted, this is a huge generalization but if a player can manage a 3 reed it is likely that their sound will be better. Especially a younger player (not brand new). There is a point of diminishing returns when going to harder reeds. A 2.5 reed has the tendency to have a lot of buzz and a fairly loose buzz at that. IMHO a 3 sounds better for classical and jazz than a 2.5. Again I say that with the awareness that there may be many exceptions. Also, of course, different reeds vary. Lastly, I dont think pushing for a 3 is "Pushing hard reeds". If he wanted the student to play a 4 or 5 that would be an altogether different story.
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by ericdano View Post
    Though a Professor is probably less full of ****.....especially one in a major city (Cincinnati)....so.....
    It wasn't in Cincinnati, but close. Dayton.

    Quote Originally Posted by Black Obelisk View Post
    A vandoren 3 or more like 3 1/2 is the reed for a C*, for a classical student. He is right. She will get used to it & advance as a player.

    This is THE STANDARD for studying legit sax and concert band playing. Tried & true. She is a student & not a professional. The student's job is to learn & advance & get better. This is the way.
    I certainly wasn't arguing, since it's not the first time I've heard similar experiences. I just wonder what the mind set is behind these things.

    Any other contributions are appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Bubba

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    Distinguished SOTW Member artstove's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by ericdano View Post
    Though a Professor is probably less full of ****.....especially one in a major city (Cincinnati)....so.....
    Professors can be full of **** in any city, including major ones. (There are often more professors there, increasing the potential numbers of finding one or more in that category.) That said, hopefully his action was based on his observation of her playing, rather than just some sort of prejudged opinion. And pushing her up a half step isn't extreme - if he jumped her up farther, it would be more of a problem.

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    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    What happened to the auto-censor? Since when can we write "****"? Hmmm ****. ****, **** ****. ****, ****, **** ****, **** ****!
    ****.

    BTW Thomas. Do you teach?
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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Contributor 2010 trice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    I live in a fairly big city. I have two teachers - one for clarinet/sax and one for flute. They are both professional players and experienced teachers. Neither is full of ****.

    Can we really say "****" here? Who would have guessed?

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by gary View Post
    What happened to the auto-censor? Since when can we write "****"? Hmmm ****. ****, **** ****. ****, ****, **** ****, **** ****!
    ****.
    http://www.southparkstudios.com/clip...2/****-happens

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    Distinguished SOTW Member/Contributor 2010 trice's Avatar
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    More on topic.. Harder reeds do sound better. She should open a box and go through them all to find a few that work well. The others can be tweaked to play well. Assuming she has decent mpc that is not a 9* facing.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    A three is not really a hard reed anyway especially on tenor-I had to take classical alto lessons and played 3 vandorens (C*) but was convinced to go to 3 1/2's and they were much better sounding-On tenor I just got some Alexanders 4's HR Link .110 tip opening and they don't blow right out of the box for me- they seem very hard and need to be broken in- but I'm hoping to have some reeds that will last over time...

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    IMO, reeds should be individually matched (tuned - (scraped or sanded)) to the m'piece being used. Don't fight the thing, make it easy on yourself!
    As to hard reeds sounding better, someone should have told Stan Getz that he sounded dreadful. He and loads of other top players worked on them, it was widely practiced in the '50s.

    Just watch a Tom Ridenour demo

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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    There are different schools of thought on this. For years, I thought it was desirable to play a harder reed. Then I took a few lessons from a jazz pro who asked why I played a hard reed. He said I should try 2 1/2. I did, and I've been playing them ever since. He said, "Why work so hard?" There have been other threads on this topic. Many others recommend a softer reed, not harder. It depends on the player, the mouthpiece, the type of music you're playing. That said, a 3 is not a hard reed.
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    Default Re: Professor Pushes Hard Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Bubba06 View Post
    Perhaps I just thought it all pertained more to your piece opening then your physical abilities. My understanding was that they made different strengths because of the different openings, and that you would sounds the same essentially. Suppose it makes sense... Maybe I need to start doing long tones on harder reeds in warm up...

    -Bubba-
    But there's kind of a minimum expectation, especially with classical sax. You'd expect a high level player (or someone hoping to be) to have developed enough air support to be able to play a #3 on most classical mouthpieces.

    My teacher in college wanted us to play on #4's, though he'd settle for a 3 1/2. The #4 thing was unreasonable to me (still is), especially when I learned he thought harder reeds were thicker than softer reeds (they aren't). He wanted you to take a 4 and whittle it down until it was playable. It actually turned out that those reeds ended up being thinner than a 3 or 3 1/2 that was more playable from the start.

    Personally, I don't like Vandoren. I sound like crap on a 3 or a 3 1/2. They just sound dull for me. If I put on a 2 1/2, it's clearer but very very buzzy (aside from being to soft) and not suitable for classical music.

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