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Thread: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

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    Default Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Thanks to SOTW, I'm trying out synthetic reeds. I got a Fibracell Premier and a Legere Studio Cut 2.5. I loved the Fibracell right off because it is so easy blowing and loud (I play blues/rock). But the more I play it, the more I realize I can't get harmonics off it. (JL, if you see this, that's the frustration I was having at the jam last night - I'd go for my high squeal and it just wasn't there.)

    The Legere is very hard to blow - stuffy, lots of resistance - but I think I have better intonation with it. The info that comes with it says to keep playing it and it will soften up, but I can't play it for very long. It's so frustrating and I want to go back to the Fibracell or a cane reed.

    Before I spend more money on experimenting, has anybody compared synthetic reeds? Do you find one brand blows easier than another of same strength? Does one have easier harmonics or altissimo? Any experience with Bari reeds? Hahn? Other brands? Any comparison of synthetics with plasticovers in terms of easy blowing and altissimo? Thanks in advance,

    - peter

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Well, I am going down the very same path these days, except that I've only gotten hold of a Légère yet. I've been playing it for about two weeks now, though not very intensively, and either it's freeing up or I'm getting used to it. Either way, it plays really well, with both a core and an edge to the tone that's absolutely comparable to cane. In fact, the only difference worth mentioning is the lack of friction against the lower lip. I'm going to try a Légère studio cut too, I hear they're supposed to be more open and free blowing.


    I've also ordered a Fiberreed, which should be here tomorrow — I'll let you know how that plays. It's supposed to have a more "contemporary" sound, whatever that is.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    I know what you're saying with the fibracells, they were even too bright for me. I liked legere more (I had a studio cut), although I haven't played on one in a while, I don't remember mine being too stuffy, it wasn't as bright as a fibracell, but a nice medium i thought. With my experience, however, the legere started to crack at the tip after a month or so, certainly lasts longer than cane, but not forever.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    I switched from Fibracell to Legere about a year ago, maybe longer. The Fibracells were just too buzy. One thing I noticed was I had to drop a quarter size on the Legere before it had the response I liked. They do get better after you play them a bit, and so far they are holding up very well. Maybe try dropping to a 2 1/4 and see if its better?
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    I really like Legere Studio Cut 3's on my Berg and find their altissimo response to be excellent. I think Bari Stars are pretty good and for some reason I still like the sound and the feel of Fibracells on my STM. As is usually the case, these responses can only be suggestions — you really need to look around for a while and try a few different brands and strengths until you find what really works for you.
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    I've found that different reeds work with different setups. On bari I use the Bari "Star" reeds on my Berg; these took a while to learn to play, but I'm glad a friend urged me to stick it out. I use Legere bari sax reeds on my contra-alto clarinet, and they're better than any cane I've tried on that horn. On bass clarinet I'm experimenting with Fibracells, but the jury is still out on whether I can get them to sound warm enough.

    I play cane on everything else. I did have one tenor piece that liked Fibracells (a vintage Berg 110/0), but that's been the only tenor/alto/clarinet mouthpiece I've used synthetics on.

    By the way, I'd echo the comments that the response on Legere reeds changes over the course of a session. I've discovered that I can't play an entire show on a single reed--it just starts feeling "mushy." So I switch the reed out after an hour or so, and the first reed plays fine again after I've let it sit a while. I have no idea what to attribute that to.
    Last edited by bari_sax_diva; 02-18-2008 at 09:44 PM. Reason: Add note
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bari_sax_diva View Post
    I'd echo the comments that the response on Legere reeds changes over the course of a session. I've discovered that I can't play an entire show on a single reed--it just starts feeling "mushy." So I switch the reed out after an hour or so, and the first reed plays fine again after I've let it sit a while. I have no idea what to attribute that to.
    That's interesting because that's exactly what the info that comes with the reed says. On their web site, it says "After an hour of hard playing, rotate reeds." This means I do not want this reed. My usual gig is 4 hours of hard blowing, plus I'm doubling on keyboards. I need a reed that I can slap on at the beginning of the night and forget about. I can't be changing out reeds 2 or 3 times during the gig. THAT's why I wanted to try a synthetic - less hassle, not more.

    Next I'll try plasticovers.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Ive settled on fibracells and play them Alto, Tenor, and Soprano. The issue with getting altissimo, not unlike getting used to a new mouthpiece, tends to sort itself out as you play them awhile. Ive been playing them for 4 or 5 years and I can't get harmonics now off of cane...LOL. You learn to adapt your airstream ... sometimes even subconsciously. It takes a little time and experimentation with strengths. I actually work the shoulders of my fibracells with sandpaper to get just the response I like.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMusicMan View Post
    That's interesting because that's exactly what the info that comes with the reed says. On their web site, it says "After an hour of hard playing, rotate reeds."
    Oh, what... like I'm gonna read the directions that come with a reed?!?!
    Dude. That's like, too intellectual.

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMusicMan View Post
    This means I do not want this reed. My usual gig is 4 hours of hard blowing, plus I'm doubling on keyboards. I need a reed that I can slap on at the beginning of the night and forget about. I can't be changing out reeds 2 or 3 times during the gig. THAT's why I wanted to try a synthetic - less hassle, not more.
    I will tell you that if this reed didn't work so well on a horn that's a bit tough to find good reeds for, I might not bother. Then again, it takes me about five seconds to swap them, so who knows?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMusicMan View Post
    Next I'll try plasticovers.
    A buddy of mine just went back to those and was very pleasantly surprised. You might also want to give the Bari a try for the same reason. I average about 3-4 months of hard playing on one of those, with a reject rate of about 30% out of the box, and I can get any kind of sound I want. That translates roughly to purchasing about six reeds a year on that horn... chump change compared to what I spend on alto.
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian View Post
    Ive been playing them for 4 or 5 years and I can't get harmonics now off of cane...LOL.
    I actually did laugh out loud (well, snort is more accurate) when I read this. It's helpful because I was wondering the same thing - how much might be my setup, how much might be just getting used to it, etc. You've given me reason to keep working at it. Thanks.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bari_sax_diva View Post
    Oh, what... like I'm gonna read the directions that come with a reed?!?! Dude. That's like, too intellectual.
    I know, I know. I was just trying to learn everything I could about them. It's not like I was looking for the manual - "How to play your new tenor sax reed."

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Manual: How to play your new reed
    Chapter 1: Setup.
    Attach the reed to the flat side of the mouthpiece, using a ligature designed for this purpose. Do not use a permanent adhesive.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMusicMan View Post
    Manual: How to play your new reed
    Chapter 1: Setup.
    Attach the reed to the flat side of the mouthpiece, using a ligature designed for this purpose. Do not use a permanent adhesive.
    So THAT'S what I've been doing wrong all these years!
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by bari_sax_diva View Post
    So THAT'S what I've been doing wrong all these years!
    What? You've been putting the reed on the wrong side?

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Quote Originally Posted by MartinMusicMan View Post
    What? You've been putting the reed on the wrong side?
    No... I've been attaching it with a spot weld.
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    ^^^When I tried welding my reeds I caught the reed on fire.
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    I think I hijacked my own thread.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    Reviving this thread because I've now gigged with Fibracell, cane, and Legere. Turns out they were right - I like the Legere after giving it time. I gigged Friday night starting out on cane but the reed chipped. Slapped on the Fibracell and honked away the rest of the night, but still can't get high harmonics off it. Saturday night I tried the Legere. Before I thought it was stuffy and hard to blow, but this time it was easier. Intonation was good, tone was strong and centered and it projected. I even took in less of the mouthpiece so I didn't have to work/blow as hard. Then when I went for my high squeal for the big finish of a tune, voila - there it was. It popped out and I could put the pitch where I wanted it, bend it up and down, etc. Hit the high note for some solo peaks and so on. Anyway, after first not liking the Legere, I think I now prefer it.

    I'd be interested in any other experiences comparing synthetic reed brands, and also plasticovers.

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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    The real question is, does it play better than a cane?
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    Default Re: Fibracell vs. Legere vs. Bari vs. plasticover vs. ?

    "Does it play better than a cane?"

    For me, I'd say "at least equal to".

    There are times when I get a G.A.S. attack and want to try cane reeds again. This happens to me more on clarinet than saxophone. Here's what ALWAYS happens: I get some cane reeds and try them with an open mind. At first they sound really good and I start to think that I might be getting a bigger and more vibrant sound with them. However, I continue playing and after around 15-20 minutes I start to notice things in my sound or response that bother me. I then switch back to my trusty Legere reeds and I'm 100% happy.

    I've found Legere reeds to have a tonal consistency throughout the range of my horn. Along with that, Legere reeds give me a big, dark, "ringing" sound with a strong, thick tonal core that I really love. It's my gut feeling that I can achieve a similar tonal consistency and tonal core with stiffer cane reeds. However, given that most of my playing involves doubling I've found a middle-of-the-road reed strength with Legere to be just right for me.

    Another benefit I've found with Legere is there are times when I might be focusing on several horns (lately flutes and clarinet) and not play another one for a period of time. Since I've been using Legere I've found that I can go back to the neglected horn and it feels like I had just played it. Yesterday, I dusted off my bass clarinet (haven't played it in several weeks) and it sounded perfectly fine from the first to last notes. I cannot help but think that using Legere on all of my reed instruments helps me to have a certain kind of playing consistency between them. (Another factor is I'm using a double-lip embouchure on each of these horns....but that's for another discussion!)

    Anyway, this has been a long-winded way of saying that for me Legere reeds -- that is, the particular cuts that I like (see signature below) -- are every bit as good as cane reeds. The bottom line test for Legere or any other synthetic is how good they sound to an audience or other players in your ensemble. Based on feed-back I've received, no one seems to know that I'm NOT playing on a high quality cane reed....unless I tell them.

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