Reed for beginner

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    Default Reed for beginner

    I'm completely new to playing the sax, I have a 'Gear4Music' Tenor Sax, it's a borrowed instrument, until such a point that I feel the need to progress onto my own better quality sax. For now the sax came with a reed on the mouthpiece (Thoroughly cleaned for it's new owner of course) but this reed already had a tiny bit of damage, and now due to someone other than myself has become completely ruined There was another reed in the instrument case, in it's own little plastic sleeve, which I'm now using. Not sure if it's me, but it seems to need a fair bit more puff to get the same notes. I'm not looking to experiment with reeds as such, but when I visit my local music shop to buy a couple of spares, what should I ask for ?

    Paul

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Dear Paul,

    I do not live in the UK and have no idea what reeds might be available in a shop there.

    I would hope that the shop keeper would not steer you wrong if you asked for help.

    In the "Articles" section and the "FAQ" section of this forum is this material below:

    What type of reed is best for me?
    How to pick out a reed: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=91965
    Basic reed tools: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...d.php?t=109722
    Synthetic reeds: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=22824
    For Morgan: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...d.php?t=106682
    For Otto Link: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...d.php?t=105332
    Darkest Tenor Reed: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...d.php?t=106833
    Reed Preparation and Modification: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=67804
    Gonzalez Reeds: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=65279
    Synthetic Reed: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=77981
    Rant: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=73248
    Brightest reed: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=65681
    Soft Reeds: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=30134
    Reed Rotation: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=14323
    Teachers don't like synthetics, help: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ead.php?t=9718
    Matching reeds and mouthpieces: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...d.php?t=101245
    Advice on Java reeds: http://www.saxontheweb.net/vbulletin...ad.php?t=98025

    Remember, reeds are as personal as mouthpieces. What is best for me might not be the best for you.

    https://forum.saxontheweb.net/conten...sked-Questions

    I hope that something in this pile might be useful. I expect that a member who lives near you might have a more concrete suggestion about a reed that might be found in one of your local music shops.

    Good luck!

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2129 View Post
    I'm completely new to playing the sax, I have a 'Gear4Music' Tenor Sax, it's a borrowed instrument, until such a point that I feel the need to progress onto my own better quality sax. For now the sax came with a reed on the mouthpiece (Thoroughly cleaned for it's new owner of course) but this reed already had a tiny bit of damage, and now due to someone other than myself has become completely ruined There was another reed in the instrument case, in it's own little plastic sleeve, which I'm now using. Not sure if it's me, but it seems to need a fair bit more puff to get the same notes. I'm not looking to experiment with reeds as such, but when I visit my local music shop to buy a couple of spares, what should I ask for ?

    Paul
    Hi Paul

    The first thing we'd need to know is what mouthpiece? is it the one that came with the G4M tenor? If so then it has a smallish tip opening, and so I think that 2 0r 2.5 will be fine. It's hard to say exactly and a bit of experiementation at this stage is important. Sadly it doesn't always work to buy just one reed as they vary from reed to reed, a bit like buying carrots or potatoes so really you need to buy a few of each anc try them out.

    2 would initially seem to need less puff. I don't now of any shops in Blackpool, but I'd recommend a trip down to Curly Woodwond in Liverpool for some helpful advice.

    Other than that getting a local teacher would be invaluable at this stage, they would certainly get you started on the right track with probably a bit less trial and error.
    TamingTheSaxophone.com & PPT Mouthpieces
    Tone Without Tears: get a great sound without the boring long notes | BEGINNERS' DVD & ONLINE TUTORIALS | CDs, BACKING TRACKS & SHEET MUSIC



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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Hi, thanks for your replies ! I would imagine that the mouthpiece is the standard one, it was described by the instruments owner as being cr*p, so I’m not holding out much hope. I’ll visit my local shop, read the info suggested via the links in the reply above, but also thanks for the tip about the place in Liverpool, i’ll call in when I’m over that way

    Paul

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2129 View Post
    Hi, thanks for your replies ! I would imagine that the mouthpiece is the standard one, it was described by the instruments owner as being cr*p, so I’m not holding out much hope. I’ll visit my local shop, read the info suggested via the links in the reply above, but also thanks for the tip about the place in Liverpool, i’ll call in when I’m over that way

    Paul
    I would suggest you go out and get a decent beginner mouthpiece first. A Yamaha 4C should only run you $25-$30.
    Yamaha YTS-62iii tenor/Paraschos Selmer Neck/Vandoren T20/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3.5
    Cannonball BBSS Brute alto/Selmer Concept MOJO/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3.5
    Buffet Prodige clarinet/Vandoren Masters CL6/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Christian1 View Post
    I would suggest you go out and get a decent beginner mouthpiece first. A Yamaha 4C should only run you $25-$30.
    I agree.

    http://www.musiciansfriend.com/woodw...one-mouthpiece

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Along with the 4C get a box of Rico orange box reeds in a 2.5.
    They're inexpensive and beginner friendly.
    Old reed players are like fine wine. They only get better with age. Tom Hagen

    Play the Music, not the instrument.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Thank you for all the advice so far. I’ve had another lesson tonight, basically my third lesson, the teacher is happy with my progress. I found out that the reed I’m currently using is a RICO 1.5, is this ok to start on ?
    Advice re the mouthpiece is I’m sure great, however I’m finding already that my biggest challenge currently is in reading music, more than any equipment issue

    Paul

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    If the reed is working for you, then it is fine. The way you can tell if it is working for you is that it is not too hard to blow, and it gives you a sound you are happy with.

    Plain Ricos are a standard for beginners, and are relatively inexpensive. Nothing wrong with starting with Ricos. A 1.5 is relatively soft, which makes it easy to blow, but may give you a sound you don't like, or may close up when you try to play loud. But if it works for you, it is fine. You can try other strengths and brands to see if you like them better, but as long as the Rico is working for you, I would wait to do that after you get a bit more experience. Reed strength and brand is very personal. Your teacher should be able to help you with that, too.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    If your reed's too hard to blow, and you had soaked it for a few minutes, you can scrape with a razor or knife or I guess sandpaper, a bit at a time, a half inch length, about a quarter of an inch down from the tip. Keep testing til you can get an easy blowing note with a relaxed embouchure, and quit as soon as you can or the reed will be nasty sounding toast. That method makes size of the reed irrelevant.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    I would start with an orange box rico 1.5 or a 2 and a Yamaha 4C.

    Getting the reed even with the tip of the mpc so that the mpc is just covered will help make the notes come out easier, too.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    I am a beginner also. I have several mp. The Yamaha 5c was the best purchase. Now after two months with it, all the other mp are easy to play. Therefore get a yamaha.
    I have several Vandoran and Rico reeds, none of which are easy to play. I went to ebay and got 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 in boxes of 10 at a cost of about $2 or $3. Working through those reeds opened my eyes to what was needed. I now use those 2.5 daily. I bought 60 more just in case.
    I have a stack of music books. When I started I read through those books out loud. Remembering that B is the middle line helped me.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    "Remembering that B is the middle line helped me."

    I was told to remember that 'f,a,c,e' (FACE) = the spaces, which helped me!

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by click View Post
    "Remembering that B is the middle line helped me."

    I was told to remember that 'f,a,c,e' (FACE) = the spaces, which helped me!
    And the lines are E(very) G(ood) B(oy) D(oes) F(ine).
    Yamaha YTS-62iii tenor/Paraschos Selmer Neck/Vandoren T20/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3.5
    Cannonball BBSS Brute alto/Selmer Concept MOJO/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3.5
    Buffet Prodige clarinet/Vandoren Masters CL6/Vandoren MO/L�g�re Signature Series 3

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by MrYikes View Post
    I have several Vandoran and Rico reeds, none of which are easy to play. I went to ebay and got 1.5, 2.0, 2.5 and 3.0 in boxes of 10 at a cost of about $2 or $3. Working through those reeds opened my eyes to what was needed. I now use those 2.5 daily.
    Just so all beginners are made aware, reed strength scales vary from brand to brand, and often from model to model within a brand. For example, comparing the two most well-known reeds that a beginner may choose, a Rico orange box runs about half a strength softer than a Vandoren blue box. I.e., a Rico orange box 2.5 ≈ Vandoren blue box (Traditional) 2.0.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    I just want to say thank you so much to the people who have commented on my question, you’re a great help to me, and it seems a really nice friendly community here. I’ve noted all the points about reeds and mouthpieces, and that’s something that I’m excited to try, however, I’m going to save that for some time in the future. I’m currently playing notes that are reasonable enough (for now) to find that I’m already tripping over my lack of music theory, and it seems I have little sense of rhythm.
    So from the people who have helped so far, (in the interim period between my weekly lessons with my teacher) is there are online reassures that you can suggest for :

    General (progressive) music theory.... from absolute beginner
    Some way to develop a sense of rhythm ?
    Any other learning material or system that will help me, video series, practice sheet music *

    * particularly keen on ‘step by step’ approach. I’m 41 years old, and a slow but VERY determined learner !

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    You qualify as a late Blumer - congrats!

    As such I guess you know you have to own your own learning and everyone's path is different.
    FWIW I also got a bit old without understanding much more than being able to read a line of music phonetically - so to speak; and realised I had to grow whole new bits of brain! The route I took to really get into the musical ideas was to also start learning piano. It really boosted my understanding and what I could understand on the sax.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Thanks lesacks, tonight’s practise was trying to blow some notes as smoothly as possible, followed my my fragmented practice of ‘King of the Road’, although I roughly know the song, there’s one particular part where I don’t know how it should actually sound, and due to my inability to count the beats or play the notes on those correct beats, I just can’t make it sound right.
    Off to watch a few YouTube videos about the timing of notes vs beat

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2129 View Post
    I just want to say thank you so much to the people who have commented on my question, you’re a great help to me, and it seems a really nice friendly community here. I’ve noted all the points about reeds and mouthpieces, and that’s something that I’m excited to try, however, I’m going to save that for some time in the future. I’m currently playing notes that are reasonable enough (for now) to find that I’m already tripping over my lack of music theory, and it seems I have little sense of rhythm.
    So from the people who have helped so far, (in the interim period between my weekly lessons with my teacher) is there are online reassures that you can suggest for :

    General (progressive) music theory.... from absolute beginner
    Some way to develop a sense of rhythm ?
    Any other learning material or system that will help me, video series, practice sheet music *

    * particularly keen on ‘step by step’ approach. I’m 41 years old, and a slow but VERY determined learner !
    I have been playing for about 6 months now,best approach for rhythm I find is the old foot tap 1 2 3 4, 1 2 3 4, or if that is too much get a metronome phone app and set it at a comfy speed.

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    Default Re: Reed for beginner

    "I’ve had another lesson tonight, basically my third lesson, the teacher is happy with my progress."

    "[I]it seems I have little sense of rhythm."

    Be sure to give yourself time to improve. You will get lots better if you practice and do fret too much. Since you have a teacher, be sure to discuss your situation there. It is good to hear that your teacher thinks you are doing well.

    As for rythym:
    Get a metronome. Use it regularly during practice. By having a device that forces you to keep time, you will develop rhythm skills.

    Tap along with songs on the radio.

    Tap the notes out on your own songs before you play them.

    Listen to your teacher.

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