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Adjusting Legere Reeds

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#1
I bought a $98-item from WW&BW over the Internet and for $.99 more, they would toss in free shipping. I ordered a Legere synthetic reed for alto saxophone (#2 strength) to make the order over $99, based on favorable comments I'd read about the Legeres and got FREE SHIPPING! Yippee . . .

It arrived today. I was disappointed to see that except for the label on the butt of the reed ("Legere 2"), it looked like just another Bari reed from years back - plain clear plastic.

And, it didn't play any better than a Bari plastic reed. It was stuffy and unresponsive; absolutely NO soft tones for me. I thought maybe it would play better on a closer-tipped mouthpiece, so I took it off my Sinta (which Ed says is like a C* but it plays REALLY strong like a very open piece) and put it on a hard-rubber Yanagisawa 5 and a Selmer S-80 C*. No improvement.

Then, I switched ligatures, from a metal Selmer two-ring lig to a Rover EDII. No improvement.

For the record, when I use synthetics, I use Fibracells - more like a reed than plastic bar-stock. But what works best on my alto Sinta piece are Vandoren ZZ #2, slightly adjusted out of the box. My altos sing top to bottom - and they blow easy.

At $15 a pop, I'm not sure that I want to go through a number of strengths (I recall they had a 1 or a 1 1/2) or other sizes for other horns.

My question is, has anyone adjusted these reeds? I'm thinking of sanding it down a bit but wanted to ask before I ruin a useless $15 reed. Thanks! DAVE
 

Merlin

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#2
I bought a $98-item from WW&BW over the Internet and for $.99 more, they would toss in free shipping. I ordered a Legere synthetic reed for alto saxophone (#2 strength) to make the order over $99, based on favorable comments I'd read about the Legeres and got FREE SHIPPING! Yippee . . .

It arrived today. I was disappointed to see that except for the label on the butt of the reed ("Legere 2"), it looked like just another Bari reed from years back - plain clear plastic.

And, it didn't play any better than a Bari plastic reed. It was stuffy and unresponsive; absolutely NO soft tones for me. I thought maybe it would play better on a closer-tipped mouthpiece, so I took it off my Sinta (which Ed says is like a C* but it plays REALLY strong like a very open piece) and put it on a hard-rubber Yanagisawa 5 and a Selmer S-80 C*. No improvement.

Then, I switched ligatures, from a metal Selmer two-ring lig to a Rover EDII. No improvement.

For the record, when I use synthetics, I use Fibracells - more like a reed than plastic bar-stock. But what works best on my alto Sinta piece are Vandoren ZZ #2, slightly adjusted out of the box. My altos sing top to bottom - and they blow easy.

At $15 a pop, I'm not sure that I want to go through a number of strengths (I recall they had a 1 or a 1 1/2) or other sizes for other horns.

My question is, has anyone adjusted these reeds? I'm thinking of sanding it down a bit but wanted to ask before I ruin a useless $15 reed. Thanks! DAVE
Don't sand it.

I believe Legere still has a free trade-in to get the right strength. Check out their site.
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#3
Merlin: Thanks. After I posted, I got out my magnifying glass and read all the small print in the enclosure. They do have a return/exchange policy, but also mention how to adjust the reeds, should one be inclined.

Then I visited their website and checked the reed-strength charts among other things. Seems that their idea of a #2 strength is above what most cane reeds are rated, contrary to what I read on some of their material (that their strength indicators were similar to cane).

So, I may just go through the drill of returning this reed for an exchange. I'll be looking for something around Legere's 1.5 or softer, if I can find it. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#5
Update . . . I've been in touch with Legere (their VP of sales) and I am in the process of returning the reed for a different cut and reduced strength. This fellow seems to be sincere and I anticipate a satisfactory resolution as soon as I can get the thing mailed off to them and they can do their part. So far, so good. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#6
Today I received in the mail a replacement Legere alto sax reed, this one a 1 1/2 Studio Cut reed.

Bingo! This one worked like a charm. The best test of course is on a gig and I'll do that a week from this Sunday. I will report the results. So far so good. The Legere folks were courteous and responsive. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#7
Like I promised, I played the Legere Studio-cut #1 1/2 synthetic reed on my gig. Like many other things musical, for me the best test of any equipment is how it plays in public, in a group, etc.

Not good, I can say. At home, where the playing acoustics are superb, the Legere played good. I ended up putting it on a Meyer 7M-S alto piece because my favorite Don Sinta alto piece was just too wild with this Legere reed. By wild, I mean all over the map intonation-wise. Oh, I could play each note to pitch, but it required me to adjust too much for each note.

On the gig, the Legere on the Meyer piece just wore me out in two sets. It tired my embouchure and at the end of set two, I was outta gas. I switched back to the Sinta with a cane reed (Vandoren ZZ 2) and played the third set without a hitch.

Included with the Legere alto reed was a Legere clarinet reed. It played nicely enough on my clarinet set-up (Buffet RC Prestige with a Lakey 5* mouthpiece) but when comparing it to my favorite Fibracell SOFT reed, the Fibracell had more edge and power. The Legere reed on clarinet was a better set-up than the alto one, but I'm going to stick with Fibracells on clarinet.

I know - an individual choice like all musical equipment. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#9
Jim: I received the studio-cut from one of the execs at Legere after I e-mailed them about an exchange. He and I exchanged e-mails and he thought the studio-cut would work best for me. As a co-operative gesture, he threw in the clarinet reed. He was very nice responsive in the contact - a PLUS for their business.

However in the end, the studio-cut, while much better than what I first bought, was not to my liking. The playing result was much like I experienced years ago with the Bari plastic reeds. Great initial response when my chops were fresh, far less so as the playing time increased.

So it goes. DAVE
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#10
As I double a lot on both clarinet and bass clarinet, I really, really wanted the Legere reeds to work for me. I ordered a spread of the standard reed for the bass clarinet, being aware of the strength issues. And, I religiously tried them all when playing Once Upon A Mattress, which has an all bass clarinet book with some tunes from Hell included.

What I found (after settling on a given strength, 2 if my memory serves me at this remove) was that the selected strength worked for a while, but then died a soggy death right there on my mouthpiece. At that point, I found it impossible to control, and uncomfortable on my lower lip to boot.

I also bought a more limited selection of baritone reeds. However, after the experience with the reeds on the bass, I didn't devote much time to the baritone version of the reed.

Their reeds are much better than the other synthetics that I've tried in the past, but the cost and the "dying" were more than I was willing to endure. Back to the purple boxes...
 
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