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Good synthetic reed

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I am looking for advice on which brand of synthetic reeds get the best tone and response on alto saxophone. This is not for me, but for a device I am building to mechanically play a saxophone in order to do acoustic tests and measurements. I am in need of a reed that doesn't have to be wet in order to play and I'm embarrassed to admit that in 50 years of playing, I have never used anything but a cane reed.

John
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I've played a few different brands and like Fibracells the best. However, for me they tend to run quite a bit harder than similarly graded cane reeds. I use Fibracell 1 1/2 on clarinet, soprano, and alto saxophones (clarinet all the time; sop and alto for VERY specific uses, such as carry-along pieces when I don't have my horns and cases) but must use much closer tip-openings for even the 1 1/2 strengths to play decently on sop and alto.

The pure plastic BARI reeds are chops-killers for me. I have another-brand synthetic alto-reed in my junk box, but it isn't very good. DAVE
 

Steve

Clarinet CE/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I ended up using Legere reeds for alto & tenor saxophone and clarinet

I had also used a blower on a clarinet for some testing. Had to use a small funnel inside the pipe to direct air to the clarinet reed correctly. Sax should be a bit easier i would think. have fun =-)
 
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Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
I've had the best luck with fibracells. Legere's have potential but nailing down the exact strength takes some time.
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Plasticovers . . . nasty when the coating starts to come off, which for me was way too soon. But, given the stated use, maybe they would work. I dunno - every Plasticover I tried was stuffy and unresponsive. Different strokes, etc., etc. DAVE
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
Plasticovers . . . nasty when the coating starts to come off, which for me was way too soon. But, given the stated use, maybe they would work. I dunno - every Plasticover I tried was stuffy and unresponsive. Different strokes, etc., etc. DAVE
True enough, I don't think the Plasticover lasts as long as the other synthetics, but the sound... Go for the sound. :cool:
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I've spent the morning with a Fibracell 1 1/2 on an old Selmer scroll-shank C* soprano mouthpiece (on my Yanagisawa S901) and it plays SO easy and SO full on that close-tip piece. The Fibracells wear me out on my favorite open-tip pieces (SS-J, Morgan Vintage 6 and 7) plus they are way too hard for my chops when on the open pieces. But on the closed-tip pieces, it can come close to the power I can get out of my regular pieces and soft cane reeds and makes for a quick playing situation. No need to wet the reed, affix it to the piece, etc. I keep it on the mouthpiece and all I have to do is open my case, take out the horn, slap on the mouthpiece/Fibracell reed pre-set-up, and I'm ready to go.

Speaking of "lasting", the Fibracells last a long time. But when they go, they GO. I had one die on me mid-solo - it wasn't pretty. I always keep extras in my cases.

I always use a Fibracell on clarinet (besides not warping from drying out, they give me a solid, full tone and response from bottom to top - well, as far as I like to play up there). Not so with those Plasticovers (on any reed instrument I play) - but I'm repeating myself. DAVE
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I really like my Légères...if only they had the distinct feel of unfiled reeds. They should carry a "caveman" or "barbarian" variety of them, just for us undomesticated non-vandorenians.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
Staff member
Administrator
Here's another vote for the Fibracell. I've been using them for over 10 years on all my saxes (soprano through bass). Before the Fibracell I did use the Plasicover by Rico, but found them too inconsistent for my liking. (Just like regular reeds, but they don't allow you to fiddle with them.)
 
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