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Question About Légère Reeds

i was going to try out a legere reed cause they looked pretty cool and i heard they provide better sound quality and last longer, but i looked at the price and i didn't think it was worth it do legere reeds actaully work well?
 

tictactux

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
i was going to try out a legere reed cause they looked pretty cool and i heard they provide better sound quality and last longer, but i looked at the price and i didn't think it was worth it do legere reeds actaully work well?
That depends on your mouthpiece. Some get along well with a Légère, some don't. (just like with any other reed)
 

SOTSDO

Old King Log
Staff member
CE/Moderator
I was pretty excited when they were announced. I had tried other synthetics and was very disappointed, but I took the time to do a full evaluation on this brand. I bought a spread over several strengths (2 up to 4 in increments) for both bass clarinet and baritone sax. Unfortunately, I couldn't keep using them, and gave up after a show run where I used them exclusively through the entire run.

I found that they worked very well, but only for a while. After that (a variable period depending on use), they go mushy in a hurry. Also, I found that the reed edges on the Legere reeds was causing me lip problems on both sides where the lower lip lapped over the edg.

I really wanted to use them in the worst way, but ultimately found that cane is still the best.
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I have no experience with Legere. My synthetics are Fibracells. I've discovered that to make them work for me, I must CLOSELY match the synthetic reed to specific mouthpieces, otherwise those Fibracells bust my chops in no time.

They sound great for the first few minutes on my regular pieces, then I'm done. But the same mouthpiece I use with cane will play for me all night long - no tiring chops.

I do use Fibracell on soprano clarinet, though. For some reason, they work great on my clarinet mouthpiece and they don't warp if the horn sits on the peg unused for most of the set.

True, when they wear out - they are gone in a second. You must have a back-up if you are using synthetics. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
My experience with synthetics is that they tend to be stronger than similar designations in cane, but those designations vary by manufacturer. And, a reed's "cut" has a lot to do with how it plays on any particular mouthpiece.

For instance, on my soprano Super Session J and Morgan Vintage 7, I use Vandoren Java #2 (generally). But on my soprano Morgan 6, I use Vandoren ZZ #2. There is just something about those mouthpieces that allow those different reed designs to play better on the particular mouthpiece.

And, I adjust (meaning I shave them down to suit my playing) almost every reed I try, but I've found that the ZZ's on my Morgan 6 requires less adjustment than do the Javas on the SS-J or Morgan 7.

So, IF I use a Fibracell synthetic, I use the softest ones available (I tend to soft reeds anyway), but if I try a #2 or 2 1/2 Fibracell because I use those strengths in cane, the synthetics are too hard for me.

This is not something that someone on a forum thread can or should adequately advise you about. Like I wrote before, we are all different and what works for me probably will not work for you. Mouthpiece and reed advice is almost worthless, in my opinion. This is something you MUST work out yourself. True, in some rare cases, I've found others who have similar tastes in mouthpieces and reeds, and when we discover common ground, then our information exchanges work better.

You need to find a good retailer and try the products. If necessary, take a friend with you (or your teacher - whatever) and have them assist you in this decision. OR, you can do like I sometimes do and buy them sight-unseen, but I get the feeling that you are not in the financial position to do that. If you are on a tight budget, go to a store and play them all. DAVE
 
my teacher likes the traditional vandoren reedsso i use them but im wondering if i should go up in strenth so far i play on 2.5 but the head band director at my school thinks that i play on to weak of reeds. What are the pros and conns of going up in reed strenth
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
For me the difference between higher strength reeds and the ones I use now is that the higher strength reeds are harder to blow, they are stuffier, make the low notes difficult, and the high notes louder.

Don't be caught up in the reed-strength-chase. Your reed strength is not a mark of manliness, although how well developed your embouchure is will be a factor. As an example, my 50+ years of playing has allowed me to develop an embouchure that allows me to play strong and clear with soft reeds (that and proper mouthpiece selection).

But more importantly, once you find the correct reed strength and design for your mouthpiece (and embouchure) it will all become clear to you. Your tone will improve, low, mid and high-end response will be pro-like, and your intonation will improve. It is like coming out of the dark into bright light.

Now, if your band director is a woodwind specialist (not a trumpet player or drummer, etc.) and tells you that you may need a stronger reed, then he may be on to something. It is easy enough to sort out - buy a few boxes of various cuts (in addition to the VD Traditionals, try Javas or ZZ, etc., or other brands) and various strengths going up a half-step at a time.

You may also want to teach yourself how to adjust your reeds - plenty has been posted here and elsewhere about that technique. You can make every reed in the box a superb player by some judicious scraping of the vamps with a sharp knife. Your problem may be just coming across dull reeds (reeds are notoriously inconsistent). Once you learn to prep them and adjust them, you'll be surprised at how much better they play and you sound. DAVE
 
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