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Using #1 reeds now

#1
So I got my box of RICO 1's from amazon on Friday (after I was told that nobody makes #1 reeds). I slapped one on my new mouthpiece (http://www.woodwindforum.com/forum/showthread.php?4834-New-MPC-made-based-on-Cody-s-experiments),

and it was instant delight! I believe I have a perfect match between the instrument, MPC, and reed. Played 2 octaves, in pitch, effortlessly. And I love the tone with the softer reeds. Now I know what those Romanians are talking about.

George
 

Groovekiller

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#3
There is no shame in using soft reeds. If it solves the problem, do it. I heard a rumor that Don Menza used number 1 or number 1 1/2 reeds with very big mouthpieces. When I ordered a mouthpiece from him in 1975, he recommended huge tip openings, so I tend to believe the story. I don't disagree with Mr. Menza and I also use big mouthpieces with softer reeds.

Plas Johnson (Pink Panther) reputedly uses a huge Berg Larsen mouthpiece with Baritone sax reeds. It's not internet information. I have a close friend who sat next to Plas on a Henry Mancini gig, and they discussed mouthpieces and reeds at length. I think the tip opeming of Plas' tenor mouthpiece was .150.

Using a baritone sax reed is very similar to using a very soft tenor reed. On bass sax, I use baritone reeds sometimes if the mouthpiece will tolerate it. I bought tons of number one baritone reeds (cheap) on ebay for bass sax because nobody else was interested, and they play great. Remember, ancient (1920s) bass sax mouthpieces require reeds even wider than the new Vandoren bass sax reeds. Only Rico Contrabass clarinet/bass sax reeds, or Marca bass sax reeds, or Legere bass sax/contrabass clarinet reeds will work

My best advice - Stop following the advice of self appointed "experts" on the internet. Try everything you can get your hands on, especially at a low price, and make your own decisions. Only you know the level of your playing, your experience, and what suits you. Reeds are such a personal thing, it's impossible to get relevant advice on the internet.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#4
Relax Groovekiller. I was just having a bit of fun with my friend George. I used to play 1 1/2 reeds on my .110/0 Berg tenor piece. My joking was more about liking the tone of the Romanian ethnic players. If you have heard any of the recordings, you know what I mean. As far as referring to me as a self appointed "expert" on the internet, you are free to think what you like. At least I have learned to disagree with others without giving them a label.
 

Gandalfe

Admin and all around good guy.
Staff member
Administrator
#5
I try to not give advice, first because I'm a hobbyist and secondly because it's not usually appreciated. If the the player sounds good, I leave them alone. If they can't get their instrument to speak or be in tune and they are in a group I'm performing with, I offer help. I have yet to be turned down in those limited situations. I do know that on the internet, people can't read your body language so *everything* can seem a little more harsh than intended.
 
#6
Relax Groovekiller. I was just having a bit of fun with my friend George. I used to play 1 1/2 reeds on my .110/0 Berg tenor piece. My joking was more about liking the tone of the Romanian ethnic players. If you have heard any of the recordings, you know what I mean. As far as referring to me as a self appointed "expert" on the internet, you are free to think what you like. At least I have learned to disagree with others without giving them a label.
John, I understood perfectly what you meant of course, it's all in good fun! I don't think Groovekiller was referring to you specifically. I do know the general trend of encouraging using harder reeds to train solid embouchure. I will gladly take your advice on anything related to reed instruments.

The Romanian sound is definitely an acquired taste and not for everyone:)
 
#7
Thanks Groovekiller. I agree with your advice on experimentation. Cool history there, I learned some things!

John and Toby have discussed mouthpieces and reeds in other threads, so it's all good. The ultra soft reeds with open mouthpieces seem to be a Romanian thing, but more generally a Balkan thing. There is a Greek-Turkish clarinet forum where they talk about methods to work #1 reeds even thinner. It's more about style than skill - even though I myself am a beginner.

For an example of what John is talking about, check out this cat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeWzWYBcTLk
Not for everyone's ears, but it works for mine:)

On the other hand, Hungarians use harder reed on the tárogató. In fact, one of the main makers in Budapest specifically says on his website that he wants customers to start on Vandoren 2.5's and up on the new instruments he sells.

George
 

kymarto

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#8
Thanks Groovekiller. I agree with your advice on experimentation. Cool history there, I learned some things!

John and Toby have discussed mouthpieces and reeds in other threads, so it's all good. The ultra soft reeds with open mouthpieces seem to be a Romanian thing, but more generally a Balkan thing. There is a Greek-Turkish clarinet forum where they talk about methods to work #1 reeds even thinner. It's more about style than skill - even though I myself am a beginner.

For an example of what John is talking about, check out this cat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeWzWYBcTLk
Not for everyone's ears, but it works for mine:)

On the other hand, Hungarians use harder reed on the tárogató. In fact, one of the main makers in Budapest specifically says on his website that he wants customers to start on Vandoren 2.5's and up on the new instruments he sells.

George
Well I have to admit that Romanian playing is not to my taste. Basically Romania weaponized the tárogató, and it shows in the playing style, which sounds to my ears like a cross between a giant kazoo on steroids and a buzzsaw cutting through tin sheeting. I believe that it was that playing style that caused the instrument to be banned in Romania... What is interesting is that they play the saxophone in the same way, so it is not really the fault of the poor tárogató.

The Chinese have a similar horror called the suon'a which is basically an oboe that is played without any reed damping, the dynamics ranging from very raucous to extremely raucous. The tárogató played with a very soft reed has a similar lack of nuance, and was essentially used to scare the enemy. Shock and awe...Interesting to note that the suon'a was used to encourage soldiers in battle, as was another undamped reed instrument, the bagpipes. So these two "musical" instruments and the Romanian tárogató were primarily developed as martial devices used to inflame passion in the heat of battle. Not your best choices for creating meditative music to energize the higher chakras :)

Alright, I am being a little mean, but I do find it a shame in the sense that with a classical mouthpiece and harder reed, the tárogató has a wonderful dark, English horn-like tonal quality, which cannot be emulated by its vulgar cousin the saxophone. But hey, whatever floats your boat--I believe that consenting adults in their own home have the right to play the tárogató in any way that turns them on, although I must say that I am 62 and still have excellent hearing, which I attribute in large part to playing the tárogató with nothing softer than a 2.5 reed ;)

Also, I could never do that to my cat.
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#9
Thanks for a good laugh Toby. My concept of the perfect tárogató sound is "Assai-Zimmerwald"played by Gerrit Boeschoten. I am reasonably certain he does not use a #1 reed.
 
#11
"Romania weaponized the tárogató, and it shows in the playing style, which sounds to my ears like a cross between a giant kazoo on steroids and a buzzsaw cutting through tin sheeting"

^^ Possibly the most fitting description. Thanks for articulating it for me Toby.

A little correction though: Taragot was never banned in Romania. It was for some time banned in Hungary, because it is a patriotic instrument for Hungary, and that didn't fly under Austrio-Hungarian rules.

The tárogató is actually originally a Hungarian instrument. Invented by the same cat that invented the modern cimbalom (Josef Schunda). Much like the cimbalom, Romanians weaponized it later:)

I love all of it, personally, though some of the slow melancholic tárogató playing, while loved by Hungarians, tends to sound like a soundtrack to a coma.

The "Made in Hungary" video - I posted that a while ago. In there he stresses how everything must be extremely accurate. I don't get the whole soaking in paraffin oil before putting a top coat on (shellac I suppose?). I don't know how they avoid adhesion issues. This maker is the one I'l most likely buy a new instrument from, if I was shopping for one.

Oh yeah, my cats normally hate the taragot! When they see me take it out of the case, the immediatelly leave the room. But recently my wife and I noticed that with the softer reeds, they tend to tolerate it better.

They like the cimbalom though!

G

 

kymarto

Content Expert/Moderator
Staff member
CE/Moderator
#12
"Romania weaponized the tárogató, and it shows in the playing style, which sounds to my ears like a cross between a giant kazoo on steroids and a buzzsaw cutting through tin sheeting"

^^ Possibly the most fitting description. Thanks for articulating it for me Toby.

A little correction though: Taragot was never banned in Romania. It was for some time banned in Hungary, because it is a patriotic instrument for Hungary, and that didn't fly under Austrio-Hungarian rules.

The tárogató is actually originally a Hungarian instrument. Invented by the same cat that invented the modern cimbalom (Josef Schunda). Much like the cimbalom, Romanians weaponized it later:)

I love all of it, personally, though some of the slow melancholic tárogató playing, while loved by Hungarians, tends to sound like a soundtrack to a coma.

The "Made in Hungary" video - I posted that a while ago. In there he stresses how everything must be extremely accurate. I don't get the whole soaking in paraffin oil before putting a top coat on (shellac I suppose?). I don't know how they avoid adhesion issues. This maker is the one I'l most likely buy a new instrument from, if I was shopping for one.

Oh yeah, my cats normally hate the taragot! When they see me take it out of the case, the immediatelly leave the room. But recently my wife and I noticed that with the softer reeds, they tend to tolerate it better.

They like the cimbalom though!

G

My apologies--I thought it was Romania which banned it...Schunda, the story goes, had his sensibilities offended by the saxophone--made of metal with those big holes and covered with ugly keys, so he developed the instrument based on a clarinet with the bore of a soprano sax, and named it after the old tárogató--a keyless double reed instrument looking suspiciously like a Chinese suon'a without the metal bell. I don't imagine he had the Romanian playing style in mind, but then I guess sax never could have predicted that his baby would end up where it did, sounding like it does...
 

jbtsax

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
#15
An entire ensemble of "pitch approximators". I haven't heard that sound since I quit teaching beginning band. :)
 
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