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Monday
Jun182012

Légère Signature reeds

With the amount of practice time I anticipated for learning my way around the new saxophone and maintaining technique, I didn't want to deal with waterlogging and killing cane reeds left and right;let alone the hassles of going through a box or two just to find one or two good reeds to play on.

 Also, with my handicap, the hassle to taking the reed off and, resoaking it and putting it back on any time I stopped playing for a few minutes(such as in a lesson situation) was going to be too great.  So I decided during the two year wait time for my conversion that the best option was a synthetic reed.  I had the good fortune to attend the Clarinetfest convention the year Légère was just being introduced to the woodwind world.  I knew they were the best option out there as far as sounding and responding the most like cane reeds.

 

At the time I was deciding to go Légère, I had the other good fortune that they were just releasing their Signature line of reeds  for saxophones.  I waited a few months to start seeing testimonials from players on forums and such before taking the plunge and buying three reeds ( in strengths of 2.75, 3.0 and 3.25) I was only able to play on a mouthpiece and neck for about a year, but knowing the response I liked from that combination, I was able to tell that the 3.0 was the strength best suited for my mouthpieces and embouchure.  I still couldn't quite pass a judgement on the sound, not having the full horn to hear the total tone.  I can safely say that these Sigbature reeds really are the best analogue to cane reeds out there.  That one 3.0 that I had made it through a year of periodic tooting on the mouthpiece and neck plus three months of regular fairly heavy practicing after I got my horn.  Yes, one reed costs as much as a box of Vandorens, but it lasts far longer than you could get the one or two playable reeds.  

 I'm a convert to the Légère Signature reeds, and don't think I'll ever be able to be convinced to go back to cane.  There's jut too much uncertainty with them.  It may not play the same from morning to afternoon, much less day to day.  And if you travel from one climate region to another, you can bet with  near absolute certainty, that none of your cane reeds will play the same as you're used to, no matter how much time you've spent adjusting them with sandpaper and a reed knife.  There's also something to be said of the convenience of being able to pick up the horn after it's been sitting and play it right off.  no more fussing with a dry, warped reed.

 

 While I call myself a Legere disciple.  I have taken the position that I won't recommend them for students until they've "done their time" with cane reeds.  I feel it is still important for students to learn the qualities of good versus bad reeds and learn what works as far as the response and tone.  A good cane reed is hard to find but it's also hard to beat.

 

Update:1/30/13

I recently bought a box of cane reeds to give them a chance.  But I just couldn't do it.  Not one of them in the box was "good"; and most were unplayable (or very near it).  I'm not giving up entirely.  I will buy another box or two in time and try to  get into a pattern of rotation finding reeds while I have a usable reed or two.

 

Update 8/15/14

 

I take back that last update.  Having played for various groups, and doing a full recital in March, I've found that no one can  tell I'm playing a synthetic reed.  The only thing that could make me go back to cane reeds now would be if Légère flat out went out of business and the reeds were no longer available. My position regarding students "doing their time" with cane reeds does still hold.

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