Absolute Beginner

Absolute Beginner

    
Absolute Beginner    14:25 on Saturday, May 26, 2018          

ChrisSmithUK
(13 points)
Posted by ChrisSmithUK

Hi everyone, I am an absolute beginner sax player. I live in the New Forest in the UK.
I started playing 18 days ago, and I'm loving it. I have a quick question - How long should a reed last?
I have a 1.5 reed, and I practice for 30-40 minutes twice a day. My reed seems ok still, but I wondered what everyone else finds?


Re: Absolute Beginner    15:47 on Friday, June 1, 2018          

Pennsin
(2 points)
Posted by Pennsin

Hi Chris! I started playing alto sax in September of 2017. When I first started I played a 2 strength reed (rico). Then, about two weeks later I changed to 2 1/2. That box of ten reeds lasted for around a month. The next box I got was a 2 1/2 Vandoren and it lasted about 1 month and a half. I kept buying Vandoren reeds after that. I changed to a Yamaha 5C and a Vandoren 3 strength (this was around 6 months of playing) after. Now, I just finished 6th grade and my Band director said I could be in jazz band if I play bari sax. For bari I use a Yamaha 5C, a Rovner ligature, and a 2 1/2 strength Vandoren reed.


Re: Absolute Beginner    15:51 on Friday, June 1, 2018          

Pennsin
(2 points)
Posted by Pennsin

I forgot to say but one reed lasts 20-25 hours of practice for me. I always switch between 3 different reeds. Reed#1 on Monday Reed#2 on Tuesday Reed#3 on Wednesday Reed#1 on Thursday Reed#2 on Friday Reed#3 on Saturday, and Sunday. Then I just repeat the cycle. Also, remember that in a box of ten reeds, around 2-3 will suck. I normally get around 4-5 amazing reeds, and 2-3 okay reeds.


Re: Absolute Beginner    16:00 on Saturday, June 2, 2018          

RavenSax
(3 points)
Posted by RavenSax

Hey Chris, even though you are a beginner, I would use 2 or 2.5 strength reeds, as that will allow you to easily hit all of the notes on the range of the sax. This will help you improve your sax skills.


Re: Absolute Beginner    01:58 on Monday, June 4, 2018          

ChrisSmithUK
(13 points)
Posted by ChrisSmithUK

Hi Pennsin - thanks for that - yes I found my first reed lasted about 25 hours of practice - which matches what you said.


Re: Absolute Beginner    01:58 on Monday, June 4, 2018          

ChrisSmithUK
(13 points)
Posted by ChrisSmithUK

Thanks Ravensax!


Re: Absolute Beginner    11:06 on Friday, July 13, 2018          

MikeLansing
(9 points)
Posted by MikeLansing

By what criteria are these reeds considered to have "lasted," considered to have been "used up?"


Re: Absolute Beginner    10:24 on Monday, July 16, 2018          

ChrisSmithUK
(13 points)
Posted by ChrisSmithUK

Hi Mike - It's probably quite subjective. I have found that when I first start playing a reed it can sometimes be hard to get a good sound, and I have to concentrate on my embouchure more than usual. Then after maybe 3/4/5 hours of playing, spread over maybe 3/4/5 days, some reeds start to become easier, and I get a better sound.
Then, after about 20 - 30 hours or so, I have found that some reeds start to squeak more and more often. At that point I give up on the reed.
I am not super-analytical, so I can't say exactly how long each reed lasts, but this seems to be approximately true for me at the moment.

Chris


Re: Absolute Beginner    09:23 on Wednesday, July 18, 2018          

MikeLansing
(9 points)
Posted by MikeLansing

Hi Chris,

A reed holder will keep the shape, though interferes with natural drying of at least one surface of the reed. Perhaps a good idea to get technical here ($). I've played the same reed for weeks professionally. Removing saliva before it goes into the reed holder seems apropo (how far into the reed have have saliva and microorganisms penetrated?), because who wants saliva helping to break down the cellulose due to the organisms present? What is required is a tech sheet for reed numbers, the actual dimensions. Do these differ between reed numbers, or not?

I used a Dukoff D6 mouthpiece with a #5 Rico. If a 2.5 is thinner, there is more chance they will be broken down by other parameters than simply vibratory. In contrast, a #5 Rico can sound a concert bflat easily and softly after the embouchure becomes adjusted during the course of a few sets of playing.

Regards,
Mike


Re: Absolute Beginner    10:35 on Wednesday, July 18, 2018          

ChrisSmithUK
(13 points)
Posted by ChrisSmithUK

Thanks Mike :-)


Re: Absolute Beginner    08:25 on Monday, July 23, 2018          

MikeLansing
(9 points)
Posted by MikeLansing

One may save the 2.5 reed and according to 'embouchure-of-the-day,' replace it with a stronger one. In an attempt to expand the life of the 2.5, we would advise against aluminum reed holders. Most organisms throughout evolution have either tried to get rid of aluminum or sequester it in their tissues. The aluminosilicate hypothesis of Alzheimer's comes to mind. Apparently, no reed holders on the market have yet to address the issue of discoloration of reeds in contact with the surface of the holder: small holes drilled in say, a ceramic reed holder, would facilitate drying at this critical surface of the bamboo, or make your own. Flushing out salivary enzymes in/on the reed and an alcohol treatment should be part of drying experiments in extending reed life.


Re: Absolute Beginner    12:52 on Tuesday, July 24, 2018          

MikeLansing
(9 points)
Posted by MikeLansing

When one discards a reed, the fibers likely have not been examined under a microscope to (verify[italics]) any breakdown, which is a scientific problem akin to the Alzheimer's hypothesis we mentioned previously:

Marilyn S. Veselack, Arundo donax: The Source of Natural Woodwind Reed
https://www.idrs.org/publications/controlled/DR/DR2.1/arundo.html
'....silica cells....when the metal of the axe strikes the silica....'


   




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