Pay attention please——This is very important. The reed is the most important factor to getting a great sound. That means finding the right cut, brand, and size reed to give you the right response/feel, and desired color palette you desire. Don’t be against trying certain brands and cuts of reeds on my mouthpieces even if you have hated them on other mouthpieces. That would be a huge mistake.
I seem to be the only mouthpiece guy talking about the importance of reeds, and how they can color your sound and effect the response of the mouthpiece dramatically. Color your sound warmer or brighter with the correct reed choices for yourself. My saxophone mouthpiece designs are so unique, that reed selection allows you the opportunity to truly customize the sound color you desire from my mouthpieces. It’s crucial for you to understand reeds better in order to get the most out of your mouthpiece. Reed choice makes all the difference with my saxophone mouthpieces, so picking out a reed is much more than just getting the correct size for yourself. Put a Vandoren blue box reed on my Robusto mouthpiece and it will warm it up greatly. Put a Select Jazz on, and it will give it more life and power. Put a Rigotti reed on and it will make it just about the brightest with most punch that it can get.
Pick the right reed brands that give you the response and color you want from your mouthpiece. You can totally customize your sound to your particular needs with the proper reed choices. If you always use a certain size and brand reed with your mouthpiece, and then you get a 10MFAN mouthpiece, you may find that reed too soft, too hard, too warm, or too bright with my mouthpiece. Its very important to treat each mouthpiece on an individual basis, and find the proper reed set-up that gives you what you desire, even if its not what you have gotten used to using on your current mouthpiece. My mouthpiece facings are so incredibly efficient and you will see what I mean when you try them.
We don’t need 20 mouthpieces by one mouthpiece maker to cover 20 different shades of darker and brighter. I also feel strongly that people need to stop running to their mouthpiece refacer when they want their sound slightly darker/brighter. What would be most effective, is for players to learn how to use reeds to their advantage. In my tenor mouthpiece categories, I offer a focussed and spread option for each of my 3 categories. This makes things so much more simple and effective, than the way anyone else has their mouthpieces set up.
There is nothing more important for a great sound, than the right reed. It all starts with a great reed. Reeds are more important to your sound than a great saxophone or mouthpiece! If you have an $8000 saxophone, and a $500 mouthpiece along with a bad reed…you won’t sound good. 🙂
Be open minded please. Countless players are finding that certain brands they never liked before, sound great on my mouthpieces. My mouthpieces are incredibly reed friendly.
Vintage mouthpieces and many other modern mouthpieces I’ve played don’t offer as much of a variety in tonal colors even with reed changes, so I wanted to make sure that mine did. You need to be aware of this and have fun “fine-tuning” what you want to get from my mouthpieces. This may be a new concept for you, as I have discovered many people don’t know about this stuff.
Reed choice and ligature choice can really take care of brighter/darker variances on my mouthpieces to a far greater extent than many people realize. Try different strengths of reeds, different brands and cuts, and try different ligatures. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to alter your sound brighter/darker by a very large degree, based on reeds and ligatures alone. My facings are so efficient, that even if you play a 2 1/2 reed on your 8 tip rubber mouthpiece, you may find that a 3 reed works fantastic on mine. (You may enjoy a 2 1/2 still—but you need to be open to all the sizes, cuts, and brands out there). With all the reed companies out there, it’s like a great big buffet—so go have some fun with reeds again!
The saxophone reed comparison charts on the internet are a fantastic resource for getting you zoned in on your correct size. iI you find your mouthpiece a little warmer than you wanted, than go to brighter cut reeds and visa versa. theres alot of tweaking and customizing you can do with reeds to help you achieve your goals. if you play a Selmer Mark VI and your Robusto mouthpiece is perfect for you with a Rico Royal reed, but its too dark sounding on your martin with that same reed set-up—–just change to Rigotti, Gonzales, or V16 reeds and you’ll get more pop on your Martin.
It’s all about fine tuning to get what you want and deserve from your sound.
What I recommend is:
1. Find the perfect size reed for yourself on a certain brand.
2. Go to the reed comparison charts on the internet and see which other brands are perfectly matched for your size preference.
3. Try out different reed brands to give you the brightness or warmth, and response that you want.
So many reed choices to help you get the color and response you desire from your mouthpieces.
Don’t look at reeds as being a nuisance—look at it the opposite way, and realize that reeds are there to help you color your sound your way. Lots of choices so you need to find what works best for you and your individual needs. You need to experiment with different cuts to see what best fits your mouthpiece and sound concept for you. You just need to experiment and find what works best for you. Many experienced players can change a lot of the brightness/darkness thing by altering the way they blow their airstream, and simply getting to know reeds will make a huge difference for you and offer you far more opportunities with sound colors.