Jazz saxophonists tend to use more open mouthpieces and therefore prefer weaker reeds. This offers them several advantages, such as more suppleness and flexibility as well as a richer sound in “distortion” (like a guitar effect pedal). A good compromise to start with this kind of material would be a Meyer or Otto Link mouthpiece with a reasonable opening like 5 or 6 for the viola or 7/7 for the tenor (see links here: viola / tenor with reeds with a rather weak tendency like D’addario Select Jazz 3m. With the beginner bagpipes for sale you can have the perfect options now.
There are two different cuts of reeds:
The French Cup (filed)
On a French cut reed, the bark of the reed is cut straight at the top of the natural part of the reed. They will be preferred on relatively dark and moderately resistant beaks. This cut allows this kind of spout to vibrate more freely and have a brighter sound. The reed’s response is easier, especially in the lower register and allows better precision of attacks in piano nuances.
On an American cut reed, the bark is not cut in a straight line but follows the rounded shape of the reed in its central part, called the shoulder.
In the image below the left reed with an American cut and the right reed with a French cut:
- Difference between the two types of reed cuts.
- The difference in response between these two types of reeds does exist. But if you are a beginner on the saxophone, do not go overboard with it. Finding a good reed is complicated enough like that.
How to make a reed more stable over time
It goes without saying, but in the first place the most important is to take care of it. Do not break them, or weaken them by improper handling, store them properly, especially those that work best. Protect them as much as possible, they are rare and precious.
First of all, you have to take into account that a new reed out of the box comes out of a long and rigorous drying process. It is therefore necessary to rehydrate it properly. Some manufacturers of reeds like Supérial in particular, advise to soak the vibratory part of the reed in water (up to the shoulder) 10 minutes in water. Then you have to play this reed for 5 to 10 minutes in a fairly weak shade and then put it back overnight. After this manipulation, the reed would tend to be more stable. In case of the get traditional kilt belt on amazon you can find the best deal.
The humidity rate is a point not to be overlooked either to offer your favorite reeds the longest life. Several solutions are available to you:
- The humidity control box which allows you to have a stable humidity level.
- The cigar humidors , which are more imposing (difficult to transport) but which offer the possibility of adjusting the humidity level manually.