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 Legere Reed Observations
Author: Anonymoose 
Date:   2019-03-22 06:24

I've switched to Legere synthetic reeds, mainly the European cut, due to the inconsistencies of cane, and also not wanting to worry with the weather/humidity/etc. After using them for around 7-8 months, I've observed some interesting but disconcerting things that'll like to share to make sure I'm not paranoid or hallucinating.

For one; I've found that Legere reeds do not all play the same, and they vastly differ from each other. Some are light, some are playable, some are really good, and some just don't sound out at all. I've learnt that it is better to try a bunch of the synthetics of the same strength at a music shop, then purchase the ones that sound and respond well.

Two; reeds of the same cut, and strength (disregarding how they play) can actually come in different lengths? I find that some are a little shorter/longer than others and maybe that affects the strength? I don't know, but visually they're not exactly the same length (vertically).
On youtube theres a Legere video demonstrating how the reeds are made, and you can visually see that the synthetic blocks are not completely parallel to each other when it gets cut. Maybe this is why?

Three; the synthetic material has changed? I find that Legere changed the materials that the synthetics are made out of, and that the newer ones (they still have strength stickers, not the new new ones with printed strengths) have a scalier texture when you run your finger down the back of the reed compared to the older ones which are smooth and not as translucent. The newer ones with the scalier texture, IMO, are flatter in intonation and sound, have a slight delay in response, and are a tad harder. This is true with most of the reeds with the newer scalier material.
I don't think it's due to my old legeres being played in because various different music shops that I went to had both kinds (the new and old ones). I didn't purchase a single one of the scalier/newer legeres.

I'm not trying to put down Legere, I'm just stating my observations and sharing with the community my thoughts I've had for a while and was wondering if anyone else had these experiences?

Thanks and Cheers

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-22 07:22

Well in a I have been using the Legere European Signature and the Signature Soprano Saxophone reeds for the past three years. Local stores are not good about carrying these in the States so I have been purchasing the latest and greatest versions through Amazon, and some online stores. The only time I ran into any issue at all was with a small batch that I got from Weiner via Amazon. That stock was old and none of those reeds played particularly well.....I invoked the Legere exchange on those.

But the rest of MY experiences have been the polar opposite of yours. I have not found ANY inconsistencies of size or shape at all. In fact the playing consistency has been amazing. If I were to be really picky about it, within a group of four (my usual purchase at any given time) there may be one of the the group slightly softer (or slightly harder) than the other three but not enough to cause any issue of playability or a problem using them all in a "power rotation."

My only suggestion would be to purchase through Amazon (you can refund ANYTHING with them), or a reliable large retailer (no refunds of course) such as Woodwind Brasswind, or

Also I have pretty much narrowed my use to the Signature Soprano Saxophone reeds which are bit harder (need to come off the strength you'd use for European Signature at least a quarter strength) and a bit brighter in sound (another plus given plastic can sound a bit dull compared side by side with cane).

As you say, Legeres play a bit low. I believe that has to do with plastic not being as compliant as cane and not allowing for the vibrations to be as fast.

......................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: mdj 
Date:   2019-03-22 17:05

Interesting experience and thanks for sharing. You have much to compare since you've been using them for a long while.

I 'tested' them (classic cut) a few years ago and didn't care for them so I stuck with cane.

Recently though I tried the Euro Sig's and have been having good luck. I will agree they are not 'totally' the same, but given then fact they are man made (synthetic or not) there's going to be differences. I think (hopefully) those differences will be less than cane.

I received one from Legere on the exchange program of the very number I do use (3.25) and I can tell you it wasn't playable. Not at all. I called and they told me their 'quality tolerance' is an 8th in variance. The one I received was WAY more than 8th. It was much harder than the 3.5 I returned. Fortunately they are sending me another without any issue or request that I return the one they originally sent.

I have 3- 3.25's that all play similarly (but not identically) that greatly reduce the variables involved with cane (at least for me).

My daughter is using the 3 Euro Sig - she has 3 of them - they all play consistently well for her.

At this point, the little troubles I do have with Legere Euro Sigs, are much easier to deal with than cane. So for now, I'm sticking with it.

Post Edited (2019-03-22 22:26)

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-22 19:06

I've been using them on bari sax for pretty much exactly four years now. Absolutely no issues besides getting used to the different feel of them and as I had the one reed instead of rotating it with another one or two, it was fraying at the sides from fatigue which is to be expected if you consider how much punishment it'll get in the normal course of playing.


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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-22 22:03

That's an interesting observation (for the rest of us) Chris. I would think that much larger reeds may go through more physical brutishness over the course of time. When I started this plastic quest three years ago Bas DeJong of Viotto mouthpieces sent me an old reed that he used in the symphony for years just to give me something to try. It still plays like a new Legere(though I do not play it regularly....just intermittent comparisons now and then) !!!!

My latest rotation is perhaps six months old (I should keep more accurate records). The latest packaging I am familiar with is the individual cardboard box (with the cellophane windows) that have the perforated tabs at the bottom to open quickly. I'd love to know if the packaging has been updated since my last order.

...............Paul Aviles

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-23 00:33

I recently bought Legere Signature reeds for everything else (most sizes of sax and clarinet that is) and enjoying their immediate playability and sound. I now have a bag full of cane reeds gathered up which I haven't used and they're pretty much redundant, leaving my cases looking empty without all the boxes of spare reeds I kept in the compartments. I use Signature 2 on all my saxes (except sopranino as I've got to get one for that).

I use an alto sax 3 on basset horn/alto clarinet and a Signature 3 bass clarinet reed on bass which play much better than the cane reeds I was using.

As for soprano clarinets I'm using Signature European cut 3.25 and have found the throat notes are now flatter, so I've had to use a slightly shorter barrel to compensate so I'm not having to lip them up to pitch.

On Eb clarinet I use a Studio 2.5 which I thought was too soft (I bought it for sopranino sax but it's too hard for that) and the 3 I bought with intention of using on Eb clarinet (which I find too hard) works nicely on Oehler system as the width and length of scrape is near on identical to a German Bb clarinet reed - only the heel is shorter but that's not an issue.

And for oboe too - I no longer need a water pot when playing oboe that usually gets spilt when I or someone else knocks it over as well as not needing to carry around a case full of reed tools - except when playing cor as I'm just waiting for the day plastic cor anglais reeds ago public.


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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2019-03-25 03:19

Chris, you are using the Legere Euro oboe reed? I know this is the clarinet board but I've still not heard good things about the oboe reeds, or I would have bought one. Much money for a reed that so far has not a good reputation.

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2019-03-25 15:04

EaubeauHorn wrote:

> Chris, you are using the Legere Euro oboe reed? I know this is
> the clarinet board but I've still not heard good things about
> the oboe reeds, or I would have bought one. Much money for a
> reed that so far has not a good reputation.

I play European short scrape oboe reeds and the MS (green O-rings) plays like a dream. Yes they are expensive to buy, but they will last infinitely longer than a cane reed, so that longevity aspect of them has got to be put into perspective.


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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: sax panther 
Date:   2019-03-25 20:00

I've recently switched to euro cut on both Bb clarinet and tenor sax. The only issue I've had is that the clarinet one was a bit softer than I expected, from looking at the strength comparison chart (I got a 3.25) on my usual mouthpiece. I'm using it on a more open one at the moment, but will order a harder one.

I only have the one reed for clarinet at the moment, but I have two for tenor sax (both 2.5 signature) and they both feel exactly the same to play. I haven't yet had chance to try these tenor reeds on bass clarinet yet, but based on my experience so far I expect the results will be really good.

I'll also be looking switch on sop and alto sax eventually, but I've got a whole box of cane on each of those to get through first.

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2019-03-26 19:54

Legere all the way - I've stopped using cane and couldn't be happier with that decision, given that I avoid any form of extra hassle. I've too observed this fraying issue, and on bass clarinet, this might've had something to do with the thick string I used as a ligature - I suspect it roughened the edges of the plastic. Now with a normal ligature, this issue seems to be gone. Also, my reed was replaced for free despite having been used for 6 months or so.
Effectively, I use exactly one reed each for my bass and soprano. The signature european cut seems quite superior for both.

Some tenor/bari saxes and my bc colleague in our local orchestra claimed they're more fatiguing to play than wooden reeds, which I find hard to believe, though. You might have to chose a softer strenght compared to cane reeds.

Legeres do play lower; Chris P's explanation makes a lot of sense. Surprisingly, my pitch on bc has gone up for some reason, despite playing the exact same setup.

If possible, I'm resolved not to start any discussions on whether the sound is better or not in the outside world. For me, the overall perfomance is significantly better, and thus the sound. More experienced or skilled people might get that tiny bit of extra brilliance out of their specially selected one-in-a-hundred cane reed - I don't. I feel there's a lot of bias regarding this topic, and people generally have a rather conservative stance on the clarinet's "resonating parts". A pro clarinetist sent me his recordings of various pieces, played on cane and on plastic reeds, and I definetely couldn't tell the difference. In fact I found him to be better sounding on a recording where he used the signature cut reeds. Now there are obviously other factors involved too, but I bet one cannot hear a negative difference as easily as one would think (if any!).

Best regards

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Date:   2019-03-27 04:59

My experience with Euro Sig clarinet reeds is that it is extremely difficult to produce a soft entrance (eg opening of Weber Concertino). Could it be that I am simply using too hard a Reed?


Greg Baker

😀 "Hey! I got nothing to do today but smile."
-Paul Simon

Post Edited (2019-03-27 05:00)

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-27 05:31

My first thought is......YES. Oddly, if you start off too hard on the scale of what would work for you on your mouthpiece, the Legere European Signature Bb clarinet reeds (and the "sister" Signature Soprano sax reeds) just come of unresponsive and (if it were cane) "soggy." Also if you decide to try the Signature Soprano Saxophone reeds you'll need to take that down another quarter strength off the strength that will ultimately work with the European Signatures.

The hunt for the right strength is a bit of a process but well worth the effort. Order a passel of different strengths through Amazon (returnable) and give yourself a week or so to get to a point where you say to yourself, "Hmmm I wish this was just a bit harder."

My first reaction to those that were too soft was, "wow this is great!" Then in about two hours (or four days for harder strengths) they would sort of collapse on me.

...................Paul Aviles

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-03-27 07:42

Yes, there is definitely a sort of break in process. I find after the initial break in, it warms up pretty quickly from that point on. It softens a bit, and then it is stable.

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2019-03-27 17:34

sax panther, euro cut for tenor sax? I didn't know they were making them at this time.

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: fugue1 
Date:   2019-03-27 18:40

I switched to Legere Reeds about a year ago (saxophone mainly, contra bass clarinet too). Cane contra reeds are a pain-- it was so nice to play on a reed that responded--I used a standard 2.5 and found it quite responsive. For alto it has been amazing.

One peculiarity I have noted is that my Legere reeds seem a bit pickier about excatly where they are placed on the mouthpiece. Sometimes I need to make a very slight adjustment after the first few notes--then everything is a-okay.

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 Re: Legere Reed Observations
Author: sax panther 
Date:   2019-03-28 12:59

Hi Tucker - no, normal signature on tenor sax, and euro cut on clarinet for me at the moment. As you say, I don't think euro cut is available on sax. The signatures on tenor are great - I did try a normal signature on clarinet a while ago but didn't get on with it - it may have been a bit hard though.

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