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 Legere reeds
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-09 14:18

I know these reeds are decent. But they are made wrong. Yet players put up with this.

I read a post not long ago saying some mouthpiece companies make a few mouthpieces which are Legere friendly. Sorry but I had to laugh. This is so untrue. Am I going nuts? This can't be right. A few players send me their Legere reeds to fix. I fix them the very same way as I do with cane reeds. So this means to me Legere doesn't have what it takes to simply design a reed to fit all mouthpieces. Yes it's fine to have different models. I get that, but these models should all play. Why do I need to adjust these reeds for players? It's not my job! Come on Legere! Make them right. I must say when the reeds are balanced they play on all mouthpieces. So people don't go buy the Legere friendly mouthpiece. It's not out there, but the Legere reeds surely can be adjusted. Why should we have to? Make them right. They've been in business too long and its time to do this right.

Yes I know there are players who don't do anything to the reeds. But you should. They aren't cut right.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-09 16:03

I have to respectfully disagree quite vehemently.



The cut, thickness of tip, overall dimensions and type of plastic of the Legeres (and I refer pretty much to the Bb European Signatures and the Signature Soprano Saxophone reeds) all function together to make them work as close to cane as possible.



I find that they work on ANY good mouthpiece. The claim of "Legere Friendliness" is just as much a marketing ploy as "Dark Sounding" or any other subjective description of a piece of vulcanized rubber (or acrylic.......which by the way may be a superior material for mouthpieces).


As long as you know the basic facing dimensions of the mouthpiece that work for you, and you are willing to put in the time and effort (usually a couple of months to really get started from scratch) to find the correct strength of Legere, there should be no undue problem with them at all.




Now I am willing to admit that in a direct side by side comparison with a good broken-in cane reed, there is a bit more vibrancy in the sound to cane. But this difference is inconsequential to the advantages of constancy (particularly during unfavorable climate conditions) one gains with plastic.



But you have to put in the work. I compare this to changing systems (Boehm to Oehler). It can take a good six months just to get to the point where you are comfortable enough with the difference to BEGIN any true assessment.





I say it is worth it.





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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2019-11-09 17:17

In a very friendly manner, I am going to disagree with both posts.

I find the Bb Signature European reeds to be a major improvement. I am hard pressed to find cane reeds that can match their tone and flexibility.

Paul, I respect your opinion, but there really are some mouthpiece design characteristics which compliment and enhance the experience of playing on the European cut reeds.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
Grabner HiTech clarinet mouthpieces
New Buffet clarinets

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2019-11-09 17:39

Walter is right, IMHO.
The Legérè European Cut is a milestone in that it doesn’t lack anything compared to a cane reed - with the right mouthpiece, that is.
Now as far as makers here in Europe are concerned, if they specifically design a plastic reed mpc, it’s meant to be used with the European Cut reed (coincidence? Nah, I’d say it’s even better than the standard Signature)
What I found was that some mpcs work well with that reed, others don’t. It’s not like makers limit them to be used with Légères, but they accept them better than others. Some design features seem to play a role in that. Took me almost 2 years on the bass and the soprano to figure out what works best.

I’ve seen improbable mpc/reed combos that nevertheless work. And some others I’ve tried sounded horrible. Hard to put my finger on what makes or breaks a Légère friendly mpc. Walter surely knows these secrets and I respect the really talented makers out there a lot!
One may add: The material used plays an immense role too. Higher Quality (than Vandoren, for example) ebonite has a pretty huge impact, I’ve learned - in that it rounds and softens the tone, which seems counteract possible tendencies of plastic reeds. Though right now, I can’t say there’s anything like a “plasticy” sound coming from these reed.

Best regards
Christian

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-11-09 18:41

This sounds like a controversy that has going on for a hundred years. A reed/mouthpiece combination either works or doesn't and changing one or the other will make the combination either better or worse.

The best approach is to find a reed - brand/series/style/material that is consistent, then find a mouthpiece that works well with it.

Plastic or cane will vibrate differently, so what works for one player probably won't work for another.

My preference is cane, because I prefer the overtone color it produces. I have never been able to get the extreme high altissimo notes from any plastic reed.

If I never needed that range, I probably would prefer the plastic for the advantage it has in coping with weather extremes.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Bonnie 
Date:   2019-11-09 19:39

The other day I was going through a tool box with clarinet-related stuff when I came across a receipt from Legere for two Legere reeds, of differing strengths. It was dated February 19, 1999. If you wanted a Legere reed then, you had to order directly from Legere, and you didn't have the various cuts to choose from. I think I called them and ordered these, then sent a check. All that to say, I'm not new to Legere reeds, and I've played them on whatever mouthpiece I was using at the time. For the past several years I've played them primarily on a mouthpiece from a fellow who is well-known for his system for adjusting cane reeds. And Walter, back in the days when I ordered directly from Legere, one of my most-used mouthpieces was one you made for me when you were visiting your in-laws one Christmas. I've used it with both cane and Legere reeds.

I don't think I've ever met a cane reed I haven't had to do some work on to make it play the way I wanted (since I learned that was something you could do). On the other hand nearly all the Legeres I've bought played quite nicely out of the box. I've adjusted a few over the years, but adjustments have been minimal. I rotate a bunch of Legeres, just as I did a bunch of cane reeds when I played cane, but when I was playing cane, I always made sure I had one or two I could count on for a concert. With the Legeres, it's rare that I have to change out a reed during a rehearsal or performance.

I may just be lucky, but the Legere European Signatures work well for me and my mouthpieces.

bdskees@comcast.net

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-09 21:00

Well just to add a bit to what I do to the Legere reeds is measure the rails, the sides and adjust them. For the standard mouthpieces being made today, not people like Walter and myself, plus a few other talented mouthpiece makers and refacers, the width of the Legere reeds are too wide and the rails are too think. So people ask me to adjust them and I surely don't mind at all.

They then play very well, have a much better sound and easier to articulate. Sometimes playing softly with that sweet clarinet sound isn't there. I only get this from cane reeds. However, these reeds do work pretty well.

I still prefer cane. I make my own reeds lately and I have a good source of cane from the famous French area called the Var. What is special about this cane is the reeds hold up well and if you mess up when making a reed usually the reeds still play pretty darn well. The cane quality is the secret.

As a few people have said, not just in this post, but I did read other posts, is the way the reeds vibrate. Legere reeds can be a lot better. The vibrations of the reeds is what I feel is missing and also the spine can use a bit more material. But these reeds are hard to clip so you can fix the spine, the center of the reeds. Also known as the heart.

So back to mouthpieces for a second. If the sides of the Legere reeds are to thick and too wide, plus with the standard mouthpieces having rails that are too wide I feel the reeds need help. I also read that some players are using Soprano Sax reeds, Legere. I don't get this. These reeds are way to wide and make the clarinet sound a bit dull and muddy. That's not right. Do we want to play with dark muddy sounds or realize the need for projection. This isn't a question.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




Post Edited (2019-11-14 12:05)

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-11-09 21:29

I tried Legeres for a time and gave them a fair shot, using them in a variety of performance situations. I went back to cane and was much happier with the results.

In my experiences, I found them to be a bit inconsistent reed to reed and fussy about the set up on my mouthpiece. To my ears and feel, they did not have the ring, dynamics and flexibility that I get from cane. While some rave about playability, I found they changed a bit after about 20 minutes of playing. Part way through a rehearsal or longer gig they seemed tired and I often would need to swap them out.

I have heard many raves and have heard some players sound terrific using them. Whether it be that they did not really match my set up or that I am too set in my ways, but I found cane to be superior for my tastes.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-09 22:11

Bob Bernardo wrote:

> ...the width of the Legere reeds are too wide and the
> rails are too thick.
>
> They then play very well, have a much better sound and easier
> to articulate. Sometimes playing softly with that sweet
> clarinet sound isn't there. I only get this from cane reeds.
> However, these reeds do work pretty well.
>
> If the sides of the Legere
> reeds are to thick and too wide, plus with the standard
> mouthpieces having rails that are too wide I feel the reeds
> need help.

Bob, from a practical direction, what tools do you use to thin the rails? Do you use an emery board to narrow the reeds?

Legeres are already pretty thin (I have to pad my ligatures with mouthpiece patches to keep them in place). I've always assumed that the problems, or at least the differences between Legere and cane, were in the material itself. The strengths that sound full are really too soft and the ones that produce a more vibrant sound are also stuffy and take too much embouchure pressure to make them respond. Like many cane reeds on the market, they (including the Euros) don't taper enough toward the rails for my preferences, leaving a sort of bump - a boundary - about a quarter on an inch or a little more from the tip where it looks, when I flex it with my finger, like it's almost tiered, and where I suspect the reed stops vibrating well.

So, how exactly do you make the adjustments?

Karl

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: crusius 
Date:   2019-11-09 22:51

A single data point here: I have many European Cut reeds, from #3 to #4¼, having tried to make them work in a variety of mouthpieces - Vandorens M13L/M15/B40, Ridenour HW, Evolution X5. They played "well," but never really well enough to replace cane.

Walter's S3M-LE changed all that. Whatever he did to make the S3M "Legere friendly" worked. It sounds better than any cane/MP combination I have tried before. It has even changed the mind of others who were "never-plastic-reed people" until they heard my setup.

So it seems there is such a thing as a "Legere friendly mouthpiece," which really shouldn't be too surprising, as all mouthpieces are "friendlier" to some reeds than to others.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-10 00:01

There is a little confusion in this thread. The width of the Legere Bb European Signature reed is precisely the same as the width of the Legere Signature Soprano Saxophone reed. So I don't see how one could be unacceptably wide while the other is not.



Also, I assume that when the thickness is referred to above, the thickness is regarding the vibrating portion of the reed NOT the body of the reed that you secure to the mouthpiece with a ligature.


As for whether Legere works well for ALL mouthpiece dimensions is a matter that I personally cannot verify. I rely here on the playing of folks like Corrado Giuffredi. Everything about is sound and style says to me that he plays a more open system. Others that I know who use Legere successfully are like myself inclined toward shorter, smaller tip openings (or longer and smaller as in Germany). So there may be a tendency but it seems that others find them to work as well.





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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Hank Lehrer 2017
Date:   2019-11-10 01:45

I've noticed a funny thing about Legere reeds which I play on all my woodwinds. As soon as I take them out of a holder or new package, I put the reed in my mouth.

I guess "old habits really do die hard!"

HRL

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-11-10 01:59

Bob, I too would like to know what you are using to adjust the Legeres. I have some but always move to cane for performances due to the way they play.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour Libertas, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Behn Aria 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-11-10 10:13

I use a reed knife. Sometimes I get these little tiny fibers, fuzzy hairs, after adjusting them which stick out a tiny bit. But I just leave them alone. If my knife is really sharp the knife cuts these fibers off cleanly. It has to be sharp enough to shave with!

Sandpaper doesn't work as well for my tastes, a reed knife is more precise regarding the pinpointed area I want to remove plastic from. Also more fibers show up and stick out of the plastic reed.

Does this answer everyone's questions? If not I'll take a pic or 2 and post it.


Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: paulyb 
Date:   2019-11-10 17:59

Bob Bernardo wrote:

> Does this answer everyone's questions? If not I'll take a pic
> or 2 and post it.
>

A few pictures would be very welcome Bob if you're willing to share.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Slowoldman 
Date:   2019-11-10 19:26

I'll second that. Bob--Could you please show us 1) How you use the reed knife to narrow the Legeres; and 2) The areas at the sides of the reed that you thin.
Thanks!!!

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2019-11-12 08:00

First I have to say that the Legere European Cut is the first synthetic reed that played well enough to use in a performance. I recently played a reduction of La Boheme where the quick instrument changes required that I have both Bb/A ready to go at all times. The only way to accomplish this was to have mouthpieces with Legeres on each instrument.

If I find the right strength, I love the response, feel and sound. So for me, the problems are not ones of balancing the reed or adjusting its response on certain notes or in a particular range, it is getting the strength right.

I have found reeds anywhere from #3 - #3.5 that will play well for me. However, some #3s will play harder than a #3.5 and conversely. I recalled having read somewhere that someone suggested placing the reeds in boiling water to soften them.

I've been experimenting with using hot and cold water to adjust the strength. I heat a small dish of water for in a microwave for 30 seconds on high. I then dip the entire vamp of a reed that is too heavy (or that has a bit of edge to the sound) into the hot water for 1-3 seconds. (Typically, I actually repeat 1-second dips after playing the reed to ensure that I don't overdo things). This doesn't actually make the reed softer, but does seem to make it more "pliant" (its a subtle feeling). However, the results do seem to make the reed work better for me.

If I go too far with softening the reed, I have found that dipping it in ice-water for ~3 seconds seems to counteract the effect of heating to some degree and also quickens the response a bit.

Granted these are not (yet) scientific results, but they do suggest a strategy for adjusting the playing characteristics of these reeds without damaging the material by scraping, etc.

Perhaps there are others who have tried these or other techniques that may be viable.

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2019-11-13 23:29

Has anyone tried what is described here ?
"ReedGeek Black Diamond G4 Legere Reed Adjustment"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iStQVoaesPI&t=128s





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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2019-11-14 22:21

How do Legere actually grade their reed strengths, e.g. during or after manufacture.
For some months I have been trying these reeds on my bass clarinet, using Original, Signature and tenor sax varieties on a range of mouthpieces.

I have been a little surprised about a lack of strength consistency. For example I would expect a Signature 2 1/4 to be a tad stronger than a 2, but weaker than a 2 1/2 and so on. Frequently this is not the case, which is disappointing.

Surely with man made, moisture impervious material and modern measuring equipment one would expect more consistency.



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-14 22:38

Caroline,


Sorry to hear of your constancy problem. I have mostly done my work in the last two years with soprano clarinet and have not had any sort of problem like that at all.



One thing to keep in mind though is that every different cut/style of Legere has a different strength gradient. For example if you have been playing Studio Cut Tenor saxophone reeds and then move to the Signature Tenor saxophone reeds, you have to re-do your strength calibration (I don't recall what that was now for me since I only did one show on bass and stuck with a bunch that worked).



If you have access to Amazon, they take ANYTHING back for return and the strength journey is far less expensive that way. Otherwise yes, this is a time consuming and pricey process.




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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: fernie121 
Date:   2019-11-15 00:27

I have 8 Legere European cut reeds at strength 4. Every single one of them is wildly different from each other. And not just in strength.

Bb Clarinet: Ridenour Libertas, Mouthpiece: Bernardo’s 1940 Cicero Reeds: Behn Aria 4, Ligature: BG duo

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-15 01:16

Caroline Smale wrote:

> How do Legere actually grade their reed strengths, e.g. during
> or after manufacture.

Or maybe just to ask it a different way, how do they produce the differences in strengths?

With cane it seems the reeds are graded after they're cut, based on the natural stiffness of the individual piece of cane (as measured by whatever gauge the manufacturer uses). The actual dimensions of the profile are the same for all strengths.

With a synthesized product, there's no reason why the material's density or stiffness would change from one reed to another, unless they deliberately formulate the plastic differently to produce the variant.

So, my question is, do the strength differences result from varying the thickness and profile, or do they come from varying the stiffness of the plastic itself? Or (least likely, it seems to me) is the plastic itself so inconsistent as to explain the differences (in which case they'd probably grade them after production, like cane)?

Karl

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Anonymoose 
Date:   2019-11-15 02:17

I too find that the Legere's are way too inconsistent... and they're nearly $30...
Out of 10 that I've tried recently, only one has been performance level.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-15 02:19

Well, I feel that the strength is determined by BOTH the particular type of plastic AND the associated cut.



I have found very very little variation from Legere to Legere when considering the same type, cut and strength. I do not believe that mine is a singular experience, but I also want to leave room for those who who say they have experienced wide variation. It could be perhaps differences caused by one reed being produced much earlier than another but sold one after another. Or, perhaps in part a difference in age could contribute to some being shipped or stored at less than desirable temperatures (too hot or too cold?).



Bottom line though is that what I've ordered (and received in the States) from either Amazon or Woodwind Brasswind has been a superlative and consistent product.



Maybe we should post where these inferior reeds came from and get further to the bottom of this problem.




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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-11-15 03:16

Quote:

I too find that the Legere's are way too inconsistent...and they're nearly $30...
Out of 10 that I've tried recently, only one has been performance level.


That was one of the issues that I had when I used Legeres for a time. From reed to reed there was quite a bit of variance, both in strength and quality. That was a major deal breaker, which led me to determine that cane was a better choice for me.

FWIW- all were the same strength, same style and cut and purchased from reputable sources. I believe I ordered from Muncy Winds. I may have ordered from WWBW as well.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-15 08:07

Paul Aviles wrote:

> Well, I feel that the strength is determined by BOTH the
> particular type of plastic AND the associated cut.
>

FWIW, I've just measured a set of Euro Signatures - 3, 3.25, 3.5, 3.75, 4.0 - using a PerfectaReed dial gauge. I just randomly chose three different spots to measure on each of the reeds. The measurements at each spot were within .001" for all 5 reeds. Given more time, I could compare them at many more spots, but the three I measured suggest that these reeds are not cut to different dimensions. The implication is that the plastic is somehow differently constituted for different strengths.

Karl

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-11-15 15:18

When Guy first launched these reeds he made it clear that the strength was determined by the material not the dimensions (though his initial testing/demonstration kit had many sub-strengths, and may have had different profiles). This was to be the great advantage- once you found the strength that suited, you could guarantee duplicate reeds that had identical characteristics.
The main disappointment with this otherwise awesome product has been the lack of this identical duplication.
I've heard it stated many times that the strengths of Legere are inconsistent, and only once (from Paul above) have I heard a player claim they are accurate in the designation of strength. I can't imagine why this would be.
I used Legere exclusively for 18 months worth of performances and several recordings, and had great results. With cane I have a bit more stress, but also slightly better results. I'm a bit of a nerd, in that I actually LOVE the process of adjusting reeds... there is huge satisfaction in pulling out the knife and improving a reed.
Even when I was regularly playing Legere, and endorsing them to students and colleagues I was experiencing this variety of strengths, as did my students. A pity, but my decision to return to cane was not in any way connected with this.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-15 16:36

With the number of principal players and major soloists (and I refer to symphonic clarinet players) that use Legere exclusively I find it a bit amusing that I seem to be the only apologist in this moment for Legere.



If I came across any of the negative descriptions that I see in the above posts I would be the first one to trash the idea of synthetic reeds. There are OTHERS out there that are trash and I will leave it at OTHERS (pretty much any manufacturer that is NOT Legere). And I don't understand why I have not seen quite this much negativity around THOSE brands.


Anyway, I do appreciate that our community is diverse and can feel free to share all opinions. But I want to ensure newbies and those on the fence that the Legere experience can be successful for some (Wenzel Fuchs - Principal clarinet Berlin Philharmonic, Ricardo Morales - Principal clarinet Philadelphia Orchestra, Corrado Giuffredi - Principal clarinet Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana) including yours truly appearing occasionally in my living room practicing scales.





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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Ed 
Date:   2019-11-15 17:00

Donald says:

>I'm a bit of a nerd, in that I actually LOVE the process of adjusting reeds... there >is huge satisfaction in pulling out the knife and improving a reed.

I think I fall into that camp as well.

Not sure what that says about me!

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2019-11-15 18:08

I turn the variation into an advantage. If you buy several you can micrograde them. There are times I prefer a 3.25+ in my possession over a 3.25-, etc. if I have one that I never play as-is, I adjust it. They still have the advantage of lasting a long time.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-15 21:16

Paul Aviles wrote:

> With the number of principal players and major soloists (and I
> refer to symphonic clarinet players) that use Legere
> exclusively I find it a bit amusing that I seem to be the only
> apologist in this moment for Legere.
>

Well, the important point is whether or not they have to go through any number of reeds to find the ones they're willing to perform on. The issue here is consistency, not the ultimate quality of a good Legere.

I'd be interested in even a partial list of major players using Legeres. I know Ricardo Morales has been cited. I've heard within the past year or so that he has gone back to cane, but I have no way to confirm it. What other symphonic principal players and soloists are members of the Legere club? I don't ask that as a challenge. I really don't know.

Karl

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-15 21:26

Mojo wrote:

> They still have the advantage of lasting a
> long time.
>

Like cane reeds in the hands of students they sometimes are kept too long. They do wear out and get mushy eventually, but getting a student to switch one out for a new one is much harder at $27-$35 a pop than it is when the next reed comes from a box they already have. Not a critique of synthetic reeds per se, but maybe an unintended consequence for players (especially students) who don't have a good concept if what a reed should feel like.

Karl

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-15 22:14

Cost of Legere reeds is actually much less. You must consider length of use which is six months or more per Legere reed (given rotation amongst several Legeres). A box of ten cane reeds will last a month or two at the same price.






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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Anonymoose 
Date:   2019-11-16 04:16

The variation in strengths means that there is a problem with the quality of the synthetics. I find there are really good legere reeds that have a full supported sound and can last for months on end. And there are bad ones that sag in pitch and tone, making it unplayable (and they don't change because they're synthetics.... so you're stuck with a dud). Mind you, this is all within the same strength and cut.
Others have suggested changing to a shorter barrel but that doesn't fix the issue, as it is the actual tone quality that sags, which in turn affects intonation.

Previously when I bought the legeres from Amazon, I would receive used legeres (the box was open, and you can see the mouthpiece table opening imprint on the reed). I returned it and I'm glad for Amazon's return policy but that means that bad legeres are being recycled into amazon warehouses and some other person who orders it will get that one.

Honestly if it takes a number of legere reeds to find one that works, it's not worth it. With Legere's video on youtube, Guy boasts Legeres consistency and that the reed you buy today is the same one you buy a year from now. I really hope that will be the case oneday.



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-16 07:27

Ok, let me just provide my latest examples.


I determined a good reed strength for a particular mouthpiece (and how I play), and then purchased four new reeds of that strength to use in rotation. I can go through all four with really no adjustment necessary and get the same predictable performance.



As I have want to do, I then ordered a custom mouthpiece from Ben Redwine which came in just slightly more open than I thought. The current Legere I was using where usable but just a bit airy and had some control issues with articulation. The solution? I went down one quarter strength and all the negative issues cleared up! I then bought four more reeds one quarter strength softer and they in turn where consistent performers on the new Gennusa mouthpiece.



So that made eight reeds in a row that performed consistently within their parameters of strength as advertised.



Am I the ONLY one experiencing this wonderful performance from the Legere European Signature reeds?!!!?



Again, I swear to y'all that I am pretty picky about small details (as attested to my drawers filled with pretty much every ligature known to man).


I did NOT feel very positive about the original Legere Bb clarinet reed (still produced and called the "Classic"). The Quebec cut came the closest to working, but when Legere discontinued the production of that reed I complained mightily to everybody who would listen (and still do to some degree).







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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: igalkov 
Date:   2019-11-16 10:17

Hello everybody,

I play Legere Euros since spring, professionally, playing mostly second clarinet but sometimes first in various performances: operas, ballets, symphonic and pop concerts.

First of all: Legere doesn't send directly to Russia (shame on them) but exchange program works decently, so I don't get any complaints about cost or inconsistency. You've got a pack of messed up cane? Live with it. You've got a messed Legere? Send it back with no question asked and get a new one. It's not messed up, you just don't like something in it? Send it back. That's what I call "a service".

Second: they just NEED a proper mouthpiece to bloom. I thought it's "hmmm… ok" until a refacer of mine redone my D'Addario Reserve for Legeres. And yes, he keeps a secret what he did; I noticed he took off a lot of material from facing, so the table now is wide enough to perfectly fit extremely wide Legere reed. You know what: I never experienced better setup in my life, with no other reed/mpc combo. Never! Until I've got Behn mpc recently and played it with cane. The weather and humidity changes are awful here, so cane just doesn't play half a week. For me it's not a "first setup" and "backup setup", it's two interchangeable setups I use for different conditions: acoustics, music, weather, partners, etc. For today, I know I will play Legere in the mid-day performance and Behn mpc in the evening, and will not feeling I'm doing something "second best" in none of the situations.

Third: Legere sound thins out and becomes "plastic" to an end of an hour, so I don't think it's what they say in the adverts, "rotating prolongs their life" etc. Rotating just makes it playable at all. If I have a solo closer to an end of a 2-hour concert, I just need another Legere for a second hour or it would be awful. The first reed will be as new on the day after, but you can't do anything to make it playable in the same day when it dies to an hour's end.



Post Edited (2019-11-16 10:22)

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2019-11-17 19:50

Heat is what makes the Legere reed harder or softer during the manufacturing process. More heat, harder reed.

Guy Legere told me that this past Summer.

I’m playing Legeres full time - have for over 3 years now.

And yes there are Mouthpieces that are more Legere friendly than others. The Vocalise is a great example of that.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html


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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2019-11-18 00:04

DavidBlumberg wrote:

> Heat is what makes the Legere reed harder or softer during the
> manufacturing process. More heat, harder reed.
>

So, why is Legere's advice to dip the reed for a couple of seconds in boiling water to *soften* it?

Karl

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2019-11-23 06:21

"Am I the ONLY one experiencing this wonderful performance from the Legere European Signature reeds?!!!?

Again, I swear to y'all that I am pretty picky about small details (as attested to my drawers filled with pretty much every ligature known to man)."

No, you're not the only one. They're incredible reeds. But you also change your mouthpiece every month, so I'll happily follow the lead of the prominent players you mentioned.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-23 10:31

Hmmmm...........


I haven't mentioned ALL the mouthpieces I've been through in the last year......... are you a stalker?



:-)



So actually let me delineate what I have been using. My recent renaissance started when noticed that Walter Grabner had a "Chicago" facing. I had been seeking an experience I had many many years ago with a Frank Kasper mouthpiece and figured this shorter facing would be the ticket. I indeed found a great experience and bought two of them (need a back up of course).


Then I decided to ask Clark Fobes if he could shorten one of his already short facings to match what Grabner did. He in fact did and I eventually bought two of those (I need back ups as I mentioned before) because I got a little more "ping" out of those.


Then a friend of mine was cleaning out a bunch of old things she never planned on using again and was selling off eBay. One of the items was an old Hawkins R facing that was going cheap and I bought that because I thought I might want to try the Vocalise. Turns out the old Hawkins R is amazing and I bought another one of those (you know, back up) and found out the Vocalise is a piece of crap.


When I attended the ClarinetFest in Knoxville I ran into an old friend, Ben Redwine and realized that he custom makes mouthpieces (to whatever dimensions you want......now that's custom!!!). So I bought one of his Custom Gennusa Retros and it is AMAZING!!!! It turns out though I did have to do some embouchure retraining that took a little while to pull the best aspects of Ben Redwine's mouthpiece out. I have not bought a back up of that one.....yet.



But through all that (about a year and a half) I only wound up wobbling between the Legere European cut 3 1/2 vs. the Legere European cut 3 1/4 (where I am now).



I just did the math. It is actually a new mouthpiece every two and a half months



Still, you were damn close.





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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: mdj 
Date:   2019-11-23 14:48

"Am I the ONLY one experiencing this wonderful performance from the Legere European Signature reeds?!!!?

Not just you....

I have
- 4 of them in my clarinet reed case - 3 1/4
-3 of them in my soprano sax reed case - 2.75
- 3 of them in my tenor sax reed case - 2
- 3 of them in my alto sax reed case - 2

My daughter has 3 of them in her clarinet reed case - 3

I have a small bin full of various cane boxes that haven't been used in a couple of years, it seems.

Unless otherwise forced to, I am sticking with them.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: clarnibass 
Date:   2019-11-25 09:11

FWIW I just got a bunch of Legeres (mostly the European cut) and they are all significantly wider than several different reeds I've been using. I use one of those ligatures with a part slightly formed to fit over the reed. The Legeres are too wide, so it tries to touch the sides instead of going over. No issue with any other reed.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-25 18:21

Yeah, always worth passing along the warning!



I initially was using the Vandoren M/O ligature when I got my first Legere European Signature cut reeds. It's worth changing ligatures. The best easily accessible ligatures are the BG Duo and the Rovner Eddie Daniels (Versa).


I currently use the GF- MX 03M (for German clarinet) with the pouch on the reed side and the plate against the top of the mouthpiece.







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

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Djudy 
Date:   2019-11-29 19:32

For info, I recently ordered 2 Bb légère reeds from Thomann in Germany that have both turned out to be stuffy, but Thomann considers them 'consumables' and won't take them back (at least it's nice to know they don't resell the returns like Amazon does).

I have been using Légère for 2 years now and have appreciated their no-fuss clean playing quality so I'm disappointed. So what to do - try to send them back to the manufacturer (not easy given I'm in France) or try to 'adjust' them (and how)?





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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2019-11-29 21:06

Paul’s ligature suggestions are good, but I would also add the Vandoren Optimum. That ligature, with the four dots insert, is outstanding. Some people find it to be too large for certain mouthpieces and the thin European Signatures, but a little piece of gaffers tape on the back of the mouthpiece cans provide outstanding results.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-29 21:36

(regarding Vandoren Optimum)


Or......... order the German Clarinet version through Thomann.







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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2019-11-29 21:59

Yes, even better.

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: D Dow 
Date:   2019-11-29 22:02

JUST MAYBE Bob could make some reeds for all of us to try..the Legere reeds work fine...what is wrong with them..they are plastic and resist differently not wood... there is alot yet to go but for a basic reed they work very good..with the climate that has gone haywire they are back up reed..making a reed for a clarinetist takes one week for sure..so that means less iPHone time!

David Dow

Post Edited (2019-11-29 22:03)

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Nomenclature 
Date:   2019-11-29 22:39

I've found the Legere European Signature reeds great at first, but then after playing for around 20 minutes or so, like someone else in a post above said, they sound a bit 'tired' and to my ears, flat. They're expensive and the two that I've bought recently haven't lasted as long as I'd have expected given the price. I've gone back to cane reeds.

Could my B45 mouthpiece not be a good match with them perhaps?

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-11-30 03:27

I'd say from my experience that the Legere you were using where a bit too weak in strength for you. I spent months (almost a full year really) figuring out just where the strength should lie for good play. The insidious thing about the Legere is that the reeds that are ultimately too weak, do respond and sound great initially. They then begin to feel too weak after roughly about a week.


The correct strength will keep on lasting for six months or more (though this is with rotation of at least four........could last a couple of years).



The pitch issue is probably the result of plastic not being quite as compliant as cane and therefore causes the pitch to be a bit lower. The solution is a shorter barrel (perhaps as much as 3 or 4 millimeters).


I do play very closed tip openings and short facings, so as stated above (I believe) the more open and longer facing mouthpieces may be a bit less well suited. Although there are a few artists out there using Legere with more open mouthpieces.





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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: igalkov 
Date:   2019-11-30 15:38

Hi Djudy,
Legere returns in Europe are made through some Germany store so no problems here. Just fill the form on Legere website.



Post Edited (2019-11-30 15:45)

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2019-12-01 13:36

Adjusting the reed placement on the reed table is absolutely crucial with legeres. The reed changes dramatically by that. A wide tip rail in the mouthpiece is also needed. The darkness-lightness of the tone adjusts quite a lot moving the reed up-down. I believe that the shape of the tone chamber is actually the biggest factor in tone colour, not the facing. Therefore you should do some searching to find a mouthpiece that gives a nice spectrum of overtones with a plastic reed and those overtones may not be ideal for cane.

Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-12-01 17:31

I agree with the accuracy (or rather constancy) of placement of the Legere reed. I spend quite some time placing my reed ......for the day, probably 2 or 3 three minutes going back and forth looking at profile versus the back versus the front. And when you say variability UP and DOWN, the MAX difference is 1.00 millimeter up from ideal or 1.00 millimeter down from ideal. Any more than that makes the reed unplayable as if changing more than a quarter strength.



I was a bit shocked to hear you say that THICK rails are necessary. I have been (and always have used) mouthpieces with THIN rails and they work great for me and all the Legere types that have been successful. Can you describe what thick rails do for you, or what effect thin rails have for you that are negative?





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



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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2019-12-01 19:30

Are you sure you mean 1 mm? That seems like too much. Especially if your tip rail is only .5-1mm thick.

MojoMP.com
Mojo Mouthpiece Work LLC
MojoMouthpieceWork@yahoo.com

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Jarmo Hyvakko 
Date:   2019-12-09 14:27

Paul, i mean the tip rail. If you put the reed clearly below the tip of the mouthpiece, it acts just like a thin tip rail. And when you move the reed towards the tip, it does what a thick tip rail does: dampens the overtones and thus makes the sound "darker" and "softer". In my experience the dangerous thing is to place the reed tip above the mouthpiece tip, the reed stops working properly.

Principal Clarinet, Tampere Philharmonic, Finland

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 Re: Legere reeds
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2019-12-09 17:17

When placing my reed, I try to align it with the tip rail, or just a tad below it (never more than 0.5mm). I'd completely agree with that being extremely important, but admittedly, I wouldn't have guessed thick tip rails were relevant with plastic reeds.

Another 2-3 things about Legeres I've experienced over the years:

-Ligatures: Wow, you these reeds truly behave differently. A Vandoren Optimum recently bought for soprano clarinet actually restrained me way too much and I went back to an old, boring metal clamp with 2 screws. My teacher and I immediatly agreed that that Vandoren ligature was no option, given that the dynamic range with that metal clamp is much better, without really creating a "harsh sound".
On Bass clarinet, I'm using a modified ligature with a pressure plate
In general I've found ligatures that dampen the sound as little as possible to be the best. Using string works fine, too.
-Reed wear: Though long-lasting, these eventually become softer, maybe even more flexible. I've noticed how my BC reed started squeaking more easily and I wondered wether something was wrong with my BC. No, the reed had just reached the end of its lifespan.

The way these wear is very subtle and might at times feel like the reed lost 1/4 of its strength, but there definetely are tonal changes too.
At least in my case, I still cannot confirm these reeds vary out of the box. There may be slight difference, but personally, I feel I can rely on what strength they're sold as.

Best regards
Christian

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