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 Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: kerryklari 
Date:   2022-07-07 14:20

Several years ago I played clarinet for a while, and decided that I didn't want to muck about with cane reeds, so I got some Légères as they seemed much better than the other options. I had some lessons and my teacher noticed I was quite flat and got me to buy a shorter barrel which solved the problem.

Fast forward to now. I am playing again, and I still like the idea of synthetic reeds. My new clarinet has 2 barrels, but even using the shorter one my playing is flat with Légères. I have to say that I'm not a very good player so some of this is down to me and maybe could be corrected with more experience. However, it's not impossible for me to play in tune: if I go back to cane reeds I can play in tune, and if I use a harder Légère reed that is also in tune. Neither of these options is ideal for me though, as the cane reed brings back all the associated hassles, and the harder plastic makes playing more tiring (the in-tune cane reed is much softer than the in-tune plastic one).

If Légère reeds are generally flat, I could simply solve the problem by repeating the trick of getting a shorter barrel. My former teacher reckoned synthetic reeds were always a bit flat, but he was probably biased because he didn't really like the idea of them. I've watched several cane/synthetic comparisons, read reviews, etc, and I don't remember ever hearing anyone mentioning a flatness issue.

Any thoughts/suggestions?

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2022-07-07 14:37

I found they did play flatter from open G to throat Bb compared to cane reeds, so using a slightly shorter barrel solved that for me. Apart from that, I've had no other issues and only benefits. I'm using a European Signature 3.25 with a Vandoren A1 crystal (and my old Rovner ligature) on Bb/A/C clarinets.

I use Legere reeds for all clarinets, saxes and also oboe and I'm still desperately waiting for their cor anglais reeds to hit the market.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

Post Edited (2022-07-07 16:02)

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-07-07 14:44

Yes, they play flat(er). For me it's worth the adjustment to seek out shorter barrels. I'd say 2mm should get you where you need to be, but be prepared to go up from there. Remember you want to be "in the middle" of the note when in tune.....you want to be able to adjust down or up on the fly.




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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2022-07-07 16:28

Several players have reported this. But it does not seem to be the majority or the others just adjust tuning.

I’m curious as to an acoustic science explanation as to why a reed can play flat. It does not change the length or bore of the instrument, or the air temperature. I think it may cause some players to change their embouchures to get the sound or response they want.

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

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2022-07-07 16:32

Legere player here. 64mm barrel. Another vote for going legere. Makes life SO easy and lets me focus on working on my TECHNICAL mistakes, instead of wondering if it's a bad reed.

US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2022-07-07 16:33

Also, Paul Aviles, I'm almost retired as well. Great to see your name again. :-) I hope retirement is treating you well!

US Army Japan Band

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2022-07-07 16:54

Yes there do play flat, certainly the ones I’ve tried. I would suggest trying the Venn reed by D’Addario. I tried them for the first time at ClarinetFest and they felt very comfortable in response, feel and importantly the intonation was solid.
Disclaimer I am a D’Addario artist.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-07-07 18:09

The "flatness" (I believe) is a function of HOW the material vibrates. My guess is that there is less "snap" to them and the lessening of the vibrations would directly lower pitch.


Definitely DO NOT use reeds that are uncomfortably hard for you. That "solution" is called "biting" and that makes playing SOOOOO much more difficult.




Alexi,


Retirement is pretty good actually, though I keep myself busy doing "concert staging." It's pretty much the set up and tear down that we did for EVERY concert with the addition of video walls and those lights you had over your heads in Mongolia.



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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: kerryklari 
Date:   2022-07-07 19:37

Thanks for all the replies - I will try a shorter barrel.

(Also, another vote in favour of retirement!)

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2022-07-08 01:21

Yes, I have found them to be a bit flat.

I know there are so many fans of them. I have used them from time to time, but I still prefer cane.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2022-07-08 03:18

I'm only guessing they tend to want to play on the flatter side due to the higher density of the solid material (polypropylene) they're made from compared to the much lighter cellular structure of natural cane.

As I said, that's only a guess.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: cigleris 
Date:   2022-07-09 01:32

Venn play in tune as do the Ambipoly reeds.

Peter Cigleris

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-07-09 02:49

Wow .........Ambipoly! Can you get those to even play????




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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: gwie 
Date:   2022-07-09 04:00

I use the Legere Euro 3.5 and while I notice it plays just a tiny bit flatter compared to my cane reeds, it's not significant. I keep my adjustable barrel one more quarter turn in than when I play on cane. I've been using them for 5+ years now and they work great!

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: kerryklari 
Date:   2022-07-09 13:40

> Ambipoly! Can you get those to even play????

Interesting that that has been your experience. I have tried Playnick reeds which as far as I can see are the same thing re-branded, and they seem very hard to me. I managed to get the soft ones to play on a different mouthpiece, and they were not flat (indeed, I had to use the longer barrel or they were sharp). The mouthpiece I've just tried was a Playnick which I chose because I thought it might go with the reeds better, but even the soft ones were virtually unplayable, and I have returned the mouthpiece.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-07-09 17:54

Dear kerryklari,


That is even weirder sounding to me, PlayNick and Legere were partnered for years. In fact, the only German style Legeres available had "PlayNick" printed on them. Are you sure that it is now Ambipoly? Those are simply awful.





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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-07-09 17:59

Never mind. I just saw it on the PlayNick website. It breaks my heart.








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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Globus 
Date:   2022-07-15 19:31

I don't see how one can say that Legere reeds play flat. Listen to Ricardo Morales. He plays Legere reeds and his intonation (as well as just about everything else in his playing) is close to perfect. The same can be said about any number of other top flight players who have kissed cane goodbye and now play on Legere reeds.

It does take some time to get used to Legere reeds but after the adjustment period, there should not be any issues with intonation or anything else in one's playing, for that matter. I made the switch to the Euro Signature reeds more than two and half years ago and it's one of the best things I ever did.

You do have the find the right strength. Once you do, though, it's off to the races.

Paul Globus



Post Edited (2022-07-15 19:32)

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2022-07-15 19:35

Paul Globus wrote:

> I don't see how one can say that Legere reeds play flat. Listen
> to Ricardo Morales. He plays Legere reeds and his intonation
> (as well as just about everything else in his playing) is close
> to perfect.

I'm not personally close to Morales to know for sure, but one or two people who are have told me that he has gone back to using cane.

Karl

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2022-07-15 20:18

I want to comment on the statements about Riccardo and some others. For me, when I say I have found that they play flat, perhaps the more accurate statement would be that they play flat given the way I play and my current set up. Riccardo and others may voice differently than I do or use equipment that will match the synthetic better.

I realize that I could find a mouthpiece that might suit them better, change barrels or make other adjustments. (It is probably too late for me to change how I play!) Since I prefer cane for a number of reasons and can get the results I want, I have not found a need to go that route.

In many discussions here I think that while statements are often made as absolute facts, we should remember that each statement can often be prefaced with the words "For me".

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2022-07-15 21:20

To avoid ambiguity:


Legere reeds play flat(ter)


You use a shorter barrel.


Where is the problem?


As for Ricardo Morales, there are MANY top classical players using Legere, whether Ricardo Morales is personally using them right now makes no difference to their amazing playing qualities.




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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Chris P 
Date:   2022-07-16 00:53

For me they don't play flat over the entire range as I found they played flatter in the throat notes which was easily dealt with by using a slightly shorter barrel (or shorter mouthpiece).

The prototype oboe reeds were definitely saggy from high A upwards which was probably down to the inside shape which was more O than 0 in the area where the top of the staple and binding is on a cane reed, although they dealt with that by the time they hit the shelves and tuning up top hasn't been a problem. I still have the original reed from back then and it's still perfectly playable, even if it's a much harder strength than I prefer using as they only offered them in medium hard back then.

I've never had any problem with their bass clarinet or sax reeds being flat. More and more people I know are converting to Legeres - even oboists.

Former oboe finisher
Howarth of London
1998 - 2010

The opinions I express are my own.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Mojo 
Date:   2022-07-16 16:46

With oboe reeds, you are getting a reed and mouthpiece in one.

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

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: super20dan 
Date:   2022-07-17 07:18

if i was still playing oboe i would use them as cane is a crapshoot

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: donald 
Date:   2022-07-17 12:29

I have played Legere sax reeds exclusively over the last 10 years, and used sop sax reeds on the clarinet for about 2 years from 2016. I had to shift to a barrel 1mm shorter, and would have sworn it was because of the Legere...
But then when I moved back to cane found that I had to use the same short barrels...

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: kerryklari 
Date:   2022-07-17 13:01

For what it's worth, I'm not adjusting an embouchure that is used to cane. Literally decades ago I played oboe for a while and that involved as much time learning to make reeds as learning to play the instrument. When I started clarinet I decided I just didn't want anything to do with that and chose Légère reeds because they seemed to be the best brand around (that would have been about 9 years ago so there was probably less choice at the time). Same this time around. I have tried cane but only because the new clarinet I bought came with a free mouthpiece that said it worked with specific cane reeds and I thought I should try them. They play more in tune for me (and I'm not good enough to be adjusting my embouchure to a different type of reed) and they also have a better tone, hence my experimentation with different mouthpieces since Légères can obviously sound great. Why not just use the cane? First one out of the box sounded great and I thought, maybe all this stuff about them being unpredictable is overstated. Second one sounded ok, not quite as good; third one was virtually unplayable.

So it's back to plastic and if I need to use a slightly shorter barrel, that's not a problem.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: David Eichler 
Date:   2024-05-21 13:34

I have adapted to using Legere Signature reeds on alto sax, but I continue to have trouble adapting to them on clarinet, and the problem is intonation. If it were simply a problem of playing flat overall, then a shorter barrel might work to compensate, but I find the scale of the Legere reeds is significantly less even, particularly for the upper clarion, which goes especially flat for me. Cane reeds like Vandoren or similar are not a problem. When I can get the rest of the notes more or less in tune with a Legere reed, the uppermost clarion notes are flat, even with heavy embouchure pressure (and doing as much with my tongue and air as I can to get the pitch up) well beyond what would seem to be reasonable, and with the reed not even coming close to closing off. This was also a problem for me with the pre-Signature Legere reeds for clarinet. It is very frustrating, since I would like to use these reeds on clarinet, because I like the sound and the articulation is manageable.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2024-05-21 18:09

I and several of my fellow players had problems playing in tune with the Legere European cut Soprano Clarinet reeds and our existing setups. Some notes were particularly flat.

Of course different players and setups can vary that. But I'd like to point out, happily, that I don't have intonation issues with the newer French Cut product.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2024-05-21 22:20

Can't say that I've ever experienced a problem in the altissimo in particular with intonation. The plastic reeds are rather limited in how they work; the size, thickness at various points and material (that Legere changes but never admits to it) all work in concert to get results. So I'd say there may be a certain way YOU approach playing the altissimo that requires more "flexibility" of the the reed that only cane cane offer you.


I've had problems this Winter with humidity and barometric pressure with respect to which strength and which style (Euro vs Signature Soprano Sax reeds) works best given the prevailing parameters. I am trying to get some usable data together to pass along eventually on that but, I'm waiting for "full on Summer" weather before I start making any pronouncements on that.




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



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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: lydian 
Date:   2024-05-21 23:58

They play flat for me too in the high register. I have to work much harder to keep them in tune than I do with cane. But the harder they are, the less flat they are. So play the highest strength you can stand to minimize the issue.

Synthetics are still a necessary evil for me, a compromise on tone quality and response for the sake of being ready to play at any moment.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Julian ibiza 
Date:   2024-05-22 22:53

I may be wrong about this, but I think Legeres have more mass in the vamp than their cane strength equivalentes . If so, this might account for the flatness.

Julian Griffiths
Tel. 34 696 798 853

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: Connor1700 
Date:   2024-05-22 23:09

Yes, they play flat.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: lydian 
Date:   2024-05-23 00:19

In my experience, Legere definitely wants to play flat in the upper register. Who knows if this is due to mass, density, geometry, spring constant, modulus of elasticity, whatever. The why doesn't really matter to me. But you can overcome this with some effort, hence some artists will appear to have no intonation issues when in fact they are working hard to overcome the reed's natural tendencies.

While a shorter barrel may bring the upper register up to pitch, it will make the lower registers sharp. So best to stick with your current barrel and learn how to bring the pitch up with technique and voicing. To me, it's not worth all that effort when cane works fine.

On sax, Legere's high register response tends to not only be flat, but also unstable to the point it wants to drop an octave. This can be overcome with practice. But it's difficult to control if you're not used to it. So there's definitely a difference in how a material like cane responds compared to plastic.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2024-05-23 01:41

I have a simple request to make on this thread going forward:

Please indicate which Legere product or products do or don't give you intonation shortcomings.

I ask this because everyone I know, myself included, had flatness issues on the European Legeres while none of us now have intonation issues on the French cut version of the product.

Thanks.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: David Eichler 
Date:   2024-05-23 01:52

SecondTry wrote:

> I have a simple request to make on this thread going forward:
>
> Please indicate which Legere product or products do or don't
> give you intonation shortcomings.
>
> I ask this because everyone I know, myself included, had
> flatness issues on the European Legeres while none of us now
> have intonation issues on the French cut version of the
> product.
>
> Thanks.
My comments apply to various pre-Signature Legeres (can't remember which versions) and the Standard and Euro-cut Signatures, on clarinet. I have been using the Standard and American Cut Signatures on alto sax.

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 Re: Do Légère reeds play flat?
Author: RBlack 
Date:   2024-05-23 09:57

I have the weird flatness problem with the European signature on soprano clarinet. Whereas, I have no more intonation issue with the French cut, than I do on a cane reed. So I have the same experience as you it seems.



> SecondTry wrote:
>
> > I have a simple request to make on this thread going forward:
> >
> > Please indicate which Legere product or products do or don't
> > give you intonation shortcomings.
> >
> > I ask this because everyone I know, myself included, had
> > flatness issues on the European Legeres while none of us now
> > have intonation issues on the French cut version of the
> > product.
> >

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