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 What Strength Legere?
Author: janlynn 
Date:   2011-06-29 14:08

I want to try the synthetic Legere Reed.

I normally play VD V12 3 or 3 1/2. The problem is that the 3's are a bit too soft and the 3 1/2's are a bit too hard and I'm not very good at making adjustments. I have also tried the non V12's with the same problem.

While I dont want to give up cane and continue to learn from my teacher, I want to experiment with synthetic.

what would be the best strength for a Legere reed?

(mouthpiece is VD 5RV Lyre)

ps - I would ask my teacher but she frowns upon synthetic



Post Edited (2011-06-29 14:09)

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2011-06-29 14:50

I found that the legere is VERY particular. For example, I was using size a softer 4.5 in a box. So I felt that 4.25 legere would be good. Sounded like crap. But I had also ordered a size 4 legere, and it sounds great. So for ME, towards those reeds, it ran about 1/4 size hard.

So I'd probably order a size 3 and 3 1/4 and see if that's what you feel comfortable with. If one works and not the other, legere will do an exchange of strength so you can have two of the same size.

Also, the signature series is VERY good.

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: CarlT 
Date:   2011-06-29 15:49

According to Legere's strength chart, you would need a 3.25 if you go with their Signature series (Signature is what I went with and really think they're better than their other lines) if you are trying to go between a 3.0 and a 3.5 V12. It appears the Signature series is supposed to be very comparable, strength wise, to the V12s.

Alexi made good points. So if you order different sizes, you can always exchange one, (within 30 days I believe) for the proper size.

As an aside, I sent one back about 3 weeks ago and haven't got the replacement back yet. I called Legere (in Canada), and they told me there was a postal workers strike on, but just as soon as it was settled, they would get my new reed out. Typical of my luck, but I should get it sooner or later.

Their strength chart is shown at:

http://www.legere.com/index.php?page=strength-charts

Sorry, I still don't know how to make it live.

CarlT

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: Ed 
Date:   2011-06-29 17:14

One thing to keep in mind. For many folks, we start with a reed that may be a little harder with the idea that we can lighten it and that it will break in and soften. In that case one may begin with a 3.5, which will end up at a 3.25 or 3. With the synthetic, you need to go with you "target" strength, as it will not change.

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2011-06-29 18:17

Try a Signature 3 first. That's my advice.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.ClarinetLessonOnline.com


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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: cxgreen48 
Date:   2011-06-29 21:08

From my experiences, I would try a 3.25 Signature maybe even 3.5.

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: Buster 
Date:   2011-06-29 21:22

FWIW There is a warm-up period for the reed. In the initial 5-10 minutes it heats up a bit and loses a tad of its' resistance. I generally bought a 1/4 strength stronger than I needed when I used them. (You can always bite it into compliance but that defeats the purpose!)
Over time the reed will naturally lose its' resiliency and begin to weaken. This can take an hour or much longer depending on what you are playing. Simply take the reed off, let it rest for a few hours, and it will be back at its' original strength. (I believe this phenomenon is described on the web-site but I have not checked in ages.)



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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: ThatPerfectReed 
Date:   2011-07-01 03:20

I concur with CarlT--having done this before with Legeres.

I'd like to point out the the adjustment of synthetic reeds is pretty much limited to how the reed is placed on the mouthpiece (although some may tell you they've been able to shape such reeds, against manufacturer recommendation). The most subtle of changes left or right, or up and down, to the reed on the mouthpiece, I find, can make quite a difference. Don't be afraid to place the reed right at the level of the mouthpiece tip, or even a micron higher if you find it soft.

Also, consider giving Forestone a chance too--which I prefer (again, some will say otherwise). In which case I would recommend, given your situation, you try an F 3 1/2. http://www.forestone-japan.com/index.php/comp-chart/

I think each brand has strengths and weaknesses in different areas of playing. Others will disagree, or disagree at least on where those areas are.

Unlike Legere reeds though, Forestones are not, to my knowledge, exchangable. Personally, if you're like me, and willing to settle for an open "G" that may sound a tad bit like a gazoo if you're not careful with your embouchure, you may find the Forestone's, like I did, much better for staccato, and for the G- C7 range of the instrument.

Best of luck!

P.S. - Consider these synthetics practice reeds if your teacher has issue with them--so your teacher won't see them. Think of it this way. Technique comes with practice. Practice comes with adequate enough reeds to play on. Your synthetics will likely never approach the level of your best (NOR YOUR WORST) cane. The synthetics, many feel, are the Toyota Corollas of reeds: dependable, and useful for developing your driving skills on. Save the Rolls Royce (the 1 in every 2 boxes of V12's) reeds for special occasions/lessons/performances.

Also, if you're frustrated enough to try synthetics, may I suggest you give Tom Ridenour's ATG Reed Finishing system some consideration. I don't personally find that it turns 8 of 10 reeds in a box into winners, as Tom might be able at times to do, but it has made me more winning reeds than before I tried it, and more winning reeds out of what I was sure were losers before I tweequed them with this system. Certainly, Tom deserves credit for at least giving me more practice cane out of stuff that came out of the box as utterly unplayable.

Maybe your teacher needs to focus more on the end product: your playing, not, within reason, on how you get there--schools of thought perhaps more in line, respectively, with great pedagogues like the late Russianoff and Opperman--both though great teachers. (Watch that comment generate fireworks!)

Then again, I don't know your level or the areas you need improvement in as well as, I hope, your teacher. Some areas of clarinet learning aren't open to debate (e.g. right hand closer to the ground--always).

Then again, if your teacher is asking you to stay with cane, perhaps they can teach you their "magical good reed acquisition/adjustment techniques," or bank roll you with the "throw enough poop at the wall" method (buy enough reeds until you can find enough good ones) of good reed acquisition.

(Can you ask them if they'll share that with me?)

"Good cane reeds," I think, come when playing technique improves enough that mental expectation allows you to play on less than idea (but pretty good) cane reeds, while technique on shaping cane reeds simultaneously improves enough for better response FROM those cane reeds.

You seem to be from the New England area....is your teacher unfamiliar with what havoc summer humidity can reak on cane, turning a great reed into one, tomorrow, that will barely make music, or vice versa?

Yes--there is something to be said about teaching students to work around the fact that all reeds lack perfection, let alone over the long term--trying to give your instructor the benefit of the doubt on what may be one of the reasons they insist on cane (in addition to sound, etc.) Don't worry, you'll get plenty of that learning with synthetics too--which are also far from perfect. And rest assured, when you come across a lousy lousy reed, it's probably not you or your expectations, it's probably the reed. I'll bet MANY others will think that reed stinks too. Maybe adjusting it will help, but it doesn't seem like you're at the sandpaper and knife stage yet--which itself is not, I think, Emerald City.

Long ago, in High School, I assembled a plate of reeds, numbered them, and wrote down my expectations of them. I asked all the other pre-profesional orchestra players in the orchestra I was in (some famous today) to do the same thing with them. Okay, it's not a double blind trial for a new pharmeceutical, but do you know how similar our resullts were, despite countless differences in our setups? VERY.

I'm curious, would, for example, your teacher find issue with my neck strap, even though Manasse wears one, and that I use one b/c I have tendonitis?
All I'm saying is note the things your teacher considers negotiable or not about your playing. Where this person is firm, contemplate why. There may be good reason, there may not be. There's good and bad reasons to wear a neck strap. The neck strap itself, for example, shouldn't categorically be eliminated, I think.

Why is this person saying no to synthetics? Ask. Accept only a good answer, not "well that's the way it's always been done," or "I tried synthetics, and..."

If they tell you they don't like your sound on synthetics, show them what you sound like on an all but unresponsive cane, or get them to help you acquire good cane reeds nearly all the time through purchase/manipulation.

What's that I hear about us all having different preferences when it comes to reeds? OK, find a good cane reed you like. THEN ask the instructor who doesn't allow synthetics to help you approximate its consistent duplication.

And if they show you the latter trick, would you share it with me? Devices that duplicate reeds to 1/100 mm STILL work with DIFFERENT pieces of cane--even from the same split cane tube!

Yes--I am bullish on synthetics. Not so much because I think the science has yet made better synthetics than the best of cane, but because synthetics, where nearly every aspect of the manufacturing process can be controlled and duplicated, I think, allows us the best chance eventually at good reed consistency that mother nature never intended for Arunda Donax. Things that are alive or suppose to vary--that's how the species adapts to change over time. So ironically, what's best fo the survival of the plant itself, is worst for the consistency of cane reeds made from it--despite all the most well intended efforts of reed manufacturers to improve uniformity and consistency.

Were I the only 1 finding 1 or 2 decent reeds in a box from top manufacturers, I'd say my standards were too high. But as long as many others concur, I'll consider my conclusions reasonable.

I leave you with the following thought. To all the reed manufacturers of the world who hire great marketing people, who would turn a "negative" (the fact that consistency in a box of reeds varies widely b/c such consistency is only minimal enforcable) into a postive ("we at reed company X seek to provide a...(here it comes)....RANGE of different reeds in a box to please the most number of players) I respond as follows.

You don't seek it. You seek to avoid it but you pretty much can't. And I don't blame you--reeds and people do vary--but don't turn that which you can't avoid into something you strive for. It's happening because you can't help it. If you could help it, it would NOT be your goal. To me, tt's like marketing an elevator, whose cable breaks, as a "new high speed elevator."

If such "variety" of reeds in a box were what the marketplace truly desired, synthetics and their consistency--even if that consistency doesn't yet produce reeds that are better than pretty good, WOULD NOT SELL.

People would stay with cane. Synthetic manufactures would (have to) sell their reeds with more than 1 to a box. (Once they've spent millions on creating them, do you know how little it costs to produce the marginal reed? Why do you think Legere, as a business, is willing to do this--generous though it is in the reed business?)

If reed manufacturers could control consistency, reeds would come with a money back guarantee.

Ever wonder why reed strengths can be so much more granular in the synthetic market? Because factories can control consistency better than living things, which have been engineered by evolution/diety/other--pick your favorite--to vary, so as to maximize species survival in an ever changing environment.

There will always be enough about this instrument we call the clarinet to make it challenging, just like the piano, or trumpet, or french horn, or violin, or flute, that aren't so dependent on this lousy tongue depressor (depressor has double meaning here) we call a reed, that we should shy away from developing better synthetic consistency. (That isn't to say these beautiful instruments don't have their own set of obstacles to virtuosic play. This isn't to say that the clarinet, reed aside, doesn't also have its obstacles to virtuosic play.)

When computerized electrodes make normal fingers move, when robots play clarinet, I'll say we've homogenized and taken too much humanity out of clarinet playing. Until then, viva la reed innovation!

And yes, I did come off a day where most practice time was spent doing my imitation of Mark Nuzzio's reed selection methods...brilliant player though he is.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y0Zv3EZ-Ms

That's precious time lost to not being able to practice. Opperman always appreciated the value of time, and how it can never be recovered, or applied to rehearsal, once lost.

Again: viva la reed innovation! Cane or synthetic--even though I think our best chance lies with the latter. Clarinet innovation, like the law, should be stable, but definitely not static.

I'll climb back under my shell now.

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: Luuk 2017
Date:   2011-07-01 13:34

ThatPerfectReed,

Congratulations with what might be the longest P.S. since the invention of reeds!

Regards,

Luuk
Philips Symphonic Band
The Netherlands

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: ThatPerfectReed 
Date:   2011-07-01 16:47

Luuk:

I tersely posted my, I hope, value added and honest content to the specific question at hand before my post script.

I'm sorry if you found my thoughts afterwords, perhaps tangential, but otherwise critically linked to topics like synthetic reeds, teaching styles, and clarinet innovation--included teacher's responses to said innovation--particularly when it comes to reeds, to be off topic and/or wordy. You of course are entitled to your opinion, and I respect, if not always agree with other opinions.

There's NOTHING wrong with being an amateur like you are. I once was too--we all were; but I'm not anymore. And as a result, there's lots to say on the topic of synthetic reeds. If they've done nothing else to date, (and I think the've done a LOT more) they've lit a fire under cane reed manufacturers to respond to the features such synthetics possess, for example, packing cane in humidty controlled packaging. Such competition brings out the best in all manufacturers, for you and I to benefit from in better quality and lower prices.

I'm open to hear what things I should have left out, if you found that you othewise choose to read wordy. I know I'm not alone in my frustrations with cane, even if I've come to expect it, and even if I understand that cane reed manufacturers are doing all the can to improve quality. Can you imagine another product where you'd have to buy 10 of it just to get, maybe, 1 good one--even a natural product.

10 bottles of wine?..milk...cheese...??

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: alanporter 
Date:   2011-07-01 17:05

ThatPerfectReed. Thank you for your long post. I found it interesting and valuable. I find your posts good to read, keep 'em coming.
Alan

tiaroa@shaw.ca

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: CarlT 
Date:   2011-07-01 19:40

Amen, Alan.

I'm an amateur, and I like to read "long" posts, for even if parts of them don't apply to me personally, I almost always get something I can use from long posts, whereas, if some information is left out, then the loss is mine.

Please continue with them, ThatPerfectReed.

CarlT

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: CWH 
Date:   2011-07-02 13:36

Having tested several strengths and cuts of Legere reeds together with other manufactures of synthetic reeds including: Bari, Fibracell and Forestone. I now play Legere Signature Series exclusively with strength of 3.5. Prior to switching I played Grand Concert Select 4.0 I find this strength best complements my playing. I can tell you with the new Signature Series they allow me to howl and growl; something I was not able to do with conventional cane reeds.

Now, I can spend time on the artistry playing and not fussing with adjustments of cane reeds.

As a side note, I also use Legere Saxophone reeds too; an equally fantastic product.

Study, Practice, Play and Enjoy.

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2011-07-02 18:27

CWH wrote:

> Having tested several strengths and cuts of Legere reeds
> together with other manufactures of synthetic reeds including:
> Bari, Fibracell and Forestone. I now play Legere Signature
> Series exclusively with strength of 3.5. Prior to switching I
> played Grand Concert Select 4.0
>

This is what I found as well (that legere reeds are actually SLIGHTLY harder than the equivalent number of a V12 or Grand Concert Select. So if you normally play somewhere between a 3.0 and 3.5, I'd order a 3.0 and a 3.25 and I believe that one of those will work well.

As stated above, fidget a little bit with the placement on the mouthpiece. Make sure it's as centered as possible, and small adjustments up and down the mouthpiece make a difference. Also, I tend to prefer leather ligatures or leather/hybrid ligatures. It's a little "slippery" of a reed and can be pushed slightly out of alignment while on the mouthpiece, and a leather ligature I think minimizes this.

Alexi

Platoon Sergeant
US Army Japan Band


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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: CWH 
Date:   2011-07-02 19:05

With respect to a ligature; I found that a Vandoren Optimum works beautifully with the Legere reeds. In fact I believe it complements the characteristics of the reeds itself.

I agree with Alexi, they can be slightly slippery and small adjustments up and down the mouthpiece make a difference.

However, this falls way short of the rigors of adjusting cane reeds.

Study, Practice, Play and Enjoy.

Post Edited (2011-07-02 19:20)

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: janlynn 
Date:   2011-07-02 21:47

Thank You VERY much everyone.

TPR - your post is very interesting. thank you for so much time and thought put into it.

I now plan to try Signature Legere and Forestone

My teacher feels that the tone produced by synthetic is "different". She said, its not "bad" but different and doesnt like how it sounds.

But I'm tired of trying reed after reed when I have limited practice time. If I can use synthetic for this I can spend more time working on the music. Then I wont be wearing out my cane reeds either and can use them in my lessons and performances.

Todays lesson was actually reed adjustment. (at my request). What did I learn? As far as I could tell she scraped the darkers areas on the reeds that didnt play well. Some played better after, some didnt.

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2011-07-02 23:51

But has your teacher actually tried a Legere or Forestone. There are plenty of "teachers" our there that while they have an opinion, it might not be very accurate....

Lehrer is good enough for the Berlin Philharmonic players, it's probably just fine ;)

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.ClarinetLessonOnline.com


Post Edited (2011-07-02 23:52)

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: ThatPerfectReed 
Date:   2011-07-03 01:06

Ok--"teach" thinks the synthetics sound different. Fair enough. Have him/her take the test.

http://www.legere.com/index.php?page=take-the-challenge

Granted this is the great Hawkins at the above link, not you or me--and all the things I said about the limitations of synthetics and cane still apply.

But the sounds results are impressive. : - )

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: curlyev 
Date:   2013-04-07 01:16

This is totally not manufacturer recommended, but I read somewhere that if your Legere reed seems too hard, that if you dip it in boiling water for 2 SECONDS (no longer), it will soften up some. I got my Legere 4.75 (too hard) reed on sale, and I couldn't make it sound decent, so I had nothing to lose. So I tried boiling it for 2 seconds, and it worked! The reed sounds good. I still prefer CANE to anything, but it's nice to have the Legere around.

Clarinet: Wooden Bundy 1950s
Mthpc: WW Co. B6 refaced by Kurtzweil
Lig: Various Rovners
Barrel/Bell: Backun
Reeds: Legere 3.75
OKC Symphonic Band (just started this summer)
*playing 22 years (with a 5 year hiatus) and counting*


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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: curlyev 
Date:   2013-04-07 20:44

And yes, I realize I posted on a old post. I was just curious to see what others thing of adjusting Legeres. ;)

Clarinet: Wooden Bundy 1950s
Mthpc: WW Co. B6 refaced by Kurtzweil
Lig: Various Rovners
Barrel/Bell: Backun
Reeds: Legere 3.75
OKC Symphonic Band (just started this summer)
*playing 22 years (with a 5 year hiatus) and counting*


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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: ayrib 
Date:   2013-04-09 20:28

I recently purchased a 3.25 Legere synthetic reed and I am very pleased so far.
I was using Vandoren 3.5 V12 's and I think I have the correct strength in the synthetic version.
Was not expecting too much from the Legere but to my surprise it sounded just fine.
I do believe the placement of the reed on the mouth piece can make a big difference to the sound as has been mentioned on previous posts.
It's all about experimenting and trial and error in finding that elusive holy grail sound.
Good luck with your reeds.

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: wwplyr 
Date:   2020-11-10 05:38

Is there any chart that shows the comparative strength of the cane reeds and the Legere synthetic reeds? I currently use Mitchell Lurie #4 - #4.5 on my clarinet but would like to try the Legere. Not sure if I should go lower in strength or higher!

zlk7vovrz28i@opayq.com

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: Qladstone 
Date:   2020-11-10 07:26

Legere has three models of clarinet reeds available:

https://www.legere.com/products/clarinet-reeds/

The European Cut (previously confusingly named the European Signature)

The Signature

The Classic

The European Cut is the latest model and also the one that is generally considered preferred to the others by many. It is also the model that I use. When someone says Signature Series chances are they are referring to the European Cut because of its unfortunate naming history.



Post Edited (2020-11-10 07:27)

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2020-11-10 07:43

If there were a comparison chart, I wouldn't use it. If you have Amazon where you are (and most people do), buy a bunch of different strengths of the European Signature reeds. You want to start as soft as you can get them to play well. When they collapse in just a few minutes, or hours or days, you then move up to the next higher quarter strength and do that again. Once you find the strength that holds up over time, just REFUND the ones that don't work back to AMAZON. This is really the only way to do this right. I had gone through several rounds of this sort of thing and now know exactly which strength works best and order from a reputable, high volume dealer (guaranteeing fresher, newer stock) such as Woodwind Brasswind.


Also I highly recommend rotating (once you've established the right strength) at least four at a time and probably eight at a time to allow an individual reed time to "recover." I use a given reed through an entire day.




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

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2020-11-11 02:33
Attachment:  Reeds.jpg (516k)

I hope this reed comparison chart helps u. U can just Google "reed comparison charts" until u find what u need. I hope this helps.

https://www.tapatalk.com/groups/mbtldsongministry/

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 Re: What Strength Legere?
Author: gwie 
Date:   2020-11-11 08:52

I've been playing on Legere European Cut for the past four years. Honestly, unless someone is actually looking at my mouthpiece, they can't tell what I'm playing on. My take on this is that the mouthpiece is a significant factor in the usability of a synthetic reed. There are some mouthpieces on which they just don't work well at all, and others that mitigate the issues of plastic reeds and provide a more (to borrow Brad Behn's words) "cane-like experience."

Now, if you're frustrated with Vandoren reeds and their wide variability out of the box, I'd recommend trying another brand of cane that might give you better results. Right off the bat, I'd recommend trying the new Brio reed from Behn, which you can get here for $25 for a box of ten:
https://www.clarinetmouthpiece.com/product-page/behn-brio-bb-clarinet-reeds

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