ASR Synthetic Reeds for Alto Saxophones
How do I choose the right strength of synthetic reed?
The strengths of Yamaha Synthetic reeds correspond closely to those of conventional cane reeds. So, to start, we recommend that you choose a strength which is the same or similar to the reeds you are currently using.
If the strength you normally use isn’t quite right, try adjusting the resistance by moving the reed slightly higher or lower on the mouthpiece. Higher makes the resistance higher, lower makes it lower.
Beyond that, the Facing and Tip Opening of a mouthpiece can help determine what strength of reed will work best. The Facing represents the length of reed that will vibrate when playing. A longer Facing produces more resistance and bigger sound, while shorter Facings give less resistance. Tip Opening is the distance between the tip of the reed and the mouthpiece. The bigger the distance is, the more resistance and bigger sound it produces, and vice versa.
Generally speaking, a mouthpiece with a shorter facing and smaller tip opening will use a higher strength reed. A mouthpiece with a longer facing and bigger tip opening will use a lower strength reed. If you’re not sure about the details of your mouthpiece, please check with the manufacturer or your local music store.
The Yamaha 4C mouthpiece has a relatively shorter facing and smaller tip opening, enabling beginners to produce sounds more easily. Therefore, 3 or 3 1/2 are good strengths for most players using a 4C.
The tip of the reed doesn’t match the tip of my mouthpiece. Can it be adjusted?
While Yamaha synthetic reeds have a standard tip shape, it’s possible that for some models of mouthpieces the top of the reed may not exactly fit the top of the mouthpiece. If this is causing problems, it may be possible to trim the reed so that it more closely matches the mouthpiece shape.
To start, put the reed low on the mouthpiece, then gradually slide it up until the center tip of the reed is even with the center tip of the mouthpiece.
1) If the reed and mouthpiece have the same curve, then no adjustments are needed.
2) If the reed drops away faster than the mouthpiece and you can see the mouthpiece along the corners, trim straight across the center of the reed to flatten the curve.
3) If the reed hangs over the edges of the mouthpiece, trim the left and right corners of the reed to increase the curve.
Keep in mind that cutting away material is permanent, so be very cautious and don't cut away too much at once!
Are Yamaha synthetic reeds the same as the reeds that come with the Venova?
In a word, no. Yamaha synthetic reeds are a completely new design that uses a new type of material and a new shape, along with a special heat treatment process. This gives these reeds a natural sound production and tone quality that is very similar to what you’d expect from a normal cane reed.
While these reeds are very different from Venova reeds, you can use the ASR alto sax reeds with the YVS-120 Alto Venova, and the TRS reeds with the YVS-140 Tenor Venova.