Légère Reeds Update

I still play Légère reeds full time, in the Columbus Symphony and at home practicing. I also plan to use them in upcoming recitals, June 5, 10, 12 and 18.

I play a Signature model number 4 strength. However, I may try a few more 4.25 hardness for the recitals.

Though Legere denies any changes to the Signature design, reeds from recent orders play slightly softer than the ones from last Fall and early Winter. At first it was disconcerting, since I had grown accustomed to the hardness of the 4s. However, with the harder ones I also had to work on nearly every reed, softening the tip enough to be able to attack notes comfortably.

The newer ones are so well balanced they no longer require any adjustments. I have four #4s which I have played for several months, and all of them play equally well with no adjustment.

A colleague in the Columbus area, Bob Pfeifer, has also reported very good results with Legeres, saying, "I did Pines of Rome tonight on the Legere Signature...it's an AMAZING little piece of plastic! Thanks for all your tips and recommendations on the subject!"

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5 comments for “Légère Reeds Update

  1. Bob Pfeifer
    May 14, 2010 at

    Thanks for the update David. I can add on some of my experience. To date, I have purchased six #4s and one #3.75. For my set-up, the 3.75 was too soft. I haven't purchased any new ones in a few months, since the six I have been using have held up quite well. Thus, I can't comment on the potential "softness" of the latest batches. But I do plan to buy a few more soon, so perhaps I can share that experience. Three or four of the six are essentially perfect, and the others are a little less so (I use them for practicing). To be honest, I haven't felt to need to work on any of them with sandpaper…probably a little apprehensive about ruining a $25 reed, too. I have found that after a few months, a couple of the reeds have gotten noticeably softer…and flatter in pitch. I have actually had to set one aside as it is now too soft to play

  2. Bob Pfeifer
    May 14, 2010 at

    Thanks for the update David. I can add on some of my experience. To date, I have purchased six #4s and one #3.75. For my set-up, the 3.75 was too soft. I haven't purchased any new ones in a few months, since the six I have been using have held up quite well. Thus, I can't comment on the potential "softness" of the latest batches. But I do plan to buy a few more soon, so perhaps I can share that experience. Three or four of the six are essentially perfect, and the others are a little less so (I use them for practicing). To be honest, I haven't felt to need to work on any of them with sandpaper…probably a little apprehensive about ruining a $25 reed, too. I have found that after a few months, a couple of the reeds have gotten noticeably softer…and flatter in pitch. I have actually had to set one aside as it is now too soft to play; maybe I'll clip it and work on it a little bit to see if I can still make it usable.

    I really do like the reeds, and am totally excited about the consistency and reliability of their performance. It's really quite amazing. In some regards, however, I'm almost a little embarrassed to tell colleagues what I'm playing on…not being a "purist" and using the age-old cane reed anymore. It's kind of like finding a great stock Vandoren mouthpiece, and not a $400-500 custom one. But at the end of the day, it's what the performer likes most, feels the most comfortable with, and sounds the best on…whether that's a plastic Vandorin mouthpiece and reed…or something else.

    Again, thanks to you for your blog and the sharing of all this information. It's really invaluable.

    • May 14, 2010 at

      Hi Bob- When did you order those 4s? What mp are you playing on?

      I've known several top players, Tom Martin in particular, who play on Vandoren mouthpieces.

      I have no embarrassment about playing on Legeres. I only wonder if people \”hear\” them with a negative bias after finding out I play them. I don't talk about them in orchestra much anymore, and I think folks probably assume I'm playing on cane (because they sound so good). Let them believe what they want.

      Your reports have also given me more confidence about them. Thanks for that.

      David

      • Bob Pfeifer
        May 14, 2010 at

        I ordered the 4s back in September and October of last year (7-8 months ago). I probably don't play as much as you do, but 6 reeds have lasted me that long. As for mouthpieces, I am currently using a stock Vandoren M30 (13 series, profile 88)…but I waffle a bit between that, a Ridenour and the Livengood you've heard me on. When I was playing on cane reeds, I LOVED an Opperman mouthpiece I have. An interesting story on that…I hated it when I got it (I actually won it in a drawing at a session I attended that he was at)…you played it and thought it was pretty good…and then I picked it up again a year or so ago and I loved it!!. Aren't mouthpieces weird like that!? However, the Opperman doesn't handle the plastic reeds very well, for some reason. It's neat to hear Tom Martin plays on Vandoren mouthpieces…I love his playing. I played in a Masterclass for him a number of years ago…and I did PINES OF ROME! Small world!! He taught me a trick that he said Harold Wright told him about for Pines…folding up a small piece of paper and putting it under the register key so the pad only opens up a little bit…it makes the interval skips come out amazingly well).

        I agree about the negative bias people might have once they know I'm playing them and hear me play. But I have to admit, I think I've gotten more complements on my sound after I switched…and that's from people who don't know what I'm playing on. Even Ricardo Morales (who heard me play Enigma Variations on a Legere a couple months ago) told me I had a "beefy" sound (he said that was a good thing)…and he was fascinated that I was using a plastic reed. He said he was definitely going to try some.

        Again, thanks for all the tips and the blogging. It is always interesting and most helpful!

      • May 14, 2010 at

        Lots of great information, Bob. Thanks. I'd love to get together and talk shop. Let me know.

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