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Elite 12-Gauge Speakon-Speakon Speaker Cable
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Fibracell Synthetic Tenor Saxophone ReedThey have brilliant overtones for a full, resonant tone, a quick response for better articulation, and excellent pitch stability and intonation, even for clarinet. Best of all, they have the same woody tone as cane but with better projection. Fibracell reeds even have the same weight and stiffness as cane (cane floats and so does Fibracell!) but they last up to 4 times longer with no unplayable reeds and aren't affected by heat or humidity. With their high strength and long-lasting durability, they're less likely to give out on you in the middle of a performance, too.What is Fibracell?Fibracell is a sophisticated composite of aerospace materials designed to exactly duplicate the way nature constructs the cane that goes into the very best cane reeds. Very stiff but sound-absorbing Kevlar fibers are suspended in a lightweight rosin using extremely exacting production standards. Each reed is precisely machined and trimmed for a consistently perfect shape, so you get the same reed time and time again.
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The latest Fibracell (tenor, 4.5) I purchased was grossly asymmetric. The cut at the base of vamp was not centered (I should have just sent it right back without opening). The reed played poorly. Measurements of the "C" line with a PerfectaReed gauge shows the left side of the reed is thicker than the R down the whole length of the vamp.
1 13.5 12 (each unit is .001")
2 14.5 13
3 20 16
4 29.5 25
5 40.5 35
6 52 44
7 64 55
8 79.5 67
About 15 minutes with a razor and sanding block to even off the high side got the reed playing decently, but now it plays like a 2.5.
Another guy in my Navy Band turned me on to these reeds. I tried them and I really like them. I use them for teaching and playing shows. When people hear this reed they cannot tell that it is not a cane reed. They are shocked when I show them the reed.
I tried Bari and Legere and Fibracell out performs them both with a better sound, intonation and control.
I still use my very best cane reeds for my Jazz jobs, but who knows that to may change.
One note, go up a 1/2 strength from your regular reed. For cane I use Rico 2.5, for Fibracell I have to use a # 3. If it feels to hard I adjust it down a bit from the tip of the mouthpiece. The 2.5 Fibracells are to soft for me, the 3's are perfect.
In my opinion, Fibracells are completely different than any other synthetic out there. Don't let the fact that this is a synthetic scare you away. I use them exclusively on alto and about 50% of the time on tenor. They are definitely brighter, louder and more efficient than most cane reeds, so you'll probably need to back off on the air speed a bit. Other than that, they play and feel like a good broken in cane reed. They play the same way every day no matter the conditions, humidity, weather etc and I get about 50-100 playing hours out of a single reed. They're obviously great for playing outdoors or doubling, but they're great for all kinds of playing. I agree that the numbered strengths run a bit soft, so I'd order a half strength harder than what you play in cane. Also check out the traditionally graded, regular Fibracells. Sometimes those work a bit better for me. My only complaint is that there is some noticeable variability between reeds of the same type/strength and it's not even up for debate. You may want to order a few at a time just to experiment. Highly recommended.
Lately I've been fed up with the whole reed process (soaking, clipping, rotating, sanding, filing etc. yes I've done it all!) so a clarinetist friend of mine suggested I try synthetics. The last time I tried a synthetic reed was in high school and faintly recall sound like a quacking duck...it was a horrible experience. But I thought what the heck might as well give it another shot. So I ordered a Fibracell #3, 3 1/2 Tenor Reeds.
When it arrived I had lent my V16 mouthpiece to a friend so I had to try out the Fibracell on some other mouthpieces I had. The first one I slapped it on was a BARI HR Tenor piece. The main thing I remember about playing this mouthpiece was that it was resistant as hell. It was like the equivalent of blowing through a barn door! Just a really dead sounding piece, but when I put the fibracell reed on it sang like no other. It suddenly was like blowing through a window, very free blowing, bright/warm (but not thin very full) and projected well. i couldn't believe I was getting this sound on a synthetic reed!!
So when i got my V16 back a couple of days later I put the fibracell on it expecting it to sound like it did on my BARI piece. It sounded HORRIBLE!!! It was very thin and harsh sounding. I couldn't believe the difference. So then after setting their in the practice room for several minutes bewildered it occurred to me that maybe this reed will only work on dead/stuffy sounding pieces. So to test this I pulled out 3 mouthpieces that I basically considered duds and could never get to work.
The first was a stock Otto Link STM followed up my an old Selmer Scroll Shank a Runyon and Meyer. I played the fibracell on all 4 and they had the same result as the BARI piece. The suddenly became more full, vibrant, responsive and brighter. I was completely stunned. So I then preceded to play it on some mouthpieces I considered to already have these qualities. A Morgan Excaliber, Otto Link (A Good One), and Ponzol. The results were much the same as my V16. While some sounded worse than others they all became thin, shrill, and bright(ter).
So after all this I feel that synthetic reeds are playable if matched with the right mouthpiece. In this case all the pieces I could never get to work with cane sounded terrific and vice versa.
I?m not trying to sway anybody to convert to synthetic reeds but letting you all know that perhaps some of those stuffy/dead mouthpieces (duds) you have lying around might be remedied by trying a synthetic reed on it in my case a fibracell.
This is the first synthetic reed that I have tried, so I cannot compare it to other brands. I think it may be the original though. I now it's been around for over 30 years anyway. I am a big fan of cane reeds and pretty fussy about them too. My main set-up is a stainless Berg Larsen .120 tip. My mouthpiece is fussy about what reed I use. I've had the best results with Rico jazz select cane reeds. I play in a rock/dance band that does a lot of outdoor gigs and am a doubler so have had a hard time keeping my reeds moist enough. This reed solved the problem!
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