Are the synthetic reeds for Canadian company Légére any good? In this review I talk about their Signature Series sax reeds.
The multi-sax recording of “Got To Get You Into My Life” in this review was performed with Légere reeds on all saxes.
Those of you who know me, know that I’m not a fan of synthetic reeds…
In fact over the years I have tried all of them, and in a range of playing situations from symphony orchestras, to big bands and TV sessions. I’ve always found them to be too big of a compromise both in sound and feel.
Over the last few weeks though, I’ve been trying out the Signature Series reeds from Canadian synthetic reed maker Légère.
Now in the past I have tried out the Studio Cut reeds from Légère on both alto and tenor and they just didn’t work for me. To my ears they were a bit bright.
However, with the new Signature Series reeds I think they have cracked it! For me, the Signature Series reeds from Légère are the most amazing reeds I’ve played on, synthetic or otherwise.
I love the sound, they play great and to be honest they inspire me to play more, which is the idea right?
Now I will confess that Légère did send me some alto and tenor reeds to try, but I was so impressed with them, I have since bought some more for both my soprano and my baritone. For the last two months they have been the only reeds I’ve been playing.
For me, the Signature Series reeds from Légére
are the most amazing reeds I’ve played on,
synthetic or otherwise.
So what are these reeds?
The Légère reeds are synthetic reeds. They are clear (which is a bit unusual and takes some getting used to when mounting on your mouthpiece). They come in quarter sizes which are kind of interesting. It was one of the things I was unsure of when I first looked at trying them out.
Now Légère is pretty clever though. They have produced a comprehensive comparison chart so you can easily find out which strength in their saxophone reeds is equivalent to the cane reed strength you are currently using.
For me, after a bit of experimenting, I ended up going for a quarter size harder on alto and soprano. So I was using a 2.5 on alto, I now use a 2.75. On soprano I was using a size 3 Vandoren, now I’m using a 3.25.
For tenor and baritone though, I ended up going with the same size reed – 2.5, so some experimenting is definitely a good idea to find what works with your setup.
How they perform
I’ve been playing and recording with these reeds over the last of couple months, but to give the reeds a good test out, I used them exclusively when filming the “Got To Get You Into My Life” Multi-Sax video (above). I was really happy with the sound and also the continuity across my horns for feel and response.
The sound has a little more “bite” to it than my cane reeds, but I can also get a lovely smooth sound too. The reeds respond really consistently over the whole range with the low notes and the highest altissimo just popping out.
The best thing though is the stability of the reeds.
In my studio I’m playing my saxes a lot every day, but normally I need to spend time making sure each reed is flat and sealing well.
With these Légère reeds, every time I pick up my horns they play the same way. This is a big deal – any sax player will know just how much time you can spend adjusting reeds!
So that means a lot less time spent on reeds, more time spent on recording and practicing.
Is it all good news?
Now there are a couple of downsides. Firstly they are more expensive. In fact one Légère reed will cost you as almost much as an entire box of cane reeds. However for me I think when you consider the amount of time saved adjusting reeds, and the inconsistency of a box of cane reeds, the Légère actually feel like good value.
Plus I know my saxes will play the same every day, which is a good feeling.
The other consideration is that you may need to try a couple of different sizes to find the one that works for you. And, at around £25 per reed that does bother me. But once you find “your” size, that reed will last you a long time.
So far I’ve been playing my Légère saxophone reeds on all horns pretty consistently for about 2 months and they are still performing as they did brand new. Amazing.
You might have guessed by now that I am pretty impressed with these reeds. Probably partly because although I have always liked the “idea” of synthetic reeds, they have always disappointed. Finally though, I think there is a viable option for a great synthetic reed that makes you want to play your sax and delivers on the synthetic reed promise.
If you are tired of adjusting cane reeds then I would definitely suggest checking out the Légère Signature Series reeds.