Legère Synthetic Saxophone Reeds Review, American Cut & Signature Series
I have been playing on Legère reeds for at least ten years now. I had a series of outdoor gigs in Los Angeles. With three saxophones and cane reeds, it became increasingly frustrating dealing with hot weather and dry warped reeds after a single tune. I had tried Legère several years before without success, and I had been using Beechler Bellite metal mouthpieces on Tenor, Alto and Soprano saxes for 20 years. After a saxophone overhaul adding brass resonators, the Beecher mouthpieces became unmanageable.
I switched to hard rubber SR Technologies mouthpieces, Europa on Tenor and Legend on Alto, and shortly after I tried Legère again.
I love both the American Cut and Signature Series. I admit it took a commitment to stay off cane long enough to acclimate to the different feel of the reed. The only thing I miss about cane reeds are the taste, and of course the inconsistencies requiring skill in adjusting them. The tone on all of the Legère reeds for me now, is consistent. I have tried all types of synthetic reeds over the years investing countless dollars. While they may seem pricey, one reed for roughly the cost of a whole box, cane reeds had become too unreliable, plain and simple. One Legère reed easily outlasts a full box of cane reeds.
Like synthetic, I had spent thousands of dollars over the years trying almost all brands of cane reeds. Still it is an individuals choice to make, however I highly recommend exploring Legère reeds for saxophonists of all skill levels, professional and students of all ages alike. It is important to pair them with a mouthpiece that is comfortable and easy blowing that produces a desired tone to the musicians liking. Be mindful that the choice of saxophone also matters with regard to tone. Ideally, if possible, one may want to explore mouthpieces at the same time, especially if you have tried your most likely strength and find they don’t work well. But first I recommend trying them with the mouthpiece you are used to playing on.
Lastly, for reference, I had always played La Voz Medium Soft reeds on all my saxes with relatively wide open jazz mouthpieces. Strength comparison to La Voz MS, for Tenor: 2.50 for Signature Series, 2.75 for American Cut. On Alto: 2.0 for Signature, 2.25 for American, and Soprano: 2.50 on both for now. Typically I find the American Cut to be slightly softer than the Signature Series. Remember this is an approximation. Your needs may vary based on your experience and embouchure strength. Keep in mind also, that the consistency of reed strength from reed to reed, can be a very slight plus/minus. This can be compensated for by shifting the position of the reed on the mouthpiece facing, forward or backward, a very small amount. Experiment with the ligature at various distances from the top of the reed vamp. I find closer to the vamp (1/4"-3/16") works best and the consistency and resonance from reed to reed is better. Your mouthpiece and ligature combination also effects reed sound and performance.