Slowly I am gaining more endurance while playing. Learning tunes is going well also (I think). My technique is coming back, though it would happen quicker if I worked more on basics (consistency). One thing I seem to have particular trouble with is a consistent tone from one reed to the next.
I never had to work to make my reeds last while I was in the Navy. That was because I wasn’t paying for my supplies. I had sort of a system for breaking in new reeds, and with that system, I think I got around to using most of the reeds in a box. And if I couldn’t make that happen I’d just open a new box. I had plenty. Now, I don’t have plenty. I can’t afford to go through reeds like I did in the Navy. Now I find myself trying to make every reed in the box count.
The Consistency of Reeds
I wish reeds were more consistent. Every single one is different; even if they’re from the same box. I consider myself super lucky if I get 2 reeds in a box that play right away. Most of the time I find myself working really hard to break a reed in. I try not to shave them or manipulate them physically. Usually, just by playing on them daily, they get better with time. At least that seems to be the case with Vandoren.
The reason I don’t shave, sand, or, do anything like that to my reeds is that I usually ruin them. They end up playing worse than they did when I started. So for me, I simply play each reed until it loosens up. I call it blowing the stuffing out. I usually have at least one reed in the queue that would be ready to use when the current reed finally dies.
I am finding it hard to get consistency and a consistent sound from reed to reed. One day I sound like a sax player (or at least close). The next day I may sound like I have only been playing for a few weeks. At times I think there is something wrong with the saxophone. But after checking things out I find the horn in perfect working condition. I guess it will get better with time. I hope it happens sooner than later though.