Légère reeds are engineered to sound and act like moist cane but with all the advantages and benefits of a synthetic.
Never need to be soaked – they instantly respond right out of the box.
- They are unaffected by weather, temperature, or humidity.
- They are consistent and reliable – they always work and sound like you expect.
- They are extremely cost effective – no more discarding of unplayable reeds.
- Long lasting – one reed should last you months.
By fixing naturally occurring defects in cane, players can focus on their music instead of their reeds.
The Classic comes from the first Légère prototype made in 1998 and is still beloved today! This stiffer reed produces a rich and dark sound. It is available in Standard Cut and German Cut for clarinet and Standard Cut and Studio Cut for saxophone. This reed is wonderful for students, marching bands and large ensembles but remains popular with players at all levels.
The Signature is a complete reinvention of our Classic reed. It is cut from a stiffer yet thinner material which produces a warm, rich tone in all registers. It is more flexible across the tip, giving it a full spectrum of overtones while utilizing minimal effort. This reed is most commonly played by intermediate and advanced players, including professionals worldwide. It is available for both Saxophone and Clarinet.
The European Cut, was introduced in 2016 and has been our best selling reed of all time! This reed is characterized by the shorter and wider vamp and an extra band of material along the spine. This provides rigidity without compromising the reed’s free blowing nature or high register stability. This reed is available for the Bb clarinet.
Cane is a unique material. It is has a low density yet is longitudinally very stiff. Matching these properties in a synthetic material is difficult but is essential in creating a good reed.
Légère uses polypropylene to make both single and double reeds. Polypropylene is a common, non-toxic polymer with applications in food containers, packaging, rugs, and many other products. Unfortunately, ordinary polypropylene is not nearly stiff enough to make saxophone and clarinet reeds. They just wouldn’t vibrate. To make the plastic much stiffer Légère puts it through a process called orientation. This is the secret to creating Légère reeds.
Polypropylene does not have to be preconditioned before playing nor does it absorb any water. It is completely non-toxic, highly durable and can be easily sanitized with warm water and a mild detergent.
Design and Process
Early Légère reeds were made with profiles very similar to cane reeds. Because these first reeds were an identical size to cane reeds they needed to have exactly the same stiffness and density. These first reeds were cut using a very similar process to that used for current Légère reeds.
While early Légère reeds were very good synthetic reeds, they were not perfect. The next major step in synthetic-reed technology came with the advent of the Signature reeds. The difference between the Signatures and the first prototypes is in stiffness and reed size. The Signatures are roughly 80% the thickness of a good cane reed, but are made from a much stiffer material. This allows for a freer vibration which results in wonderful overtones.
All Légère reeds are cut from our own unique polymer on a 3-axis, computer numerically controlled (CNC) cutting machine. Each reed is individually strength tested, delicately sanded and packaged by hand.
To unpack the reed, remove it from the case or box carefully avoiding contact with the tip. While Légère reeds are durable, they can easily be damaged if mishandled or dropped. It is best to always handle your reed by the heel.
There is no need to moisten a Légère reed, it will play like a pre-moistened cane reed directly from the box.
Place the reed on the mouthpiece in the same position that you would put a cane reed and secure it with a ligature. Test the reed’s response either on the instrument or alone. You should feel a quick attack that speaks instantly. If you do not feel a fast attack the reed position or strength is incorrect. Move the reed back and forth trying a variety of positions and continue testing.
Once the attack feels correct play the reed for a couple minutes to warm it up. At this point, the reed is in playing condition. Depending on your playing style, the reed will need to be rotated after roughly 60 minutes. This is to extend the life of the reed, not improve your short-term tone. With proper rotation and care your reeds should last many months.
Storage and Cleaning
When you are finished playing on your reed, loosen the ligature and remove it from the mouthpiece. The reed can be cleaned periodically with water and a mild detergent. Légère single reeds should be stored on a flat surfaced reed case.
Due to the fact that polypropylene is non-porous, it is very difficult for bacteria to build on your reed.
Modifying the Reed
Altering Légère reeds is not recommended. Bending stiffness is a function of elastic modulus and removing material will drastically reduce the strength of the reed. If you are interested in experimentation purchase reeds that are 0.5 to 1.0 step stronger than your appropriate strength.
If desired, the reeds can be scraped with fine sandpaper or a sharp blade, held perpendicular to the reed. They should be scraped from the top of the vamp towards the tip. Never sand or scrape against the grain of the reed.
Reeds that have been altered are not eligible for an exchange or refund. Clipping the reed with a conventional reed clipper is likely to cause longitudinal splits through the tip.