Introduction to Flavored Reeds
Flavored reeds for saxophones are a type of reed that's become more popular in recent years. They combine the traditional reed with flavors, adding a fun twist to your saxophone practice sessions. These reeds are used by saxophone players ranging from total beginners to advanced musicians.
When I tried flavored reeds for the first time I could see how they could be beneficial to a sax player that doesn't like the taste of cane. In my experience they play the same way as a regular reed.
But what exactly are flavored reeds and should you consider using them? Let's find out!
- Flavored reeds are standard cane reeds with added taste, enhancing the saxophone playing experience.
- They appeal to younger musicians and provide a creative, enjoyable option.
- The flavor lasts several months in packaging but fades quickly during play, potentially altering instrument tone.
- Proper storage and caution about staining are necessary when using colored flavored reeds.
Benefits of Flavored Reeds
Enhanced Practice Experience
The most apparent advantage of flavored reeds is that they make practice
sessions more enjoyable. The flavors infused into the reed are released as you play, providing a pleasant taste that can make long practice sessions feel less monotonous. This added sensory experience can help to maintain your focus and increase your overall enjoyment while playing.
Motivation for Beginners
Learning a new instrument can be challenging, and maintaining motivation is crucial for beginners. Flavored reeds offer an extra incentive to pick up the saxophone and practice. The novelty of the flavored reeds can encourage new players to persevere through the initial learning curve, making their journey into music more enjoyable.
While it may not be the primary reason to choose flavored reeds, they can promote better hygiene. Flavored reeds can help mask any unpleasant tastes or smells that may develop from saliva buildup, ensuring a more hygienic and pleasant experience.
Popular Reed Flavors on Saxophone
Mint Reed Flavor
Mint-flavored reeds are popular for their refreshing and invigorating taste. The cool sensation provided by mint can help keep you alert and focused during practice sessions. Looking at the reed it's also Mint Green adding a pretty fun visual element to your mouthpiece as well.
Fruit Reed Flavors
Fruit-flavored reeds come in a variety of options, such as strawberry, apple, and orange. These sweet and tangy flavors can make practicing more enjoyable, adding a fun and tasty element to your saxophone playing.
Cinnamon Reed Flavor
If you are into christmas flavours you may want to try ot the Cinnamon Reeds. Based on my experience it's one of the flavors with the most accurate taste along with the mint reeds.
Exotic Reed Flavors
For those who crave something unique, there are exotic-flavored reeds on the market. Flavors like chocolate, vanilla, and even cinnamon can provide a distinctive sensory experience, setting your practice sessions apart from the rest.
This is a favorite among children making it feel
Flavored Reeds for Saxophone by Flavoreed
One of the most well established Flavored Reed makers is Flavoreeds. They have a good selection of different flavors like Fruits, Exotic and Cinnamon reeds which are popular among younger saxophone students. There's also Mint and Piña Colada which are more adult flavors.
Choosing the Right Flavored Reed
Just like with traditional sax reeds, it's important to choose the right strength for your flavored reeds. Strength determines the reed's flexibility and responsiveness, affecting the ease of playing and the sound produced.
Based on my experience teaching 100s of students as a saxophone teacher I recommend that you choose a 2-2.5 strength reed if you are a beginner. That's the range where most beginners start and if you are more of an intermediate sax player you may want to get a 3 strength reed instead.
Still, this is somewhat individual and needs to be tried out by each player.
With various flavors available, you should choose a flavor that appeals to you. Think about your favorite tastes and consider trying something new. Don't be afraid to sample different flavors until you find the one that makes practicing more enjoyable.
Flavored reeds can be made from different materials, such as synthetic or natural cane. Each material offers unique characteristics that can affect the sound and feel of your playing.
Synthetic reeds tend to be more durable and consistent, while cane reeds offer a more traditional sound and feel. Consider the material when choosing your flavored reed to ensure the best playing experience.
Flavored Reeds based on Saxophone Model
The most common Flavored Reed companies have reeds for Alto Saxophone and Tenor Saxophone. This is based on popularity, especially among beginner Alto Sax players that do not like the taste of cane.
However, in recent times the reed manufacturer Flavoreeds have added Soprano Saxophone Reeds with flavor as well. Not many beginners play soprano so this is probably done to become more “mainstream” for experienced and pro players too.
You can buy them in single package, twinpack and tripack. They similar to 3-pack Rico Alto Saxophone Reeds or 3-pack Tenor Saxophone Reeds.
However, the reed makers have many flavors to choose from so you may want to buy a couple of single package reeds to try out the flavours.
How to store Flavored Reeds to extend their life
Proper Care and Storage
You want to make sure to store your flavored reeds in a reed guard just like with any regular reed. I recommend that you make a habit of always removing the reed from the mouthpiece, gently wiping it with a clean cloth or on the back of your hand before storing it in a reed holder or original packaging.
That ensures that the reed tip remains flat when it dries which is super important in order to maintain the reed for the next practice session on your saxophone. Using a reed guard also helps with proper ventilation which prevent mold and bacteria growth.
You will find that the flavor diminishes over time. In my experience that happens before the life cycle of the reed is over. So, you need to be prepared for that taste of cane which will eventually emerge when playing Flavoreeds.
Just as with a standard reed, the flavored reed will wear out and need to be replaced. Pay attention to changes in your reed's performance, such as difficulty in producing sound or a decrease in flavor intensity. When that happens it's time to replace the reed.
I recommend that your keep more than one reed in rotation, so that you always have a spare to switch to. There's a specific method to prepare saxophone reeds that makes it easy to maintain good reeds.
The Pros and Cons of Flavored Reeds
Pros of Flavored Reeds:
- Enhanced Practice Experience: They make practice sessions more enjoyable by adding pleasant flavors, reducing monotony.
- Motivation for Beginners: They incentivize beginners to practice and persevere through the initial learning curve.
- Improved Hygiene: They can mask unpleasant tastes or odors from saliva buildup. However, it is still important to clean your Saxophone to maintain it in good playing condition.
- Popular Flavors: They offer a variety of popular flavors, such as mint, fruit, and cinnamon.
- Unique Experience: Exotic flavors like chocolate and vanilla provide a distinctive sensory experience.
Cons of Flavored Reeds:
- Flavor Diminishes: The flavor wears off over time, requiring reed replacement while the reed itself may still be usable.
- Slight Material Impact: The material of the reed may have a minor impact on the sound compared to traditional reeds.
- Cost: Flavored reeds may be slightly more expensive than traditional reeds due to the added flavoring.
- Limited Selection by Saxophone Model: Flavored reeds are more commonly available for specific saxophone models, limiting options for some players.
- Turn lips into different colors: Based on the flavoured Reed you are playing you can notice that the color wears of on your lips. This is just temporary but still something to consider.
Overall, flavored reeds can enhance the saxophone playing experience, but their longevity, cost, and limited availability for certain saxophone models are potential drawbacks.
FAQs about Flavored Saxophone Reeds
What are flavored reeds for saxophone?
Flavored reeds are a fun twist on the traditional saxophone reed. Made from the same high-quality materials as regular reeds, these innovative products are have various flavors to enhance your playing experience. Imagine playing your favorite jazz tune with a hint of mint or vanilla—sounds delightful, doesn't it?
Are flavored reeds suitable for all skill levels?
Yes, flavored reeds are suitable for saxophone players of all skill levels, from beginners to advanced musicians.
Do flavored reeds affect the sound of my saxophone?
The material of the reed may have a slight impact on the sound, but the flavor itself should not affect the tone or quality of your saxophone playing.
How long does the flavor in a flavored reed last?
The duration of the flavor will vary depending on the brand and your playing habits. However, from my experience and tests the flavor last for about one week. That is a similar experience as with a chewing gum. You get most flavor in the beginning and after a while it wears off. It's the same thing with the flavored reeds. At the same time, the actual reed can last much longer than the taste. So, even after the flavor is gone you can still use the reed as a normal sax reed.
Can I switch between traditional and flavored reeds?
Yes, you can alternate between traditional and flavored reeds as they play the same. The key difference is that regular cane reeds have no taste besides a slight hint of wood while you get a more delightful experience with the flavored reeds.
Are flavored reeds more expensive than regular reeds?
Flavored reeds may be slightly more expensive than regular (“traditional”) reeds due to the added flavoring.
What are some alternatives to Flavored Reeds?
The most common type of Saxophone reed is the cane reed. This is what most saxophone players choose to play. However, over the past decades there has been great development in synthetic and plastic reeds that give very similar characteristics as the cane reed.
Do flavored reeds affect the sound of the saxophone?
Surprisingly, flavored reeds generally do not have a significant impact on the sound of the saxophone. They are made from the same materials as traditional reeds, so their performance characteristics should be quite similar. However, some players may notice slight variations in tone or response, depending on the specific flavor and brand.
Why would someone use flavored reeds?
There are a few reasons why saxophonists might choose to use flavored reeds. For one, they can help make practicing more enjoyable, as the added flavor provides a pleasant taste in the mouth while playing. Additionally, flavored reeds can serve as a conversation starter or unique performance gimmick, helping musicians stand out from the crowd.
Flavored reeds for saxophones can be an exciting and enjoyable addition to your practice sessions. The main benefit is that you do not need to get used to the cane taste that comes with regular saxophone reeds. They can also serve a more enjoyable practice experience, motivation for beginners, and even improved hygiene.
With a variety of flavors and options available, there's a flavored reed for every taste and preference. So, if you want to spice up your next practice session on your sax you can give flavored reeds a try.
If you're not convinced there are other reed options without flavor that works well too. When you choose your reeds you need to consider the type of saxophone that you are playing.
You can still be using the same reed brand but the size as well as the reed strength plays a key role in how well you will be able to play the reed and saxophone.