The strengths of Yamaha Synthetic reeds correspond closely to those of conventional cane reeds. So first, we recommend that you choose a strength which is the same or similar to the one you are currently using.
To find the optimal strength of synthetic reed:
Adjust the resistance by moving the reed slightly higher or lower on the mouthpiece. Higher makes the resistance higher, lower makes it lower.
Alongside the positioning of the reed, you can usually find a hint from the characteristics of the mouthpiece you are using. Usually, the mouthpiece consists of the parts such as ‘Baffle’, ‘Chamber’, ‘Facing’, ‘Tip Opening’, etc (see the image at the bottom of this article).
It is said that the ‘Facing’ and ‘Tip Opening’ particularly influence the sound and playability. ‘Facing’ corresponds to the length of the reed which vibrates when blowing. The lower part of the reed is touched to ‘Table’ of the mouthpiece. This is why only the part of the reed which corresponds to ‘Facing’ of the mouthpiece vibrates. The longer the length of ‘Facing’ is, the more resistance and bigger sound it produces. The shorter it is, the less resistance it has.
‘Tip Opening’ is the distance between the tip of the reed and the mouthpiece. The bigger the distance is, the more resistance and bigger sound it produces, or vice versa.
Generally speaking, for the mouthpiece which has shorter facing and smaller tip opening, a reed of higher strength will fit. For the mouthpiece which has longer facing and bigger tip opening, a reed of lower strength will fit.
The Yamaha 4C mouthpiece has relatively shorter facing and smaller tip opening, enabling beginners to produce sounds more easily. Therefore, 3 or 3 1/2 will fit most.
If you don’t know the details about the mouthpiece you use, please contact the store from which you purchased it. How you play or the condition of the instrument may also be influential factors, so trying the reed before purchase is recommended.