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Around 2005, I found a box of Rico Plasticovers for bari that were from the 1980s. (It was a piano shop that hadn’t sold other instruments or accessories since then and this was in an old closet in the back room. The original owner had no idea what was in the box we rummaged through. And he gave it to me at the sticker price from the ‘80s!) Best Plasticovers I ever played. I was sad after I used all of them. I wish I had bought some orange boxes when I was young and shoved them in a box until now. I think an alto Reed was 40 cents in the mid ‘80s.
 

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got a 25 box unopened for 10$ on ebay for alto clarinet. wow! aged to perfection. they play better tan any ricos i have ever played. one avantage to playing alto clarinet is no one want this stuff.
I have a couple boxes of Rico brown box alto reeds, 3 1/2, I bought in 1983, they were probably pretty new then. I think the switch to the orange box was a couple years after that, but the reeds were the same. At the time I played lead alto in a casino showroom orchetra, and that was the only reed brand I had played for about 10 years. I went through about 3 boxes a year at that time. I have some tenor and soprano reeds from then too. Most of the players I knew then used Ricos, and most of those who didn’t used LaVoz, which were exactly the same reed.

In 1987 I switched careers, and didn’t play as much. From time to time I would buy some new reeds, these old boxes languished t the back of the drawer. I noticed that the Ricos of the ‘90s and later were not as vibrant as I remembered the Ricos in the ‘70s and ‘80s to be. I thought it could just be me remembering the ‘good old days’, but starting around 2002 I went on a serious reed hunt, eventually years later settling on Rigotti, but I played Select Jazz for quite a while before that. They were noticeably better than the current Ricos.

Last year I bought a new alto mouthpiece (10MFan’s incredible Alto Madness), I hadn’t been playing much alto, mostly tenor, and tried a bunch of reeds. Including some of the old Rico 3 1/2s….Wow! What great reeds. Just like I remembered, vibrant, rich and beautiful sounding.

@super20dan - Rico reeds from the 1970s up until sometime in the ‘90s were really something special. I know they changed their manufacturing process a couple times starting around then, but man I wish they still made reeds like that. On alto, BSS come the closest, for me, with Rigotti ‘The Blue One’ coming in a close second (makes sense), but those old Ricos are still the best. Nice find!
 

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Yeah there is a true glut of vintage alto clarinet reeds for dirt cheap.
Unlike Bass Clarinet reeds which are easily adapted for tenor, the alto clarinet reeds are useless for anything else. What a shame!! They definitely over produced them. I just scored these bass clarinet reeds on eBay for a pennies on the dollar and they are excellent.
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Yes! This is what (fortunately for us) few people seem to realize. Welcome to the club :)
I always buy NOS reeds when I can. As a shop in Sweden with good contacts, I currently stock over thousands of NOS boxes with beautifully aged reeds!
Here are some, but not all:

Shelf Bookcase Publication Shelving Retail
 

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Unlike Bass Clarinet reeds which are easily adapted for tenor, the alto clarinet reeds are useless for anything else. What a shame!! They definitely over produced them. I just scored these bass clarinet reeds on eBay for a pennies on the dollar and they are excellent. View attachment 136599
I think I read a recent post somewhere on here that alto clarinet reeds work also for alto sax. Is this not so? As I don’t have an alto clarinet I have no way to see.
 

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I think I read a recent post somewhere on here that alto clarinet reeds work also for alto sax. Is this not so? As I don’t have an alto clarinet I have no way to see.
yes, they can and are used interchangeably



 

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I think I read a recent post somewhere on here that alto clarinet reeds work also for alto sax. Is this not so? As I don’t have an alto clarinet I have no way to see.
When I picked up an alto clarinet at a yard sale last week I used an alto sax reed to try it out because that's all I could find at the time. It worked OK

Real store bought alto clarinet reeds are a bit more narrow than sax reeds. 12.7mm to 14.4mm on the ones I just measured.
 

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Some alto clarinet reeds work on some alto sax mouthpieces, you have to experiment. I had a Meyer that I used vintage La Voz alto clarinet reeeds on for several years, but many alto clarinet reeds are too narrow for alto sax. I know guys that use them on soprano sax though.
 

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Count me in as another fan of old reeds. I bought a box of vintage Rico reeds in high school, and they were the best playing reeds I had ever experienced. The cane was noticeably more brown instead of yellow like new reeds.

My band director (who is also a sax player) had a box of 25 vintage Rico that he said were junk, so he gave the rest to me, and they played amazing as well. One man's trash is another man's treasure, I suppose.

Only problem with these old reeds is that they wear out very quickly, so I don't get as much use out of a reed.
 
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