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Discussion Starter #1
The title really says it all. I was curious to know how many gig-quality reeds the users here get out of a box so that I can manage my own expectations a little.

For me with Java Green 2.5s on a Morgan 5m (tenor) I'd say I generally get on average three out of five that I would play on a gig. My current box gave me three out of five, the last box only had two, and the box before that had four. I adjust almost all of them with a pocket knife to get them to the right strength (they are usually pretty close to begin with), but even when they feel comfortable strength-wise certain ones just feel dull and lack the edge and vibrancy I'm looking for. They all work, but perhaps I'm just a little picky. The good ones tend to last me around two months of regular daily playing when I rotate five of them, more than the one month I was getting out of the blue box.

What would you say your gig-reed ratio is?
 

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I'm still, really, a beginner - so I get 100% because [I assume] any problems are my technique, not the kit.
 

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Well... that ought to be a long statistical thread ! :)

I just did a box of Marca Superieure #3 reeds (10 reeds) for soprano yesterday (used with my SopranoPlanet mouthpiece, for removing ambiguity about testing).
I found:
- 6 very good ones (to my taste and judging ability, without working any of them), one being slightly too hard,
- 2 that I could still use for practicing,
- 2 that are very likely to be just wood for starting fires.

But that's only one measure...
 

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One Legere box has one good Legere reed.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
One Legere box has one good Legere reed.
Interestingly enough the two Legere Signature 2 1/4s that I have play extremely differently. One has a nice vibrant dark sound and the other is incredibly dull. Glad you've found them to be so consistent! I think I'm jealous.
 

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Back in the glory days of the flat box Zondas, it was 5 for 5...with the other reeds I've been trying about 8 out of 10...
 

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Sometime back, it was assumed you'd get about 2-3 really good reeds in a box of 10, IF you don't dress your own reeds. If you're willing to adjust them with rush and trimming, wouldn't you be able to salvage all 10 reeds in a box of 10?
 

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i like the old orange box RICO reeds with 25 reeds in the box.paper inside these boxes also,no plastic.
most work well 90%.most last for 2 months and some last for 10minutes.
most other reed manufacturers i say around 50%.
 

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Pretty much all of 'em.

1) Buy good quality reeds (so, no off-center cuts, weird tip shapes, etc.)
2) Let them soak and dry a couple times before trying them out.
3) If too hard or too soft, adjust accordingly.

I suppose I could afford to throw away a significant percentage of reeds, but at $7 and up for a baritone sax reed, that just seems wasteful when I can spend a few minutes and turn a doubtful one into a pretty good one.

Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and I was a young student, adjusting reeds was considered standard practice and taught as such to pretty much every reed player. We single reed players were grateful that we didn't have to make our own from scratch like the oboe and bassoon players.

Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.
 

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It depends.
Anywhere from 0 to "every last one".
But I can make nine out of ten reeds play well by working on them, provided the strength is hard enough to begin with.

And Phil is right... A good mouthpiece drastically improves the success rate and reduces the amount of work needed.

Soaking - drying - repeating - breaking in properly - and then properly sanding flat and polishing the table is about half the battle on most reeds, provided you have the good mouthpiece referred to above.
 

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What turf3 says.

I was surprised at my last box of Rigottis - there was one bad reed in it. Turns out it had a barely visible split right down the center. Out of the last 3 boxes, that was the only reed that was not gig-, rehearsal- or practice-ready. I don't make a distinction between those categories - a good reed is a good reed.

I actually think reeds are better made now than when I was younger, except maybe for Orange Box Ricos, and most of them play just fine. How long they last is another story, but learn to balance your reeds and you can play virtually every one in a box.
 

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I’m usually 4 out of 5 on just about everything. These days it’s Vandoren v21 or D’Addario Reserve on Sop/Alto/Tenor.

Phil made my alto and tenor mouthpieces so the quality of my mouthpieces is immediately suspect... Just kidding. :)
 

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I’m reasonably proficient with reed rush for adjustments. Gig worthy? Maybe 2.5 of 5 on average. The rest for practice.
 

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...gig-, rehearsal- or practice-ready. I don't make a distinction between those categories - a good reed is a good reed...

QUOTE]

Some years back I read some advice not to distinguish amongst your reeds but rather to get them pretty good and then play them randomly. The person giving this advice, and I can't remember who it was but I think one of the name-brand classical professors, pointed out that you need to be prepared at any time to play on a less than perfect reed (what if that one perfect one gets chipped ten minutes before you start?). Another factor is that reeds and people vary day to day so that one most perfect reed might, in fact, be the worst among your "good" reeds on Wednesday, even though it was cool on Monday.

As I've gotten older I've decided to be more adaptable to variation in all kinds of things rather than trying to have everything as close to my idea of perfect as possible. So, for example, I don't freak out if I go out in the cold weather with a jacket that's a bit too thin; I give fruits and vegetables only the most cursory inspection in the grocery; and I play pretty much whatever reed comes to hand out of my reed holder.
 

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When I was playing Vandorens, probably 2 out of 5 tenor reeds and 4 out of 10 clarinet reeds.

Switched to Rigotti on tenor for a couple of boxes now and now I get probably 7 or 8 out of 10 and the other two are at least good enough to practice on.

I switched to Peter Leuthner on clarinet and am looking at 8 totally performance-quality reeds out of the box. The remaining two are a bit hard, but seem like they might get some play at some point.

3 or 4 out of 5 Jazz Selects on bari work well enough, even though a lot of them look pretty ugly.

I am going to pick up a box of the Gonzalez classic bass clarinet reeds once my current crop of Vandoren blue box starts to run low, then I'll check out non-Vandoren alto sax reeds.

Hoping to completely move away from Vandoren and their inconsistency and obscenely wasteful packaging soon. I've started to wonder lately if the wasteful packaging has something to do with the poor quality of the reeds.
 

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Interestingly enough the two Legere Signature 2 1/4s that I have play extremely differently. One has a nice vibrant dark sound and the other is incredibly dull. Glad you've found them to be so consistent! I think I'm jealous.
It could be the mouthpiece you're using. My Vandoren really likes them, 10 others that I've tried not so much….
 

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As I've gotten older I've decided to be more adaptable to variation in all kinds of things rather than trying to have everything as close to my idea of perfect as possible.
This is a good example of 'with age comes wisdom,' although I'm highly suspect of that cliche'...I think it should be amended to 'with age comes wisdom for those who can learn.' Which certainly doesn't apply to everyone, or maybe even a majority.

All that aside, yeah, reeds will definitely help train you to adapt to variation, since every reed is different. turf makes a really good point that you have to fight the feeling that you need an absolutely perfect reed at all times (ain't gonna happen!). I have a 'bar' above which a reed is good to go on a gig vs one that I might only use for practice or toss if it's really a dud. With the Rigotti Gold reeds I use (#3 light), I'd say about 7 out of 10 are above that bar. And maybe half of those require a bit of 'break in' time or light sanding/scraping. Those 7 still vary and a couple might not be quite as good as the others, but they do the job.
 
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