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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Could anyone enlighten me about how Alexander reeds compare to Vandoren reeds? Not the strength - I know that Alexanders run about half a strength softer, if my memory serves me right - but in the quality (sound, response). I have played Vandoren Traditionals, V16's, ZZ's, and Java Reds, so please compare the Alexander to those. Thanks.
 

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i wouldnt compare them to vandoren. i find them more similar to rico's. i guess the closest of the vandorens to alexanders would be v12s. alexanders have that denseness to them. the sound is much more personal and malleable than vandorens. that also means you have to work and shape the sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the info. :) Which of the Alexanders do you prefer? I currently have my eyes set on the NY's - I may be ordering some soon.
 

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Start with the DC's. They seem to be a good middle of the road choice. From there you can go to NY or Superials depending on whether you want stiffer or more flexible. I still like Javas the best for my particular set-up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks for the advice. But I have read they do not last so long. Is this claim true?
 

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I am on week 5 or 6 with my first red java .... it got better with age ... probably time to start breaking in another one ... but 5 weeks of 2 hour a day playing ...everything from college etudes to emulating Clarence on Born to run .... (the equinox really helps out in that department).... how long were you expecting them to last?
 

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Thanks for the advice. But I have read they do not last so long. Is this claim true?
It depends on how much you play, for me I couldn't get one reed to last through one playing season. They all died about 2 hours into my usual practice sessions which generally last anywhere from 3-6 hours. My Rico's however last a good 3-4 hours before I need to swap it out, for another reed. Another great thing about my Rico Select Jazz was that they recover the next day where the Alexanders still felt like wet noodles.
 

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I recall threads from the past where players who had no chirps and squeaks with other reeds experienced them with Superials.

It may be more the fault of the mouthpiece but some reeds are more forgiving than others.

I played the Classiques for a long time and like them. The Superials are really thin tipped and very fragile. I think this leads to them not lasting as long.
 

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Alexanders (especially DCs) sound great during the first 10 minutes. But then they quickly die out. It's a shame, because in the beginning I really like them.
 

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Alexanders (especially DCs) sound great during the first 10 minutes. But then they quickly die out. It's a shame, because in the beginning I really like them.
This has been my experience as well. I've tried them 3 or 4 times over the years and they play great out of the tin but they warp, split, crack, or just plain die. They just don't seem to deal with the lack of humidity here in Colorado as well as some other reeds.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I am on week 5 or 6 with my first red java .... it got better with age ... probably time to start breaking in another one ... but 5 weeks of 2 hour a day playing ...everything from college etudes to emulating Clarence on Born to run .... (the equinox really helps out in that department).... how long were you expecting them to last?
Well, I use my V16's for about 10 practice sessions (I alternate reeds everyday), each lasting about 1.5-2 hours. I have heard the Alexander DC lasts for only about 2 weeks. Not sure about how much time they were played on, though.

It depends on how much you play, for me I couldn't get one reed to last through one playing season. They all died about 2 hours into my usual practice sessions which generally last anywhere from 3-6 hours. My Rico's however last a good 3-4 hours before I need to swap it out, for another reed. Another great thing about my Rico Select Jazz was that they recover the next day where the Alexanders still felt like wet noodles.
Thanks for the info, Jack. Maybe I'll buy a box of Jazz Selects and the Alexander and compare them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
It may be more the fault of the mouthpiece but some reeds are more forgiving than others.

I played the Classiques for a long time and like them. The Superials are really thin tipped and very fragile. I think this leads to them not lasting as long.
But I assume you prefer the ZZ or Java over them, as you have stated before? And I'm pretty sure I'll be playing on a pretty forgiving mouthpiece pretty soon :)

Alexanders (especially DCs) sound great during the first 10 minutes. But then they quickly die out. It's a shame, because in the beginning I really like them.
This has been my experience as well. I've tried them 3 or 4 times over the years and they play great out of the tin but they warp, split, crack, or just plain die. They just don't seem to deal with the lack of humidity here in Colorado as well as some other reeds.

Looks like the Alexanders are out, then. Maybe I'll just try the Rico Jazz Selects Jack mentioned earlier. Thanks for your advice, guys.
 

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I for one am glad I have gone from Rico Royals to Vandoren java. The red box 3 's allow me to bend, growl, finesse much more than Royala ... Just tried some 3 medium jazz standards ... Still to thick for me .. I may try some 3 softs ... If I don't care for.them I will stay in the Vandoren camp for a while.. was hoping to find some good jazz selects ... Like the price of them better than the Vandorens
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I for one am glad I have gone from Rico Royals to Vandoren java. The red box 3 's allow me to bend, growl, finesse much more than Royala
I keep hearing good things about the Java. Maybe I'll start using them (Java Red) again.
 

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I used to prefer the Alexander reeds over Vandoren. Then they (the Alexanders) started having many problems with inconsistency and poor finishing. It got to a point where, at the $$ they sell for, I could not put up with it any longer. I prefer Vandoren on all my horns now, and sometimes LaVoz, too.
 

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I still prefer Alexanders over Vandoren, mostly because of the latters inconsistency, but also because of the tone I can get from the Classique and Superial. I have just ordered some Rigotti Golds lately (some say these are what Vandoren should have been...) and are looking forward to that as well...
 

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I use the Alexander DC tenor reeds on my STM Link, and they feel like an especially good fit with that piece -- just feels like it's more responsive and sings more. I've also gone through periods where I don't find as many playable reeds per tin/box -- but that's happened to me with every ding-dang brand of reeds I've ever used...

All of that said, reeds are such a personal thing that I don't know how much useful data you'd get from querying a bunch of semi-random folks on the Interwebs -- if it's at all possible, your best bet would be to buy a box and see what you think.

Yeah, they might not work for you, and then it'd feel like a waste of money -- but you'd have accumulated useful data!

Also, fer what it's worth: when I first bought them, they did NOTHING for the piece I was playing on at the time. So I put them away. Years later, after I'd been playing the STM for a while, I came across that old box of reeds and thought I should give 'em a shot -- and discovered they were great on that piece! Good luck...
 

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I use Alexander DC and Vandoren V16 - both work fine for me (and I live at 7000' in mountain desert).
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I used to prefer the Alexander reeds over Vandoren. Then they (the Alexanders) started having many problems with inconsistency and poor finishing. It got to a point where, at the $$ they sell for, I could not put up with it any longer.
The difference is quite plain. A box of Alexander reeds will contain unplayable reeds. A box of Vandoren reeds will contain playable reeds. Stick with Vandoren.
Thanks for the info.

I still prefer Alexanders over Vandoren, mostly because of the latters inconsistency, but also because of the tone I can get from the Classique and Superial. I have just ordered some Rigotti Golds lately (some say these are what Vandoren should have been...) and are looking forward to that as well...
Hmmm... looks like this is a two-sided argument (then again, what isn't?).
However, it may be just me, but I have never had a reed I just could not play on. Somehow, I could always just get it to work, and I don't work on my reeds at all. I'll buy a box of Alexanders and see what I feel about them.
 
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