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Discussion Starter #1
Ok, the blue 3's are best for response and intonation; nothing else is close. Often their sound is a bit thin and they just aren't vibrant. Hemke's seem better in sound, but die really quickly, so much that I would not trust one sitting on my horn during a long gig. Too bad they are not available in a 3.5+. So options to try might be:

1. Marca Superiuere. They seem well regarded for soprano. What strength? I tried a box of 2.5's which were quite soft.
2. Legere Signature. Might be good for infrequent doubling gigs. Again what strength?
3. Rigotti Classic? (Not Rigotti Gold or Rigotti Jazz.) I haven't tried these for any sax. They might be interesting also for legit alto. Again, strength feedback is appreciated.
4. I don't care for the other Vandoren "jazz" cuts on soprano, but am curious about Java Red (3.5?) and also V12 if that is an option.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I would have said Hemke, but it appears those aren't working for you. Try a Legere Sig 2.75. That's based on my own experience, not just the strength chart.

Also, maybe give Forestone Black Bamboo a try. It rivals the Legere Signature as the darkest, least buzzy synthetic reed if you get one that's hard enough. 3.5 would be the closest match. You could try a 4 if you want more resistance.

I haven't tried D'Addario Reserve on soprano, but since that's supposed to compete directly with the blue box model, it's probably very similar.
 

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Vandoren V12 3 strength should be seriously considered. They essentially have the blue box feel but there is more body to their sound.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Do V21s have about the same sound as the blues? 3=3 in terms of strength? Lambros, I am also surprised too the the V16 3 doesn't work for me on soprano from my experience on alto. The soprano V16 reeds don't seem to articulate for me very well.
 

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Ok, the blue 3's are best for response and intonation; nothing else is close. Often their sound is a bit thin and they just aren't vibrant.
Vandoren V12 3 strength should be seriously considered. They essentially have the blue box feel but there is more body to their sound.
Agreed on the V12. For me, they have a sound response very similar to a Blue Box, with just a "little more".
The V21 is an unfiled reed. Based on your other comments it might not be what you want; haven't played one on sop, though, only tenor.
Another option is the Rico Grand Concert Select.
For synthetics, try a Forestone White Bamboo. It targets the Blue Box response characteristics. For me it only works with certain mouthpieces, however.
 

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Are Vandoren blue box the best? Never heard that.
I like Alexander NY 3s. Respinsive, but they hold up for a good while.
Its all a bit subjective ot petsonal I guess.
 

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I tried the V16 on tenor, alto and soprano and they seemed to work best for me on a Meyer type alto piece that needs some brightness. I still have a few boxes of them even though they’re not my go to reed. It’s been Java greens for sop, alto and tenor, V12 for clarinet and classical sax pieces, and Rico jazz select for bari as I don’t like any of the Vandoren bari reeds. Again, I like the V12 for sop and bass clarinet and my classical pieces for sax and maybe something like a Couf labeled 5* Runyon sop sax piece, something that needs a beefier sound without being chirpy.

Do V21s have about the same sound as the blues? 3=3 in terms of strength? Lambros, I am also surprised too the the V16 3 doesn't work for me on soprano from my experience on alto. The soprano V16 reeds don't seem to articulate for me very well.
 

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Do V21s have about the same sound as the blues? 3=3 in terms of strength? Lambros, I am also surprised too the the V16 3 doesn't work for me on soprano from my experience on alto. The soprano V16 reeds don't seem to articulate for me very well.
The sound of V21s is a little different from Blue Box, but they operate very much in the same way BBs do - very good support, clean articulation. IMHO they are an improvement.
I have never liked V16s on soprano, but I play quite closed tips and they just seem wrong to me.
 

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I have tried a number of reeds on soprano. Several of the ones mentioned, but certainly not all. I like the sound I get with a hard reeds, and I like the BB #4.

One that has not been mentioned, the one I am currently and have been playing for a while, is Brancher Classic Opera #4. They are interesting in that the #4 plays like a #3 or 3.5 but sounds like a BB #4.

I have also tried Brancher Jazz #4 and #5. They are similar in timbre but sound enough more spread that listeners could tell the difference.

I am afraid that I cannot speak to longevity. My reeds seem to last forever, but I probably do not play as long or as hard as someone who is performing all the time. I also do a few little things to preserve them.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
I am starting to get some interesting results with slightly softer reeds. Buried in my drawer were some Marca 3, old Gonzales 2 3/4 from before the company was sold and some blue box
2 1/2. Hmm. It takes a bit of work to ensure I don't go sharp in the palm keys though in general the tone is fuller with more dynamic flexibility. Still don't care for the Vandoren Java or V16 though.
 

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I prefer softer reeds, I don't go harder that 2 1/2. Have tried most of the brands mentioned, my favorites for response and tone are Alexander NY and Marca.

Tried synthetics from Legere, Forestone, and G-reeds...I think synthetics just don't work for soprano, if you care about tone.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I went to a slightly more open mpc in the past couple months. Now blue box 3s tend to be somewhat hard unless I work on them. 2.5s are better though somewhat too soft. V21 2.5s better yet. They feel harder but I am not sure about the V21 cut. Their sound and response seems a bit "stiff" or hard to shape. I will probably try V12s. Also will try to learn how to better adjust the blue box 3s. I probably need to use a reed knife rather than a small piece of #400 paper.

In term of the Jazz cuts, Java green 3 are fine new but again quickly become too soft. Maybe the red ones are worth a try.
 

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I've had even less success with Red Java than I have with V16s, in fact I'd say I positively don't like them on soprano. I was hoping that the Red Java would actually do what Vandoren said they would - be like a Green Java but with more solidity, but I just find them unresponsive, especially on soprano.
 

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V21s are definitely worth trying, they are considerably more stable than Blue Box.
I bought a box of the V21's No.3's for my Ted Klum 7* HR Tonamax Tenor mouthpiece and was unsuccessful in getting any reed to fire up. If I ever try these reeds again I will be going for a 1/2 size smaller.
 

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I bought a box of the V21's No.3's for my Ted Klum 7* HR Tonamax Tenor mouthpiece and was unsuccessful in getting any reed to fire up. If I ever try these reeds again I will be going for a 1/2 size smaller.
V21s are basically a classical reed so they come out a half strength harder than, say, Javas.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
+1 with what DaveR says. Maybe even 3/4 of a strength softer than Javas. What I would like to know is how the V12 soprano sax reeds compare in strength to the blue box.

On clarinet the V12 reeds are about 1/4 strength softer but I wouldn't assume that holds true for other instruments.
 

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+1 with what DaveR says. Maybe even 3/4 of a strength softer than Javas. ......
You mean 'harder than' I think? IMO #3 Java = 2.5 BlueBox.

........What I would like to know is how the V12 soprano sax reeds compare in strength to the blue box.

On clarinet the V12 reeds are about 1/4 strength softer but I wouldn't assume that holds true for other instruments.
I usually find that despite what Vandoren's publicity says, V12s are noticably harder than BBs on sax - 1/4 of a strength maybe. (On Clarinet, I agree, they are a touch softer).

V21s are around the same as BBs
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You mean 'harder than' I think? IMO #3 Java = 2.5 BlueBox.



I usually find that despite what Vandoren's publicity says, V12s are noticably harder than BBs on sax - 1/4 of a strength maybe. (On Clarinet, I agree, they are a touch softer).

V21s are around the same as BBs
Oops, yes I meant to say BB are harder than Java green, perhaps 1/2 strength or even 3/4 strength.

Thanks for the info about V12. For me, I find the V21 2.5 a bit harder than BB 2.5, at least in the high range.
 

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............ For me, I find the V21 2.5 a bit harder than BB 2.5, at least in the high range.
Yes, I agree with that. V21s seem to have a bit more solidity and stability in the cut than BBs, which makes the 2.5s blow a little harder - rather useful I find.
 
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