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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys, I have been playing Vandoren Java Reds for a while now - I love them! I tried ZZ's and V16's but kept coming back to the Reds. I play a#3.
Next month I'd like to try a box of Select Jazz Reeds, I'm thinking I'll first try the filed to compare as the Vandoren Reds are filed. The following month I can try the Unfiled in comparison (I don't have a big budget, so I can't splurge on reeds)
I'm not about to ask what the difference is between Filed vs Unfiled - I've read thread after thread, with the confusion that Some find Filed more focused, others find Unfiled more focused and I really have to try both for myself and decide what I like:)
I do need help however on the reed strength. I've looked at dozens of charts, some of the charts say a 3M would be equivalent to a #3 Vandoren Red, the rest of the charts say a 3S would be equivalent. Keep in mind Java Reds are slightly harder than Java Greens I believe & some of the charts refer to Java Greens.

In your opinion, which strength should I opt for? 3S or 3M? I don't mind going a little stiffer - I was playing on #3.5 Java Reds and I can play on them, I recently decided to switch back to 3's after advise from a few members (More control etc) Plus I do find my mouth dies quicker using 3.5's and it's hard to get a solid 6-7 hours of practice in. Again I could go a smidge stiffer than the #3 Vandoren Reds I have, but I definitely don't want to go softer, I use to much air and power with my playing, I'd kill the reed within a few hours it feels like (From when I've played #2.5's before)

Thank you for your help guys! I wish I could just buy a box of both strengths but that's not an option. One box at a time:)

For ****s and giggles, if any of you want to chime in with your experience comparing the two (Playability and tone wise) as well as Filed vs Unfiled you may feel free! Otherwise no worries, there are a thousand threads talking about a similar thing.

Quickly I'll throw this out there. - I'm after a really focused sound, I'd like to have more centre and focus with my tone so I'm curious if the Diddario's will offer that. (I'm aware that the biggest influencing factor will be my personal sound / embouchure development) and I'm working on it:)

Happy Family Day:)

I play the Tenor. I use an SR Technologies Tenor Legend HR mouthpiece.
 

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Happy Family Day:)
Family day eh?

I don't think our American counterparts have the same luxuries as we do :p

I tried the Select Jazz reeds after a long lay off using Java Red 3.5's. I got the 3M D'Addario's and they were all too stiff compared to what I was used to. By quite a bit. I should have instead gotten the 3S. Not just too stiff but very stuffy in the mid range and almost like a chainsaw in the low end. After a few days of breaking in they became quite playable, brighter than the reds but playable. But within a few more days they all started to split and fray in various spots so I swore off of them. I'm used to getting about a month of playing time out of one reed when I rotate them in 2's. IE I always have 2 good playing reeds and maybe 2 more that are being broken in.

I continued to use the red 3.5's until I finally switched back to green 3.5's. They give me what I was hoping for in the Jazz selects. Slightly fuller, more projection, a tad brighter.
 

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Keilwerth saxes (S/A/T), Selmer clarinets (S/B), Altus Azumi flute
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You don't say what instrument you're playing. Much depends on the instrument (i.e., S/A/T/B) as well as on your mouthpiece (the length of the facing in particular).

For example:
- on soprano I find that the Select Jazz tend to run soft compared to Javas so that a 3S -> 2.5 and 3H -> 3.
- on alto, I find that the Select Jazz are roughly comparable so that 3S-> 3.0
- on tenor, the relationship is about the same, but seems to vary significantly depending on the mouthpiece.

I will add in, however, that I don't think Jazz Select reeds are better than Javas for "focus". I tend to prefer them on soprano and alto, where I want to tamp down the edge and brightness, but on tenor I find them stuffy.
 

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One other thing to bear in mind, that is that the Jazz Selects tend to work better on longer facing mouthpieces. This is due to the reed's profile which is sort of a gentle concave curve. For comparison, Vandoren Blue Box has an almost straight line profile, and the Java Reds have something in between. This is why the Blue Box reeds are so popular with classical players, who generally play on shorter facing mouthpieces.

Regarding tenor, unlike MMichel, I don't find D'Addario Select Jazz stuffy at all, but I play a 7*-ish mouthpiece similar to a Link. FWIW, my preferred reed is Rigotti Gold/Jazz cut. A 3M in Select Jazz or Rigotti would be about the same as a Java Red 3.0.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I edited my post above.
This is for Tenor Saxophone:)

My mouthpiece is an SR Technologies Tenor Legend HR. I'm not sure if it has a longer facing than usual?
If there are alternative reeds you could suggest I try as well, that would be a huge help! I'm not in a position to buy a bunch of different reeds and play them until I find ones I fall in love with, I wish I could! so I just need a little bit of guidance.
Interesting about the Java Greens - I've never tried them, I read once they were buzzier and not as full as the Reds so I stayed away.

I'm looking for a focused and centred tone - As much as I can get out of the equipment I have (I play a Vintage Reborn, which has a darker more spread tone) I was told the Java Reds play a little more spread which peaked my interest with trying out a few different styles of reeds. out of ZZ, V16, Java Reds I prefer the Reds. They seem to have more body, slight edge and brilliance as well as excellent playability. ZZ's were close but died quickly and lacked body, V16's were stuffy and harder to play (Articulate quickly, so slower response?)

Thank you guys:)
 

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Java reds are my second favorite reed, but I play Rigotti gold Jazz exclusively on tenor now. The give great lively centered response, a little less buzz that the Java reds, no tendency to be stuffy like I would get a bit with the RicoSJ. The 3light or 3medium Rigotti would be about right, depending on your preferences within the range of the Java reds. The Rigottis are also quite consistent especially with three grades within each .5 of strength.
 

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The music shop near me had daddario select jazz sample 4 packs.
I think it was about 20 dollars. So a little more per reed than a box.
But this one I saw had 2M and 2H. And filed and unfiled in each.
I would assume more variety in strengths are available online
 

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...

Interesting about the Java Greens - I've never tried them, I read once they were buzzier and not as full as the Reds so I stayed away.

I'm looking for a focused and centred tone - As much as I can get out of the equipment I have (I play a Vintage Reborn, which has a darker more spread tone) I was told the Java Reds play a little more spread which peaked my interest with trying out a few different styles of reeds. out of ZZ, V16, Java Reds I prefer the Reds. They seem to have more body, slight edge and brilliance as well as excellent playability. ZZ's were close but died quickly and lacked body, V16's were stuffy and harder to play (Articulate quickly, so slower response?)

Thank you guys:)
On tenor (my main horn), I've played all of these.

I played the Java Reds for a few years because, consistent with what your heard, I found the Greens in the same strength to be a bit buzzy. That changed when I moved up a half strength. I now prefer the Java Greens, for all of the qualities that you mention.

FWIW, I play large-chambered Link-type mouthpieces (either a Theo Wanne Gaia or a Brian Powell-refaced STM NY) in 7* (0.105) tip openings. For these setups, I find that the size that works best for me in Java Reds is 2.5, but in Java Greens is 3.0. I prefer the Java Greens. So, should you decide to try Java Greens on your setup, I would suggest that you choose 3.5s
 

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Family day eh?

I don't think our American counterparts have the same luxuries as we do :p

I tried the Select Jazz reeds after a long lay off using Java Red 3.5's. I got the 3M D'Addario's and they were all too stiff compared to what I was used to. By quite a bit. Not just too stiff but very stuffy in the mid range and almost like a chainsaw in the low end. After a few days of breaking in they became quite playable, brighter than the reds but playable. But within a few more days they all started to split and fray in various spots so I swore off of them.
(yeah, what's with DJS reeds splitting?!?! ...Ive had a few fail that way and not after a lonnnnggg time. almost Never saw it before in any reed)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks for chiming in everybody!
How is the sound profile different between the Reds, DJS and the Rigotti Golds? Which reeds would sound the most focused.
I'm now reading that Rigotti Golds are potentially something I should look into as well.

Saxydude, what did you notice regarding the sound quality of the two types of reeds?
 

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Saxydude, what did you notice regarding the sound quality of the two types of reeds?
Comparing the filed DSJ to Java Reds, the sound and playing experience shared some similarities. Both reeds are more "woody" than "buzzy" (like Green Javas and ZZs). They both seem to have a meaty "heart" of the reed. I found the Reds have much more "life" to their sound - DSJ sound kinda dead to me. I also find clean articulation easier on Reds than DSJ.

Most importantly, in my experience over boxes and boxes of both reeds, DSJs consistently do not last as long as Reds and there are many more playable Reds in a box. I've also found DSJs become and stay "water logged" after use whereas Reds seem to completely dry out between sessions.

This is just my subjective experience, though, and I'm definitely a "it's not the reed, it's the player" kind of guy. DSJ work well for a lot of people or they wouldn't be made. That said, when my current box of DSJ is gone, I'll be going back to Reds for the foreseeable future.
 

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I only have experience with alto, the chart I have attached is close to my experience for Java Red, Greens and DSJ. I'll briefly spell out part of my journey to let you reflect back on the chart with some insight.

I bought a box of DSJ 2H and find them quite firm, can be stuffy until they break in. I sometimes give them a bit of work with a blade to lighten them a tad for my abilities. They last for ages and I have had no problem with splitting.

The Java Red 2.5 I found quite firm for me, I had to lighten them also. Good tone, but too much work for me. I liked Red 2.0 but they turned out too soft.

In comparison I find a Java Green 2.5 much nicer to play straight away with no working, but might soften a bit earlier. Their tone is 'cleaner' to my ear, I guess brighter but in a good way.

I would go with a 3M to match with Java Red 3.0, assuming the chart I attached stays true. Like I said, this chart is true for me and has helped me centre in on the reeds that I like.
 

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One other thing to bear in mind, that is that the Jazz Selects tend to work better on longer facing mouthpieces. This is due to the reed's profile which is sort of a gentle concave curve. For comparison, Vandoren Blue Box has an almost straight line profile, and the Java Reds have something in between. This is why the Blue Box reeds are so popular with classical players, who generally play on shorter facing mouthpieces.

Regarding tenor, unlike MMichel, I don't find D'Addario Select Jazz stuffy at all, but I play a 7*-ish mouthpiece similar to a Link. FWIW, my preferred reed is Rigotti Gold/Jazz cut. A 3M in Select Jazz or Rigotti would be about the same as a Java Red 3.0.
That bit about the reed cuts is really interesting.

I found a Java 3 to play slightly softer than a RJS 3M for me. I have generally had good luck with the conversion chart on the Rico / D'Addario site.
 

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How is the sound profile different between the Reds, DJS and the Rigotti Golds? Which reeds would sound the most focused.
I'm now reading that Rigotti Golds are potentially something I should look into as well.
Yes, definitely check out the Rigotti Gold reeds. I've played the other two brands (Reds & DJS); they aren't bad, unless you compare them to Rigottis, which I find far more consistent and more responsive. The Rigottis last fairly long also. I mostly play the 3 light size, and I play them hard on gigs and they last.
 
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