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Just got a box of 2 1/2 tenor and sop, the first tenor I pulled felt like it came fresh from a woodsplitter and was almost unplayable but just a little conditioning with the Harbor Freight tool and it really came to life, JL, it pretty much also eliminated that "hollow tube" feeling you mentioned. Really fat, yet edgy sound. FYI, they are substantially thicker than the Rigotti Gold 2 1/2. I'll have to go back and forth a few more times but I think I'll make the switch.
 

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Hey all! First and foremost, thanks so much for giving the new reeds a shot. I really appreciate it and of course, all the great and honest feedback I've received. That being said, if you have any questions or concerns about them always feel free to email me directly at [email protected]. Im the one who designed the cut with the manufacturer and this project is a very personal one for me. All the feedback on consistency and overall experience is invaluable to me and I really take it all to heart as do the folks producing them :)
 

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Forum Contributor 2016-17
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I would like to take a chance to do a mini review on BSS reeds. I patiently waited for the #2 reeds to come out as I have been predominantly playing Rigotti 2.5 L and 2.5 M since switching to a Florida model HR Ted Klum mouthpiece at the end of 2018. I sometimes will play Vandoren's Jazz 2.5 or V-16 if I want a darker sound or the Rigotti's are on back order. Based on the reviews here, the reed chart on BSS website and a brief communication with Jack, I refrained from pulling the trigger on the 2.5 BSS reed with the understanding that they would have been too hard for me. When the 2s became available I took the plunge and I am glad I did.

So far I have tried 3 reeds and all of them play great. I usually prefer to work on reeds with a reed geek to adjust them to my liking. I have had to minimally adjust 2 of them and one played out of the box without the need for adjustment. In my experience the reeds that come playing out of the box without the need for adjustment tend to last shorter, so we will see. At any rate as others have said, I find them to be a darker version of the Rigotti reeds that run a bit harder. I would have to say that the BSS 2 might be closer to a Rigotti 2.5 M. They are as responsive as Rigottis and fuller sounding. I would like to congratulate Jack for designing such a nice reed.

I would like to add that I have an original (non premium) Balam strap that has become my favorite amongst many others which include an original version jazz holder, cebulla and Vandoren universal harness). Overall experience with "The Boston Sax Shop" has been great.
 

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Some more feedback - out of the three BSS reeds I have used so far, two have been good. The first one died a little faster than I would have liked (after only a few playing sessions), but I played it fairly hard before soaking it in alcohol like I usually do with my reeds, which may have played a part. The second reed I used was awesome. Definitely as advertised. Full, lush, dark, but able to be pushed hard in the high register. More flexible than the LaVoz reeds I have been using, which I usually need to be a little harder than I prefer in order to get that crisp sound in the upper register (usually at the expense of the lower notes). Appropriately durable. I've posted a take of round midnight I recorded on this reed below; I was very happy with the quality and was totally comfortable playing it.

The third reed, however, had a deformity running perpendicular to the fibers on the underside of the reed near the tip. The best I can I describe it is extra cane material, like a little tumor, that wasn't removed during the production process. I thought maybe it wouldn't affect it, and I tried to sand it down with my reedgeerk, but the reed ended up splitting after playing it for a few minutes. Given the cost of each individual reed, I find this kind of thing unacceptable - hopefully it was just a one off.

I'll post another update if I find anything wrong with the other two reeds from the box.

Here's the round midnight clip: https://soundcloud.com/bluetrainacomin%2Fround-midnight
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
Some more feedback - out of the three BSS reeds I have used so far, two have been good. The first one died a little faster than I would have liked (after only a few playing sessions), but I played it fairly hard before soaking it in alcohol like I usually do with my reeds, which may have played a part. The second reed I used was awesome. Definitely as advertised. Full, lush, dark, but able to be pushed hard in the high register. More flexible than the LaVoz reeds I have been using, which I usually need to be a little harder than I prefer in order to get that crisp sound in the upper register (usually at the expense of the lower notes). Appropriately durable. I've posted a take of round midnight I recorded on this reed below; I was very happy with the quality and was totally comfortable playing it.

The third reed, however, had a deformity running perpendicular to the fibers on the underside of the reed near the tip. The best I can I describe it is extra cane material, like a little tumor, that wasn't removed during the production process. I thought maybe it wouldn't affect it, and I tried to sand it down with my reedgeerk, but the reed ended up splitting after playing it for a few minutes. Given the cost of each individual reed, I find this kind of thing unacceptable - hopefully it was just a one off.

I'll post another update if I find anything wrong with the other two reeds from the box.

Here's the round midnight clip: https://soundcloud.com/bluetrainacomin%2Fround-midnight
Nice sound clip! Sounds great! I have played maybe 10 of these so far with no issues or inconsistencies so I wonder if it is just a fluke or something. I think you sound great on them regardless.
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Some more feedback - out of the three BSS reeds I have used so far, two have been good. The first one died a little faster than I would have liked (after only a few playing sessions), but I played it fairly hard before soaking it in alcohol like I usually do with my reeds, which may have played a part. The second reed I used was awesome. Definitely as advertised. Full, lush, dark, but able to be pushed hard in the high register. More flexible than the LaVoz reeds I have been using, which I usually need to be a little harder than I prefer in order to get that crisp sound in the upper register (usually at the expense of the lower notes). Appropriately durable. I've posted a take of round midnight I recorded on this reed below; I was very happy with the quality and was totally comfortable playing it.

The third reed, however, had a deformity running perpendicular to the fibers on the underside of the reed near the tip. The best I can I describe it is extra cane material, like a little tumor, that wasn't removed during the production process. I thought maybe it wouldn't affect it, and I tried to sand it down with my reedgeerk, but the reed ended up splitting after playing it for a few minutes. Given the cost of each individual reed, I find this kind of thing unacceptable - hopefully it was just a one off.

I'll post another update if I find anything wrong with the other two reeds from the box.

Here's the round midnight clip: https://soundcloud.com/bluetrainacomin%2Fround-midnight
Also, just curious why you soak them in alcohol? Do you do this all the time or just when breaking them in? What kind of alcohol? I have never done anything like that.
 

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I’ve used Tito’s once just to try it. After the reed dried it seemed like it wouldn’t get as wet again. Maybe it sealed it somehow.
 

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Also, just curious why you soak them in alcohol? Do you do this all the time or just when breaking them in? What kind of alcohol? I have never done anything like that.
I generally soak them in a mason jar with vodka for like a day before I play them then store them in there between uses. Seems to prolong the life of the reeds, using a similar concept to the reedjuvenator.
 

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"I'll post another update if I find anything wrong with the other two reeds from the box."

Of course you will; this is SOTW after all.....(sigh)

thanks to Steve I ordered a box, and for this 40-year pro these are the best reeds I've ever played. Consistent, all work fine. I just ordered another $100 worth.

'nuff said.
 

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I also really like these reeds. 2.5 seems to be the Goldilocks zone for me. What I like most is that I’m able to play without feeling a lot of resistance, but the sound doesn’t get thin like it would with other reeds I’ve tried (seems to be either I have to put up with resistance or put up with a thinner sound — this one gives me the best of both worlds). It also has a certain sweetness and warmth to it without straying into the too dark and dull zone.

I’ve put these in my rotation together with my Roberto’s Winds, which I also like a lot.

On a related note, the Reed Cure and Reedjuvinate combo have really been a godsend... I went with Legere Signatures for about 2 years (still keep them around in case I have to play in extreme conditions) because I didn’t want to deal with the fussiness of cane reeds. That issue is all but gone and I’m very happy using my cane reeds now.
 

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I have tested a box of five strength 3 reeds (I bought three boxes) and unfortunately they don't work well at all on my Ted Klum handcrafted 0.108'' tenor mouthpiece. They are significantly stiffer than my usual Rigotti Jazz 2.5 medium or strong and after breaking them in for three days they still don't play well. They feel closer to a Rigotti 3.5 Light. I may have to try the 2.5 strength.

However, one thing I don't like is that the boxes that I bought are not sealed. This opens the way for all types of possible speculation regarding why those particular reeds are in that particular box and what may have already happened to them before they arrived.
 

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So, I'm going to be the fly in the ointment here. What is it about these reeds that make them play darker than other reeds? What's the science behind this? Hmm, maybe the power of suggestion? "Hey try one of these they'll make your sound darker." "Okay, thanks." "Wow! These are great! They worked just like you said they would!" BlueTrainAComin's clip sounded great, however what is there to compare it to? He should have done another with the reeds that he's been playing for a while to provide an accurate comparison.

Now, I freely admit I don't know much about reeds. I've tried all different kinds and brand doesn't make a difference to me as far as sound goes. And sometimes two reeds from the same box has a tiny variation in sound, but not enough to make a difference to me. I've been playing Vandoren Java Green Box 2.5 reeds for a while now because I get more playable reeds out of a box. I'd be willing to try the BSS reeds if they give me more playable reeds per box, but I'm not sold on this dark sound concept. Not without some explanation of the how's and why's ...
 

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I bought a box of 2.5 strength for Alto and they enabled me to produce a tone that is warmer. The lower and mid ranges are warm and the upper range including altissimo is solid and less bright.

I was using Vandoren Java Reds, also 2.5 strength. My sense is the BSS reeds full in a gap between Java Red 2.5 and 3.0.

My instructor has complimented my improved tone two weeks in a row - unsolicited feedback, and a first in over two and a half years of working with him.
 

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I have now ordered two boxes of 2.5, just to make sure that I have explored all possibilities with these reeds.
 

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I have now ordered two boxes of 2.5, just to make sure that I have explored all possibilities with these reeds.
The 2.5 I had were a little harder than the Rigotti 2.5 strong I was using but it was manageable, you should be ok. I agree that 3s would be a LOT harder
 

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The 2.5 I had were a little harder than the Rigotti 2.5 strong I was using but it was manageable, you should be ok. I agree that 3s would be a LOT harder
Thanks for the input. I will report back when I receive them.
 

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Just got through a box of 2.5 and a box of 3s. They're harder than a comparable Rigotti IMO. I had a lot of consistency issues with hardness ratings.

Both boxes had reeds that felt a half strength harder and softer than the label stated...just all over the place.

That being said, I enjoyed the ones that were good. Good response like a Rigotti but warmer and less bright. Nice reeds for sure. I still highly prefer the Legere Signature reeds on tenor.

- Saxaholic
 

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Forum Contributor 2016, Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #40 ·
So, I'm going to be the fly in the ointment here. What is it about these reeds that make them play darker than other reeds? What's the science behind this? Hmm, maybe the power of suggestion? "Hey try one of these they'll make your sound darker." "Okay, thanks." "Wow! These are great! They worked just like you said they would!" BlueTrainAComin's clip sounded great, however what is there to compare it to? He should have done another with the reeds that he's been playing for a while to provide an accurate comparison.

Now, I freely admit I don't know much about reeds. I've tried all different kinds and brand doesn't make a difference to me as far as sound goes. And sometimes two reeds from the same box has a tiny variation in sound, but not enough to make a difference to me. I've been playing Vandoren Java Green Box 2.5 reeds for a while now because I get more playable reeds out of a box. I'd be willing to try the BSS reeds if they give me more playable reeds per box, but I'm not sold on this dark sound concept. Not without some explanation of the how's and why's ...
I have 3 or 4 reviews of mouthpieces posted with clips of the BSS reeds right next to clips of the Rigotti reeds if it helps for comparison.
 
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