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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Intro:
First I started out with Rico Royal reeds, then I switched to the normal, blue Vandorens and it was noticeably better.

Currently I have a Selmer S80 C* and an Otto Link Super Tone Master 8* mouthpiece for my tenor.

Spring break is coming up, so I've decided to spend some of my hard "saved" money and go to the music store to get some better reeds. After browsing through several websites, there is just way too many types of reeds to choose from.

Question:

So I mainly play in my school band, where I mostly use the S80 mouthpiece. I basically need reeds that are more suited for classical music.

I also play in my free time, and I would also like a reed that are suited for jazz/rock to go with my Otto Link STM.

I've been thinking of getting the Vandoren ZZ 2.5 for my jazz needs, but I still have no idea what would be good for classical music that would give me a darker, purer sound.

Tell me your recommendations and personal favorites:)
 

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I like Vandorens because they are very consistent. I've tried the Rico Jazz Select, but they just aren't as "live" for me. I've been using the Java Reeds (I play only Big Band Jazz, no classical), but they squeak too easily on my high-baffle mouthpiece, so I've switched to the ZZ reeds, which are almost as bright, but don't squeak so easily. Be aware that both the Javas and the ZZ Reeds are softer than the blue Vandorens. A 2.5 in those is almost like a 2 in the regular reeds.

There are some good charts on Vandoren's web site that show strength comparisons, and also what the difference is in how the different Vandoren reeds are cut.
 

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I have the same two mouthpieces. I use blue box vandoren 3 on the S80 E & Vandoren Java 3 on the Link. After trying many different reeds I settled on these choices. Good luck.
 

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Use to use RR's myself ...hate them now ..also the RSJ's are to stuffy for me ... to thick ...so go with Blue box for classical and java 3's for jazz/rock fusion stuff ... you can't go wrong starting from there .... leaning towards the red box java's but the greens are great also ... as the others said ...review the Vandoren charts ..

I am still open to suggestions for reeds ...but they are so d#$% expensive to be experimenting ... my local junior and senior high schools are the recipients of many of my Rico's, soft Vandorens, etc etc ...they love to see me coming!
 

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On different mouthpieces and horns I like Java Reds (best all around for me), Java Greens (play a bit softer than equivalent Reds), Rico Jazz Selects (on one mouthpiece in particular, but not on others) and Hemkes (the darkest sounding).
 

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I settled a few years ago on Gonzalez 2.75s for both my concert band and quartet playing. Before this I used different reeds for the two quite different types of playing, but found that the Gonzalez 2.75s handled both quite well.

Trouble now is that there are no Gonzalez 2.75s in the UK - truly! The sole UK importer has been waiting for a delivery form Gonzalez in Argentina since last October, and they still have no delivery forecast. I trawaled around Europe to find Gonzalez 2.75 tenor reeds - none in Germany, none in France, none in Netherlands. Finally found some in Spain, but they wanted to charge me ridiculous shipping so I gave up.

So I'm now trying to find a reed that will do what the Gonzalez did for me. So far I've tried Alexander Classique and Superial 2.5s, Rico Jazz Select 2.5s and 3s, Straight Vandoren 3s and Vandoren V16 2.5s and 3s and Hemke 3s. Trouble with this though, is that you're buying one at a time just to try them and for all you know you might have got a duffer.

Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that Hemke 3s are OK for both my concert band and quartet. They're not a flexible as the Gonzalez in terms of what you can do with them, but they come close enough. So I'm on Hemke 3s now until Gonzalez pull their finger out and get a shipment of their reeds into their sole UK importer, and by the look of it to their other European importers as well!!!
 

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then you have the hassle of trying all the different brands and strengths ...spending mucho dinero figuring out which synthetic is best ..
Yes, and with synthetics, "best" is most definitely a relative term.

After trying many, I found that the "best" synthetic for me was Hahn. The problem is that the closest distributor is in Argentina. Potential supply problems are not limited to cane reeds.
 

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I went through a synthetic reed phase about 7 or 8 years ago and after trying a few brands settled on Fibracell for a while. After several months I put a cane reed on again, I've forgoten why I did that, but I realised straight away how awful my tone had become on the fibracell compared to cane. I've never looked at synthetics again, and never will.
 

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I hate to say this but as expensive as it can be , it is trial and error. Different reeds play and sound different with different mouthpieces and the quality of a lot of reeds today is not what it was 25 years ago. I used to love rico royals and plasticovers but as of late I am digging more on unfiled reeds (RJS , green box Javas etc.). but that is just me. As far as fibracell reeds, I bought them a while back and never liked the tone either. YMMV with any reeds as with mouthpieces, horns etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Intro:
First I started out with Rico Royal reeds, then I switched to the normal, blue Vandorens and it was noticeably better.

Currently I have a Selmer S80 C* and an Otto Link Super Tone Master 8* mouthpiece for my tenor.

Spring break is coming up, so I've decided to spend some of my hard "saved" money and go to the music store to get some better reeds. After browsing through several websites, there is just way too many types of reeds to choose from.

Question:

So I mainly play in my school band, where I mostly use the S80 mouthpiece. I basically need reeds that are more suited for classical music.

I also play in my free time, and I would also like a reed that are suited for jazz/rock to go with my Otto Link STM.

I've been thinking of getting the Vandoren ZZ 2.5 for my jazz needs, but I still have no idea what would be good for classical music that would give me a darker, purer sound.

Tell me your recommendations and personal favorites:)
UPDATE:
I was quite bored, so I decided to visit my fav guitar store, since all the wind instrument stores are closed on weekends:(
Surprisingly, I saw then selling reeds! I bought a box of Plasticover 2.5s and Jazz Selects 2M. After trying it on my Otto Link STM 8*, I found the Plasticovers very nice. They are responsive and bright sounding, and the whole box was very consistent. Sadly, I did not the Jazz Selects. Very "dead" sounding, it seemed like they didn't seal properly and also too soft... I only 1 reed out of the 5 was playable in a performance.

I am planning on getting the Rico La Voz, Vandoren ZZ for Jazz, and a box of Vandoren V12 for more classical playing so stay tuned:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
UPDATE!:)
Yesterday I just got a box of La Voz Medium, Vandoren V12 2.5, V16 3.5 and I'd like to share my initial impressions.

I wanted to get the V12 with strength 4 but they didn't have any, so I thought I'll just buy the 2.5 to get an idea of how it sounds like.

I really like the V12s with my Selmer S80 C*, they had a very smooth, pure tone and very responsive at the same time. Very nice for classical. Probably will be my #1 choice for classical playing.

The V16's had more edge on the Selmer C*, but I found that it sounded dead, unfocused and dull on my Otto Link STM 8* I had to blew very hard to get a better tone. Maybe it's too hard, but I don't find it more resistant than the blue box Vandorens which sound very good on the Otto Link. Maybe I'll get some softer V16 and see how they perform, but I'll definitely have to try all the reeds in the box which I haven't done yet. To be honest I'm quite disappointed in the V16s.

The La Voz Medium is now one of my faves for my Otto Link 8*. It has a very full, warm and rounded sound that I got with the blue box Vandoren 3s, (maybe a tad brighter and less projecting) at the same time it's much easier to blow unlike the blue Vandorens. As I wrote before, I find the plasticovers to work well on my Link, but the La Voz blows it away. Although it depends on person and taste. They are also quite a bit cheaper than Vandorens, so they have a pretty good value. The La Voz sets the bar quite high for the ZZs I want to try.

Next on my buying list: Vandoren ZZ 3, Rico Reserve 3... run out of ideas:| any suggestions?

Reed I like so far and will definitely buy more: Vandoren V12, Rico La Voz, blue Vandoren,

Stay tuned for further updates:lick:
 

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Hemke. The ONLY reeds I use on tenor sax.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I picked up a box of Rico Reserves and Vandoren ZZ reeds, both 3.5 strength.

My first impression is that the Reserve is a rather dark sounding reed but with a good amount of edge/buzz. I think it would be a good reed for both classical and jazz. I also have to note that they run quite hard, they feel harder than the 3.5 V16s.
On the other hand, the ZZs are very bright with a lot of edge. I feel like they sound too bright and thin, so it's not for me. As advertised, they are free-blowing.

Meanwhile, i found that the V16s are awesome! They have a nice round warm sound with the right amount of edge. It's my fav on my STM 8* along with the LaVoz.

TO BE CONTINUED...
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Hemke. The ONLY reeds I use on tenor sax.
Thanks for your suggestion! I will try the Hemkes the next time I go shopping to reeds.

My band teacher did give me Hemkes a while ago, I was quite new to playing saxophone so I can't really remember how it was:( one thing I do remember is that they are somewhat softer than the blue box Vandorens.
 

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Be aware that no reed is perfect for everyone. If there were, we would all be using it.

I had an aunt, who, throughout her long life, drove only Rover cars....to her they were perfect..... for visiting her lady friends for afternoon tea.
Had she driven every make & model, under all conditions, her advice would have been valid.
There are many requirements of a reed....what may be good for a Community Band (my vision of the 5th circle of Hell) would not suit all.
Ask yourself why we all have different set-ups.
Ask yourself also why some can really rip on a Selmer C* yet others sound bland on a 10* Carlos Fandango "Oyster Opener".
The vast majority of our sound is within ourself....otherwise we could sound exactly like Ben Webster or Gary Wiggins just by selecting the appropriate mouthpiece/reed combination.....and years of practise!
By all means take the advice of experienced players here but do not be bound by it.
Some will advise you, despite evidence to the contrary, that synthetics are rubbish....again, do not limit yourself...they may be just what you seek.
 

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RJS for this season on my Selmer vintage LT mpc.
 
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