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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi everyone, so I seem to be having reed troubles again.

I just finished a 10 pack of V12's for alto. Unfortunately I was not impressed. I found that they take forever to break in and once they're broken in, they're strength is very meager and creates a buzz to every-not, every register. It may have just been the pack but I maybe found 3-4 decent reeds out of all 10. And those 3 still aren't all that good either. Some of the reeds were way harder than others out of the box. After breaking in I still got a thin upper register and a buzzy middle-low register. They made my sound very stuffy. I used to play on traditional 3's, but I moved down to V12 3's because they were supposed to be a little less hard and the traditionals were causing stuffy problems as well. I also tried Alexander Superials and they were all over the place. NOW THESE STINK, WHAT ELSE? :bsod:

Now that I'm on the market for reeds I've considered expanding my preferences. I've considered the following brands: Hemke's, Rico Reserves (what are the Grand Concert Selects?) and possibly Rigotti.

Is it hard to ask for a reed that just sings in all registers and gives a clear sound without being stuffy or buzzy? Gosh, I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here

Oh, I use a Vandoren Optimum lig with the AL3 mouthpiece
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
That's what I meant. I meant to say I was thinking about trying the Rico Reserve Classic and the Grand Concert Selects. What's the difference?

And the Rico Reserves and the RR Classics are the same yea?
 

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And the Rico Reserves and the RR Classics are the same yea?
No, they're not:

The Classic retains the same heart as the Reserve, but slopes to a thinner and even more responsive tip. If the regular Reserve feels at all stuffy to you in low, soft, or articulated passages, I would certainly urge you to try the RC.
I meant to say I was thinking about trying the Rico Reserve Classic and the Grand Concert Selects. What's the difference?
I don't know. Here's what RICO says:

Grand Concert Select
The Grand Concert Select family of reeds features more material in the heart for a pure, warm and transparent tone quality, stable and consistent from pianissimo to fortissimo, in all registers. The revolutionary cut provides unrivaled flexibility for precise articulation and interval changes. Grand Concert Select offers unparalleled reed-to-reed consistency with unprecedented longevity.
  • More wood in the heart for better projection
  • Premium cane for longevity
  • Outstanding articulation and response

Reserve Classic
Introducing the Reserve Classic Alto Saxophone. Designed by saxophonists for saxophonists, the Reserve Classic Alto is the most consistent reed available.
  • Reserve Classic reeds for Alto Sax feature:
  • Thicker blank for more resonant sound
  • Filed cut for greater flexibility
  • Only Alto Sax reed available in 3.0+ strength
  • Available in strengths 2.0 to 4.5 including 3.0+
  • Made exclusively from lower-internode cane, the most consistent cane available
 

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I basically play the same setup on Alto. AL3 with Traditional 3's and Rovner Dark lig. I have tried Rogotti Gold 3.5's and Grand Concert Selects and have always went back to the Traditionals. To break in my Traditionals I do the following:
1. soak all reeds for 2 hours
2. Let them dry for a day
3. soak for 5 min and play for 10 to 15 mins or so
4. polish each reed on white printer paper using a back and forth method about 50 times per reed
5. I take a teaspoon and smooth out the top of the reed paying great attention to stay away from the tip.
6. If the reed is stuffy, I drag the reed across emory cloth or 600 grit sandpaper twice and test. then once and test if I have to keep going.
7. if it's hard I sand the sides being careful of the tip.

Yes it's a pain but I get majority of the reed to play. If you don't want to go through the hassle of working reeds. I highly recommend the Legere 2.5 classic synthetic reed. the 2.5 plays like a Traditional 3. I even use the Legere classic reed on Tenor for concert band with excellent results. like all reeds you have to be very carefull with the tip. I have also noticed that the smallest placement above or below the tip of the mouthpiece will change the sound and response of your horn with the Legere. With wood reeds I always position the tip of the reed slightly above the MP. With the Legere it is even or slightly below the tip. Hope this helps.
 

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Try V12's in half a softer strength. Also, Rico Reserve Classics are EXCELLENT, I enjoyed the 3+ strength. I personally have no problems with Vandoren 3's on the AL3, so is there something that perhaps you are doing incorrectly? Long tones never hurt. How do you store your reeds and break them in? I keep mine in a cigar box at a humidity around 70%, no break in process minus slight rotation.
 

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Try the Rico Reserve Classics. I had a lot of reed trouble before I tried them out and now I don't like to play on anything else (3+ strength). And an added bonus is they last for a long time. I've been playing on the same reed for over 4 months and it is just now starting to sound thin. I could never get a reed to last that long especially the Vandoren Traditionals.

Gonzalez last for a good while (maybe even longer than Rico Reserve Classics) but they are too buzzy for my taste (perhaps that is more to do with my playing with those reeds and not the reeds themselves?) But that is another brand to look at as well as Zonda (made by Gonzalez) and the nice thing about both brands is that they come in quarter sizes so you can really zero-in to the right strength for you.

I've never tried the Grand Concert Select or Rigotti so I don't have any thoughts on those two.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
So it seems the general consensus is to try the Rico Reserve classics. I will definitely give those a try. How does the strength of those compare with the V12's? The comparison charts are out of date. Should I also pick up the GCS's?
 

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So it seems the general consensus is to try the Rico Reserve classics. I will definitely give those a try. How does the strength of those compare with the V12's? The comparison charts are out of date. Should I also pick up the GCS's?
They're around the same strength as Traditionals, maybe just a hair softer.

(FWIW, V12s are NOT softer than Traditionals.)
 

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So it seems the general consensus is to try the Rico Reserve classics. I will definitely give those a try. How does the strength of those compare with the V12's? The comparison charts are out of date. Should I also pick up the GCS's?
I would just try the Rico Reserve Classics by themselves first. No need to buy the others if you do end up liking the RSCs.
 

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I forgot to mention that I found GCS's to be terrible. I have yet to find anyone that disagrees. You had mind as well play on a frozen Popsicle stick.

Save your cash.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
They're around the same strength as Traditionals, maybe just a hair softer.

(FWIW, V12s are NOT softer than Traditionals.)
I thought so. I bought the v12 hoping to have a less stuffy sound. The ones that weren't stuffy were waaaayy to soft and buzzy. What a disappointment by Vandoren. It makes me sad. So should I get Rico reserve classic 2.5 or 3s? The 2.5 might be too soft but the 3 might be too hard and stuffy
 

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When in doubt, go harder.
 

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Try the Rico Reserve Classics. I had a lot of reed trouble before I tried them out and now I don't like to play on anything else (3+ strength).
These come with an included humidity pack, right? Is it OK to let an unopened box sit on the shelf a long time before opening, or will something happen to the included humidity pack that could harm the reeds? Is there an expiration date on the included humidity pack? Do you have to activate it when you open the box of reeds? If so, how?
 

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There is no humidity pack in the box so no need to worry. I don't worry about the whole humidity thing. I break them in (3 days of volume changes [1st is p-mp, 2nd is mf-f, and 3rd is f-ff]) and then just play them. I don't even have a humidty pack in my reed guard (Protec) and they seem to last a long time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The strength was very weak, like almost a 2 easily!

Anyway, why should I buy a 3+ if the Vandoren 3's give a stuffy sound? Wouldn't the 3+ only add to the stuffiness?
 

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Anyway, why should I buy a 3+ if the Vandoren 3's give a stuffy sound? Wouldn't the 3+ only add to the stuffiness?
Rico Classics are comparatively brighter than Traditionals, and a little softer too. A 3+ will have the same resistance as a 3, but will be much less stuffy.
 
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