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SOTW Columnist and Forum Contributor 2015-2016
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Discussion Starter #1
In your opinion, how would you rank these reeds from darkest to brightest? Let's assume equal strength numbers. And which ones do you use?

Vandoren Java Green
Vandoren Java Red
Vandoren ZZ
Vandoren V16
Vandoren Blue Box
LaVoz
D'Addario Select Jazz Filed
D'Addario Select Jazz Unfiled
Rigotti
Legere Signature Series
Hemke

- Saxaholic
 

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I don't know about dark vs. bright, but I'm using RJS Unfiled because they pair best with my mouthpiece (Great Neck Tonalin).
 

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Haven't tried all of those on sax, but I'd always heard people say that Rigotti were bright, but that hasn't been my experience. I've used Java and V16 when I've wanted a bright one. Recently I've been trying to get a brighter sound by sticking a bright reed on a non bright mouthpiece, so have had some success using rico plasticovers on my berg 110/2. D;addario jazz selects have been somewhere in the middle for me, think I used filed.
 

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I'm surprised the blue box Vandorens fall in the middle. I tried some and thought they were extremely dark. But then again , I've only really played rico royal, rico orange box and Rigotti Golds in comparison which are all three one the bright side IMO.
 

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Here's my list:

Java Green/Red
La Voz
RSJ
V16
Rico
ZZ
Rico Royal
Hemke
Vandoren BB

I feel like we've gone reed crazy, especially on the jazz side of things, do producers really need to produce 7 or 8 different cuts of reed? Either way, I'm happy to buy them. Personally, I've been using LaVoz Mediums on all my horns. I like RSJ and I don't feel a big difference between the filed version or non filed, same with javas.
 

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The fun part of this thread is how everyone's ears are apparently very different. One guy shows Vandoren BB as med-bright, another guy puts it as the darkest reed on the list. If I were to rank the tenor reeds I have experience with (from dark to bright):

Vandoren BB
Vandoren V16
Vandoren Green Java
Vandoren Red Java
Legere Signature
Rico Jazz Select
Vandoren ZZ
Legere Studio
Fibracell
Rigotti Gold Jazz

And honestly, depending on the individual reed in any of the above, the rankings could change at any time...
 

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Everyone should clarify their list as alto or tenor. It would make it more clear to others.
I haven't tried all these reeds on alto but I guess I would assume the list would be the same for alto and tenor as it is the same cane and the way the company cuts the reed I assume would be similar. I have tried Java green, Rigotti and D'Addario on alto and they would be in the same places on my list as the tenor reeds........
 

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Rigotti Gold
AW "722": https://www.aw-woodwinds.eu/woodwinds/en/content/8-reeds
Vandoren Java Green Box
D'Addario Jazz Select Filed - Marca Jazz
D'Addario Jazz Select Unfiled
Vandoren ZZ
Vandoren V16
Ponzol (unfiled)
Marca "American Vintage"
LaVoz
Hemke
D'Addario Reserve / Vandoren Traditional (Blue Box)


One important thing is what strength you use and on what mouthpiece/type of facing/tip opening.
Another important think is "where" the brightness is? 1800 Hz? 2500 Hz? Or above?


Some reeds simple add mids. Some time mids help to cut through the mix.
Other reeds add a tad of "air" into the sounds... these reeds add high frequencies.

Some other reeds (having a thick tip) add a kind of percussive-ness... so the more attack you have, the more you perceive your sound as "bright".


At the end of the day... when you place a mic in front of the bell and record, you can easily spot all these differences in your DAW.
You always need to correct something (in terms of eq'ing and then compression)... and using different reeds leads at least to use different eq settings.
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Let's assume equal strength numbers. And which ones do you use?
I'm not sure that all manufacturers use the same scale, is a 3 always the same strength across all brands? Wouldn't it make more sense to comapre reeds of the same strength, not number?

The fun part of this thread is how everyone's ears are apparently very different.
Or esle their interp[etation of the words dark and bright. There seems to be an implication that dark is the opposite of bright, but I don't think of it like that.
 

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Here's my opinion from darker to brighter for tenor sax:

Vandoren Blue Box
Hemke
D'Addario Select Jazz Unfiled
D'Addario Select Jazz Filed
LaVoz
Vandoren Java Red
Vandoren ZZ
Legere Signature Series
Vandoren V16
Rigotti
Vandoren Java Green
I had started to make my list, then realized it exactly the same as Steve's, though I would swap the Hemke for the BB Vandoren - I'm wicked dark on the Hemke reeds. On an unrelated note - anyone else remember when Hemke reeds came in the shiny, silver box? I always felt like their packaging was the best - then they stopped.
 

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best packaging has to be Alexanders - I didn't care for the reeds but liked the pretty metal box...When I tried selmer reeds they actually came in a proper plastic reed case, instead of a cardboard box.
 

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From darker to brighter

Tenor
No-baffle mpc:
Vandoren Java Red
Hemke (using on the Couf Superba but will be switching to Java Reds)
D'Addario Select Jazz Filed (using on the 10M)
Rico Royal

High baffle mpc:
D'Addario Select Jazz UnFiled (using, but also plan to try LaVoz)

Bari:
D'Addario Select Jazz Unfiled
Rico Royal
Vandoren Java Greens (using but plan to try LaVoz. I got these as I liked the Java Reds on tenor but these are way brighter)

Alto:
D'Addario Select Jazz Filed (using)
Rico Royal

Sop:
Hemke (using)
D'Addario Reserve (using what's left)

Clarinet:
Vandoren Blue Box (felt dead)
Vandoren V12
Vandoren V21
Vandoren Rue Lepic
D'Addario Reserve Classic (using, but will switch to Vandoren V12)

Bass Clarinet:
D'Addario Reserve Classic (using)
Vandoren Blue Box (sounded brighter for me in the high notes)
 

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best packaging has to be Alexanders - I didn't care for the reeds but liked the pretty metal box...When I tried selmer reeds they actually came in a proper plastic reed case, instead of a cardboard box.
+1 Everytime I buy a new box I ditch the reeds and keep the box.
 

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Conclusion: Almost everone has a different feeling about which reed is darker or brighter.

I agree with Tzadik though. It also depends on the used reed strength.

I missed Marca reeds in the OP's list which I think are among the brightest ones. But now I am going off topic.
 
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