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This could have gone under the "Reeds" category, but it really is a topic dealing with selecting a mouthpiece . . . so here it is.

I'd like to put together a "collection" of reeds that represent a range of stiffnesses and styles so that when I get a mouthpiece to try, I don't blow it off simply because I haven't tried the right reed on it. (BTW, some enterprising vendor could jump on this and offer such a collection, and I wouldn't be offended in the least!)

So the question becomes: What are the "must try" reeds that I should have at my disposal when trying a range of mouthpieces? Let's assume that I might be trying differing styles of mouthpieces - not just classical pieces. And I realize that the easy way out would be to suggest some of each style and strength reed, but I am trying to keep it manageable as well.

BTW, my frame of reference for this is that of a retreaded clarinet player, so I'm pretty amazed at the reed selection available to sax players. On clarinet, about 4-6 Vandoren reeds would pretty well set me up in business (granted . . . that was the dark ages, and life does offer more options now . . . even for clarinet players!)

Your suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
 

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These are my recommendations:

Hemke 2.5 and 3
Rico Jazz Select 2H, 3S, and 3M
Vandoren ZZ 2.5 and 3
Vandoren Java 2.5 and 3
Vandoren V16 2.5 and 3
Alexander Superial 2.5 and 3
Alexander D.C. 2.5 and 3

If you play on a harder reed, you might need to bump up to 3s and 3.5s, but among the reeds listed you should be able to get a good response on almost any jazz-oriented mouthpiece.
 

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I would add Riggotti Gold 3.5 soft and Francois Louis 3.5.
 

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It always takes some figuring out as to what reeds work on a piece, but for me I always start with a LAVoz med--if a piece plays well with that out of the box, I am pretty confident I will like it with some better reeds. At the least, it gives me a good idea of where it stands resitance wise and if the opening is comfortable for what I prefer...
 

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Forgot to add, I don't try out pieces with any harder or softer reeds--I prefer to play on a 3 so if I piece requires something harder/softer I can usually rule it out for me...
 

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I bring a full compliment of fibracells with me. I used to do the same with Rico's when I mostly played cane. Well I should say that I carried 2 - 3 1/2 with me.
 

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ving said:
I always start with a LAVoz med--if a piece plays well with that out of the box, I am pretty confident I will like it with some better reeds. At the least, it gives me a good idea of where it stands resitance wise and if the opening is comfortable for what I prefer...

Thanks Ving...thats really a good point! whatever your choice of starting point is..make it consistant and take it all from there.
 

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bfoster64 said:
These are my recommendations:

Hemke 2.5 and 3
Rico Jazz Select 2H, 3S, and 3M
Vandoren ZZ 2.5 and 3
Vandoren Java 2.5 and 3
Vandoren V16 2.5 and 3
Alexander Superial 2.5 and 3
Alexander D.C. 2.5 and 3
Great list! I would also recommend LaVoz Soft and Medium reeds. I am also partial to Rico (Orange Box) Reeds in 2, 2.5 or 3. All that I have listed as well as the ones listed above are readily available. I have had a similar assortment when I was on a hunt for that perfect mouthpiece/reed combination.
 

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Fred
What are the "must try" reeds that I should have at my disposal when trying a range of mouthpieces?
Adding some other suggestion, I would like also to tell you that every reed plays different for every mpc.
In other words you won't find a reed "universal" for every mpc, but you will have to try all and find the proper combining (for you) for every mpc.
Because there are many variables for every mpc (length of facing, curve, etc etc) and for every reed (length, type of cut, thickness etc etc)

It's useless to measure or to theorize, needs to try and feel...

When I have tried different mpcs (hr, metals, different chambers, etc etc.) I have tried all (or almost) the various reeds brands, from A-lexander Superial to Z-onda
I have found the followings as more responsives and with a more pleasent sound (for me) looking for a susteined altissimo, fast articulations and less resistence possible on very low register, using Rov. dark and Optimum ligs:

Rico - S J Unfiled
La Voz
Vandoren - ZZ' (Only)
Superial - D.C.
Rigotti Gold
Brancher - Jazz

The same number of strength is not equivalent for each, so is better to have 2 different strengths for every reed, the comparison charts are indicative at 60%...

As final notice I have to tell you that there is another variable, not negligible unfortunately...
Every brand of reed has (according to the own characteristics of cut, etc) an optimal high-performance "segment" within few numbers (!!!)
What this means?
I've found a good setup mpc-reed, now you would like to switch to a different tip opening and need to change the reed strenght to compensate...
Well, using the same brands for mpc and reeds, there are good probabilities that this new setup doesn't work so good as before.
What this mean also? That some other brands that you had discarded before, probably play better now (with this new strenght)...

...start again...

I know, it is not easy but not discourage you ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I appreciate all the input. I'm aware that to really try out mouthpieces and give them a fair shot, I'm going to need to lay aside quite a few reeds to see what works with what mouthpieces (X3 for me - SAT)!
 
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