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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
About a week ago, I bought a box of vandoren 4's, and only one of them played.
And then, I broke that one. This kinda makes me p*ssed, because reeds aren't really cheap. Does anyone know of any reeds that play like vandorens, but are more consistent?
 

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I've actually had pretty good luck with the Vandorens lately, but I know others have run into problems. 4's are pretty heavy reeds, and usually I prefer something lighter so it could be in the cut, too.

I started using the Rico Reed Vitalizer packs some time ago. I never bought the actual unit, just use the packs in a zip-lock bag, but using those, I find I get almost every reed to play acceptably every time, with very little warm up.

It can also help to learn the basics of reed working. Quite often unplayable reeds can be quickly modified to be gems. "The Art of Saxophone Playing" by Larry Teal has an excellent write-up on the subject, as well as a plethora of other information.
 

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I've always found the Vandoren quality control to be better than most. If you're getting 1 out of 10, I'd suggest the following.

1) You're really fussy and I can't help you.

2) You got a dud box of reeds. It happens.

3) You were having a bad day and the other reeds aren't that bad really. Try 'em again next week and see if things change.

4) Make them play. There's a million and one different methodsfor prepping and balancing reeds. Here's a podcast (number 24 on the page) of an interview with Tim Price discussing reeds and other good stuff.
http://www.saxtipspodcast.com/labels/Episodes.html

and here too

http://www.timpricejazz.com/lessons/dealingwreeds.html
 

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Have you tried Gonzales FOF reeds? Definitely worth a try. Exceptionally high quality reeds.

I agree with Dog Pants. If you're going to use cane reeds you need to learn how to work on them as few in a box are perfectly balanced.

Roger
 

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just get the vandoren hand-selected reeds. 8 out of 10 reeds play like the best reed you have evr played, and two might be alittle hard or alittle soft. for twice of the price but eevry reeds play like the dream!! I'd say it's worth it. But, some people said they don't see the difference at all between the hand selects and the regular. Try it.
 

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I've tried many different brands of reeds over the years and i always come back Vandorens (blue box), they've been fairly consistent for me.

Your experience reminds me of a similar one i had.
At the time i was playing with Fred Hemkes #4 and i came upon box where every single reed was a dud, they played like a#2. I bought a second box and it was exactly the same !!! Not one reed played well.
I never went back to Hemkes after that.
 

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Dog Pants said:
If you're getting 1 out of 10, I'd suggest the following.
If he's playing tenor, it's only 5 to the box, changing the odds slightly.
As for the OP's question, I find Alexander Reeds to be more consistent than Vandoren's, or anybody else's reeds. They can be hard to find at times, and they're a little more expensive than Vandoren, but in my experience they're worth it. The cane is better, and the cane and cut is more consistent from reed to reed. More reeds play, and the ones that do play last longer, and take the pounding better as well. Whether you can get the sound you want from them is something you'll have to find out, but it might be worth your while to give them a try, if you can find and afford them.
 

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How do Alexanders compare strength wise to a Vandoren Java? I use 2-1/2s and have pretty good luck w/consistancy, but it seems the Javas die fast for me- I get 1 or 2 gigs with a reed at most.
 

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milomo said:
If he's playing tenor, it's only 5 to the box, changing the odds slightly.
As for the OP's question, I find Alexander Reeds to be more consistent than Vandoren's, or anybody else's reeds.
Is the "classique" cut similar to trad. Vandorens ?
 

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area51recording said:
How do Alexanders compare strength wise to a Vandoren Java? I use 2-1/2s and have pretty good luck w/consistancy, but it seems the Javas die fast for me- I get 1 or 2 gigs with a reed at most.
Strength-wise, I think they're the same, but it's been awhile since I made the switch, so I don't remember. HERE is a link to the Alexander site, there's probably some info there. As far as them lasting, good ones usually last me at least a week, near to two. Now that I think about it, you could call ROBERTO'S and they'll be able to tell you how the different brands match up strength-wise.
 

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daigle65 said:
Is the "classique" cut similar to trad. Vandorens ?
I'm sorry daigle65, I don't have any experience with that cut. I went right to the D.C.'s, and have stayed there. Either of the hyperlinks I left for area51recording should be able to shed some light on that comparison. Good luck.
 

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ChuBerry47 said:
Snerodnav Reeds are all that I could think of.... That come to mind.... Having nothing to do with Vandorens....
Sounds like a brand of vodka.
 

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Have you tried a softer reed? Vandoren 4s are pretty hard reeds, unless you are really used to playing such a hard reed, and if your mpc tip is fairly open a 4 might not play at all. Try going down to a 3 and see what happens.
 

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JL said:
Have you tried a softer reed? Vandoren 4s are pretty hard reeds, unless you are really used to playing such a hard reed, and if your mpc tip is fairly open a 4 might not play at all. Try going down to a 3 and see what happens.
Wow I agree, a size 4? Maybe the one reed that actually worked just happened to be a little softer than the others...Vandorens are great reeds.
 

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area51recording said:
How do Alexanders compare strength wise to a Vandoren Java? . . .
It depends on which Alexander reed you're talking about. In my experience, the Alexander Classique reeds are about as hard as the Vandoren traditional, at least for #3s; #4s are out of my league. According to the Alexander website, The Superials are comparable to the Javas.

zxcvbnm said:
Does anyone know of any reeds that play like vandorens, but are more consistent?
I had used Vandorens exlusively for years until I began having consistency problems with them. I've had better luck with Gonzalez reeds. Gonzalez reeds come in 1/4 sizes. They are very consistent, and they give me as beautiful a dark tone as any reed. Some time ago on SOTW, there was a thread bemoaning what had happened to the Gonalez and Zonda reeds, but my experience with them, which is over the last few months, has been great.

For a somewhat brighter sound (but not harsh or anything), both the Alexander DC reeds and the Rico Select Jazz reeds have been as beautiful as the Vandoren V16s and notably more consistent for me.

PS Much has been written about how to prepare and adjust reeds. FWIW, I soak them in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes and play them at less than full-tilt for about 10 minutes on the first day. I don't bother with anything else.
 

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thejoyofsax said:
I've found Hemke to be my most consistent reed. The war waged against them is due to their short life expectancy.
I' ve used Hemkes for ..well .. a couple decades
but i've finally, and totally, gotten off of them. They are great reeds until they get slightly soggy then their tone goes south - they still play somewhat good.

I stick now mostly to Vandorens. I use 4.5 or harder on 8 tips and they seem to be able to last as long as I can with great consistency and flexibility. I also take very hard Vandy reeds and adjust them to the strength I want them.

I also tend to be able to use most (if not all) reeds in a box. But then, I know my mpcs have a flat table and consistent rails and tips. If the mpc isn't really good then reeds don't really fit them well (all other possibilities excluded of course). But consistent reed cut is also key.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I've tried to work my reeds, but usually I'll make it play a little better, and then I'll screw up and cut the reed in half or something like that.
 
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