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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I’ve been convinced by SOTW to try some Rigotti Gold Jazz reeds on my tenor. I’m only a babe in arms at sax, but seem to progress alright with #2 Vandoren Java Reds. (I’ve tried some 2 1/2s, but the 2 definitely suits me better). For various economic reasons, I need to buy boxes of 10 reeds, so I’d like to make the best informed choice possible. Rigotti offers their reeds in finer gradations — #2light, #2medium, #2 strong, etc — so I’m wondering if anyone knows how Rigotti reed strength stacks up against Vandoren Java Reds? If a Vandoren #2 is equal to a Rigotti #2medium, I’ll try a Rigotti #2strong, but I don’t know that Rigotti’s standards for strength is the same as Vandorens. Can anyone help guide me, please?
 

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These subtle differences between how reeds play can be very subjective based on how we blow and our personal habits, but…most agree the Rigotti Blue and Vandoren Green are an even trade for strength. Vandoren Red seem (and are shown on their chart) as just a touch stronger than the Vandoren Green.
If you’re good on the 2 red but felt up to trying the 2.5, I’d try the 2 Strong in the Rigotti Blue.
Sorry to be confusing with box colors and all that, but they make it hard 🤣

also. Not sure about Canada for shipping, but Weiner Music in NY is pretty close on pricing with WWBW/ Guitar Center/ Musicians Friend for Rigotti (and others), especially if you order 3+ boxes at some point.
 

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I am about to ask the same question and come across your post! I found that Vandoren V16 2 is a little hard while the Vandoren Green Java 2 is a little soft for my GS Slant 7. I just ordered a box of Rigotti Gold 2.5 Light and hope it works. I did try a Rigotti Gold 2 medium on Alto before and it is too soft. I guess you should also try 2.5 soft instead of 2.0 strong.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Re: shipping to Canada from Weiner — I had all-but-ordered a range of different strengths from them in smaller packages (can’t recall if they were 3 per pack or 5) to get the 15% discount, but when they told me what they charge for shipping to Canada (this did NOT include any Canadian duty or tax), I cancelled my order and considered reporting them to the War Crimes Tribunal! Worse still, they won’t tell you shipping charges until after they bill your VISA, at which point they will refund you, if required. Sheesh!
 

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Re: shipping to Canada from Weiner — I had all-but-ordered a range of different strengths from them in smaller packages (can’t recall if they were 3 per pack or 5) to get the 15% discount, but when they told me what they charge for shipping to Canada (this did NOT include any Canadian duty or tax), I cancelled my order and considered reporting them to the War Crimes Tribunal! Worse still, they won’t tell you shipping charges until after they bill your VISA, at which point they will refund you, if required. Sheesh!
I also ordered one box from them as they are the only dealer carrying the 5 reeds small box for Rigotti Gold. As for international shipping, I think their website is not that good as it won't tell you the shipping rate for international order before you place the order; it will only tell you before shipping:

How to Order – Weinermusic

They are not quite generous for return per my experience. A lot of people complain that before. But they do offer the best price for a lot of items.
 

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The one thing you can be sure of in a box of Vandoren is that no two reeds are the same strength. You can buy a box of Rigotti with various marked strengths and be reasonably confident that that's what you get, you also get the same with Vandoren but you don't know if it's a soft, medium or hard until you try it. What I'm saying is that you can't compare the two, one is pretty much the strength it says (Rigotti), the other (Vandoren) can be significantly softer or harder than you should reasonably expect from the specified grading. Vandoren Javas are lovely reeds but their system of strength grading stinks. I'm just working my way through a box of greens at the moment after having sworn off them for years, same problem as before, multiple strengths in a single box, wonderful when they work, terrible when they don't and you've just wasted more money. If Rigotti can do it so can they but they obviously don't feel the need since we keep buying them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yep, that’s exactly what’s convinced me to give Rigotti a try. There’s a local shop that will order Rigotti reeds in at a not-bad price, but they’ll only do it for boxes of 10. Unless I hear contrary opinion, I guess I’ll cross my fingers and go for a box of 10 #2 Strong. I played a Vandoren Java Red 2.5 this morning, and wouldn’t you know, it worked pretty well!
 

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Yep, that’s exactly what’s convinced me to give Rigotti a try. There’s a local shop that will order Rigotti reeds in at a not-bad price, but they’ll only do it for boxes of 10. Unless I hear contrary opinion, I guess I’ll cross my fingers and go for a box of 10 #2 Strong. I played a Vandoren Java Red 2.5 this morning, and wouldn’t you know, it worked pretty well!
I play Rigotti pretty much exclusively for several years now, but I do wish I had a few reeds a bit softer/ harder sometimes because not all playing situations are created equally. I still have a bunch of reeds in my drawer from a round of sampling…not changing anything, Rigotti Red 3.5 Mediums just do it for me.
If you’re between 2 and 2.5 in the Vando Reds (My favorite Vandoren Jazz cut!), I think the 2 strong or 2.5 light will work just fine for you.
 

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Rigotti Gold, Vandoren Java or ZZ and Marca Superieure are very similar with the Marca being quite a bit cheaper. On alto I had great success with the Eastman reeds as well but I haven't tried the tenor versions.

You can always use a reed knife to make them a bit softer but not harder, which is why I like to buy 1/2 step up and then adjust them to what I really want
 

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Does Boston Sax Shop have the 5-pack Rigotti Blue? They might be priced a couple bucks more but shipping could be easier/ cheaper than Weiner. Worth a look 🤷‍♂️
 

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You can always use a reed knife to make them a bit softer but not harder, which is why I like to buy 1/2 step up and then adjust them to what I really want

….that’s easy for you to say. ;)
Come on, it is really not rocket science and if you go with the sharpening steel from Grainger which is essentially the same as the ReedGeek tool but only costs US$8.95 you are in business in no time (sorry I can't find the direct link but search for 1/4 sharpening steel or tool and you'll ge a bunch of hits)
 

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I wish I’d known about that before I paid through the nose for my ReedGeek.

A reed trimmer is a tool every player should own too. If a reeds a bit weak you can trim a tiny bit off the end and give it some strength. You can sometimes fix a small chip with it too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Come on, it is really not rocket science and if you go with the sharpening steel from Grainger which is essentially the same as the ReedGeek tool but only costs US$8.95 you are in business in no time (sorry I can't find the direct link but search for 1/4 sharpening steel or tool and you'll ge a bunch of hits)
[/QUOTE
Maybe not rocket science, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can come close. I’ve used a razor blade to mess around with (mess up?) more than one reed, although I’ve never had one explode on me or go into orbit. Thanks for the link. I looked at ReedGeek prices last year as Chrsitmas-Gifts-for-Dad ideas, then decided I’d better wait til my kids have inherited my vast wealth before I burden them with such a request.
 

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Maybe not rocket science, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, it can come close. I’ve used a razor blade to mess around with (mess up?) more than one reed, although I’ve never had one explode on me or go into orbit. Thanks for the link. I looked at ReedGeek prices last year as Chrsitmas-Gifts-for-Dad ideas, then decided I’d better wait til my kids have inherited my vast wealth before I burden them with such a request.
Tried to pull your comment out of the quoted text section of your post so people see it on mine…hope it worked.

Yeah,Outside of flattening the back before applying every time, I do as little working of reeds as possible. Maybe a rare scrape here or there to loosen one up a bit, but I’ve never had much success and it’s easy to go past the point of no return. Plus, the people who buy really strong and work down are changing the profile/ cut of the reed. I buy the right strength and play them all except the rare complete dud that just won’t sing.
 

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I think the Java Greens are about on par with Rigotti. Java 2 1/2 is about the same as Rigotti 2 1/2 medium - to me. I play Rigotti 3 medium on tenor, and it’s about the same as a Rico Orange box 3 1/2. Maybe a little stronger.

I also use one of those high speed steel lathe tool blanks. I call it the “cheap geek”… I suggest the 3/8” size, though. You can find them on Amazon too.
 

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I am about to ask the same question and come across your post! I found that Vandoren V16 2 is a little hard while the Vandoren Green Java 2 is a little soft for my GS Slant 7. I just ordered a box of Rigotti Gold 2.5 Light and hope it works. I did try a Rigotti Gold 2 medium on Alto before and it is too soft. I guess you should also try 2.5 soft instead of 2.0 strong.
The Vandoren reeds in one box are so different regarding strenght and playability that i always feel like some are a lot lighter and some stronger than other V16 2 reeds. Heavy product spread if you ask me. To get 5 reeds i am comfortable with i need to buy 3-4 boxes.
 
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