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Discussion Starter #1
Review your Reeds!

The rules:
No comments allowed, only reviews;
One reed per post;
Follow the outlined format.

The purpose of this thread is for everyone to see what people think of different reeds. It is important not to make any comments other than reviews. Thanks.

Here is the format:

REED TITLE (SPECIFY SAX TYPE)

STRENGTH

CONSISTENCY

BREAK-IN PROCESS (IF ANY)

RESPONSE

TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY

LIFETIME

OTHER

***Special thanks to Jazz House for his help in the creation of this thread!***
 

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- REED TITLE: Hahn reed (regular model, new material) Soprano, Alto, Tenor
- STRENGTH: 2.5 (tenor) 2 (alto) 3 (soprano)
- CONSISTENCY: 100% every reed perform as expected
- BREAK-IN PROCESS: No break in process
- RESPONSE: Very responsive
- TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY: Very flexible
- LIFETIME: 6/12 months depending how intensive I play them
- OTHER: These reeds sound very woody for me but some people could find them to be edgy. That's all about tonal flexibility, once you play Hahns for a while you'll be able to sound like you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
VANDOREN JAVA RED (ALTO)

STRENGTH: 3

CONSISTENCY: these reeds are usually quite consistent, far more so then the ZZ's or Java Greens. They are usually two or three in a box that are lacking in strength, projection or response.

BREAK IN PROCESS: I run them under tap water until wet enough for playing. Sometimes, to "microadjust" the resistence, I rub them with my thumb after it's on the mouthpiece. (Core to tip to minimize resistance, tip to core to maximize it.)

Response: The response of these reeds can be a tad slow at times, but with practice, I've found that I can get over that fairly easily. The altissimo register is fantastic with these reeds, and it seems to be consistent throughout the rest of the horn. Subtoning is fairly challenging on these reeds, i'm still practicing that.

TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY: These reeds tend to be on the bright side, so I avoid them for classical playing, and prefer them for jazz (sometimes) and funk/hiphop. They aren't the loudest reeds that I've played, and playing quietly with a darker tone is a challenge as well, but can be done. They are very smooth, and the least ''woody'' reeds i've ever played.

LIFETIME: If used exclusively, about one to two weeks before they're shot. After about a week they become more dull and less vibrant. However, I use my reeds on a cycle, which seems to make them last longer.

OTHER: These are the most consistent reeds I've played in the Vandoren line, and I'm pretty happy with them for that. I've been playing these reeds almost exclusively for 6 months and liking it.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
VANDOREN V16 (TENOR)

STRENGTH: 3

CONSISTENCY: I'm not impressed with the consistency of these reeds at all. They all seem to be fairly consistent in terms of strength, but they can be very dark to very bright, stuffy and dull to buzzy and annoying. However, oddly enough, I'm okay with that. I can usually adjust them, and that also means that I have one box of reeds that can suit all the genres that I play. I can sort them out and use the darker ones for jazz and the brighter ones for funk/hiphop. It works out.

BREAK IN PROCESS: It depends on the reed. If they're too buzzy then I soak them for 1-2 hours in water. If they're too stiff then I just play on them as a practice reed until they're broken in enough to use as a gig reed. In the most extreme cases, I soak them in 40% vodka for anywhere up to six hours.

RESPONSE: The response is, for the most part spot on, although it's a bit tougher in the higher register. They are fantastic in the extreme altissimo. Subtone is easy.

TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY: Like I said before, they're pretty inconsistent, so the tone varies quite a bit. As for dynamics, these reeds are the best-projecting reeds I've played on, and can get quite loud.

LIFETIME: These reeds are very long lasting, and can go up to a month before they're unusable, and a good 2-3 weeks before they lose their initial properties.

OTHER: Great reeds for the diversity of playing I do. I do, howver, have a love/hate relationship with the (in)consistency of these reeds. On one hand, I welcome the diversity, and on the other hand, it frustrates me that they are almost never the same.
 

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RICO PLASTICOVER (ALTO)

STRENGTH: 3

CONSISTENCY: Out of 3 boxes I've gone through, I've only had one "bad" reed... which became much more playable after a day's playing.

BREAK-IN PROCESS: None. I still have the habit to put them in my mouth as I assemble my horn, though.

RESPONSE: Very quick. Great in the middle and upper registers + altissimo. They can be a bit wild to control and resistant in the lower register until you get used to them.

TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY: Bright and loud all the time, unless I'm playing low subtones. Basically a Sanborn-esque contemporary sound, but a little less buzzy. I don't recommend them for classical playing.

LIFETIME: Each reed lasts about a month for me. Some coating begins to flake off in tiny bits about three weeks or so into playing them, but they don't really change otherwise.

OTHER: Because they don't dry out or need soaking, these are a doubler's dream. I find them to be far less expensive than pure synthetic reeds, and much more consistant and long-lived than pure cane reeds. Great for when you really want to project.
 

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Gonzalez Soprano

STRENGTH: 3.5

CONSISTENCY: I have found the Gonzalez reeds to be more consistent than any other brand.

BREAK IN PROCESS: Soaking. Also, I have 14 reeds on a cycle at any time, and just play one for 2 hours at a time, moving on to the next reed after that.

Response: Response is not the reason I play on these reeds. I find that they respond slower than other brands.

TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY: The Gonzalez reeds give me the sound that I am after: Dark and warm. I have not played another reed that gives me this dark sound.

LIFETIME: On my 14 reed cycle, they seem to last just under 3 weeks.

OTHER: I have been playing the Gonzalez for YEARS. I can not get the dark sound that I want, with any other brand.
 

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I don't mean to hijack here, but, for me, it would be helpful if we knew what kind of mouthpiece and tip opening were being used. Sorry if this is inappropriate.
 

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I don't mean to hijack here, but, for me, it would be helpful if we knew what kind of mouthpiece and tip opening were being used. Sorry if this is inappropriate.
I think this could be helpful in order to find out which reeds work better with certain moutphieces.
These are the mouthpieces I'm using now:
- Alto, Peter Ponzol 90 M2
- Tenor, Peter Ponzol SS 105 M2, Peter Ponzol SS 105 Vintage, Brancher LJ29 and Saxscape SLANT Prototype
- Soprano, Vintage metal Selmer "E"
 

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RJS tenor and alto

2 Med to 3 Soft

CONSISTENCY, RESPONSE, TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY, LIFETIME all fine to great because I condition and adjust all my reeds.

I prefer RJS, but any reed that I've ever used works fine and does everything I need it to do because I do condition and adjust!
 

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HEMKE (ALTO)

STRENGTH: 3

CONSISTENCY
1st box: 3 of 5 worked well right away. 2nd box: 4 of 5 and the 5th might be OK in a week. 3rd box has not been opened yet.

BREAK-IN PROCESS (IF ANY): not much. A few minutes the 1st day then the 2nd day they are ready.

RESPONSE
Great from the bottom to the top (if they are among the chosen from the CONSISTENCY comment above).

TONAL/DYNAMIC FLEXIBILITY
I think they are primarily a classical reed although you could use them in a jazz combo setting or if you need a darker sound playing the 2nd alto chair in a big band.

LIFETIME
Still evaluating. They appear to be lasting as long as the Vandorens or Rico Reserve Classics.

OTHER
I bought them as I recently purchased a used vintage metal C* (one with a round chamber vs the horseshoe arch of the new ones). I figured that if Fred Hemke designed these, he designed them with his metal C* in mind. They work well on it.
 
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