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If there is enough interest, I would like to conduct a study that nails down the different qualities that make reeds similar or different. With any luck, it will enable us all to make reed selections (or recommendations) that hit the nail on the head, without a lot of experimenting. It could also be just plain interesting. But it requires a bit of participation from members of the Forum.

Here's the demand to you: I have put together a table that compares many different kinds of reeds -- e.g., "Rico Orange versus Vandoren V16." There are 105 different comparisons in all. They cover pretty much all the Rico, Vandoren, and Alexander reeds. On each line, rate HOW DIFFERENT the two reeds are.

0 would mean "These reeds aren't at all different. They are essentially interchangeable."
4 would mean "These reeds are about as different as reeds can get."

A 4 isn't some kind of "theoretical" maximum difference, as between a Vandoren Java and a stick of gum. Rather, it's the biggest difference between reeds that you personally know of. What really matters is that you rate how different these reeds are in terms of playing characteristics, not manufacturing quality. If you're comparing Rico Orange to Vandoren V16, assume each is represented by the best reed from a box. Also, assume both reeds are at your preferred playing strength for that reed. I don't want to get into trying to rate the difference between a ZZ 2.0 and a ZZ 4.0.As long as you are rating the playing characteristics rather than manufacturing or packaging, it makes no difference how you determine your ratings; go with your best reactions. It's the averages across all respondents that will tell me something.

It isn't necessary to rate EVERY SINGLE line, but the more you can rate, the more likely that the data can be analyzed.

Anyone who wants to participate, PM me with your email address and I'll email you a copy of the data table, in Microsoft Word 2003 format. I'll let people know when I'm done taking data. After that, I'll need maybe a month to complete the data analysis in my spare time.

If this works, my next project may be to do the same thing with mouthpieces. Thanks, all!
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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A noble task, but one which I won't be able to participate in.

I have a whole bunch of different makes of reeds. I put them all in a big pile and pull them out one at a time (without know what make they are) to test them.

My tests are quite extensive, not just to find out how the reed sounds up and down a scale. I test how reposive the alitissimo is, whether there is a bit of a buzzy overtone on the subtones etc.

I end up with half a dozen really good reeds which are the ones I use for recording. These reeds all have what I am looking for (the sound and response) and because I have cherry picked them for all the criteria I require, they are all more or less the same. However when I look at them, they are different makes.

If I then try a few of the ones I rejected, in order to work on them, I find that there is more variance between several reeds of one make than between different makes.

I'm not saying this as a general truth for everyone, it's just the way it is for me so I would find your survey impossible, sorry about that.
 

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Forum Contributor 2011, SOTW's pedantic pet rodent
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A noble task, but one which I won't be able to participate in.

I have a whole bunch of different makes of reeds. I put them all in a big pile and pull them out one at a time (without know what make they are) to test them.
Hi Pete. I thought you were using legere plastic reeds now? Have you changed back to cane?
 

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Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
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Hi Pete. I thought you were using legere plastic reeds now? Have you changed back to cane?
I use both cane and Legere. At some stage I will probably move to Legere exclusively, but while I have lots of boxes of reeds hanging around I tend to try them out and use them.
 
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