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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,
I'm actually searching for reeds. Wich reeds sound darker? I usually use strengh 3.5/4. I play on a otto link tone edge 7 and a selmer mark VII.
Thanks!
 

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Alexander NY are among the darkest that I have found. And .. welcome to the Forum!
 

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Zondas are pretty dark. They run hard, though, so order about a half size softer. The ones I've had, not enough to make me an expert, for sure, have been of excellent quality and consistency.
 

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I modify all the reeds that I play (see other post), usually with a bias towards a darker sound (although I suspect that this has a lot to do with the mpc and the manner in which one plays as well). Where a dark sound is the objective, I always pair the modified reeds with a large chamber mpc.

I’ve had very good results with the Alexander NY reeds mentioned above but the majority of reeds that I use now are the Vandoren Jazz reeds. Like the Alexanders, the shoulder on these reeds is further back than most others.

I also have a preference (again, when looking for a dark sound) for the cut profile of the Vandoren Jazz reeds…a cut that I perceive as being more duck bill-like than a typical profile of a reed like a Rico Royal. That is, the dropoff of the vamp from the shoulder is more pronounced and not as much of a prolonged ‘V’ shape extended to the reed’s point of resistance, as with the Ricos.

The correlation of these preferences to a “darker sound” is entirely empirical on my part and I’d certainly be open to differing opinions or other recommendations.
 

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No no no the darkness should not come from your reeds. You want your reeds and horn to be loud, bright, responsive, punchy and crispy. Darkness should come from the mouthpiece. Larger chamber, slight or no baffle, and longer facing should do it for you. Thats basically an Otto Link.
 

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No no no the darkness should not come from your reeds.
Again, my comments are only based upon empirical observations, but I’m surprised to see reeds being dismissed as having no relevance. I suspect that reeds with a short distance to the shoulder would play differently on a mpc with a long facing than ones that are cut further back—esp. if the former has a shoulder located in advance of the underlying window opening.

You want your reeds and horn to be loud, bright, responsive, punchy and crispy.
I can’t think of any player with a darker sound than Ben Webster, and yet I’ve never considered his horn to sound “loud, bright, punchy or crisp”...although it does sound pretty responsive.
 

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I think Ben Webster has a fairly crispy sound, with a lot of foofyness underneath it thanks to the large chamber and the way his setup sounds. Its hard to define a dark tenor sound, but some players I think of with a darker tone might include, at times, Stan Getz, Joe Lovano, Prez, Zoot and Al Cohn, Hank Mobley, Coleman Hawkins, Grover Washington, Warne Marsh, Aaron Sachs. But to characterize the tone as dark seems insufficient to describe it. These players have complex tones that are very expressive and I think should be seen as a complex and interesting sound. Its easier to say a tone is bright than dark. Does Lenny Picket have a bright tenor sound. I don't think so, its a special and powerful sound, but its just not as simple as dark/bright.
 

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I would have thought Vandoren blue box is the obvious answer no matter what style you're playing. I agree of course that mp will make a lot more differnece than reeds.
 

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+1 hemke i also like Latenitesax collect and play primarily vintage reeds...mainly brown box ricos
 

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No no no the darkness should not come from your reeds. You want your reeds and horn to be loud, bright, responsive, punchy and crispy. Darkness should come from the mouthpiece. Larger chamber, slight or no baffle, and longer facing should do it for you. Thats basically an Otto Link.
+1. The darkness come from your mouthpiece, basically. But I feel that the "french cut" (Vandoren Blue, Hemke, etc) are darker than the regular cut reeds.

Try, try and try. The only way to find what you want.

Good luck.
 

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Of course "darkness" (fullness) comes from mouthpiece, to a certain extent. But reedwise it comes from the heart area. You can hold a reed up to a light and see it. Start looking at reeds before you play them and youll start to get an idea. Generally the harder the strength the more heart. So you want reeds with a good heart/strength ratio. Lots of heart but easy to play.So you may have to work on them some. I guess vandoren blues are good and prolly hemke. But you may have to work on them with knife or sandpaper to get them to play. Zonda and lavoz seem to have a decent heart/strength ratio, IMO. BUT....If you find the right piece then reeds that seemed way too bright will magically seem full and possibly "dark"
 

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I would have thought Vandoren blue box is the obvious answer no matter what style you're playing.
Agreed. That or the Alexander classical cut or whatever they are called. I tried some Gonzalez reeds some time ago, those were pretty darkish too.
 

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On my T.E. 7, I'm using Java 4. They're dark, but equally responsive over the whole horn. It's gonna come down to what matches the facing on your mpc.
 

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Alexander Classique and a Tone Edge will get you to the dark side.....!
 
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