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Discussion Starter #1
Trying out two mouthpieces today and decided to see what reeds played well on these particular mouthpieces.
Mouthpieces: Theo Wanne Durga 8 and Theo Wanne Durga 8*
Sax: Yamaha 82Zii tenor (black for anyone who may think that has an effect on the sound)
All reeds had been played and had previously been well broken in. Some reeds were older than others, some had a lot more playing hours on them, but all in good shape with no chips or splits.

Reeds which were/are gig ready on both mouthpieces:

Rico Jazz Select 2H - Two of these - both were OUTSTANDING. Had the best response of any of the reeds, sound was full, not thin in any area of the horn. Great buzz. Brightest of all the reeds I played.

Rico Jazz Select 2M - Slightly softer than the previous reed. Still had great response and tone. Bright like the other Jazz Selects.

Vandoren ZZ 3 - Very good response and tone. Missing a little bit of that good buzz that the Jazz Selects had.

Legere 2.5 - Surprisingly very good. I haven't loved the tone of them on other mouthpieces, but they were responsive and had a good tone (although I think you can still tell it isn't a "wood" tone). Brighter than the Vandoren ZZ.

Fibracell 2.5 - Less great tone than the ones listed above, but still very responsive. Altissimo was nowhere near as good as the other reeds. But you could still get through a gig with it without getting (too) frustrated. Noticeable darker than the reeds in this group.

Legere 2 - My least favorite out of this group, seemed to have less of response on both mouthpieces, but playable. May have been just too soft for me.


Reeds that would either need some work or being may very frustrating on a gig. Although there were differences between mouthpieces

D'Addario Select Jazz 3M - A bit stuffy, average response. Was much better on the .110 than the .115. Much louder on the smaller tip opening. Tone was on the bright side.

Vandoren V16 2.5 - Again, better on the .110 than the .115. Loud, but a bit thick in the heart of the reed. Actually sounded pretty good, just didn't love the feel.

Rico Orange Box 3 - Blah. Played, but had below average response. Couldn't make it buzz or really have much tone quality on either mouthpiece.

D'Addario Select Jazz 3M - A bit stuffy on both pieces. Tone was fine. It just didn't speak easily.

Rico Jazz Select 2H - Good tone, just not responsive. (I think it is dead from too many hours of playing on it. The underside is turning black.)


Reeds which were unplayable on both mouthpieces

Rico Orange Box 2.5 - High end of the horn was okay, but middle range was so stuffy. There was almost no color to the tone.

Vandoren Blue Box 2.5 - Fuzzy sounding. That's the best way I could describe it. Not responsive.

Fibracell 2.5 - The others like it worked okay, this one was dead sounding. Again, may have been due to too many hours playing.


There were many variables in this (age of reed, hours of playing on reed, different size mouthpieces, etc.). Some of these reeds may be on their last leg and that's why they weren't responding well. I kept all of them and put them in different areas so I know which is which. I want to revisit them in a couple of weeks to see if I have the same thoughts.

Of course my playing ability is a huge factor as well. I made sure I didn't know which reed was which when I put them on the mouthpiece. I wet them and put them on without looking underneath. That worked except for the Fibracells which as soon as you put them in your mouth are smooth on the bottom.
 

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you should
 

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If the old reeds you used where broken in on other mouthpieces your test results can be unreliable. Reeds form to the facing curve of the mouthpiece they are played on and if you use them on another mouthpiece (with another facing curve and length) the result can be tricky. Testing with new reeds is always better / advised.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well maybe “test” is the wrong word. How about “Playing around with reeds”?
 

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Rigotti gold....the gold standard
+1. I've played most of the reeds the OP 'tested' and for a number of years settled on V16. But once I tried Rigotti Golds (3 light mostly, but 2.5 strong also works well for me), that was it. Been playing them for the past couple of years and they are the best I've found.

Regarding testing reeds, you have to start with new reeds (as mrpeebee says) and play several of any given brand/strength to get a good idea of how they play.
 

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+1. I've played most of the reeds the OP 'tested' and for a number of years settled on V16. But once I tried Rigotti Golds (3 light mostly, but 2.5 strong also works well for me), that was it. Been playing them for the past couple of years and they are the best I've found.

Regarding testing reeds, you have to start with new reeds (as mrpeebee says) and play several of any given brand/strength to get a good idea of how they play.
When I tried Java Reds I thought I was done searching until I tried Rigotti Gold now I m really done searching. (I hope!)
 

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I played Java Green reeds on our pieces for a very long time, but I got pretty frustrated after buying box after box of total duds.

A few years ago I tried some Rigotti Gold reeds and haven't looked back since. I experience the same liveliness and response that I liked about the Javas, but with a bit thicker core to the tone.....and the consistency is really impressive. I usually find 8-10 great playing reeds in each box. I always keep a few Legere Signatures and a few other synthetics in the gig bag just in case, but I haven't needed them.
 

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I thought… why not give the Rigotti Golds a try after more than 10 years on Fibracell. After all, there are many nice comments about them on SOTW.
I ordered a box of 2.5 H. This should be in the ball park of a 2.5 Fibracell.
They were really unplayable for me. Sanding them down a bit made it better, but still the middle register sounded awful and I started squeaking in the upper register. Low notes were very difficult. Maybe they are too hard?
I guess I’m spoiled. Slap on a Fibracell out of the box and it plays instantaneously fine. No need to adjust.
I just don’t like the hassle of cane.
 

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I'll throw another vote in for the Rigotti Gold as the best cane reed I have tried. Nearly always play well right out of the box. I stay right in the 2.5 Strong or 3.0 light strengths.

You mentioned that you tried Legere 2 and 2.5, but not which of the Legere varieties you tried. The Studio, Classic and Signature play significantly different from one another. I've been trying to get the Signatures to work for me in a 2.25 and 2.5 strength and they are great except of their tendency *for me* to close up in the very high range. I can make them work, but it seems as though I am walking a tightrope the whole time to keep from pinching, and it takes away the fun. I found the Classic very firm and unplayable, but I recently read they run significantly harder than the Signature, so that may not have been a fair test of the Classics.

I am just recently trying a Forestone Hinoki in a M strength and I'm liking it very much. I have a Medium Strong one on order per Steve Neff's review of them. Haven't tried the M long enough to say I like it better than an excellent and properly moistened Rigotti, however. I doubt I will, but I think it will make a great option for practicing and when I'm doubling on keyboards.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
This Legeres are the Signature series.
I to will probably give the Rigotti Gold a try soon.
 
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