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I've been having issues with them all year! Dull and they push back. I can't seem to blow through them. More against them and they win! I'm talking soprano and tenor BTW. Tried going down a strength, but it's the same thing. Please, for my sanity, anyone else experiencing this?

Please no "I play synthetic" or I play brand XYZ. Just looking for Blue Box players to chime in here.
 

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I only use blue box on soprano, I went from 2.5 down to a 2. Same mpc for 10 years at least, this summer was more humid than normal in my area so I just assumed that was the issue. I have had no issues now that I'm down a half strength.
 

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I've been having issues with them all year! Dull and they push back. I can't seem to blow through them. More against them and they win! I'm talking soprano and tenor BTW. Tried going down a strength, but it's the same thing. Please, for my sanity, anyone else experiencing this?

Please no "I play synthetic" or I play brand XYZ. Just looking for Blue Box players to chime in here.




Hello my friend!
I hope you’re doing great. I was surprised to read this because I thought you were having such great luck for a long time on the Reserve reeds. Do you feel like those changed over time?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hello my friend!
I hope you’re doing great. I was surprised to read this because I thought you were having such great luck for a long time on the Reserve reeds. Do you feel like those changed over time?
They got dark for me. I loved how I could push them and they'd get brighter. The recent ones won't do that for me. Very frustrating.
 

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I understand! It seems like all these companies change stuff up when it’s going well.
I just don’t get who’s in charge of making these decisions. If you’ve got a good thing, leave it alone. Anyway, sorry to hear about your reed woes, and hopefully someday there will be companies making an entire box of great playing reeds.

I’ve often asked myself, “Why is it OK for these companies to sell boxes of reeds where almost all of them play like crap”?
I wish there was an answer to this. It just makes no sense that every reed in the box isn’t a good player. Imagine that happening on any other products out there that we buy. It’s really absurd if you think about it.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
“Why is it OK for these companies to sell boxes of reeds where almost all of them play like crap”?
I can go though 10 to 20 boxes of reeds and not find a one up to par. Seriously! I've never experienced anything like this year has been. Actually started hinting at it end of last year. I've spent hard earned cash on reeds via Weiner Music this year the equivalent of a new saxophone. And a nice one at that.
 

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Unless you have an endorsement deal with Vandoren in which they're giving you all the free reeds you want, I don't really understand why you're not considering trying other brands. ;)

If I bought a box of Xs and there weren't any usable ones in there, and then bought a second box and found every one of them to be a dud, that would be the last box of them I bought for a very long time.
 

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Woody could certainly have an endorsement deal with ANY reed company on the planet.
They would all be happy to have him onboard. As a player, I am sure he is partial to what he uses because of their sound and feel, not what they cost.
 

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I don't really understand why you're not considering trying other brands. ;)

If I bought a box of Xs and there weren't any usable ones in there, and then bought a second box and found every one of them to be a dud, that would be the last box of them I bought for a very long time.
It's not quite as simple as that. If you've ever played a good blue box or reserve reed, you'd understand I think. Nothing quite like them. How do I know that? I don't think there is a reed that's been made that I haven't tried. My whole setup is based around that cut.
 

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I've been having issues with them all year! Dull and they push back. I can't seem to blow through them. More against them and they win! I'm talking soprano and tenor BTW. Tried going down a strength, but it's the same thing. Please, for my sanity, anyone else experiencing this?

Please no "I play synthetic" or I play brand XYZ. Just looking for Blue Box players to chime in here.
I had been dissatisfied with Blue Box for a long time, but nothing ever quite beat a really good one so I persevered, until V21 came out. Woody, if you haven't tried them, you should. I find that the V21 simply correct all the deficiencies of the Blue Box without any detractions.
 

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FWIW I've found that ensuring the table is flat after the reed is initially soaked or wetted, either with light sanding or scraping with something like a reed geek, helps immensely with Vandorens. Usually another correction is needed a week or two later.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I had been dissatisfied with Blue Box for a long time, but nothing ever quite beat a really good one so I persevered, until V21 came out. Woody, if you haven't tried them, you should. I find that the V21 simply correct all the deficiencies of the Blue Box without any detractions.
I tried them when they first came out on tenor. They seemed even more resistant and darker then the blue box. I'll have to give them another try. Thanks
 

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FWIW I've found that ensuring the table is flat after the reed is initially soaked or wetted, either with light sanding or scraping with something like a reed geek, helps immensely with Vandorens. Usually another correction is needed a week or two later.
I've been having this problem with my blue box reeds. I don't keep them wet in between sessions, so they dry out, warp, fail to make good contact with the table when I put them back on the piece, and I then get that terrible squealing sound when I play them.

I don't know why, but blue box reeds seem to be the worst for this. I find I have to do a quick sanding with my ReedGeek and then soak them prior to playing pretty much every time now. It's annoying, but I put up with it because I like the darker tone I get from Vandoren Classics as opposed to "jazz" reeds.
 

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I tried them when they first came out on tenor. They seemed even more resistant and darker then the blue box. I'll have to give them another try. Thanks
Woody, I tried the V21 tenors and found them unremarkable so far. The altos I can get good results with on certain pieces. The sopranos I've been using for well over a year and I'm totally convinced by them: I get a lot of usable reeds from a box.
I find them very reliable in tone and consistency, and they are more even over the entire range of the instrument than Blue Box. The higher partials are in a different area to Blue Box, but I find they project well and what's more they last longer, possibly because the tip is not quite as thin. Whether they will give you the changes in tone colour you like, I don't know. French reeds are generally made to give a very consistent sound over volume - what the French call 'son egal' (may not have spelled that correctly) - where the tone remains the same from quiet to loud.
Do let us know how they go for you.
 

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I've experienced something similar with other Vandoren tenor reeds (V16 #3 and ZZ #3 and #3.5)

A pack of ZZ #3 sometimes have more resistance than a ZZ #3.5 package, V16 is usually in the middle, but not always - sometimes they feels lik #4.

But when I open a package that's not good, I'll play them hard a few minutes 3-4 days. Then I put them back into the box to leave them for a few months. When I test them again, most of them have changed and almost everyone can be used.

Maybe they are stored for a too short time from the bamboo is harvested until they are cut to reeds? Or maybe they need longer storage before putting them in the package?

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By the way: My mouthpiece is not the problem, - a refaced Sugal KWII with perfectly flat table and perfect facings.
 

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Woody, do you let the reeds "sit" for a few months (or a year) before you use them? There's a lot of mythology around reeds, but this is the one thing I've found over the years that actually helps. Take the Vandorens out of their little stupid mylar package, put em back in the box and let them sit around for a year. They'll play better.

I can't remember if you work on reeds, or if you're like those other busy, successful players who slap on a reed, and if it doesn't work, chuck it right away... I recommend balancing side to side right away (this might mean starting with a reed one strength harder), because then most reeds play well. Once you learn how, you can do this in a couple minutes, and have a reed that will work well for a couple dozen hours.
 

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I’ve bought more reeds and spent more time fussing with them this year than ever before. They’re honestly all sucking. Dead and unresponsive. Definitely not brand exclusive. Every box of RICO/ D’adarrio anything I buy has at least one reed with bark all the way to the tip. LaVoz is supposed to be laser cut now...it looks like there’s two distinctly different cuts inside and they play differently. I can’t even tell the difference between Java red and green anymore. There must be a better way besides all the synthetics that only work for a few people.
 

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I've been having this problem with my blue box reeds. I don't keep them wet in between sessions, so they dry out, warp, fail to make good contact with the table when I put them back on the piece, and I then get that terrible squealing sound when I play them.

I don't know why, but blue box reeds seem to be the worst for this. I find I have to do a quick sanding with my ReedGeek and then soak them prior to playing pretty much every time now. It's annoying, but I put up with it because I like the darker tone I get from Vandoren Classics as opposed to "jazz" reeds.
D'Addario makes a nifty little reed case that uses a humidity pack and keeps everything relatively stable. Keeps 'em from warping, too. I picked one up about 2 months ago to replace a broken reed case. $20 on Amazon and it'll spare you the agony of warped reeds.
 

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Maybe I am just not sensitive to stuff like this, but I just buy them expecting to need to tweak every reed a bit, plus the flatness-of-the-back issue as described below.

I always have to flatten the backs of reeds, no matter which brand, and I don't mean a little faint polishing with 600 grit paper, I mean taking off up to half a mm of warpage (on a baritone reed). Given the mechanics of the thing, I can't imagine any brand or cut of reed that would not do this.

Once I flatten the reed back, almost all perform reasonably well, and then I adjust the stiffness on the front.

I am fortunate in that reeds seem to last me longer than other players. At any rate, though, I would strongly urge anyone who is having trouble with reeds to check the flatness (side to side) of the reed in question with a straightedge, and use a small knife to flatten it. I do believe that part of the reason my reeds last a long time is that I recognized this inherent tendency to become convex on the back and have been flattening reeds for some 20 years or so. Almost every time a reed plays "stuffy" or it's unusually hard to get the lower register, I check the back and it's convex.

I have been excoriated and told I don't know what I am talking about, for bringing this issue up, but I know how to measure things, and I tell you that getting your knickers all in a twist over a thousandth of an inch inaccuracy in the table of a mouthpiece when the back of the reed you put on it is warped 20 times as much, is like swallowing an elephant and straining at a gnat.

Personally, as a baritone specialist, I can't afford to throw reeds away unless they are truly grossly defective.

Back in the days of my youth, working on reeds was considered just part of what you did as a woodwind player, and the concept of trying a reed for a short time and throwing it away if it wasn't perfect out of the box would have been foreign to most reed players.
 
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