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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
VanDoren Java vs. Rico Royal. Who has played both of these tenor reeds (at 2.5) and which do you like best? Yes, I know I should be asking more such as on which mouthpiece and for what type to music but I am just trying to gather a little data before ordering. Don't want to get technical at all. One reed comparison chart shows the Royal 2.5 as a little harder than the Java which would be fine. I've tried the Royal 2 (too soft) and the Royal (3, sounds nice, but hard to get going). Java works pretty well. Comments?
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
Well to answer my own post I got a box of ten Rico Royal reeds, and after sampling just one of them I can't seem to notice too much difference than the Java. I realize I need to play more than one to make a legitimate judgement but that's my cursory impression.
 

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I found the ricos to have more brightness AND more fullness. I find javas to have a more midrange-y sound and to be more responsive and flexible. I'm speaking about the java greens, every box of reds I have gotten has had massive variation from one reed to the next.
 

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For me the Rico Royals work best overall for a cane reed. Sometimes they take a little tweaking but most are pretty consistent. But for everyday use, I like my Legere Signatures. They lack a little on the top, but the low end response is great and they play the same from one day to the next.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Are the Java Green or Red? I have Java Red and Green and RR all in 2.5 The Javas are somewhat brighter for me, but very close in sound. The Red seem more responsive, especially on the lower end.
I have the Java Green and have never tried the Red. WWBW gave me the sales pitch for Red but stayed with Green.
Here's what the head of the local community college the music department told me to do when you get a new box of reeds. Soak the entire batch in water and play them one by one. Some will play well, others will not. After a few break-in plays, decide what you like and what you don't; then start working on the ones you don't like with a reed knife (or similar) until you get them where you want them. Maybe they'll never play (or you will have ruined it to the point of no return). Point is it's very statistically very difficult to randomly take one reed out of a box and get a true feeling for how that particular brand of reed and cut play for you. With that said, I tried one Rico Royal out of ten and it seemed OK but not that different from the Java Green.

I like the Green 2.5, and if I end up liking the Royal 2.5 what I'd like to do next is work on some 3's of each with a reed knife and soften them a tad.
 
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