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I've played Vandoren Java 2.5 for a long time, and also ZZs on occasion. I just bought a few new boxes, and the Javas are soft like 2.0s and the ZZs seem like popsicle sticks, I can barely play them. Anybody experiencing anything like this?
 

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well I had a similar experience with classic blue box vandoren much too hard to play all of a sudden than other brands or even the same type previously....very, very frustrating
 

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I've noticed the cuts are little more off center than usual as well. Someone call QC?
 

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I noticed this about a month ago. A few new boxes that I ordered were really soft, bendy, and green. They just don't play. No reed work seems to help.

I've been letting them sit on the shelf to age a bit and the oldest box is starting to play. Maybe Vandoren is skimping on the culturing process.
 

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Noticed this on my last blue box. Reed starts out great and then dies. Goes soft and starts chirping on me. Controllable through a highly relaxed embouchure, which may not be a bad thing, but got to be conscious of it at all times while practicing or playing otherwise.
 

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I've been having that EXACT problem since I got back to the west coast in January, all my reeds start out great but will go dull and unresponsive. Using blue box vandorens.
 

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I've said it before...I'll say it again..The reeds are GREEN. The company cuts corners in the curing process and we all suffer. Ever eaten a "greenhouse" tomato--the ones that have been gassed till the turn red just to sell them faster? You can taste it...it's the same with this cane...
I'd much rather a company use more integrity in insuring the cane is cured than spending too much time trying to outdo the other guy in packaging...

grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr
 

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As a long time reader of this forum, this thread finally got me to to join the forum! Despite being happy with them for many years I have been totally frustrated by Vandoren Javas for a while now. I play 3's and have found them way softer than before, and quite harsh in sound. I was thinking that I had been unlucky and recieved a number of bad boxes but it keeps continuing. It's not easy for me to change brand as I live in India and get my reeds sent from Uk, but now have finally decided to do something about it. I was very interested to read that I was not the only one having these problems.
 

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Sorry to chime in, but I have to say that experiences like this are part of the reason why I switched to Legere reeds 2 years ago. I had been using Alexander Classique reeds exclusively for 3-4 years at the time and was extremely happy with them. However, I started noticing changes in the reed...first on clarinet then on tenor. I wrote to Tom Alexander about it but was told there had been no changes in production. Then, my big band was scheduled to play a string of outdoor summer gigs. The combination of the two things gave me the push I needed to try Legere. As I've mentioned before, it took me some time & effort to adapt my chops and set up to them. But now, I can honestly say that I'm happier with Legere than any cane reed I've used in the past. According to Guy Legere the regular cut Legere saxophone reed is based on the profile of Vandoren Traditional.

Roger
 

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well reeds are a natural product and changements in a number of natural factors will affect their quality to a certain extend. They are bound to be more or less durable or flexible, or harder or softer or whatever variations you can think of and at the very most..... the batch number is the only indication that they where harvested and cured in the same period, so, once you find the holy grail you might want to stock-up and keep them (how to keep extensive and expensive reserves of reeds?) for as long as you can.....or indeed go synthetic!

By the way Roger, how does Legere compare in stregth with vandoren blue's ? I am afraid that the legere return policy doesen't apply at the shop where I can find them in Amsterdam.
 

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It's a good idea to check the reed strength comparison chart on the Legere web site. If memory serves, I think it shows strength being comparable between regular cut Legere and Vandoren Traditional. However, in real use, I've found Legere to be somewhat stiffer than comparable cane reeds. Whenever I dusted off my remaining stash of Alexander Classique reeds and tried them I found a #2.5 Legere to be in the ballpark with a stiffer #3 or slightly softer #3.5 Classique. To further complicate matters (sorry!), I found that Legere works better on some mouthpiece facings than others. I have not yet figured out why. I simply used trial & error to match together the parts of my set up so I get really good results with Legere.

It's probably best to try a softer Legere strength (perhaps a 1/4 size) than your Vandoren Traditional strength. This is just a guess on my part. It's been around 6 years since I last used Vandoren Traditional.

Roger
 

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Discussion Starter #13
SAXMAN said:
I've been letting them sit on the shelf to age a bit.....
Hmm, maybe I'll try that too. Do you think they'll be ready by my gig on Saturday?

While I'm not happy to hear that some of you are seeing the same problem, it is reassuring to know that I'm not going nuts. Thanks for your feedback, hope things get better for all of us soon. I really don't want to go back to Fibracells.
 

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Lately I've noted the Java reeds need balancing. That's where you play on one side or the other by rotating the mouthpiece, then work on the side that feels harder. I tend to use a tiny piece of #400-600 wet-or-dry paper. A couple of swipes can really turn a lousy reed into a good one.

Now I'm experimenting with doing this on both low and high notes. For high notes, work closer to the tip and for low notes, closer to the butt.

An out-of-balance reed feels hard because it has poor response.
 

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My last box of JAVAs were lousy to start but 2-3 ice tea stains later and they are the best reeds I've ever used. Whyt does my director give the jazz class only 10 minutes for lunch and I end up using tea soaked reeds that work good?
 

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Reeds are bone dry when you get them. Once you begin to play them they swell up con-vex like on the flat side. A reed that isn't perfectly flat will feel dull, dead, and some times even abrasive. (on the verge of squeaking).
You need to scrape the flat side true again with a reed knife or a single edge razor blade. Take out the hump on the flat side from the end to about 1/8th to the tip. This will now be the best reed of your life.
I use Java's and they are the best for me. I get 5 for 5 out of the box every time!
 
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