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Discussion Starter #1
I've always wanted to try Alexander reeds, but hovering at around £40 for a box of 10 I've been reluctant to buy a box in case they didn't suit, and even if I did buy a box, which of the 4 varieties should I go for?

Well this dilema has been resolved in the most excellent and practical way by Sax.co.uk who are now offering a pack of one of each of the Alexander reeds for just £17.

Well done Sax.co.uk. Thanks.
 

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Sounds like a good idea, but if they are packed by Alexander you might just be getting a good, hand-selected one from each cut...then you are lured into buying a box that may, or may not disappoint you. Reeds are a b***h, but I guess that's life:banghead:
 

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On the surface it seems like a good idea, but unfortunately testing just one reed (of any given type or brand) is not very useful. In every box of reeds of every brand I've ever tried, there is always at least one very good reed and one very bad reed, with the rest falling somewhere in between. And that's no exaggeration. So you really have to test a full box of reeds to get an idea of the 'trend' so to speak.

Maybe, just maybe, having one of each type will give you a direct comparison test. But again, you won't know for sure. It's perfectly possible (even likely) that you'll get the one great reed out of a box of DC's and the one dud out of the box of Superials and you'll then decide the DC's are much better, when in fact you've only compared a good example of the DC with a poor example of the Superial. Overall, you might have liked the Superials better and will never know that!

A better way to go, imo, is to buy a box of one brand, play all the reeds, using them on gigs, etc. Then get another box of another brand or variety (in this case), and do the same. Eventually you settle on one or the other. There are really no shortcuts. And even when you settle on one brand, you'll be wondering about others.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Ok thanks for your advice, I guess I'm just not used to having dud reeds in a box. I've used Gonzales reeds for the last four years, ever since they were recommended to me by a really outstanding professional clarinetist. In that time I can honestly say I haven't had a dud Gonzales reed. OK some may be a bit 'down' on others, but they're all generally very consistently great players right out of the box. So why do I want to try another reed? Well I guess I just want to know if there's another reed out there which is as good, and the Alexanders seem to be the talked about reed, so I've wanted to try a few. I do understand what you're saying about them, and I'll certainly bear that in mind when my 'one of each' pack turns up.
 

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I can't say what's going on currently with Alexander quality control, but I did play their reeds for several years, on alto, using Superials, DCs, and Classiques. I've recently purchased a box of Gonzales reeds, and have found this box to be much more consistent than the Alexanders. Every once in a while with the Alexanders, there would be a gem of a reed, but there were some that just were not playable. If the Gonzales reeds are as consistent as they seem to be, I may have tins of Alexanders that never get opened.
 

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Ok thanks for your advice, I guess I'm just not used to having dud reeds in a box. I've used Gonzales reeds for the last four years, ever since they were recommended to me by a really outstanding professional clarinetist. In that time I can honestly say I haven't had a dud Gonzales reed. OK some may be a bit 'down' on others, but they're all generally very consistently great players right out of the box. So why do I want to try another reed? Well I guess I just want to know if there's another reed out there which is as good, and the Alexanders seem to be the talked about reed, so I've wanted to try a few. I do understand what you're saying about them, and I'll certainly bear that in mind when my 'one of each' pack turns up.
I used to play on Alexanders for both Jazz and Classical playing. Went through each of the 4 variants and ultimately went with Gonzalez. I find them to be much more colorful in tone and wayyyy more consistent. For alto I currently use Rico Reserve Classics after being frustrated with buzzy Gonzalez alto reeds for a while. I'm all for trying out other things (if I didn't I wouldn't be using the Ricos now would I :)) but I say if it works for you then why change it?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
but I say if it works for you then why change it?
It's the old story - because the grass might be greener there I suppose !! I'm unlikely to be lured away from my Gonzales 2¾, but I just have this inclination to try something different. It may be a subconscious thing to reassure myself that there's nothing better. It must say something about Gonzales reeds that they are the choice of a lot of prefessional classical and orchestral players. I've ordered the Alexanders now so I'll wait and see what happens
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Just to tie up the ends on this thread, my 'one of each' Alexander reed pack turned up yestarday and I've had an hour so with each one. OK an hour's not long to judge these reeds in any great detail, but it was enough to make up my mind on at least 3 of them:

I'm pretty sure these were not selected reeds, but reeds just taken out of Alexander boxs and put together to form a one of each pack. The reed holders aren't imprsessive, just a simple thin cardboard thing with no support for the reed tip at all.

Herer's the verdict:

Classique.........absolutely awful. Thin sound with no body at all, buzzy and lacking any character. I can only assume that this was one of the duds which have been referred to, but if this was one randomly taken from a tin of 10, as I think it must be, then it represents a minimum of a 10% dud rate.

Superial:..........not much better. A little more body than the above, but still very unimpressed with the overall character of it.

Superial NY.......A bit better. I could almost live with this reed but for me it still lacked something. maybe I shouldn't be comparing these reeds with my Gonzales, but you can't help it can you.

Superial DC......Definitley the best of the four for me. Quite a bit of body and character to it. Big and punchy when pushed yet nice and controlled down soft. I'm going to stay with it for a while.

Was it worth £17 to satisfy my curiosity? Well I suppose so, but I don't think I'll be shelling out £40 for a tin of 10 Alexander Superial DCs with a potential 10% dud rate when I get 10 Gonzales for less than half that price with a zero dud rate.
 

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Hey Peter,

I think you'd probably get a much better response from your reeds if you broke them in a bit longer. Also, the packaging that comes with reeds is really just to protect them in the package. I don't think it's a good idea to keep your reeds in the plastic "reed holders" once you start actually using them.
 
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