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I am in search of jazz reeds I can use for my Yamaha 4C alto sax mouthpiece:|


I want to get a good jazz tone with the right set of reeds.

Your help would be appreciated.

I use rico #3 alto sax reeds... I want to switch to Vandoren saxophone jazz reeds...

Should I get 2.5 reeds or 3.0 Vandoren jazz reeds???
 

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If you're using rico #3, the Vandoren #2 1/2s will probably feel closer to the same strength than the #3s would - Vandoren reeds generally feel slightly harder than Ricos in my experience.
 

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Jazz Reed: a reed typically used to aid in the creation of a jazz/pop (non-classical) sound.

Jazz/Pop: Java, Rico Select Jazz, Vandoren Jazz, V16, La Voz, Alexander (DC, NY, Superial), etc, etc.

Classical Reeds: Vandoren Blue Box, Glotin, Alexander Classical (DC), Rico reserve, etc, etc.

Maceo is known to use Javas. Cannonball is known to have used La Voz. I figured this would be a great place for the OP to start.

Are you being serious Dave? I think it is reasonable to assume what the OP is talking about here.
 

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If you're set on buying Vandoren ZZ's, and your choice is between 2.5's and 3's, I would go for the 3's first because if they're a little too hard you can always do a little sanding and still use them. Then you'll know to go with 2.5's the next time. If you start with 2.5's and they're too soft, your only option to make them harder would be to clip or trim the tips, and that's usually a less desirable solution (in my opinion). The bottom line is that there is no "best strength" reed for any given mouthpiece. Reed strength is more related to the player than it is to the mouthpiece. (Again, my opinion).
 

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Jazz Reed: a reed typically used to aid in the creation of a jazz/pop (non-classical) sound.

Jazz/Pop: Java, Rico Select Jazz, Vandoren Jazz, V16, La Voz, Alexander (DC, NY, Superial), etc, etc.

Classical Reeds: Vandoren Blue Box, Glotin, Alexander Classical (DC), Rico reserve, etc, etc.

Maceo is known to use Javas. Cannonball is known to have used La Voz. I figured this would be a great place for the OP to start.

Are you being serious Dave? I think it is reasonable to assume what the OP is talking about here.
By this 'list' it seems that I shouldn't be using my favourite Hemke reeds for 'Jazz'.
That sucks....
 

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By this 'list' it seems that I shouldn't be using my favourite Hemke reeds for 'Jazz'.
That sucks....
LOL...Ain't that the truth.
I tend to agree (somewhat) with the idea that "jazz reeds" don't exist. Advertising a particular reed as a "jazz reed" is 95% marketing in my opinion. My favorite reed for jazz happens to be the Rico Reserve. Doesn't concern me in the least that it's considered a "classical" reed.

Too bad there were no "jazz reeds" 50+ years ago. Sure must have sucked for all those great saxophone legends having to pretend to play jazz on ordinary old reeds. Whatever it was, it couldn't have been jazz if they weren't playing reeds advertised specifically for jazz...huh? These days you could put 10 tongue depressors in a box, label them as "Super-Stiff Jazz Deluxe", and somebody would probably buy them. Then they'd be asking..."What's the best mouthpiece to use with these?"
 

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Please define a "jazz" reed. I didn't know such a thing exists. DAVE
A jazz reed is any reed with the word "jazz" in the name.

As we all know, it doesn't help with playing jazz or getting that elusive yet so easily definable jazz sound. (Irony/sarcasm alert)

Rico also do a jazz reed of course, the Rico jazz Select. Possibly better than Vandoren because they are "select" (still in irony mode).

My advice to the OP, seriously, is to stick with the rico 3s unless there is something wrong for you. So many many many great jazz players get/got a great jazz sound from these reeds.

If you want to change reeds, then by all means do so, but it's better to try them than ask people on the internet what will work for you.
 

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By this 'list' it seems that I shouldn't be using my favourite Hemke reeds for 'Jazz'.
That sucks....
Hey, I said typically and etc. :)

Secondly, different reed cuts are designed to give the player a choice of tonal colors/projection/feel. Therefore, (generally) I wouldn't use a Java or Rico Select Jazz, etc. for classical, because in my opinion they are too bright. (so maybe this makes them a bright reed, not a jazz reed) It somewhat works the other way because you can use Hemkes and Blue Box, Rico Reserve, (or any reed for that matter) etc. for jazz provided it fits with your "jazz" sound concept.

The OP has a Yamaha 4C and wants to get a "jazzier" sound. Intead of buying a "jazz" mouthpiece (do those exist wiseguys/gals??) he can use brighter reeds to achieve the result if so inclined.

The focus on semantics is a bit over the top here in my opinion...especially since the original question was about reed strength.
 

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If you're using rico #3, the Vandoren #2 1/2s will probably feel closer to the same strength than the #3s would - Vandoren reeds generally feel slightly harder than Ricos in my experience.
I agree. And I also agree that "jazz" cut reeds sound, feel, and respond differently than standard or "classical" cut reeds. What type of reed you choose to play jazz music with is entirely up to you.
 

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Very true, but I often see people wanting "a nice dark jazz sound"
Very true, but I would argue that a typical "dark jazz sound" is brighter, louder, and generally contains more colorful gritty "imperfections" than a desirable classical sound...which I hear as being dry-ish, clean, and clear. I know folks will disagree and say "What about Desmond or late Joe Henderson!!" To that I say I am speaking in generalities...just to clarify, before people start bringing up obvious arguments.

Good luck on your search OP. As previously stated, always try equipment yourself...what works for me,or others, may not work for you due to many factors. (physiology mostly)

BTW: a rico 3 or vandoren jazz 2 1/2 is pretty soft for a 4C. Again, a vandoren jazz reed in the 3 to 3 1/2 area would work for me on a mouthpiece with this tip. As you can see from the reed strength chart, "jazz" reeds are generally 1/2 strength softer than their "classical" counterparts. But again, you will never know for sure until you try for yourself.
 

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Wow, some of you sure drank the cool-aide on this one. Yes, I am serious . . . BEWARE OF MARKETING. Feel free to use any reed you want to use for whatever kind of music you want to push through your horn. There is no such thing as a jazz-reed or a classical-reed regardless of what the marketing gurus at Rico or Vandoren or any of the other makers tell you. Geez . . . DAVE
 

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I asked "God" this question back when I was young and naive, he told me a reed is a reed is a reed.

And sometimes I forget.
 

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Dave,

I didn't base my observations on marketing. I based them on years of playing and working on reeds. I feel that it is difficult to talk about sound, therefore, you need to generalize to classify in this situation. I think we both agree that different cuts/brands sound and feel different. The general terms of classical and jazz reeds help to point students/players in the right direction with regard to what they are trying to accomplish sonically. In my opinion, this discussion is about classification for purposes of instruction, knowledge, and ease...of course a reed is a reed is a...but why use a Lawton and Plasticover when a Vandoren AL4 and some rico reserves/blue box are needed?

Peace,
Chris

and oh yeah...

No Kool-Aid for me thanks. ;)

View attachment 28304
 

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I too base my comments on years of playing and working on reeds . . . try 55 years at this point. To tell some youngster or newbie on this site or otherwise that there really is a "jazz" reed, is laughable. By the way, I use ZZ reeds and play jazz with them, but that is not the point. Because I use them for jazz doesn't make them jazz reeds anymore than the other brands I have in my reed-stash are necessarily jazz reeds.

To the poster who posted a box of Vandoren's ZZ cut . . . that is "ZZ" not "jazz." It is their marketing department that came up with that device. Go through the WW&BW catalogue (for lack of another source, but any catalogue is most likely the same) and look at the marketing claims on each advertised item. Pure marketing and little truth.

Yes of course there are differences in brands, cuts, strengths, but the results you get from one or the other are probably not the same results I'd get on the same mouthpieces. Why tell anyone to buy this brand or that brand (same with cuts and strengths) when you KNOW that we are built differently and thus most of us achieve different results from similar items?

I'm betting you could line up 20 classical players and 20 jazzers and find they all use a variety of items including horns, mouthpieces, reeds, and ligatures, and that you'd find cross-over on all of them. Good tone is good tone - let the OP find out by himself without feeding him/her a marketing line. We all did the same thing in our development. Maybe some limited advice is appropriate, but I will resist any effort to direct these questioners based on marketing or to corroborate outrageous marketing claims. DAVE
 

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I too base my comments on years of playing and working on reeds . . . try 55 years at this point. To tell some youngster or newbie on this site or otherwise that there really is a "jazz" reed, is laughable. By the way, I use ZZ reeds and play jazz with them, but that is not the point. Because I use them for jazz doesn't make them jazz reeds anymore than the other brands I have in my reed-stash are necessarily jazz reeds.

To the poster who posted a box of Vandoren's ZZ cut . . . that is "ZZ" not "jazz." It is their marketing department that came up with that device. Go through the WW&BW catalogue (for lack of another source, but any catalogue is most likely the same) and look at the marketing claims on each advertised item. Pure marketing and little truth.

Yes of course there are differences in brands, cuts, strengths, but the results you get from one or the other are probably not the same results I'd get on the same mouthpieces. Why tell anyone to buy this brand or that brand (same with cuts and strengths) when you KNOW that we are built differently and thus most of us achieve different results from similar items?

I'm betting you could line up 20 classical players and 20 jazzers and find they all use a variety of items including horns, mouthpieces, reeds, and ligatures, and that you'd find cross-over on all of them. Good tone is good tone - let the OP find out by himself without feeding him/her a marketing line. We all did the same thing in our development. Maybe some limited advice is appropriate, but I will resist any effort to direct these questioners based on marketing or to corroborate outrageous marketing claims. DAVE
The box for Vandoren ZZ reeds actually says "jazz" on it which you can clearly see in the picture. And just because people use all sorts of equipment doesn't mean that it's false that some reeds were designed for jazz playing...
 

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.... and they look and perform pretty darned close to someone elses' general purpose reeds....

Hey Dave, I don't like Kool-Aid! :bluewink::mrgreen:
 
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