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Author: yearsofwisdom 
Date:   2010-10-01 19:55

I play a beautiful Selmer from the 50s with a vandoren m30 mouthpiece. I am going to order new reeds so i was wondering if there is anything i should try. I usually use the vandoren v12 4s and ocassionally the traditional 4s even though i find them sort of thin sounding in the middle registers and fine on the higher octaves and vice versa with the v12s. I also used the classic reserves which i found to be okay. I did like grand concert evolutions but they blew out really quickly for me, even at size 4 and began to sound really thin... suggestions on what to try or what to get and size?

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Ed Palanker 
Date:   2010-10-01 20:02

Here we go again. You will get everyones favorite answer of course. You say you tried the Rico Classic Reserves and Evolutions, have you tried the thick blanks or the regular reserves? Every cut is different. Good luck, ESP

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2010-10-01 21:58

Ed is certainly right about having to try lots of brands/styles to find the ones that work best for you.

I've found that both VD V12 and Regular reeds (# 3.5-4.0) work well on the M30. However, here are some thoughts to keep in mind for any mouthpiece/reed combination:

- individual reeds often need to be adjusted to be a good match for the facing
you are using.

- reed life is increased by breaking them in, keeping them flat in a humidity-
controlled container (even a freezer bag will help) and rotating their use.

- reeds will play better when you take the right amount of mouthpiece--the
M30 is a long facing and will require that you take more mouthpiece into your
mouth than most.

- a steady/firm/strong embouchure that allows the reed to vibrate freely is
essential to a its optimal performance.

- you cannot have too much air support--it is the engine that drives the sound
production. A consistent, focused air-stream can do wonders for achieving a
good, even tone over the entire range of the instrument.

I have played for many years and continue to learn from proper application of these (and other) principles.

With respect to the first point I would point out that mouthpiece facings have curves that are accurate to a few 1/10000". While reeds are machined to perhaps similar accuracy, at this scale the surface of the reed can be quite rough. Moreover, reeds are an organic product whose density and resilience is not homogenous. Finally, all reeds of a particular type are made with a specific vamp shape that (by definition) cannot match the facings of all mouthpieces equally well.

For these reasons, I typically expect that I will have to adjust reeds by smoothing their surface and removing material from various locations to ensure that the reed (strength/resilience) is appropriate at (most) all points along the curve of the mouthpiece facing. Once you learn how to tailor a given style of reed to a particular mouthpiece (a process that needn't require a lot of effort), I think you will find that the sound, intonation and response are better across the entire range of the instrument.

For example, I play both the VD B40 Lyre and the M30. For these longer-lay mouthpieces, I find that I often need to remove material along the sides back towards the bark to effectively allow more of the reed to vibrate. For me, removing material from the left side (while looking at the vamp with the tip away from you) improves the sound, while removing it from the right improves response. I do this with reed rush, but have wondered if the Reed Wizard wouldn't do the rough work better.

Finally, while I'm given to G.A.S. as much as anyone, I must admit that a consistent, systematic approach to correctly playing the instrument and the music seems to mitigate the kind of "equipment" problems we all seem to have from time to time.

I hope this helps.

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Iceland clarinet 
Date:   2010-10-02 20:23

I had to go through 20+ brands/types of reeds to really get it nailed in my head that for me nothing beats a good Vandoren V-12.

Post Edited (2010-10-02 22:56)

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: yearsofwisdom 
Date:   2010-10-02 22:44

i have tried the rico reserve regular boxes and HATED them. The reserve classics are actually somewhat decent.. Whats the difference between the 3 types of rico grand concerts? I would like a tone that is similar to the V12 except possibly a thicker meatier tip so the upper range doesn't suffer like the v12 does while keeping the thick heart.

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: claribari 
Date:   2010-10-15 03:53

I recommend the Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic. I use a size 3,5+ (its the equivalent of a 3,5 on a Vandoren Traditional - the blue box). I find that my high notes come out much more clearly and my attacks are a bit more precise. Also I like the tone I got, a nice medium-deep tone. I use mine with a Hite Premier mp and a Luyben ligature.

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2010-10-15 05:44

V 12's for me

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2010-10-15 16:59

You should view comparisons that draw equivalence between Reed A strength x and Reed B strength y skeptically. The profiles of each model - even within the same brand - are different from one another. Strengths are measured by the manufacturers according to the resistance of the cane the reed is made of. Actual playing responsiveness may not be the same even when two reed models/strengths are said to be equivalent. Responsiveness depends on embouchure style, mouthpiece properties and the nature of the feel the player expects.

The best way to find *your* best reeds for a particular setup is to try several out - as many as you need to until you find something you're comfortable with. And, in my own experience, I would also suggest that during the process you not try to figure out why one reed feels better than another - there is such a subtle combination of tip thickness, overall density, thickness of the blank (and the heart), rate of taper toward the sides and tip, even the shape and amount of bark left at the end of the vamp, that trying to guess from descriptions of individual models' physical dimensions can be misleading at best. Buy a box of a brand and model you want to try, make your best guess as to a starting strength, and see what it feels like. If you like the sound but not the resistance, go up or down a strength. If you hate the sound, try another brand or model of the same brand.

Meanwhile, pick a reed type that you're already comfortable with (you mention several), even though it doesn't seem perfect, and continue using it as a reference point as well as a way to keep playing when a whole box of new reeds seems unplayable. If eventually you find something you like better, then make the switch.


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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: kimber 
Date:   2010-10-15 17:21

The differences between the 3 GCSs (from Rico Website):

Grand Concert Select [I use these currently, am a Vandy convert.]
•More wood in the heart for better projection
•Premium cane for longevity
•Outstanding articulation and response

Grand Concert Select Evolution
•More wood in the heart for better projection
•Premium cane for longevity
•Thicker tip for easy articulation
•Unfiled for more centered, compact sound
•Lower side rails for balanced response with the thicker heart

Grand Concert Select Thick Blank
•Thick Blank reeds have a longer vamp than the GCS Evolution for easier response
•Premium cane for longevity
•Thinner tip for delicate articulation
•Filed to increase depth in harmonics

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Bassie 
Date:   2010-10-16 13:44

I say try everything you can get your hands on. The reed has the biggest effect on the instrument, after the player.

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Arnoldstang 
Date:   2010-10-16 14:32

Pick a brand and use it exclusively for a month or two . If you're not happy go to another brand and do the same.

Freelance woodwind performer

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 Re: Reeds!Rico!Vandoren
Author: Ed 
Date:   2010-10-16 15:38

I've tried a lot of things. It all varies depending on your taste and set up. For a while now I have had very good success with Rico GC Thick and Reserve Classic. They have been more consistent, better playing and longer lasting than the many Vandorens I have used.

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