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 Bravo reeds?
Author: iplaytheclarinet 
Date:   2015-12-29 22:09


Has anyone ever tried Bravo reeds? I was looking at them on Amazon (link above), but they barely had any reviews.
It seems like a good investment since you can buy five of them for the same price of a Legere reed.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Caroline Smale 
Date:   2015-12-29 22:24

If it sounds too good to be true - then it probably is.

There seems to be a parcity of information about origin on the box.

Go on and get some (someone has to be first!) and let the board know how you get on.

p.s. incidentally George Koregelos who "inspired" the reeds was a flute maker - obviously just the man for reeds.

Post Edited (2015-12-29 22:31)

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2015-12-30 01:03

I decided to take the plunge and ordered a box of 5. They arrived yesterday, but at the moment I'm working my way through a summer cold so I'm not playing. When I'm over it I'll give them a try and report back.

Tony F.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: iplaytheclarinet 
Date:   2016-01-10 00:35

^ Did you try them out yet, Tony?

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2016-01-10 06:00

A few days after the reeds arrived, but before I tried them, I developed the mother of all colds. So far it's hung around for 3 weeks and has not really cleared up yet. It's something that's going round locally, it seems to hang around for about a month. Long story short, no I haven't really tried them yet, but I should be back to playing in a few days and I'll let you know how they go.

Tony F.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2016-01-13 18:45

As a follow-on from my previous post, I'm back playing again and I've given the Bravo reeds a trial.

They are softer than the number would suggest. I ordered 3's and the reeds I received were about what I would expect from Vandoren 2's or Rico 2.5's. As they were softer than I'm comfortable I decided to try clipping one. They can be successfully clipped, but the clipper must be very sharp. The material is quite hard. Removing a bare sliver of material brought them up to a more comfortable (for me) state.

They are a bit brighter than cane but produce good volume. I found them to be sensitive to correct placement on the table, rather like Legere's. I had no problems with articulation throughout the range of the instrument. I tried them on several mouthpieces and found that on one very closed mouthpiece they tended to squeak. On more open mouthpieces they were OK.

Do I like them? Yes, with some reservations. I wouldn't use them in a concert or orchestral setting, but they would be very useful in an outdoor setting. They don't produce the rich quality of sound that cane does, but for band work this would not be an issue. I used one for a jazz gig and it was fine. I think that doublers might like them. So far they have shown no tendency to soften, but they haven't had a lot of use yet. All 5 of the reeds in the box were pretty much identical in performance. These are all my highly subjective observations, your mileage may vary.

Tony F.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Una 
Date:   2016-01-13 22:19

Thanks for reporting on them. I have been wondering if any of the new synthetic reeds are any better than what is lacking in the current synthetic line-up. I tried several different brands on sax and clarinet a couple of years ago and they just don't cut it for me because of that weird, non-clarinet buzz they all seem to have. You could get away with it on sax since "buzz" is kind of the sound a lot of saxophonists are looking for but on the clarinet, it makes me feel like the clarinet wants to be a soprano sax but can't really get there.

Your description of the "a bit brighter" and the sensitivity to placement on the mouthpiece along with the many comments I've read similar to, "I wouldn't use them in a concert or orchestral setting" confirms that they really haven't changed in terms of usability for me.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: sonicbang 
Date:   2016-05-20 13:51

From time to time I buy some synthetic reeds because I'm curious how they evolve. I just play tested a box of 3.5 Bravo reeds.

equipement I used for testing:

Vandoren M15
Vandoren B40
Vandoren B45
Vandoren Perfecta refaced by Brad Behn to 1.04-36
Fobes Europa 2
Behn Vintage D
Behn Epic HCV 1.0-36


Well for me it was disappointing. The strength was OK, but this is the best I can say. The sound was fuzzy, thin and the higher I go on the scale the this is getting worse. The tip has an unusual shape and doesn't fit well. I tried them on a number of mouthpieces this morning and I couldn't even find a decent match I would use for an outdoor performance.


I'm not convinced that the back of the reeds are completely flat either. When I put one on the mouthpiece and hold it with thumb, the tip is clearly further from the mouthpiece's tip. Tip width varies between 12.65 to 12.8mm instead of 12.9 or the regular 13.00.

The obvious signs of moulding weren't removed from the edges, this I think can cause problems alone.


Sadly all 5 are the same...

to sum:

I have no idea who were the testers during the developing process, but I would really like to ask them if they think what they approved is OK.

Maybe there is a certain mouthpiece with a certain strength which could work decently (let's not outrule this possibility) but I'm not sure this search would worth it. Other synthetic brands I have tried gave much better results. The fact I can get 5 Bravo reeds for the cost of 1 Legere doesn't make it better.

(Disclaimer: I design and make cane reeds, occasonally for sale too)


quick update:

I decided to try to improve one of those reeds. I removed the mold edges carefully with sandpaper and the response improved a bit but the sound was just as horrible. Then I tried to flat the back on the block I use for cane reeds. It quickly turned out that just under the tip there is some extra material on the back. Geez. And the whole back is concave. No chance to make the back fit to the mouthpiece table.

Post Edited (2016-05-20 14:10)

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2016-05-20 19:53

They don't sound much like the ones that I tried. Mine were quite well-finished and quite flat. I've just dug one out of my gig bag to confirm this. No trace of molding flash either. I couldn't describe the sound of mine as buzzy either. I probably won't buy any more, though.

Tony F.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: fskelley 
Date:   2016-09-20 18:54

I ordered a box of 5 Bravo 2.5's through Amazon about a month ago. I tested one for a short while, and even trimmed and ATG adjusted- which helped. But I immediately returned the box through Amazon for full credit. I carefully marked the returned box as "only 1 reed played- other 4 still in box new and untouched"- so perhaps they didn't all end up wasted in the trash.

I found the Bravo to play quite well in chalumeau and clarion, and lower altissimo up to about D6 [D6]. But it just would not go higher- best I ever got was about G6 [G6]. By contrast- Legere 2.25's routinely play up to C7 [C7]- at least until they die on me (which is another long story)- but up to A6 [A6] is "never" an issue. So I simply said on my return that the Bravo did not perform as advertised- as a reasonable substitute for cane or other brands of synthetics- nothing in the description or reviews suggested a range limitation.

Some time ago I reported on a $20 "noname" clarinet I bought off that auction site, which I think is a Helmke. That horn came with a noname mouthpiece which I found played the Bravo reed (and since then other reeds) better in high altissimo. Still not good, but better than my usual 5RV Lyre. So I got some benefit out of the experimentation.

I'll report on my Forestone experiment on a Forestone thread. But looks like I'm still on Marca cane- or perhaps one day back to Legere.

Stan in Orlando

EWI 4000S with modifications

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-08-10 10:14


I just tried a Bravo reed and I find it very stable for playing in the lower range.

As a beginner clarinetist (I'm grade 2 and have been playing for one year) I find them very nice. I don't know how to explain it exactly, but for me, playing a cane reed is a bit like walking on a tightrope, and playing a Bravo reed feels most like walking along a plank.

I think that with the cane reed I need to work hard with my embouchure to get the tone really correct, but with this plastic reed, and don't need to constantly fine tune like that and can just get on and think about breathing and fingers, which is quite nice for a beginner. It's like going to the gym and having one muscle to work on in a machine while the others are not involved at all.

Having said that, I noticed that when I go to the top notes that I can play, the reed sounds a little bit flat. I'm not sure whether it's flat, as in out of tune, but it doesn't ring beatifully as high notes can.

I do like the reed though, and I'm going to keep playing it, as it really helps the devepment of my playing to have this sense of security in the low notes.


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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-08-10 11:00

A few clients, more than 10, less than 50, every few months, often send me their Legere reeds to be adjusted. These reeds are actually a mess, and it's hard for me to understand why people pay $20 for them. Maybe players know how to adjust them? I don't know.

I've tried contacting Legere and was ignored; regarding fixing the problems with the cuts of the reeds.

I haven't seen any Bravo reeds yet. I have seen Fibercells and they were warped on the bottoms of the reeds.

So if you know how to fix reeds I suppose they can work. However I still find the best plastic reeds don't "Give," and after a period of time when I play on them, such as after a few hours, my lips are dead. Also very sore.

So for this reason I still play on cane reeds. They "Give," more whereas plastic does not. There will always be players who want the sound of cane reeds. And those who are fine with plastic.

I think the idea of having a backup plastic reed stated above, isn't a bad idea at all, because weather patterns when traveling can kill cane reeds and scare the musician to death. When I'm on tour this is always a challenge, but for some reason I'm able to work though it and I haven't ever played on plastic.

Even in sunny California the humidity can change from 70 percent to close to about 5 percent as the desert heat hits, so I seem to have an assortment of reeds ready, probably around about 800 from different crop locations around the world.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: Maruja 
Date:   2019-08-10 20:58

This is really a post for Sunny Daze. Just to say that when I was starting out on the clarinet, I found synthetic reeds really useful (I played on Legeres). It was one less thing to worry about; when I squeaked, I knew I could eliminate the reed as a factor and could concentrate on covering the holes completely, working on breath and so on. As I got more experienced, I returned to cane as they were much less buzzy than the synthetic and I actually quite enjoy the challenge of working on the reed, discovering which ones sound good when you open the box and so forth. Just my pennyworth.

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 Re: Bravo reeds?
Author: SunnyDaze 
Date:   2019-08-10 21:43

Hi Maruja,

Thanks, it's great to know that you saw the same. I think I will stick with the synthetic reed as I'm really finding it helpful, but also keep exploring the cane reeds as I go along.


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