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 Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-12-08 16:08

Like many I have always used Vandoren reeds(mostly Blue Box, sometimes V12) on bass clarinet. While I am used to the sound they make, I have problems with the blue box reeds articulating precisely, as well as the V12s constantly warping out of shape that I have to work on them virtually every time before I play them. And not to mention their overall inconsistency. I also flirted around with Legere and D'addario/Rico reeds(except their redesigned Reserve reeds), and I didn't really like them either. After switching to Gonzalez FOFs on Bb clarinet for 3 months and having considerably more success, I decided to give the Gonzalez RC Bass clarinet reeds a try.

As I usually use Strength 3 reeds on my Fobes San Francisco RR bass mouthpiece(I find the Blue Box and V12 about the same resistance), I ordered the same strength of the Gonzalez RCs. Today I received them, and this thread is my continuous review of these reeds over some period.

Upon playing them for the 1st time, 4 out of 5 reeds played decently, with the 5th sounding stuffy. The other 4 varied somewhat in playability, though less than that of Vandorens. All 4 of them sounded a bit warmer than the Vandorens with less reediness. I felt that there is more wood on the heart of these reeds, which is similar to the V12s, despite the former are unfiled cut reeds. Resistance is similar to both Vandorens. But one thing that stood out is that they have more crisp articulation. I can't comment on their stability at this time, but my experience with the Gonzalez FOF Bb reeds is that they have been quite stable and haven't changed too much for more than 3 months, so I have some expectations that these RC reeds will last for a while.

That is pretty much what I can think of right now. Will post another update soon.

Josh


Post Edited (2017-12-10 18:19)

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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2017-12-08 20:16

Hi Josh... if you haven't already.... try Legere tenor sax STUDIO CUT on bass. I don't love them but they work better for me than Legeres for bass clarinet.

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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-12-08 23:52

Hi tucker,
Thanks for your suggestion. I did try the studio cut on bass a while ago in strengths 2 3/4 and and 3. I actually quite liked them and think they are the best non-cane alternative on bass, but there were 2 things that held me back: 1. The strengths I chose were too soft for my Fobes RR mouthpiece, and 2. They seem to sound diffuse when I play at pianissimo. That said, I might try the 3 1/4 soon.

Also I started this thread as a resource for those looking for a alternative cane reed from Vandoren and Rico(haven't tried the new D'addario Reserves yet), and that no one here has reviewed Gonzalez RC(though Daniel Rye from the Welsh National Opera did one off the BBoard).

Josh


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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: CEC 
Date:   2017-12-10 07:11

The Gonzalez RC are my favorite - a great match for my Fobes HB. Your review is spot on.

Chris

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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-12-12 16:32

Hi Chris,
Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate them.

However after playing the RC reeds the 2nd and 3rd times(I play them every 2 days) I became concerned that they sound airy at the lower dynamics. Also despite being warmer than Vandorens, the sound was a bit coarser as well. Nevertheless, I will continue to test them a bit further before I draw my conclusions.

Josh


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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: bill28099 
Date:   2017-12-12 22:02

I've used Gonzales RC bass clarinet reeds for over 10 years. Playing a Grabner CX_BB on a 1994 Buffet Prestige.

A great teacher gives you answers to questions
you don't even know you should ask.

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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-12-16 14:20

Okay, so after testing them for 4 more days, here is the 3rd and final part of my review.

3 of 4 of the reeds started to sound and respond better again. They do articulate better than Vandoren Blue Box reeds, but one thing that still concerns me is that they still sound rather airy at lower dynamics. They still sound darker than any Vandoren or Legere reed, and whether if that's desirable or not depends on the player's preferences.

Keep in mind that during this whole period of testing I haven't sanded the reeds much so that I can fully observe how stable the cane of these reeds are. Also the weather here in Adelaide is really hot and dry at the moment, and that may also affect the reeds' playbility.

Hence my impression of the Gonzalez RC bass clarinet reeds is that while they do have some merits over Vandoren reeds, I don't think they perform as well in the lower dynamics. I'm still can't comment on their stability due to the weather here, though I feel that they are at least comparable to the Vandorens. Consistency is comparable if not better than the Vandorens. So I feel that their overall performance is comparable to the Vandorens. However, like with most clarinet hardware, your mileage may vary.

Disclaimer: I am not in any way affiliated to any reed maker. I started this review thread voluntarily as a resource for those who are curious about the Gonzalez reeds.

P.S. On another note, I tried the Legere Signature tenor sax reeds(again strength 3s) and they worked pretty well with Fobes RR bass mp and Vandy Optimum lig(Plate 2) and I ended up choosing them as my prime bass reeds, but I might move this to another thread as this a completely different topic.

Josh


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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2017-12-16 21:36

Josh, thanks for your review. From this string, I decided to order a box of Gonzalez reeds to check them out. I had a challenging finding a vendor who sold the RC-- and they are back ordered.

I, too, have gone to Legeres, but I'm still not 100% on board with them. I've not tried the tenor sax Signature, only the tenor sax Studio Cut. I like them by they seem to lack the fff you can push out of a good cane reed. Have you tried the Studio Cut? If so, how does it compare to the Signature? Thanks again for your review!

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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-12-17 02:19

Hi tucker,
I've tried both the Studio cut and Signature, as well as the 2 genuine models of Legere bass reeds over a long period of time. I didn't like the latter 2. Back to your question, I'd probably say the tenor sax Signatures are even better than the Studio cut. In fact, I'd say they are at least 80% similar to a good Vandy Blue Box reed at the same strength(apart from the plastic-y feel and the much flatter profile). The TS Signatures handle extreme dynamics a lot better than the studio cuts. They also seem to work very well with my Fobes RR mp and Vandy Optimum lig(I use plate 2 for the most cane-like ring). With them I am finally confident enough to move to Legeres!

Josh


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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2017-12-17 08:49

Josh,
I'm glad to hear this. I like the Studio Cut much better than the bass reeds... but I'm not "there" 100%. I never thought about trying the TS Signatures. Maybe this will be the golden egg. I have a Fobes 10K RR which I've found to be much more Legere friendly than other MP's I have.

I contacted Legere and asked if they have plans for a European cut for bass (since the Europeans seem to be all the rage for Legere Bb users). They do not. They do, however, have both tenor and alto sax European cut in beta testing.. soon to be released.

Thanks for the tip, Josh!

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 Re: Gonzalez RC Bass Clarinet Reeds Review
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-12-23 04:51

I would actually be excited to test the Euro cut tenor reeds on both bass clarinet and tenor sax if they do come out, since my only complaint about sig. tenor reeds is that I have to adjust my embouchure to work with their much thinner and flatter cut. The extra material on the heart of the Euro cut might help solve this problem.

Back to the Gonzalez RC reeds, after discussing with pro clarinettist, I realized that I might have ordered the strength too hard. So I've ordered some strengths 2.75 reeds to try. I'll do another review on this thread when I get them.

Josh


Post Edited (2017-12-23 04:51)

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