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Author: Musikat 
Date:   2023-07-18 21:50

The Ishimori reed thread got me thinking. I have tried Ishimori 3.5s but didn't really like them. Same with Peter Leuthners. On both I tried 3.5 strength.

I play and really love the Behn Aria reeds (3.5-4) on a Gregory Smith 1+ mouthpiece. I play 4s sometimes on my Smith Eb mouthpiece but the 3.5s are my sweet spot in general. The tone and response are just about perfect for me. There was a period of time when he stopped making the Arias and I used Pilgerstorfer Dolces (3.5), which are the closest I have found so far, but still not as good for me. They seem to be a little less "crisp" sounding and take longer to break in, from my experience. The last box of those I got I didn't really find many I loved.

I always worry Brad Behn will stop making the Arias some day and would love to find a really good alternative just in case (Cane, not synthetic). Has anyone found anything like them that I haven't already tried that I should consider as a backup? I used to play Vandoren V12 for years, but the consistency and response of the Arias has really spoiled me for anything else.

Maybe I need a different strength or cut in the Leuthners? I have also tried Pilgerstorfer Exquisite 2 and Morre 3.5s and didn't much like those.

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 Re: Reeds
Author: Doug Leach 
Date:   2023-07-18 23:09


I also play Aria' 4's as my preferred reed, although the 3.5's are ok too. I've also tried Brad's Brio's, and like those as well. With the Brios's, 3.5 seems to be the sweetspot for me. I tried the Brio 4's as well but they were too stiff. However, by shaving them down I was able to get very nice playable reeds out of about all of them. But ongoing it would be too much work. Before Brad came out with the Aria, I was buying Leuthner French cut reeds from him, in a 3.5 strength, and found them very satisfactory. Very nice sweet tone, and very consistent.

You don't really say what you didn't like about the Leuthner 3.5's. Based on my experience with Aria''s Brio's and Leuthner, I'd expect 3.5's would be a good choice for you. Maybe you could try 3.0's? A band mate of mine who was looking for different reeds ended up with Leuthner 3.0's and just loves them.


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 Re: Reeds
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2023-07-18 23:12

Years ago I played V12 4s in the San Diego Symphony, Ballet and Opera. I lyes off for 15 years and found that the V12s no longer worked for me. For a while I played Gonzales GD reeds, but then I couldn’t find them. Since then, I’ve settled on Pilgerstorfer Dolce 3.5-4.

Recently I discovered the “New” Gonzales GDs (3-3.25) and they look/feel/sound great. Out of a box of 3.25s 8/10 were great and almost identical. The other 2/10 were a bit too heavy. However these reeds are thicker/softer than most so they are easily adjusted. These may just supplant my Pilgerstorfer Dolces. We’ll see…

You might want to give the GDs a try.

Good luck!

Bob Barnhart

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 Re: Reeds
Author: spikey1973 
Date:   2023-07-19 00:52


After my thread on a good beginner MP, I was guided towards the Behn overture and Fobes Debut (can I be correct, that it was you that gave me that info, or at least posted in that thread) and also was mentioned that the Behn Aria reeds were Ideal for those MP's.
After looking at european availability of the MP, I choose to go for the Clark Fobes MP. Afterwards I asked Clark, where I could obtain those Aria reeds. He then Informed me that the Aria reeds are actually produced by Pilgenstorfer in Austria under the type name "Dolce - Boehm". as you have tried as you mentioned. According towhat you stated, this now seems at least slightly incorrrect.

Besides the Dolce line, Pilgenstorfer also makes "Solist-dt", "Classic-Wide", "Basso-Bass" and "Morre-Bass". They also sell mix boxes to test out the different reeds in Medium and Soft grades. Maybe the Solist-dt or one of the others you didn't try yet could be more to your liking?

It is sold in the US by Clark Fobes (as mentioned) and in Europe by Thomann.de
Personally I am REALLY happy with my fobes debut icm with the Dolce 3, but the adviced hardness for the MP would be 3.5, But I don't manage that properly yet.

Anyway this is ofcourse not the aswer you are looking for but I hope this information is at least a little helpfull to you.

Kind greats


Post Edited (2023-07-19 00:58)

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 Re: Reeds
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2023-07-19 00:55


I actually gave the Leuthners to a professional I know because they were way too hard. I just looked back in my emails and they were 4s.

My tech was just talking about liking the Leuthners, which almost makes me want to try again. Do you use American or French cut and why? How would you equate the 3.5s to the Aria 4s you use? If they are similar maybe I should try 3s? I wish you could do a mix box like Brad used to do with the Arias.

I don't like the Brios. On my setup they are stuffy, and I could never make them work like I can the Arias.

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 Re: Reeds
Author: JoeRomano 
Date:   2023-07-19 03:13

I quite like the Gonzales GD reeds. They seem to be long lasting, and I appreciate that they come in a quarter size, 3.25. They seem similar to V12 for me, but they are way more consistent. Every reed in the box was very good or at least workable. I just ordered the Gonzales FOF as well, but haven't tried yet.
Also will try the Aria in a 3.5.

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 Re: Reeds
Author: Doug Leach 
Date:   2023-07-19 16:43


Regarding the Leuthners, I used the French Cut. That was what Brad was selling on his web site at the time. It was well after I'd switched to the Arias that I saw Clark Fobes had French Cut and American Cut. I didn't think those were even out when I was playing the French Cut. Anyhow, I was interested in trying them, but have never gotten around to it.

So when I was playing Leuthner 3.5's they were quite nice, and didn't require any adjustment at all. When I tried the Arias, I tried 3.5 and 4.0 and liked the 4's best. A seamless transition from Leuthner 3.5's. If the ones you had before were 4's, I'd try 3.5's and maybe even a box of 3's as well. I think when I tried them I was able to get a box from Brad that was half and half, 3 and 3.5. But pretty sure that's not available anymore.


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 Re: Reeds
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2023-07-19 19:24

Musikat, on Behn Arias, Pilgerstorfer Dolce reeds are pretty similar. One thing I've noticed is that if you order several boxes several months apart, both kinds might seem a bit different, and the reeds in some batches seem a bit stronger than in other batches. So it's not something that allows a lot of precision. My experience is that the Leuthner French Cut strengths are 1 or 1 1/2 lower than the Behns, and depending on the batch, the Dolces can be 1/2 higher than the Behns. After I started playing more orchestra, I moved more to using Pilgerstorfer Morre as soft entrances were easier with them, but that's going to vary by mouthpiece and player.

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 Re: Reeds
Author: SecondTry 
Date:   2023-07-19 20:04

Musikat: what is your go to method, if any, for reed adjustment?

Mine is Ridenour's ATG system. I swear by it as sure as I am financially unaffiliated with the company.

Judging reeds out of the box, for me, would have me conclude that all brands stink.

With ATG though Vandorens, Behn's (both), Leuthners, Pilgerstorfers and others improve dramatically.

To my way of thinking, commercial reeds are not unlike the lumber acquired in a big box store in that (in addition to their wood commonality) both represent the starting point for shaping.

Even if manufacturers really can shape a cane reed to less than a human hair's tolerance: a margin of error that I suspect increases with the time that reed cutting and shaping blades were last sharpened, we still face the fact that with even the most vertically symmetrically cut cane reed, that mother nature incorporates variability with the single reed itself, and that balancing a reed--a key part of playing well--is a test that is effected via playing the reed, not measuring its topography, the latter only a starting point for an individual reed's best contour.

Post Edited (2023-07-20 08:28)

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 Re: Reeds
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2023-07-19 22:32

Dorjepismo, I agree the Dolces are similar, I just wanted to see what else might be out there. I find the Dolces just not quite as good as the Arias for me. Are you saying you find Leuthners to be softer than Arias? Because that was not my experience at all. I could and still can play an Aria 4 (I use them sometimes on my Eb to get those high notes). But Leuthner 4s were really hard and unplayable for me. Even my professional friend commented she thought they were hard.

SecondTry, I also use the ATG system for my reeds. I find with the Arias I don't need to do much, but often it helps make it just a tiny bit better. Maybe it is my ability but any time I have a too hard reed that needs significant adjustment I rarely seem to get it right. I get it better, sometimes useable, but almost always end up not using them much because they just don't feel right. I can usually tell on the first or second play test the reeds that will be concert ones. Some others surprise me later and get better, but rarely do the ones that need the most work turn into the best reeds, for me.

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 Re: Reeds
Author: EbClarinet 
Date:   2023-07-20 02:39

The harder Vandoren only work for 1 that had an extremely formidable embouchure. To play in tune and louder than any 1 else, I used 4s my sophomore years marching band. For concert season, I wet back to 3.5

I've ALWAYS had a extremely stout embouchure so on my Eb Clarinet I use the 4 WhiteMasters. On my Eb Soprano SaxI use 4s fr the same reasons of marching band. I have 2 have control of my instruments in ever range for intonation purposes. It works for me.

It's been on me for years to buy a lot of Eb Clarinet reeds. Next month, I'll b getting the WhiteMaster that r cut for the Eb mouthpiece. Previously, I've been using the regular Bb WMs and just cutting off the bottom of them as they fit perfectly for my mouthpiece.


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 Re: Reeds
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2023-07-20 22:44

Musikat, I agree on Dolces. I don't use them now, and do use some Arias. When I said the Leuthners' strength was low, I mean the numbers. I mostly use a 4 with Arias, a 3 1/2 or 4 with Morres, a 3 with Ishimoris, and a 2 1/2 or 3 with Leuthners, and they all play about the same. So yes, the same numbered Leuthner is harder. I once tried one of his "Professionals," and you could pretty much repair your house with them.

Eb, I've also had decent luck cutting some of the back off of a Leuthner German Cut. It sounds different from WhiteMasters, so it's a matter of preference.

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