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Accidental Erinnn


New Member
Hello all! So I just happened to stumble across this site while looking for different brands of reeds. So my first question is, thoughts on synthetic reeds....are they worth spending money on, have you found any that are most like an actual reed, if so which ones? I play bari, which i've played for about 3 years and alto, which i've played for roughly 5 years. I'm in the jazz band at my school, marching and concert band. The sax had pretty much engulfed my life. haha:) I tend to play on the softer reeds because I feel like it gives off a warmer tone, what are the best brands of reed for me to purchase? At the moment all I use are Vandorans and I'm looking for something better. Well thanks for reading! :)


Well-Known Member
Hi Erin & welcome to Cafe Sax!:w00t::w00t:

Glad you found us, and great that you play Alto AND Baritone, and really enjoy it. Many of the users will give a mixture of general and subjective views regarding the question you have about reeds.

1. Synthetic reeds - lots of people give them a try and my impression is that some folks try and find the best synthetic reed available - a few seem to like the Legere Signature, but a larger number either reject them early on to go back to cane, or gradually go back because something is missing. I am one who has given it a go but prefer cane by some margin - more characterful and dynamic IMHO.

2. Regarding cane reeds the main complaint is inconsistency - only getting 6/7 decent ones in a box of 10. I have done a fair of bit of research and the most consistent ones I've tried include:

Rico Jazz Selects (2M is a good softer reed)
Marca Jazz (one of my favourites - brighter sound)
Francois Louis Excellence (favourite)
Alexander Superial DC (darker sound)

I don't particularly like Vandoren reeds, and have a personal preference for French (Jazz) cut reeds.

3. The other thing is the preparation of reeds - I use the method recommended on the Alexander Superial website which seems to yield very good results - can't remember the last time I had a dull or unplayable reed.

My conclusion is to go for lesser known brands which probably produce reeds in smaller quantities and probably produce a more consistent product.

Regarding Vandoren I think that they produce very good mouthpieces, expensive ligatures, and reeds which have a number of critics (as well as advocates), moreso than some other brands.

Hope this is helpful to you - I'm sure you'll have other views (my comments cover soprano, alto and tenor reeds, but not blown a baritone, or even tried to lift one.....;}

Kind regards

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Hello Erin, and welcome to the forum. Like you I prefer softer reeds. Many bari players seem to like the Legere Studio Cut synthetic reed, and I've had success with Rico Plasticovers. These are cane reeds covered in plastic and might be great outdoors. The new Legere Signature reed is available for your alto. Rico Royal No 2.5 reeds do it for me on the bari. I use No2 on everything else.

Happy hunting.



Hi Erin, welcome to the forum,

There are a few threads on the forum, have a browse, plus Pete (the forummeister) has an article about synthetics here.

For Bari sax I usually use Fibracell (work well on my Yani mouthpiece, though they irritate my lip a little) or Hahns for rock/pop stuff!

I've also found that the Hemke reeds are really reliable and durable, though a bit expensive for cane!

Good luck with it,



Senior Member
Hi Erin,and as above welcome,

I agree with Nick, Rico Hemke are my favourite cane reeds, they suit me (here I go all contrary) after scraping to suit my emboucher and style, they certainly are durable (especialy after my butchering!).

I have recently bought a couple of Fibracells (soft & medium), results are encourageing

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Try Hard Die Hard
Café Supporter
Hi Erin

Welcome to the cafe,and thanks for opening this reed discussion again I've found a lot of the comments very helpful especially yours Tom,I am struggling to find a read that gives me consistent performance at the moment,I seem to feel most comfortable with rico select jazz 3s but although they generally start off well they don't seem to last long I've always had problems with vandorens and can only remember getting one to work,they feel a lot like planks, maybe they just need more prep than I tend to give them,it's good to be offered quite a few alternative to try.I've actually got a la voz on the mpc at the moment which seems very bright and easy to blow but goes off very quickly like the rico selects.Anyway like you Erin the search continues good luck...john


Busking Oracle
Hi Erin and welcome to the cafe. I've never used synthetic reeds and I've only just got a bari, so I'm definately not qualified to give you any advice. Best of luck with you quest for reed perfection, it's a road we're all on you know!

Little My

Practice makes better.
Hello and welcome!

I've no direct experience of synthetic reeds, sorry. I'm enjoying using La Voz on my tenor at the moment. I've used Hemke and Zonda in the past for the warm sound you describe, but I always end up back with La Voz.


hi i to am a newbie good luck on finding the holy grail
i think it comes down to personal taste and a massive learning curve
all the best
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