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Reeds What brand of Reeds

Rico Vandoren

Well-Known Member
St.Helens, Merseyside. UK.
I know this is a stupid man's meat is another man's poison etc. etc. However- I've been using Vandoren Java 2.5s on my tenor for ages, and I'm getting fed up with them. I'm not good at modifying reeds, so if they don't play well 'out of the box' then I'll probably persevere for a while and then throw them away. The Javas' failure rate seems to me to be getting worse. Also, I'm fed up with the sound. They tend to generally sound a bit 'stuffy'.
I have a middle of the range Jupiter tenor with an Otto Link Super Tone Master NY 7* mouthpiece.
As I said, I know its all very subjective, but perhaps some of you more experienced players could give me suggestions as to reeds I could try.
Given what you say I'd certainly give Marca Jazz a go at 2.5 - they should cure stuffiness, particularly as the Link sometimes attracts that criticism. Others would include Rico Jazz Selects (2M) & Francois Louis Excellence 2.5s. Do also make sure that you stop just playing reeds 'out of the box' - follow the guidelines on the Alexander Superial website to get the best out of them. When I played Java's back in the old days only about 6/7 reeds were any good in a box of 10. The ones I mention above are all very consistent - yet to find a dud with any of the above. I might also experiment with 2 strength. But Marca Jazz get my vote given what you say.

Kind regards
Hi Rico,

I personally dont get on with Vandoren as I find them too "soft" sounding (or is that dark!!) and as Tom rightly says a Link would exaggerate that. I suspect that you are really after a brighter sound like myself. I actually find the best reeds that suit me are bog standard Rico reeds (in the orange box). I also incidently used to have a old Link mouthpiece which I sold on to a happy customer. But try the reed change first (much cheaper).

Regards Rikki

Hi Rico,
I used to play 2 1/2 and found them stuffy and unresponsive, i dropped down to no. 2s, iget a much edgier sound and they respond much better. I use aBerg 100/0 and a 105/1, also i find them much more consistent, and if any are slightly darker i just give them a quick rub down with fine sandpaper, on the sides , well away from the heart and tip. It always works fine, Rob.
Popular and very subjective subject....... I also use Java 2.5s, having trawled through all the commonly available alternatives and found none I feel any more comfortable with. I don't have the issues with problem reeds though - maybe 1 in 10 is not worth perservering with. I use a Link STM6, but only for practice at home where the slightly "stuffy" sound isn't a problem and doesn't get the dog howling too bad. For gigs I use the same reeds with either a screaming metal Brancher or a Berg HR, neither of which could be described as remotely "stuffy". Not wishing to encourage another outbreak of mouthpiece-related GAS but maybe you are also looking for something a bit more adventurous than the the Link?
Have you tried Rico Jazz Select? On tenor I've had the most luck with the "unfiled" reeds. On alto, I've had good—but different—results with the unfiled and filed.

~ Rick

Hi Rick,
Just wondered if you have ever used Java file cut on Tenor? as i am thinking of trying them out.
Kind regards Rob.
I think that you should find "filed" reeds more responsive than "unfiled", across the board. All the reeds I mention in my original reply are filed reeds. Generally if "filed" = more flexible, possibly more responsive, then "unfiled" will equal more percussive, more solid. "Filed" should liven up your Link more than "Unfiled", and dropping down to 2 strength might also help. The Red Java may be a better bet than the Green Java.....I am just a little wary of Vandoren reeds (I have played V16's, Green Java's, & ZZ's) and have switched loyalty, firstly to Rico Jazz Selects, and then to the others mentioned above.

Give 'em a try - If you want to pass on a couple I could provide you with a Marca Jazz 2, 2.5, a RJS 2M unfiled or 2H unfiled in exchange.

Kind regards
Last edited by a moderator:
Hi Tom,
Thank's for the reply, i think your getting me mixed up with Rico who play's a Link. I play metal Bergs, and my next port of call is to get some no 2s Java file cut Tenor. Looking on the vandoren site at the comparision chart the file cut no 2s seem to be midway between a standard Java no 2 and a 2.5, so they might be my best bet for now i'll just have to see how they go.
Kind regards Rob.
I was mixing you up with Rico - sorry 'bout that. Good luck with the red ones............;}

Kind regards
Do have an internet search with "Java Red Reeds" - SOTW features quite a few comments about them. Lots of negative comments about Vandoren reeds in general but the Java red seemed to have some approval - comparisons with RJS reeds. BTW Francois Louis Excellence reeds had very good write ups, better than Alexander reeds which merited less praise than I would have assumed....
What do I know........................................;}:blush:

Kind regards


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