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Alternatives to the Vandoren Blue Box

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Alternatives to the Vandoren Blue Box

Thursday, January 29, 2009 6:40 AM
Author: Not Found

Hey everyone, I'm a baritone saxophonist looking for an alternative reed to the Vandoren Blue Boxes. I've been looking at the Gonzales brand which came recommended from a clarinetist friend of mine. Thought it would be good to get an opinion from you fellows. Opinions or suggestions are appreciated. Thanks!


Thursday, January 29, 2009 12:32 PM
Author: Ryan Gartner

I've had some success with Hemke when I tried them a few years ago.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 1:22 PM
Author: Dale Forsythe

I currently use Hemke reeds for bari. They seem to allow me more flexibility than Vandoren did.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 3:59 PM
Author: Bernard Walasavage

I use Hemke reeds in the winter and i have found that they have an excellent response and tone.

Synthetic alternative
Thursday, January 29, 2009 5:10 PM
Author: Stacey Shymko

Even though I don't think there is a reed better than Vandoren, I recommend [URL="http://www.legere.com/home.htm"]Legere synthetics[/URL] to people looking to save a few $$'s. They come in 1/4 sizes, and last about a month of constant playing before getting flabby. If you play outside I think they are far superior to Cane, since they don't dry out or change with humidity.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 7:35 PM
Author: Not Found

I've not been happy with Vandorens for a while. I've found them to be too inconsistent to spend $35-$50 on a box and have only one or two playable reeds. I've been using Legere synthetics on bari and bass for the past couple of years. I've been extremely pleased with them overall and people who listen to me play express great surprise when they find out I'm playing on a plastic reed. I've gotten one to last for more than a year before it finally split. I play for a few hours 3-5 X per week. Your mileage may vary but they definitely last longer and play just as well as the Vandorens, at least on a good hard rubber mouthpiece. They tend to be a bit overly raspy on a metal mouthpiece for my tastes. My setup is a Keilwerth SX-90R Bari, Vandoren Optimum BL3 mouthpiece, Vandoren Optimum Ligature, Legere 3.5 reed.

bari reeds
Thursday, January 29, 2009 9:20 PM
Author: Miami University Libraries

I have been playing bari in a quartet for the last 2 years, and for the winter, Legere is the best way to go. They last about 6 months for me and respond great. The tone is not as good as my best blue box vandoren, but it is as good as some average ones. I have also bought some Marca and Woodwind brand bari reeds for my students to try and keep down the cost. They sound good, but don't last quite as long as the blue box.

Legere All the Way..
Friday, January 30, 2009 3:37 PM
Author: Keila DuBois

I have been using Legere reeds during the winter with my saxophone and clarinet students with phenomenal success. The tone is better than 70% of the Vandoren Reeds, but they last for quite a while and don't warp if you treat them just like your Vandoren's. Plus it's much more economical for beginners and bigger instruments (bari and bass clarinet). I don't use the Legere's as much for jazz and continue to stay with my Vandoren ZZ's throughout the winter.

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