Saxophone reeds have long been a topic of discussion and a source of frustration for many saxophonists.  Whether it’s alto sax reeds, tenor sax reeds, bari sax reeds, or whatever saxophone, there are about as many preferences as there are players.  What most saxophone players agree on is that it is very difficult to play saxophone with a lousy reed.

I for one, have often been frustrated by the poor quality of reeds that I get or the lousy ratio of good to bad reeds out of a box of reeds.  I have found that you really need to go through the process of changing brands and trying out
many different brands and makes of reeds.

As a newer player or novice or intermediate player, you probably also have to try 2 or 3 different strength reeds until you settle on a reed strength that suits your playing style and ability.  I usually suggest to a beginner to try a 2 or 2 &1/2 sax reed.

I have tried so many brands of reeds over time, from rico and rico royal, la voz, vandoren, hemke, marca and all sorts of other brands, but usually settle down on one or another and stick with that for a while.  When I started out playing, there were fewer brands to choose from but now there are so many more.  Rico now has the rico jazz select reeds and Vandoren has their ZZ reeds and Java saxophone reeds and so on.  It really takes a bit of trial and error until you find the brand of reeds you like the best.

Lately, I prefer Rigotti tenor sax reeds, strength 3 & 1/2 medium and I like the Alexander DC superial for tenor and alto sax.  I usually play 3 & 1/2 strength alto sax reeds.  Now and then I choose to clip the tips when they start to break in and after I’ve played on them for a while.  If it’s a good reed, I like to clip the tip so I can squeeze a few more hours of playing out of them.  But, once a reed is dead, it’s dead.  You can only do so much as far as stretching a reed’s playing life.

Here’s where I usually get my reeds online and I recommend them because they have always shipped them out quickly and usually have my strengths and brands in stock.  Just click on this link for Saxophone Reeds and it will take you to Woodwind & Brasswind.  You can search for any kind of saxophone reeds by brand and strength.

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