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Vandoren Alto Saxophone ReedsVandoren SR21 Traditional series alto reeds are characterized by a pure sound that is a result of a very thin reed tip that is balanced by a solid vertical column. They are consistent and reliable, and are a favorite of many band and orchestra directors and even many professionals. Recognizable by the distinctive French-style file cut, they are great for all-around use, from the eager student to busy professional, from classical to jazz.
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These reeds are some of the most consistent available (I have played on just about every brand and variant of the brands imaginable), and you can play on any of them with minimal effort. Every now and then there will be one or two that just won't play, but a reed is natural, and you can't expect them all to work.
The reason that the reeds are being given four stars is the packaging. Not only is it extremely wasteful (each reed is individually wrapped in foil), the box is just too large for practicality. The old box could fit in a shirt pocket or a pants pocket without a second though; this box really needs to stay in the sax case. The inconvenience of having sax reeds flying around inside the case makes it too much of a hassle to travel without the box, which just makes it difficult to deal with in general.
Ok, I have experienced all kinds of reeds: Chinese, Ricos, Vandorens, plastics, etc. So far, I found Vandoren Traditional to be the most consistent and reliable out of most reeds. The other Vandorens are more like specialties; traditional is just for everything. I lived with this reed (brand, of course) for my entire career of sax playing, and it helped me develop a thick embouchure (I use 4's now). This reed doesn't go too well with marching bands, since it doesn't produce a loud sound if your embouchure is in sync with the thickness. However, this reed is seriously recommended, because no reed is like it.
I call these reeds my brand. My favorite part of these reeds is that they tend to be consistent. I have used other brands where some work just fine and others are terrible. These reeds are not like that. I feel assured that the whole box will work just fine for me.
I've used a number of different companies reeds, different brands of reeds, as well as making my own. Truthfully I have not yet found a single pack of reeds with more than 5 reeds that I could play right out the box without any work on them. These are the most consistent that requires the least amount of work with a knife.
I tried the traditional Vandoren Alto Sax reeds about a year ago after doing research on different brands of reeds a couple of years ago and since then, I have played on this reed. It's reliable and the sound it gives me is excellent. I use them in combination with a Selmer Goldentone mouthpiece. Although the mouthpiece is made of plastic the sound I get out of this combination is amazing. The only thing I didn't like about the reeds is the fact that they are individually wrapped, not allowing me to pick out the good reeds from the bad ones.
My dad has used the "classic" Vandorens for the past 40+ years in his classical clarinet playing, and he turned me on to the saxophone reeds when I was very young. I've tried others - Alexander Superials, Ricos, the synthetic things, the plastic-covered things...nothing equals the response I've had with Vandorens. Using a 4 on alto and tenor and 3.5 on clarinet, I achieve a distinctively dark sound that, I think, is very pleasing compared to the brassy sound a softer reed offers. Plus, the harder strength makes me work my chops, and isn't that always a good thing?
These reeds are the best value for your money. It's true that not every reed will play right out of the box; I've yet to find a brand where I can play every reed right from the start. But these reeds are consistantly the best of any that I've tried. They have a very complete sound and a quick response that makes them easy to play and appealing to listen to. I reccomend these reeeds to all of my friends and play on them myself.
I play these on strength 3 and 3.5. I used to play on the ZZs all the time and the Javas. But I prefer the regular blue box to any kind I've tried.
I recommend these to high school students and college students who need good reeds. They last a long time and hold up to even my vigorous marching season! I go through just one box in one season instead of the 3 boxes with my old brand.
Though I have played with only 3 different brands in the time I've played (10 years), I do highly recommend these.
Every one in the box works! It?s like a miracle! The down side is that the slips they come in are pain and aren't very good for storage. They occasionally break the reed. The actual reed on the other hand is amazing good and versatile.
I'm a college student who know what a great reed feels and sounds like, when I first started to play sax I used Ricos because they were cheap and accessible. During my senior year of high school my band director told me a better quality reed would help my sound, so I bought a box of these reeds, after the first time playing them I thought "how did I ever play without them?" you will definitely notice a change in the way you sound, you will love it!. These are the only brand of reeds I use.
* Price guarantee valid on all new in-stock merchandise sold by an authorized U.S. Dealer. Guarantee does not apply to discontinued, blemished, damaged, closeout, open box, refurbished or auction items. You will be contacted via email shortly after submission of request.