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Beginning Bluegrass Banjo DVD
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Vandoren Tenor Sax V16 ReedsThe Vandoren V16 tenor sax reed is the thickest Vandoren reed cut. The thicker cut creates a deep, harmonically rich sound with lots of attack. It addition, the thicker cut lends a depth and color to the sound that is truly special. Some saxophonists prefer a less ornamented sound than the one that V16 reeds promote, but if you can become accustomed to the V16's properties and tame them, it just may become essential equipment for your unique signature sound.
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I play most jazz stuff on alto and tenor (both P. Mauriats), so when I got a Guardala King piece for my tenor, I thought the piece and my horn were a great match. However, I struggled to find a reed to match the wide-open tip opening of my Guardala. I tried a ZZ #3 and I liked it, but I had to use a little more air than i wanted to; so I tried a V16 #2.5 and it worked great! It gives a huge, fat tone throughout every register, and with this reed/piece combination my "useable" altissimo range can reach a Bb two octaves above the written range Bb! They are also incredibly consistent. I would recommend these reeds to anyone who loves having a great sound with great flexibility of colors.
In my 18 years of experience as a saxophonist, I've not come across a finer reed. The response of the V16 series of reeds allows for better control and intonation. I especially recommend the V16 series for the soloist, as it produces a rich and full tone that you would need to fill a stage with sound.
Ever since the new individually wrapped reeds came on the marked these reeds have been HORRIBLE. I used to play V16s (3.5) on tenor with a Vintage Otto Link Rubber Piece and found them to have a nice full sound. Since they've been individually wrapped, the cane doesn't age right or something, and every reed arrives as a soggy mess. Honestly, I went through 2 full boxes recently and did not find a SINGLE reed that didn't feel like I was playing a stick I could have picked up from my lawn.
For shame, Vandoren! I really believe they have sacrificed the quality of their cane, probably cutting the requisite aging time down to get more reeds out the door. I will say that I tried the new red box java reeds and they play great. I've realized the most important factor in a good reed is not it's cut as much as it is the quality and density of the cane. The more dense, the more focused and resonant the sound (generally). You can tell this by putting the reed in your mouth and sucking. If you can easily pull air through the reed, it is very porous and not dense. That's the problem with these Vandorens. I am VERY disappointed with Vandoren, and am now buying Rico Reserve (great cane quality, plus they tell you on the package when the reed was made).
I started playing V16s my freshman year in high school, so it's been about 7 years and counting. The reason I like these reeds so much is that they require little more than a simple break-in period and they then play for a very long time. Usually consistency of playability is about 4 or 5 per box (of 5), which is pretty much unheard of for saxophone reeds. I love the way V16s sound and react - they give you massive tonal and dynamic flexibility while keeping the sound centered, and the response is great. I play them on every saxophone, #3.
I am not primarily a sax player, but my position requires a lot of sax playing in a VERY STRONG section, and I find these reeds to be the most suitable of all I've tried (and believe me I've spent the GNP of a small country trying different sax reeds). They are stable in pitch, responsive in all registers, and can be as up front as you need them to be without sacrificing controlability. As a great bonus, I find them to be more consistent reed-to-reed than most others, although you're still likely to find one seriously too hard or soft in each box.
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