Ask any adult reed player what reed box they remember as a kid, and chances are they will mention the orange box of Rico Regulars. Consistent, long lasting and relatively inexpensive, they have been the preference of students and band directors for decades. Almost every reed player has at one time or another played Rico reeds—if not the orange box, then its cousin in the blue box, the Rico Royal. Rico is as tightly woven into the fabric of instrumental music-making as Selmer, Bach or any other iconic musical equipment company.
In 2004, D’Addario acquired Rico, taking over its manufacturing, marketing and management. The result has been continued health and growth for the Rico brand; and yes, the modern equivalent of the Rico Regulars still comes in a screaming orange box.
Rico by D’Addario and Royal by D’Addario
In shopping for reeds in the D’Addario line, whether for an individual musician or to outfit a section or a band, Rico by D’Addario and Royal by D’Addario are good places to start.
Rico by D'Addario are unfiled and have a thinner profile and blank. They are perfect for students and have been a staple for music educators across the country and across the world. Jazz and commercial musicians appreciate their out-of-the-box flexibility and ease of play, and everyone appreciates their economical pricing.
Royal by D'Addario have a thinner profile and blank like the Rico, but they are filed. They are ideal both for students and for more advanced players. They offer the same ease of response as the Ricos, but with an increased clarity and upper-end presence.
Rico by D’Addario is available for the full range of the clarinet and saxophone families, bass sax and contrabass clarinet included. Royal by D’Addario is offered in all of the more common instruments. The original Rico Regular is probably the best-selling alto sax, tenor sax and Bb clarinet reed of all time.
Reserve by D’Addario
Designed for the advancing student or the professional, the Reserve line are very much a traditional blank clarinet reed. They feature a shorter vamp, rounded tip corners and a standard tip thickness. Engineered and precision-manufactured for exceptional performance and consistency, they are made of naturally-grown cane from D'Addario's own foreign fields.
Reserve reeds come in half strengths from 2.0 to 4.5, along with 3.5+ and 4.0+ strengths. They are offered in boxes of 10 and packs of 2, and are available for Eb clarinet and bass clarinet, as well as Bb. The Reserve line is also supported for soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophone.
Mitchell Lurie Reeds
One of the many classic reed brands that thrive to this day is Mitchell Lurie. Like the Rico and the Royal, D’Addario offers the Mitchell Lurie reeds in filed and unfiled versions. These reeds are famously warm and clear, especially the filed versions. Unfiled reeds retain small flecks of cane bark that resonate in sometimes unexpected and pleasing ways. They both have a thinner tip and a thicker spine, which provides resistance without sacrificing response. They are offered for Bb clarinet only.
Frederick L. Hemke Reeds
The Hemke brand keeps its focus on the saxophone family. Available for baritone, tenor, alto and soprano saxophone, Hemke reeds have a darker sound, which makes them popular with classical saxophonists and jazz musicians who prefer a filed reed with a thinner tip and shorter vamp.
La Voz Reeds
D’Addario also offers the La Voz brand for most saxophones and clarinets, including baritone sax and bass clarinet. They have a powerful tone and speak with a clear and present voice. Their flexibility on top of this sense of presence makes La Voz a popular reed for jazz.
D'Addario’s state-of-the-art reed-making technology creates an improved consistency for these long-beloved reeds. La Voz is known for a well-balanced profile and strong, resistant spine. It is available for all saxophones and for Bb clarinet and bass clarinet in strengths from soft to hard.
D’Addario is deeply involved with the school band programs, including the marching component. Marching bands are as tough as football teams when it comes to playing in the rain, a fact that presents a problem in the saxophone and clarinet sections. The Plasticover reed offers some help.
They feature a plastic coating that results in an increased durability and weather resistance. Even when you do come in out of the rain, they deliver a brilliant sound and last longer than ordinary reeds. Plasticover is available for soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones, along with Bb clarinet.
Select Jazz Reeds
Like the name suggests, these reeds are top quality and made for the jazz musician. Made in third strengths rather than in half strengths, the player can really hone in on precise preferences. They are equipped with the thickest spine and blank of any of D'Addario's jazz reeds, and have a stirring and vibrant sound. They are available filed or unfiled for baritone through soprano.
Grand Concert Select Reeds
Another all-purpose reed in the D’Addario selection is the Grand Concert. It is a filed reed with a traditional tip and thicker spine, so it has great clarity and fast response. The blank has a traditional thickness, adding a subtle brilliance. They are well-suited for ensemble playing.
The D’Addario woodwind division also manufactures high-quality mouthpieces for Bb clarinet, as well as baritone through soprano saxophones. They range from lower to medium prices, with each part of the line representing excellent quality and value.
The Graftonite mouthpieces are an excellent lower price option. They are constructed from a durable polycarbonate material with acoustic properties that achieve a great ease of tone production. Choose from different chamber sizes and tip openings. They are available for the full range of saxophones and Bb clarinet.
Also available across the saxophone family are the Metalite mouthpieces. Popular with jazz musicians, Metalite mouthpieces are made from a durable and resonant material with acoustic properties that resemble metal mouthpieces, but without the expense. Metalite mouthpieces are available in two tip openings for soprano and alto saxophones, and three tip openings for tenor and baritone saxophones.
D’Addario’s premium mouthpieces are the Select Jazz and Select Jazz Marble, which are identical but for appearance. They both capture the feel and tone of legendary mouthpieces from years past, the Select Jazz Marble with a charming swirl pattern, the Select Jazz in classic black.
A union of tradition and innovation, this series is designed and made in the USA by top musicians and engineers. It is milled, rather than molded, from solid rod rubber using computer-controlled manufacturing methods, which makes for consistency and even intonation across the range of the instrument.
D’Addario additionally manufactures and distributes high-quality ligatures, reed cases, swabs and care kits for most clarinets and saxophones.