Vandoren is a highly-respected company in woodwind accessory manufacturing. Based in France, Vandoren makes saxophone mouthpieces and clarinet mouthpieces, saxophone reeds and clarinet reeds, and ligatures and caps that are used by beginner, intermediate and professional players around the world.
In 1905, Eugène Van Doren, who was a clarinetist for the Paris Opera, founded the Vandoren company. In 1967, Bernard Van Doren, grandson of Eugène, took over the company, introduced new machinery and moved the factory to its current location in Paris at Bormes les Mimosas in 1990. With improvements in technology over the years, Vandoren increase its production and became a major manufacturer of reeds and mouthpieces for woodwind instruments, including clarinets and saxophones.
Vandoren makes popular clarinet reeds which are appropriate for all levels of player. Each style of reed has its own unique qualities that we’ll outline below to help you select the best Vandoren clarinet reed for you.
Vandoren Traditional Reeds (Blue Box) – An incredibly popular reed, Blue Box Traditionals offer a thin tip and thick heart, with quick, precise articulation with pure and even sound throughout all ranges of the instrument. No matter whether you are a beginner, professional, classical or jazz clarinetist, Vandoren Traditional reeds will be a good fit. These reeds are available for Bb, Eb and Bass clarinet.
Vandoren premium clarinet reeds each offer a slightly different profile and sound from the Traditional Blue Box reeds.
V12 – These are cut from a thicker blank and longer palette to give you more color and flexibility in your sound. They’ll also give you a deeper, richer tone. The V12 reeds have been popular with professional clarinetists for decades. Keep in mind that they play a little softer than Traditional reeds. V12 reeds are available for Bb, Eb and Bass clarinet.
56 Rue Lepic – These reeds are cut from a “German-style” blank, which are thicker and tapered toward the bottom of reed. They offer centered, colorful sound with an incredible response. They play a little softer than Traditional reeds. The 56 Rue Lepic reeds are only available for the Bb clarinet.
V21 – The V21 is a hybrid between the V12 and 56 Rue Lepic. Cut from the blank of the 56 reed, the V21 uses profile of the V12. This way, you get the best of both worlds with the response of the 56 but the warm tone colors of the V12. These play harder than the other premium reeds (closer to Traditional). The V21 reeds are available for Bb, Eb and bass clarinet.
Vandoren also offers the Vandoren Bb Clarinet Mix Card so that you can try one of each of the Premium reeds discussed here.
As a reminder, with any clarinet reed, it’s a good idea to break them in slowly, have several reeds that you rotate playing at any given time, and be sure to store your reeds properly! These tips will make your reeds last longer and will keep your embouchure in shape.
If you need help selecting the best Vandoren reed for you, contact our knowledgeable staff who can discuss your playing level and style as well as your specific clarinet to find which Vandoren reed will fit you best.