Rigotti Gold Reed Strength Comparison

Today, I thought it would be interesting to write a reed strength comparison article on my blog.  I was trying a new Phil-Tone Mosaic 7* tenor mouthpiece this morning with different strength Rigotti Gold reeds when I had the idea to record some clips and throw it up on the site to see what some of you might think.  This isn’t so much about the Mosaic mouthpiece as it is about the differences between reed strengths on the saxophone.


The Rigotti Gold reeds are unique in that they come in 3 sub-levels of size within each half size.  Up until recently, most reed companies had reeds that came in one number size per strength.  So you  might have a size 2 1/2, size 3. size 3 1/2, size 4, etc……..     Rigotti started using 3 sizes within each half number size which I think is a great idea.  They have a 2 1/2 light, 2 1/2 medium, 2 1/2 strong.  Then they have a 3 light, 3 medium, 3 strong, then a  3 1/2 light, and so on.  The reason I love this idea is that years ago, I would get so frustrated when I bought a box of size 3 reeds.  Out of a box of 10, 4 would be too hard, 4 would be too soft and 2 would be exactly what I was looking for if I was lucky.  With Rigotti’s 3 sub-level system they have now broken down the reeds into those light, medium and stronger reeds that were all mixed in the same box before.  I love this,  as now I feel like I can really pinpoint the exact strength I’m looking for for each mouthpiece I review.

For this post today, I’m testing out 6 Rigotti Gold reeds in the 2 1/2 to 3 size range.  This is by no means a wide range of reed strengths, but I thought it would be interesting to hear  if and how some elements might change as the hardness of the reed changes.  These were all brand new reeds that I took out of the box and I did feel like the strength increased as I went up in reed size. (although the 3 light felt softer than I thought it would be as I came from the 2 1/2 strong……).

When you listen to the clips see if you can hear any differences:

-Is the tone brighter or darker?

-Is the tone richer, fuller, or thinner, shallower?

-Does the articulation sound different?

-Do the low notes change in tone color or articulation?

-Do the high notes sound brighter, thinner,thicker,etc……?

-Are there difference in volume?

-How does the middle D range of the instrument sound in the different clips?

These are all questions I think of when I am testing out different reed strengths with a mouthpiece. Here are some of my basic findings when comparing softer reeds to the harder reeds in general:

-Softer reeds speak easier but sometime are too bright or “blatty” sounding.  They can sound big and full but the tone might not have as much character or depth compared to the sound of a harder reed.  If the reed is too soft it might not give you enough resistance to blow against.  It will go from 0-100% with very little effort. Once at 100% volume it might be hard to push it any further and the reed might even close up if it is really soft.  Because the reed is soft is can be easily manipulated. A little bit of pressure and it goes sharp, ease off on the pressure and the tone bends down. This can be great if you want and need to manipulate your intonation or be expressive but it can be bad if you don’t have a steady and solid embouchure or a solid center of intonation (you don’t know if you are sharp or flat).  Vibrato can be expressive and easy to manipulate.  Subtones can be gorgeous!

-Harder reeds can be harder to articulate and even stuffy if too hard. The middle D range of the horn can sometimes become more muted and nasally to my ears. The tone can sound richer and have more character. You can usually get more volume out of a harder reed but it takes more effort.  The low notes can be harder to produce and require more support.  If the reed is much too hard you might get an “airy” tone that feels stuffy and hard to play.

Obviously, what you or I want between these two descriptions is a middle ground. I’m always looking for that “happy medium” where I can get the best of both worlds.  I consider all the reeds I am trying today to be in that “happy medium” range for me although there are subtle differences between them and I would consider some better than the others for this mouthpiece.  If I tried this experiment with a size 1,2,3,4,5 I think you would more easily hear the extremes between the reed sizes but even with these closer sizes I think you will be able to hear some differences.

Checkout the clips below for yourself and let me know what if any differences you can hear in the clips.  I put some of my own observations below.      Thanks,    Steve


Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Light

Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Medium

Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Strong

Rigotti Gold 3 Light

Rigotti Gold 3 Medium

Rigotti Gold 3 Strong

Some of my observations from the clips above:

The 2 1/2 light felt and sounded too light to me.  It was easy to play but almost too easy, like I didn’t have to try. It sounds a bit “blatty” to me. Like at times I’m over blowing the tone because the reed is too soft.  It was ok to play but I know from experience that a reed at this softness won’t last too long as I play it.  Because the reed is softer,  it sounds like it goes sharper to me as I change my embouchure.  The first high A in the clip sticks out as a tad too sharp to me.

The 2 1/2 Medium sounds more focused intonation wise.  The first high A sounds more locked in and not as sharp as on the 2 1/2 light clip.  The tone seems to have more depth and character to it. The low B on Donna Lee took a little more effort for me as you can probably hear.

The 2 1/2 Strong sounds even richer to me.  The low B honked out a bit on Donna Lee but that can be easily smoothed out if I played it again and got more used to it.

The 3 Light  felt a little harder than the 2 1/2 strong to me but the response was a little weird to me.  I think it is an anomaly in the box.  It was very easy to blow and had a brighter edgier sound to my ears although it still sounds thicker than the 2 1/2 light to me.

The 3 medium sounded nice and thick but the articulation doesn’t sound as crisp and clear to me.  I don’t hear as much manipulation of the tone which can happen as the reed gets harder and doesn’t respond as fast to embouchure changes.

The 3 Strong is getting to that point where the middle D range is becoming a bit different in tone than the rest of the range.  This is neither good nor bad.  Many sax player love that difference in tone of the D that harder reeds give.  I have always preferred the clearer D that the slightly softer reeds give me.

In general,  I really like this range of reeds for me on most mouthpiece I try.  I think for this test, I feel most at home and comfortable with the 2 1/2 Medium or 2 1/2 Strong.  The 3 Mediums were a little harder than I like but sometimes those turn out to be perfect after you play them for a while.  Each mouthpiece, tip opening, facing curve and person is different so you have to  experiment for yourself and find the right match for you………..  Have fun!

Steve About Steve

Steve Neff has been playing and teaching saxophone and jazz improvisation around the New England area for the last 30 years. He is the author of many effective jazz improvisation methods as well as founding the popular jazz video lesson site Neffmusic.com.


  1. Avatar Gustavo Silva says

    Hello Steve

    Great job, i often peruse your site and appreciate the work you have done in this great resource for sax players.


  2. I was listening to the Rigotti Gold reed comparison and my question is, after you play the song, you go into some riffs. I’m trying to find out what book I can purchase from you with those riffs. Any help to this is greatly appreciated. Thank You!

  3. Avatar Larry Weintraub says

    I liked you better on the 2.5 med and 2.5 strong for all the reasons you stated. Just curious, what is your everyday go to mpc? The one you will use on gigs and teaching. What size and brand of reed do you use w/this mpc?

  4. Avatar David Cantoni says

    I will add that in 2013 they were transitioning from the glossy box to a more matte one. The current production is the matte one, and the reeds have the “JAZZ” word on the reverse. I’ve found that all the newer ones are slightly harder, to half point harder. With no exception (alto, tenor, soprano). Just wanted to share my experience. The problem, for me, is that you order online, and no idea what kind of box you’ll get, until music stores unload their old stock.

  5. Was very helpful. Thanks for sharing it.

  6. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    Thanks Steve. I was trying to see if I find someone else having issues with Rigotti Gold tenor sax reeds and bumped into this. I love the expressiveness and definition of Rigotti Gold sound while having a better warmth to my ears compared to let’s say Vandoren ZZ or V16. I like the idea of the smaller increments but as you said you gain something and loose something else in either side of the spectrum. I imagine for the same mouthpiece, we naturally loosen up the lower lip firmness with softer reeds. That reduces the definition of the tone. So I imagine each person perhaps has a strength that above that their lip firmness doesn’t change much and as you said the tone start to change merely because of the reed thickness profile and then they settle with clear tone, or go higher in strength for something more airy, etc. With lower strength than a nice firm lower lip, it’s hard to say where to settle. I would say it brings surprises for the not experienced people like me while it is nice for 2 hours practice in a row. I think the highlight of Rigotti Gold is to maximize the definition and expression and I found the optimum balance of these two in your sound clips fall into #3 light or #3 medium. Probably #3 light is a bit more organic (subtle variations of expression in different notes rather than #3 medium which to my ears is just a tad more tailored sounding with a more fixed envelope). I guess there are preferences for people wanting that more defined envelope for the whole song / performance and some who appreciate more organic characteristic of the slightly softer reed. I didn’t find either #3 light or #3 medium noticeably different in the overall impression of the thinness or fatness.
    When I started from the top of your list (Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 light) I got pumped up with the expression of the lighter reed but once the low notes played fast, lack of definition shows itself as if not each note in that range of the saxophone is as important to the ear as the middle or high notes. Also the thinness shows a bit in the high notes compared to the stronger reeds.
    Another reed that has in between strength is Gonzalez. Very good reed; long lasting with a mouthpiece friendly cut and stability of tone across the whole range of the sax. Although they are not as expressive as Rigotti Gold. Sort of in the darker side of the spectrum with a well defined low-mid range frequencies.
    Thanks again,

    • Arya,
      I tried the Gonzalez reeds a while ago but they seemed much harder then reeds in comparable sizes. I never got into them because the couple of boxes I bought were just too hard for the mouthpieces I tried them on. I still have the reeds and try one once in a while to see if it works with a new mouthpiece………I appreciate your input. Thanks, Steve

  7. Hi,

    I find your website informative, thought provoking and honest. I have used it many times to listen to your mouthpiece reviews, and your sound is as near as possible to that which I am trying to achieve. (Which, is still distinctive, no matter what mouthpiece you are testing). I play a Silver Custom Z with the new neck, and have tried many mouthpieces including Morgan Fry, Navarro, etc. but currently have gone back to my old Yanagisawa Ebonite 6* which I believe is nearer to most 7 tip openings for the tenor. With this I use the Rigotti Gold, starting on a 2.5 soft and working my way up to the 3 soft, finding the latter to be the most responsive for me after being broken in for a short period. I was told that the Yani mouthpiece was very ‘middle of the road’ in terms of tonal quality, but with the Rigotti Golds, the tone remains thick and even and can be played quiet or loud with a very quick response. I got to try these reeds after speaking to Morgan Fry about the tip shape on the reeds I was using before not matching the profile of the tip rail, he suggested these and I have been using them ever since, even though I have now sold his mouthpiece on.

  8. Avatar Ian Nevins says

    I like the Gonzalez Classic reeds. Kind of a cross between Rico and vandoren. Much better and more playable than the regular Gonzalez tenor reeds for me.

  9. Avatar Stephen Kurtz says

    How do the Rigotti Gold saxophone reeds compare to the Rico Jazz Select reeds in thickness?

    • Stephen,
      I honestly don’t know which is thicker. The Rigotti are a bit brighter and can be edgier than the RSJ reeds. I prefer RSJ when I want a darker sound than the Rigotti give me. Steve

  10. In these demonstrations what was the tip opening on the mouthpiece you were using

  11. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    My Mark VI is one of the later productions. Also I’ve been using a bright mouthpiece these days. I found out that with Rigotti Gold, while it was giving me enough edge on my older horn (early 60s Buffet Crampon Super dynaction) and was balanced with the depth of the core of the tone, when I switched to my Mark VI, I was kinda getting a bit too much edge or not as balanced tone between a deep core tone and buzz. It tended to be more honky. I just tried that setup with Rico Reserve. With that bright mouthpiece and that Mark VI, it fell right into something really nice sounding and balanced. Good enough edge while having a very grounded rich core to the tone. They also promise more life compared to Rico Royal. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    • Arya,
      I go through a similar thing depending on what mouthpiece I am playing or reviewing. Some mouthpiece facing are great with the Rigotti reeds but like you, I find some to be overly bright and edgy. I’ve noticed this a lot on mouthpieces with shorter facings. i would think that this would be true on different horns also. Thanks for sharing, Steve

  12. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    Hi Steve, I was wondering if you have tried Rigotti Gold Classic. Looks like the blue box is jazz and the red box is classic (original cut I think). I’m now playing on a Vandoren T20 which is like Link 5 tip opening. No baffle, and very dark. Looks like Rigotti is a good complement for that piece. I’m trying to find the right strength before I order. Rigotti replied me that classic is similar to Vandoren Traditional (blue box) but they don’t have a Tenor reed strength comparison chart yet. I’m trying to find one that is a touch softer than Vandoren Traditional #3. This page is the only one with the chart for Alto reed. Please check this link at the bottom: http://www.reedsonline.fr/boutique_reedsonline/en/product/rigotti-gold-jazz-saxophone-reeds-box-of-3/
    Classic seem much harder than Jazz (2 1/2 S Classic is harder than 3 S in Jazz). I appreciate your input. What is the reed of your choice mostly these days, especially on a mouthpiece the is fairly dark sounding. Thanks a lot, Arya

    • Arya, I haven’t tried the Classic Rigotti’s yet. Maybe in the future but I just made a huge reed purchase in January so I’m all set for a while. Maybe next year…….. Steve

  13. Avatar hubert verstuyft says

    thanks a lot !

  14. Hello Steve.
    Did you have a chance to try Rigotti Queen Reeds? Rigotti Queen Reeds vs Rigotti Gold?
    Thanks you,

  15. Avatar Kane Taylor says

    I use the Vandoren V16 2 1/2 for a lot of situations where I am jamming with blues rockers and don’t get a microphone. When I solo I just step forward and play with guts. I have a Morgan pro tone mpc and am not able to say much about the subtleties of different mouthpieces but mine seems to do well across the board. I do, however, really love the Rigotti 2 1/2 med reeds on Alto and tenor. I am wondering whether the 2 1/2 strong or even 2 strong would be have an even profile from tip to base, since I dislike the Vandoren jazz reeds that are very thin at the tip and get waterlogged while the thicker base bends to actually get dry. Too weird. My question has more to do with the main difference between the Rigotti 2 1/2 med vs the strong. Would it make the reed last longer in an active set where I tend to be a “wet” player like the medium reed but stronger, or do they mess around more with the cut between med and strong, like is the strong just a meatier version or is the cut different for 2 1/2 reeds both? Thanks. PS haven’t tried Rigotti with bari sax yet.

  16. Hello, Steve, you, or someone who reads, can tell me what hardness of Rigotti Regal QUEEN I have to buy to have the same hardness of the Rigotti gold 2 and 1/2 Medium for tenor sax I use, since the Regal QUEEN do not have the under numbering sub level in Soft, Medium and Hard? Do you think it’s okay for 2 1/2?
    Probably a simplification work has been done, as for the Wood Stone reeds of Hichimori?
    Thank you,

    • Coincidently enough, I was just about to order some boxes of Rigotti Regal Queens 2 1/2 and 3 to try out as I have heard good things about them. I have no idea how they relate in size to the Rigotti Gold reeds until I try them though. Steve

      • Hi Steve,

        For some reason, most of reed producers don’t share the differences between the reed profiles they create! I don’t know if they like to keep things secret for their knowledge so as not to be duplicated or it’s something else (marketing rules, etc.) but as a saxophonist I always like to know whether my reed has a thinner tip or thicker or longer vamp or thicker heart because some mouthpieces that have a more aggressive curve in the middle of the facing curve sound too stiff with a thicker heart or vamp. If you use a thinner heart and vamp reed on a facing that has a more gradual curve in the middle and toward the back, then it sounds too soft and can even close the tip opening too much to the point of finding the reed useless especially after it’s been wet and used for half an hour to an hour.
        I think the only reed maker that spells out this info to some extent is Vandoren.
        I asked Rigotti and asked Marca and they both were giving comparison points to Vandoren reeds but they were not accurate.

    • Avatar davidcantoni says

      I’d say Queens are softer than Rigottis. Queens 3 1/2 are around Rigotti 3 1/2 light for me.

      • Avatar Kane Taylor says

        I’m mostly interested in the difference between Vandoren V16 and Vandoren 12 or 21. I’m not well versed in what the numbers mean, just know how the reeds look and play.

        • Kane, I’m not sure about those Vandoren reeds. The only sax reeds I’ve tried of Vandoren are the V16, Java Red, Java Green and the ZZs. The V12 are my favorite on clarinet but I have never tried them on sax. This is the first I am hearing about the V21s……..

          • Avatar Kane Taylor says

            Thanks. I have played the V16s on alto, tenor and baritone sax. I guess I’ll try the manufacturer of the reeds and see what they say. They have recently offered a 5-piece reed sampler package which I viewed on woodwindbrasswind.com that includes the other numbers, but they don’t give details. I’m wondering if this represents a different cut entirely, or just a variation in thicknesses.
            Thanks again. Best wishes.

            “Live Music is Best”

            • I don’t find the reed samplers very helpful. It’s only one reed of each kind and we all know how it is pretty much a crap shoot whether that one reed will be any good or not. Please come back and let us know if you try any of those other reeds and what you think. Thanks, Steve

              • Avatar Kane Taylor says

                ok. I pretty much agree but I wanted to try the different numbers without buying a whole box. I can pretty much tell if I like any of them, even if each one is not necessarily the best of each kind. It is, after all, bamboo, not chrome steel……!

                “Live Music is Best”

                • I’m just saying that I used to play Vandoren Java 2 1/2 reeds on alto sax and once when I was at the music store I saw the sample pack and thought it would be cool to get it and then do a review of the different reeds. There was a Green Java, Red Java, V16 and ZZ. I got size 2 1/2 and honestly every reed was horrible. I hated all of them including the Java which I was playing all the time back then. Your experience might be better than mine hopefully………

                  • Avatar Kane Taylor says

                    I don’t like any of the Java/Jazz etc reeds. The tip is way too thin, ending up so waterlogged it turns transparent, and the back end is so thick it stays dry and squeals. I usually have to play with consistent tone and volume, with Blues, R&B and Classic Rock tunes, and sometimes in the small clubs I don’t get a microphone. I prefer the Vandoren 2 2/1 for this reason, and have used it with alto all through school and with my tenor currently.
                    I do love the Rigotti Gold reeds, but they may work best for section work or classical applications, as it is easier to get a sweeter tone with them. I love them anyway.
                    I am curious about the differences between a Vandoren V16, V12 and V21. Nobody seems to have heard of them but they are available in a sample pack, which I may try just to say I did. Reeds are so expensive now I hope I could use all of them in the pack, not true of the Vandoren sample pack of Java/jazz/zz etc.
                    Thanks for the note.
                    (pun intended.) kt

                    “Live Music is Best”

  17. I thank Steve and, while I await his review after trying the Regal QUEENS, I thank David Cantoni who, kindly, has already informed me in advance that the Regal QUEEN are softer than the Gold Rigotti and correspond to the soft!
    Now the problem will be to decide if a Queen 3 is too hard compared to a Rigotti gold 2 and 1/2 Medium that I generally use (without buying both boxes)!
    Thanks to both David and Steve,

  18. Someone would kindly compare the Regal QUEEN with the Wood Stone Ichimori (always worked starting from the Rigotti?), both for the quality and for the hardness?

  19. Hello Steve, I have the impression, I can be wrong, that the Rigotti has been taken over by others, since, in the addresses on the website, I read: “SARL MARION”. What do you think about it?
    P.S. have you tried the Regal QUEEN?
    Best wishes,

  20. Thanks for the reply; just try the Regal Queen, you kindly do a review?

  21. Hei, Steve, those in the picture are the Rigotti gold as they were once packaged; they seemed to me, then, better as quality than now that they put them in the containers that press them; it will be my impression, I can be wrong …

    • I have both the old ones and a lot of the new ones and I haven’t noticed any difference whatsoever. They still play just as well for me.

  22. I ask myself a question: why spend money on tools that keep pressed reeds that earlier, when it was not pressed, free in the old containers, never curled, even in summer to 40 degrees of heat, and always sounded perfectly?

    • They only curl after you play them because they are wet and then dry again. As they dry they warp in a wavy pattern at the tip.

  23. Given that I, after having played the reeds I wash them with soap and water, I dry them and put them in a container Rico (eight reeds) with a humidifying sachet, this is, at least for what I have experienced, what I want to say: the old, in the old packaging, “NEVER” curled, even in the case you describe, they never curled! Those in the new package curl up as you describe.

    • They curl up in the Rico container?? Could the humidifying sachet be too old and not doing it’s job anymore?? I use one of those also and haven’t had an issue……..

  24. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    After trying many ways from humidity pack to soaking 24/7 in alcohol (8 to 10 in a kayaker’s water tight enclosure), to soaking in original Listerine (with alcohol but no sugar stickiness of other Listerine), to keep Rico holder (8 reeds) in in ziplock with water (worst condition, potential for mold x10), to reed juvinate (not enough reeds for me) now I have a sponge soaked in original listerine, listerine avoids the mold quite a bit so I went back to ziploc, put my Rico case (8 reeds) in there, I replenish the listerine only once every 20 to 30 times of use (once or twice a month), it just needs enough to soak the sponge. I wipe the reed over the listerine soaked sponge in both sides after use before putting it back. It keeps enough moisture on it for the next time. It is at dew point kind of saturation but without moisture filling up the reed pores quite a bit, so it is not water logged so it sounds like original reed. I make sure I don’t have sweet residue in my mouth before using the reed (tooth brushing or rinsing mouth with original listerine) which helps both for avoiding mold formation on the reeds, plus less chance of getting sticky pads. Also the reed behaviour is pretty constant from the beginning of play to after an hour or two in my dry environment. Variation of reed response vs. moisture content is not equal for all the reeds, and it changes with time depending on the humidity and temperature of the room you are playing in. You have to try to find out what gives you the tone and response and relatively constant behaviour for your play and of course for that mouthpiece. For me, a mouthpiece that is designed to accentuates high mid frequencies (let’s say Benjamin Allen Tony Dagradi) may accentuate too much of that buzz with a stiff Rigotti Gold (tip buzzes mostly), but if the vamp is quite wet, things tame a bit (longer part of reed vibrates) and you get more low frequency lushness to balance things out. Right now I am aiming medium moisture on Marca American Vintage 2 1/2 (relatively soft choice of reed for my 10mFan The Classic 7* mouthpiece which is kinda like Dagradi (focus in the high mid frequencies) but a bit less bright) and it sounds balanced for me. Pores need to be open on the vamp for vibration so don’t use soap and anything else that creates residue and don’t adjust your reeds with sandpaper but with a scraping tool like Reed Geek so the debris falls off after adjustment.

  25. Thanks, Arya for your advices…

  26. Steve,
    me too, when the sachets are dry I change … But with the old reeds, once pulled out of the container, they lasted longer before curling; in fact, before, the old reeds of the old type, always remained with the tip nice brim that never curled EVER, even without putting them in the container with the humidifier! Now, those of the new type in the new package, if you leave it some time outside the humidifier container, curl like all the other brands of reeds, which, precisely, they also pack them in the box with the plastic reed press that, if they do not curl, it would not be necessary! I remember, in 1973, the old Rico Royal in a folding box that opened and the reeds were placed between layers of paper, like toilet paper … without anything that would press them … And at that time, at least in Italy, they did not exist containers humidifiers for reeds, because the reeds did not curl and, therefore, to umidify and press them were not necessary! At least, according to my modest experience and memories…
    As I remember, the Rigotti gold that just came out years ago did not curl up and there was no need to humidify them …

    • Giuseppe,
      You must have a very different humidity and weather in Italy than here in the Northeast US. I remember my reeds drying wavy from the time I started 1979, all through college 1985-1988 and all the years since. I don’t think I have ever seen a reed that didn’t dry wavy. I don’t doubt your experience, maybe you have more humidity over there in Italy??

  27. I think in Italy, in Roma,there is a great humidity, perhaps maybe around 70% ?, but it is the same as now, perhaps now greater. I do not think it depends only on this, on the humidity of the country, but on the quality of the cane plants, their seasoning and the relative quality and cutting of the reeds. I think that, in ’73, I do not remember the end of the ’80s, I played little, the reeds were of higher quality, both because the saxophonists were much less as a number in the world of now, and because the cane plantations from which to choose the best, were more and the workforce to work the reeds at lower cost; now the fields of reeds are diminished to use them in other more profitable ways.
    In the future, we will probably have to use plastic reeds because land is more profitable to use and sell for other purposes than growing cane; even if today the reeds cost much more then, when they were, according to my humble opinion, better.
    You do not remember the reed boxes as they were then, in the early 70s? There is a picture, on a French “museum” site, of Charlie Parker’s case of the sax: inside this case there is also one of these boxes very similar to the ones I used!
    I do not know, I remember that the problem of curling reeds I started to hear it a lot later …
    I would not give the impression of wanting to be right at any cost, but that’s what I remember!

    • I appreciate your opinion and recollections. I have to admit that I didn’t start saxophone until 1979 so don’t have too many memories of what the reeds were like in the 70’s. I think I used Rico Orange box for like 3 years and then switched to Rico Royal which I used for the next 8 years until I switched to tenor sax. What you are saying could very well be true. Makes me want to buy like 10,000 worth of cane reeds now so I have them in the future. Haha! Steve

  28. I have already done it: even, unfortunately, for my old age, I think I have bought reeds for the rest of my life, unfortunately … hoping that over time they will not ruin but improve like the wood of the violins …
    However, after trying reels of a good season year, I’m afraid of having then bought those of a less good …
    Acc. 🙁
    I hope, however, that end up before the reeds that I …
    I checked, Rome average humidity: 72%.
    I remember my teacher from New York in Rome in the ’70s, the talented Larry Dinwuiddie, incredible mouthpiece reed relationship, which, during the lesson, and also in concert, opened the box of the Rico Royal, took a new one, neither wet nor tested before, he mounted one of them on the mouthpiece and sounded as if he had used it for days! No treatment was needed.
    Good times…
    I would like to take a trip in time to buy a new Super balanced action, a new and sparkling Mark VI and … old reeds!
    Best wishes,

  29. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    You can buy old reeds on eBay. If you find Rico V Style (Vintage) they are really good. They last long, sound fantastic from the beginning and years after (I have one that was given to me as a gift and it still sounds great after 4 years or so). I don’t use it often but I had it in wet or dry environment and it plays the same and tip looks the same (no waviness).

    • Avatar Kane Taylor says

      Am seriously looking at investing in another plastic cane reed because of the cost of bamboo reeds now. I have used the one by Bari, which is a bit simplistic, and I don’t like the ones coated in black plastic because they taste awful and don’t necessarily last as long. Will be checking out more options. New products seem to be appearing. Even a $30 reed would be cost effective if it replaced a whole box or two of tenor or baritone sax reeds!

      “Live Music is Best”

  30. Arya, thanks for the information, who confirms my memories: “no waiviness” for old reeds!
    About ten years ago I was looking in the shops for someone who still had the old boxes of reeds in the shop, because I realized that the new ones sounded bad; then I discovered that, some shops, put in a basket, on offer at 5 euros, instead of 35, the boxes of ten, or five, reeds with old graphics of the old models because, perhaps, I thought, they had to sell the boxes with the new graphics: then I thought that, perhaps, over time the reeds were ruined: but no, as you inform me. This still happens. The basket with boxes of ten or five reeds on offer at 5 euros.
    So the stores follow a commercial logic for which they sell cheap the old best reeds and high cost new ones worse?
    Crazy stuff; but good to know!
    Greetings, bye, Arya,

  31. Hello Arya, since I do not know if the Listerine for sale in Italy is the same that they sell in Canada, you think the “Classic” would be good, if I find it here, to clean the reeds instead of soap and water, not to close the pores of the cane of the reed, and then wash the reed under water? I don’t know what is Ziploc, and if they sold it in Italy. Or, another idea of mine, that would be to clean, after playing, reeeds with alcohol at 90 degrees, the edible one, used to make liquor at home, and then wash the reed under water, do you think it would be good? You think it would also be good to wet the container sponge  for Vandoren humidifier reeds from six reeds, or would it ruin the sponge? Leave the reeds soaked in such edible alcohol for twenty minutes do you think it would hydrate the reeds or that the alcohol would eliminate traces of humidity from the reed cane?
    Thanks for a reply and a greeting from Rome,

  32. Avatar Arya Boustani says

    Hi Giuseppe,
    Ziploc is just an air tight bag with a plastic zipper.
    Edible alcohol is pretty close to original listerine but alcohol dries up in the vamp area faster so I prefer Listerine. You don’t need to wash the reeds after use just wipe on the sponge soaked with listerine or alcohol. Sponge will be fine with either Listerine or alcohol. Wetting reed with 20 to 30 percent alcohol and purified water or using Listerine would keep moisture in the pores.

  33. Ayra, you are very kind and helpful. Now I understand what the Ziploc is, they have them in the musical instrument stores to put the reeds with humidifying sachets. I thought it was a disinfectant! I will follow your advice: I see if I find original Listerine in the supermarket (mouthwash), otherwise I will use edible alcohol on a sponge rubbing the reed on her and, to moisturize the reed, I will bathe with 25% alcohol and 75 % of denatured water! Thanks, greetings,

  34. Avatar Joshua Liebman says

    Hey there, was that by chance Pure Imagination that you started out with?

  35. Avatar bob howell says

    All reeds are bad.

  36. One question Steve, RJS 2H would be similar or close to in strength to which 2 1/2 Rigotti Gold reed, the Medium or the Hard? Thanks very much.

    • I tried RJS 2H reeds but I always found them too soft for my tastes. I think they would be similar to the Rigotti Gold 2 1/2 Lights perhaps although I have never tried both brands of reeds next to each other so don’t know for sure how they compare.

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