Have you ever become confused about the different options of reeds available? There’s so many to choose from and what makes them different? And that’s only within one brand!! I’m here to give you some basic information that might help next time you’re purchasing reeds.
I’ll just stick with the Vandoren B Flat clarinet reeds in this blog. You’ll have to wait for another time to get the lowdown on the saxophone options. And then there’s matching reeds to mouthpieces. I don’t want to overload you with too much information so that will be for another day too!
Juno by Vandoren
Juno reeds are specially made for student performance from select cane grown on the Mediterranean coast. When we turn that cane into reeds, we give them a special cut that’s extra responsive for students, so you can improve faster. This is the reed we’d suggest for a beginner clarinettist.
Traditional Reeds (in case you’re interested, this is what I play)
The traditional series reeds are the most widely played reeds in the professional world and they suit all styles of music. Most people start with these and then progress to something different if they want a change. They have excellent response in all registers, allowing a pianissimo attack in even the highest nots. They are extremely flexible, allowing the legato or staccato execution of large intervals. The also give body and clarity to the overall sound. Available from strengths 1 to 5.
Bb clarinet V12 reeds are manufactured from cane tubes with the same diameter as cane used for alto saxophone reeds. As a result, they have a thicker heel and are cut on a longer palette with a slightly thicker tip than the Traditional. The longer palette means that more of the reed is vibrating, resulting in a deeper, richer sound. The thicker tip gives body to the attack and also increases the longevity of the reed. The introduction of the 3 1⁄2+ strength allows a smaller and more specific gradation, resulting in reeds that are more consistent within the same strength. Available from strengths 2.5 to 5+.
56 rue Lepic Reeds (Bonus points if you know where this name came from!!)
“56 rue Lepic” reeds offer a rich and focused sound. Designed from thicker cane with a heel taper very similar to German-style reeds, the 56 rue Lepic emits a rich, centred, and extremely pure sound while providing maximum stability and quick response in all registers. Strength gradations are smaller and more specific, resulting in reeds that are very consistent. Available from strengths 2.5 to 5.
V21 Reeds (the newest in the range)
The Bb clarinet V21 reed combines the shape of a 56 rue Lepic reed with a V12 profile. This unique combination makes all registers of the clarinet more accessible with warmth and a depth of sound. It will allow you to play with amazing presence and immediate response. V21 is the perfect reed for performances that require the ability to handle large interval leaps efficiently with an even and rich tone. Available from strengths 2.5 to 5.
What to do now!
Do you want to try something different but don’t want to get a whole box? The mix packs are a great way to try different options. Each pack comes with a V12, 56 rue Lepic and 2 V21 reeds. Perfect to test each to see what you think and they’re great value! Please click on these links for each pack: Strength 3.0 Strength 3.5 Strength 3.5+
We’ve also got special sale pricing on all box quantities of Juno and Vandoren reeds so check them out.
Feel free to contact me if you need any assistance with choosing reeds. I’ve been buying reeds for the last 40 years – scary!!