Saxophone Reeds

Reed Strength

Reeds are usually graded from 1-5 where 1 is a very soft reed and 5 is a very hard reed. Beginners should find a 1.5 or 2 will be a good place to start. Softer reeds make it easier to reach low notes, harder reeds make it easier to reach higher notes. With a little experimenting, you'll find the strength that matches your set-up.

Recommended Reeds

See my recommendations for alto sax reeds and where to buy on-line at the best prices.

Ebonite mouthpieces tend to favour a slightly harder reed compared to a metal mouthpice. So where I might use a 3 on an ebonite mouthpiece, I'll likely use a 2.5 on a metal mouthpiece on the same sax.

When ordering reeds, you need to specify the type of sax (alto, tenor, etc.) as well as the strength.

Reed Manufacturers

Over the years I have tried many different brands, and have tended to come back to either Rico or Vandoren. Both make a range of reeds for different types of playing. 

For intermediate to advanced players, I would recommend trying some of the more specialist reeds e.g. Rico Select Jazz, Vandoren ZZ, Vandoren V16, Vandoren Java. Whilst these are more expensive, I have found them to be consistent, and allow for more variation in sound, attack and ability throughout the range. 

Finding the ideal  mouthpiece/reed combination can greatly improve your sound and confidence. 


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