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Thickest reeds?

Hi.
First, I'm not (yet) a woodwind player, I play bass.
I'm doing lots of experiments with pickups and I use reeds as shims.
Not always the part that goes in the mouth, but the other hand, at the ligature.

I have some Bb clarinet, alto and tenor sax reeds but they're not thick enough for some project.
What are thicker reeds in the ligature area?
Bass clarinet, bass saxophone ?

Thanks in advance for the help!

Regards,
François
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
Rather an interesting question.

Reeds come in "strengths" -- thicknesses, really -- and are generally labeled from 1 to 5, or from "soft" to "extra hard", depending on the brand. Vandoren reeds, in my experience, are a little thicker than most other brands.

Widths and lengths are, of course, dependent upon the instrument. A Bb contrabass clarinet reed is probably the widest, with a Bb bass sax reed coming in second. The Bb bass sax reed is probably the longest. The long-discontinued Vandoren Modele Jazz reeds were extra long, sometimes longer than the mouthpieces I used.

If you go to www.vandoren.com -- I'm also fairly sure the website is available in French, if you prefer -- they probably have the exact measurements on the thicknesses and widths.
 
...Reeds come in "strengths" -- thicknesses, really -- and are generally labeled from 1 to 5, or from "soft" to "extra hard", depending on the brand. Vandoren reeds, in my experience, are a little thicker than most other brands....
Pete, I might be misunderstanding your post... You're saying that the different reed strengths (for the same instrument) have different thicknesses?:???: I always thought that they're all cut the same thickness (depending on the "cut", ex: saxophone JAVA, ZZ, RJS.....) but because of the fact that they're a natural product, some are "stiffer" and some are "softer". I don't know about synthetic...
 
If you go to www.vandoren.com -- I'm also fairly sure the website is available in French, if you prefer -- they probably have the exact measurements on the thicknesses and widths.
Thanks.
The catalog gives a few measurements, but for the Bb clarinet only.
The thickest ones (at the reed's heel) being their "56 rue Lepic" brand.

I see they also talk about german type reeds.

Can they be used with any Bb clarinet?
(sorry, I don't know much about woodwinds...)
 

Ed

Founder
Staff member
Administrator
Vandoren and Rico measure reed strength by deflection. They put a standard pressure against the reed and measure how far the tip moves. I suspect that thicknesses vary even with the much more precise means of production used today.
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
I think he is asking about the reed's butt, not the tapered tip. I'd be surprised if any reed-maker published such info because it would have nothing to do with how the reed played. DAVE
 

Dave Dolson

Distinguished Member
Distinguished Member
Well, maybe the French Cut or the File Cut or the Double DooWaa Cut makes for a better shim. Ahh, the masters' degrees in marketing . . . DAVE
 
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