Below are a few of the top and most recognizable saxophone reeds. Most people, myself included would recommend the regular Rico reed for anyone that’s just starting to learn saxophone. They may not be the highest quality, but they’re consistent and dependable and good for playing at least till you develop a decent tone. To be honest, you don’t need to buy the most expensive reeds when starting out cause you won’t appreciate the difference anyway.
Start with a light reed say, 1 1/2 and see how that feels. If it’s still hard to get a sound try a 1. Saxophone reeds are the type of thing that you need to decide for yourself, especially as you develop. There’s no such thing as the best reed in the world. What works perfectly for one won’t for another. There’s different variables for each of us like embouchure, mouthpieces and their openings etc.
You’ll eventually want to get several different brands and strengths and experiment to see what works best for you.
Best Place to Buy Saxophone Reeds?
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The Rico reed was the very first one I used, probably most people would say this. It’s probably the most famous brand and biggest reed manufacturer.
I highly recommend any beginner to use a light Rico when starting out. By light I mean a 1, 1 1/2, or 2. While a 1 may be too light for some, it could be perfect for some one else so as a total beginner it’s best to have these 3 sizes handy so you can experiment as to what is the best to let you get some sort of sound out of your horn… a bad or wrong size reed can really impede your progress, especially during this beginning stage.
This, as the name suggests is suppose to be Rico’s deluxe brand. I certainly thought they were and used them far longer than I did the regular Rico ones but there are some players who still prefer the regular ones even after many years of playing.
If you’re just staring to blow a sax, don’t think getting some Rico Royal’s will make you sound better at this stage, stick to the regular ones for at least a few months.
Personally, I’ve never tried the Rico Jazz brand. I can tell you they’re a specialized premium reed and so not recommended for any kind of beginner. If you’ve been playing for a little while and like the other Rico’s then good chance these may work for you too.
Just like the Rico brand, LaVoz has been around for as long as I can remember. I did use them for a bit but never stayed with them for too long although many guys I know love these reeds and use them. They’re quality reeds but I remember them not being as good right-out-of-the-box as the Rico’s where. That said, after they’re a bit worn-in they will probably have a longer life than the Rico’s.
These came out years ago, and I do remember when they did because I used them for a little bit but I didn’t think they were any better than some other ones I tried. These are a premium reed so they are definatley worth a try.
These are the ones I use! I love these reeds but I don’t recommend them to everybody. While they are the best reeds I’ve ever tried on my Guardala mouthpiece, I wouldn’t necessarily keep using them if I changed to another mouthpiece. If you’re thinking about getting a Guardala mouthpiece you need to try these reeds, otherwise stick to one of the other brands.
The Vandoren regular reeds are also high quality.
Other user’s comments:
“… Very good quality reeds”
“… I’ve been on 1 reed for almost 2 months now”
“… This is almost a 40% savings from the local music store for the exact same product”
“… a bit more expensive than the Rico more basic ones, but we have found these are definately better quality so we are able to buy fewer”
This works great to protect your reeds because after being moistened and used they need to be held firmly on a hard, flat surface so they don’t warp. These guards are basically just a hard flat surface with a way to firmly hold them down.
You could make one out of a small piece of glass or hard plastic and wrap a rubber band around them if you don’t want to spend the money, although these are pretty cheap to buy… the one pictured here is about $15 but the smaller ones are $3.
Check out the Reed Care video