Vandoren V16 - Tenor Saxophone Reed - Single

Code: BC0314
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Launched in 1993 to answer the demand of some American jazz musicians (a
JAVA with even more wood). The V16 has a thicker tip than the
traditional Vandoren reeds and a longer palette.

Sound: more brilliant, more percussive, particularly well adapted to all
the new styles of music.

V16 reeds have a medium-thick heart (more than JAVA but less than
Traditionals), with a profile designed for producing a strong attack
with a deep, rich sound.

To all intents and purposes, the same as Javas but with one important
difference- they are thicker. These reeds are designed to respond well
when played hard and loud. Whereas most reeds will become uncooperative
if pushed too much, these are specifically cut to avoid these issues. An
ideal choice for anyone playing over a heavily amplified or just likes
to put a lot of air through their horn without it ‘stalling’.

The reed is fundamental to producing the sound. The saxophonist sets the
reed vibrating and creates sound waves that pass through the neck and
out of the saxophone. The quality of each reed can greatly affect the
tone that is produced. The best reeds are made from cane which is grown
in Southern France, benefiting from warm Mediterranean breezes. Each
reed has a slightly different cut, much like each piece of wood has a
different grain, and even within a box of the same make they can vary in
consistency. Popular makes of reed are Vandoren, Rico, Hemke & La Voz,
and benefit by being more consistent than most, enabling the saxophonist
to produce a clear sound. Certain sizes of reed suit certain sizes of
mouthpiece. As a rule a narrow tip opening requires a harder reed, a
wider tip opening a softer one. But again this is merely a useful
guideline and as the sax player is developing he/she may find a
preference for a particular size or make of reed that is an exception to
the rule. Reeds must be moistened before use as this improves
flexibility and the reed will have the best chance of functioning
correctly. Also to keep them flat and as fresh as possible investing in
a reed holder is most useful. Recent developments include Fibracell
synthetic reeds which although expensive can last far longer.

How do you choose what reed is right for you?!!

As with much of the stock here at the large range of reeds can
initially be somewhat intimidating. In the face of so much choice- the
question ‘where to start’ is often asked.

Firstly, changing your make of reed is not likely to produce any major
overhaul of your sound. It is more about finding something that works
well with your own playing technique rather than trying to let your
reeds lead the way. If you play in a soft, controlled, classical style
certain reed types will help (or hinder) whereas some reed types are
designed to hold up well when a player’s approach relies on maximum
power and volume. Basically it’s all down to feel; does a certain reed
type work with your playing or against it- do they feel comfortable?

Other practical issues are robustness and consistency. Certain makes of
synthetic reed are available for exactly these reasons- one plastic reed
is the same as any other and they last significantly longer than any
cane reed is likely to. However when they do finally stop working they
go from playable to totally unusable almost immediately (hence, always
carry a spare). Another factor which favours synthetics is that they
don’t need to be damped before playing, so tend to be popular with
instrumentalists who have to swap saxes frequently during a gig.
However, for the majority of players, cane reeds are the ‘real deal’,
give the authentic sound and the search for just the right one is all
part of the ritual of playing the saxophone.

One point about testing reeds. Trying out one single reed of a specific
type is useful, but- due to the variations within each box- to get the
‘feel’ of a particular reed type it’s usually necessary to give two or
three reeds a blow to really get their character. Whereas your saxophone
and mouthpiece are precision engineered from metal and ebonite, reeds
are cut from cane and vary noticeably, even within the same box.

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