Clarinet reeds are argued to be the most important piece of the clarinet and finding the best one can be difficult as there is a wide range of brands offering clarinet reeds in the market. However, different types of clarinets require different reeds to produce perfect tones; which are the best clarinet reeds?
Mostly, if you are a beginner clarinet player, you need the best clarinet reeds to help you produce the best tones and intonations. A clarinet reed is fundamental in sound creation while playing the clarinet; the reed vibrates when being played and hence sends soundwaves through the clarinet when then projects out the bell and the bore. When I started learning the clarinet, my uncle offered me a lot of help with finding which clarinet reed suits me and is compatible with the clarinet brand that I owned then. It was a hectic journey, but finally, I landed on some clarinet reeds that produced the perfect sound according to my preferences. Therefore, I decided to write a detailed purchasing guide for any clarinet player who is worried about which clarinet reed is the best in the market.
The Best Clarinet Reeds Comparison Table
|Clarinet Reed Brand||Strength||Instrument Key||Price|
|Vandoren CR103 Bb Clarinet Traditional Reeds||3||Bb||Check price here|
|Rico Bb Clarinet Reeds||1-5-4||Bb||Check price here|
|Suewio Bb Clarinet Traditional Reeds||2.5||Bb||Check price here|
|Pimoy Traditional Bb Clarinet Reeds||2.5||Bb||Check price here|
|Vandoren CR101 Bb Clarinet Traditional Reeds||1||Bb||Check price here|
|D’Addario Royal Bb Clarinet Reeds||2.5||Bb||Check price here|
|Vandoren CR8035 V21 Clarinet Reeds||3.5||Bb||Check price here|
The Best Clarinet Reeds Product Review
Vandoren CR103 Bb Clarinet Traditional Reeds – Best for intermediates and clarinet masters
The Vandoren is a French brand that is widely trusted and is well known for its attention to detail, mostly when it comes to its instruments, specifically their clarinets and clarinet reeds at this season.
- Excellent and timely response in all registers as it is a traditional reed
- Extremely flexible
- Comes in strengths ranging from 1 to 5
- Produces clear sound
- Allows legato to execute large intervals while maintaining a rich and warm tone
This clarinet comes in strengths ranging from 1 to 5 hence suits both beginners, intermediates and professionals. The Vonderon CR103 Bb clarinet reed in strength one is suitable for beginners as it improves the quality of their intonation and sound. However, strength two up to strength 5 for this particular reed might be quite difficult for beginners to navigate and play well.
What I love most about these notes is that they improve the sound quality you produce and make it easy for you to hit high notes consistently. Furthermore, this reed produces quality sound across the clarinet hence and is compatible with most clarinets. You can easily achieve a clear tone and a rich sound while using this reed when playing the clarinet.
- Hits its highs and low tones consistently.
- Produces a rich, warm tone
- Improves sound quality and makes it easy to higher notes
- Produces beautiful and quality sound in a wide range
- High register response is extremely good
- It is a bit pricy
- It is quite difficult for beginner clarinet players
This clarinet reed is worth buying as it definitely gives you value for your money. However, it might be a bit tricky for beginners to play the clarinet using this reed; hence it is appropriate for intermediates and clarinet masters. If you master the clarinet fully, this reed will enable you to produce quality sounds consistently and over a wide range. Furthermore, it allows clarinet players hit high notes and low notes consistently while improving the quality of intonation. This reed is definitely a worthy purchase if you want to have a unique experience while playing the clarinet.
Suewio Bb Clarinet Traditional Reeds – best for beginners
This clarinet reed is quite affordable yet produces a quality sound very comfortably without putting in too much struggle.
- Offers freedom of response
- The quality of sound clarity is high
- Great flexibility hence maintaining sound clarity and a richness of tone
- Has an unfilled cut design and a thinner vamp that makes it easier to play and produce a high-quality clear sound.
When it comes to getting great services cheaply, then this reed carries the day. This is because it is very affordable and yet offers great services to clarinet players ranging from beginner level to professionals. First, it is comfortable and easy to get sound out of it without struggling. This is an important feature for beginners, mostly as their mouth and breathing muscles are not yet strong.
Furthermore, the reed is very flexible when playing hence allowing one to produce a rich and warm tone. This improves the quality of the tones produced hence allowing both beginners and even intermediates to achieve good sounds easily. It is important to note that the material used to make the reed does not have bad taste; hence it is comfortable playing.
However, maintaining this reed is quite tedious compared to others. This is because, in order to get best results from it, you have to wash it gently with water and absorb the rest water with a piece of paper. You then place it in ventilation and store it in the case that comes with it.
- Wide usage; can serve both beginners, intermediates, and professionals.
- Great flexibility hence sound clarity and a warmer, richer tone.
- Well-packed as it comes sealed in a plastic case to maintain its freshness.
- It is very affordable
- Maintenance is tedious as you have to wash it after every use for quality sound when playing.
This reed comes with a lot for its price. The quality of sound is great, and the richness in tone is also of high quality. It also covers a wide range from beginners to professionals hence allowing one to grow their techniques and skills comfortably. Furthermore, it is comfortable and easy to get sound out of this reed depending on which strength level you are using. This reed is definitely a worthy buy because you will get a lot of positive and high-end qualities for such a good price.
Pimoy Bb Clarinet Reeds – best for beginners
The Pimoy Bb clarinet reeds are high-quality reeds which are easy to play and hence perfect for beginner clarinet players.
- Compatible with all clarinet brands
- Suitable for beginners
- Unfilled cut design and thinner vamp hence making it easy to play.
Though this product produces high-quality sound comfortably, it might not meet everybody’s expectations. This product has worked for some players perfectly while some have found it with minor errors like is thinner than other clarinets.
What I liked most about this product was the great flexibility it offers. This allows one to produce a rich and quality tone comfortably without blowing too hard. However, this product can also break easily and thus must be handled and stored carefully.
- Produces clear sound and richness in tone
- Beginners can easily pronounce smoothly using this reed despite having weak mouth control and small breathing.
- Easy to play
- Great flexibility
- The appearance of this reed is beautiful
- The maintenance is tedious.
- The reeds break easily
Though this reed is of high quality, you might not want to buy it for your child as it might break easily. However, the quality of sound produced by the reed is great, and so is its flexibility. The reed is also easy to play, and beginners will benefit greatly from it.
Vandoren CR101 Bb Clarinet Traditional Strengths – best for intermediates and clarinet masters
- Extremely flexible
- Strength ranging from 1-5
- Traditional reeds are widely known for their outstanding response time.
Vandoren is world-renowned for making quality clarinet reeds, and the CR101 is not an exception. This particular reed comes in different strengths and cuts, and thus it is important to try out different types before landing a perfect reed.
This particular reed is mostly recommended for beginners as it is very flexible hence making it a lot easier to produce sound. Beginners can choose this reed of strength of below 2.5 to ensure that the instrument is not too difficult hence allowing them to develop their skills and techniques.
- Highly flexible
- Produce clear notes
- Comes in different strengths and cuts hence a variety to choose from.
- Produces clear sound
- This particular reed of higher strength is quite difficult for beginners.
Vandoren reeds are of high quality and calibre, with even their reeds which have lower strength options producing clear notes. Furthermore, when purchasing the reed, it comes sealed in a “flow pack” to ensure it stays afresh till you are ready to use it. The reed gives you value for your money as you are assured of producing clear sounds and notes.
D’Addario Royal Bb Clarinet Reeds – best for beginners
- Ideal for beginner players
- Priced affordably
- Strength ranging from 1 to 5
- Easy to play
D’Addario is another reputable brand when it comes to the manufacture of clarinet reeds. They make the reeds using hand-harvested canes in France; hence they contain no synthetic materials. This means that their quality is high, and they also produce high-quality sound.
The reed has an unfilled cut and thinner vamp, which makes it easier to play; hence it is suitable for either beginners or intermediates. The ease of playing the clarinet with this reed is among the biggest reason why many people prefer it. It is also very affordable compared to other reeds in the market and produces consistent sound.
- Easy to play
- Good sound quality
- Suitable for beginners
- Produces consistent sound
- They are not suitable for advanced clarinet players as they do not require one to blow hard to produce sound.
The Royal Bb Clarinet reeds are a great investment for someone who is looking for a high-quality yet affordable reed. The reed also suits beginners well as it is easy to play. Therefore, it is a good investment for any beginner with limited funds but looking for a great quality reed that produces clear and consistent sound.
Vandoren CR8035 V21 Clarinet Reeds – best for intermediates and clarinet masters
- Comes in strengths ranging from 1 to 5
- The V21 reed combines a V.12 profile with the conical shape of a 56 rue Lepic reed; this unique combination allows it to make all clarinet registers more accessible.
- Comes sealed in a “Flow Pack” to maintain its freshness
The Vandoren CR8035 V21 clarinet reed is a slightly stronger reed hence suits intermediates and professionals best. The quality of this reed is exceptional as it has a unique combination of a V.12 profile with the conical shape of a 56 rue Lepic hence the rich and warm tone it produces. Furthermore, this combination allows it to work for a variety of situations and styles.
Consequently, the unique combination in this particular reed allows one to play proficiently in more registers. It also offers a more resonant, warmer and consistent tone. The reed responds immediately with an even tone hence attests to its great quality. This means that you can focus on playing the clarinet rather than worrying whether or not your reed can sufficiently handle the jumps.
What I liked most about the reed was the depth of the sound it produces and how it makes registers easy to access. However, this reed is very expensive and might not be a worthy purchase compared to other reeds in the market.
- Produces a depth and warm sound due to unique combinations of the reed
- Perfect reed for occasions that require one to have the capability to handle large interval leaps effectively with an even rich tone.
- All notes produce a clear sound.
- The reed is of high quality and quite durable
- Very pricy compared to other reeds serving to produce the same tone and of the same strength.
- Quite challenging to play if you are a beginner.
Compared to other reeds that offer the same purpose and produce the same sound as Vonderen CR8035 V21, I find this reed not worthy of purchasing if you are on a limited budget. However, if you are looking for quality and uniqueness, then it is a great purchase as its features are unique hence making it produce a deep, warm and richer tone. Furthermore, the reed suits intermediates and professionals best, and hence it might be quite difficult for beginners to navigate it and produce quality sounds.
Buying a clarinet reed – what to look out for
Here are the features to look out for when buying a clarinet:
The clarinet reed comes in two major cutes; the French cute and the regular cut. Beginners tend to prefer the French cut as they have a faster response time compared to the regular one. Despite the cut having less meaning, especially for beginners, it is essential. Clarinet players can use the mouthpiece on the clarinet to determine the cut.
Reed strength is a very important feature of a reed that you have to look at for before making a purchase as it is the measure of the density and flexibility of a clarinet reed. Clarinet reeds are designated by the manufacturers on a scale ranging from 1 to 5, with one being the most flexible and softest.
It is also important to note that reeds are there in half-size increments, and thus, you can purchase a 2.5 or 1.5 reed and so forth. Furthermore, the strengths of the reed vary among manufacturers; for example, a Vandoren 2 is less flexible compared to a Rico 2.
Though hard reeds are harder to play, mostly for beginners, they produce sound with better intonation and sound depth. This mostly appears when playing low and high notes. Advanced players with strong mouth muscles are able to hack such reeds easily.
Reeds with up to a strength of 3 are generally considered soft and suitable for beginners as they produce sound easily. However, the sound produced by these reeds lacks depth.
Finding the best clarinet is an uphill task as it takes time to find what works for you and is compatible with your clarinet. If you are a beginner, you should probably consider getting a softer reed of strength below 2.5. the Vandoren reeds are also among the best brands in the market and thus are the most recommended brand for anyone seeking to kick start their clarinet journey. Furthermore, because every brand differs in its specifications, we recommend clarinet players try out different clarinet reeds of different strengths and brands before settling on one.
Which reed strength is good for beginners?
Beginner clarinet players are advised to use soft reeds, which range from strength 1 to 2.5. A softer reed will enable them to produce sound without straining.
What is the highest reed strength?
The strongest reeds manufactured are the 5’s and have a greater capacity to resist and with the softest being the 1’s.
How often should I replace my reed?
The period at which you can replace your reed depends on how frequently you use it. For example, if you use it for many hours each day, you should change after every four weeks.