Best Clarinet Reeds In 2020 For All Levels

Best Clarinet Reeds

Musical instruments are magical. Most of them produce impressive sounds, and the Clarinet is one of them.

However, for it to function efficiently, it requires various accessories, such as the reed.

Yes, the reed might be small and simple, but without it, the Clarinet will not produce any good sounds.

Therefore, if you recently purchased the best instrument and would like to get an equally top-notch reed, you’re reading the correct article.

Below are some of the best clarinet reeds to consider:

Best Clarinet Reeds Reviewed In 2020

1. Rico Bb Clarinet Reeds by D’Addario

If what you want are reeds that will offer you a lot of versatility as you play your instrument, then these Rico Bb Clarinet Reeds make a perfect pick.

The 2.5 reeds proudly feature a vamp cut, making it easy to play the Clarinet. Something that favors beginner players.

And not only that. Experienced jazz musicians and educators also find them impressive.

For instance, clarinet players who have used these reeds praise them for the clear sound they help them achieve.

Also, the fact that they can be used on a wide ray of playing stations is a plus.

They are available in packs of 10, 25, 3 and 50, so you get to choose what you need according to your needs and of course budget.

You will also appreciate the standard quality of these reeds, which remain intact over the years.

Pros
  • Great for both students and professionals
  • Thinner vamp
  • Offers value for money
  • Easy to play
  • Versatile
Cons
  • Requires regular maintenance
  • A bit fragile

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2. Vandoren CR103 Bb Clarinet Traditional Reeds

This Vandoren CR103 strength 3 reeds are famously known for impressive liability and ease of play.

Therefore, they make an ideal pick even for beginners, helping them get used to their instrument and become better clarinet players.

But that doesn’t mean advanced players can’t use these reeds.

In fact, they’re favorable for both starters and professionals.

If a bright sounding instrument motivates you to continue playing, then that is exactly what you will get from these devices.

You will also appreciate their neat tip cut, which guarantees durability.

Weighing only 0.32 ounces, these reeds are made out of the reed plant. And because of that, it’s advisable to use and store them in less-humid areas.

Pros
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Hits higher notes
  • Can effortlessly carry out various articulation
  • Long-lasting
Cons
  • Few complaints of split reeds in the pack

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3. Cecilio Clarinet Reeds

The Cecilio brand has been around for years, and it’s famously known for its wide range of high-quality musical instruments and accessories.

Their Clarinet reeds are not any different.

They not only present excellent quality but are also budget-friendly, making them ideal for on-budget clarinet players.

This 2.5 strength reeds might not produce the best sounds, but their sound quality is still decent enough compared to most reeds that come with the instrument.

So, if you’re a beginner, this might be the best reeds to get.

The package comes with 10 reeds, which I find sufficient enough considering the price.

Pros
  • Affordable pricing
  • Offers ease of play
  • Come with individual plastic cases
  • Ideal for beginners
Cons
  • Not very long-lasting
  • Inconsistent in manufacturing quality

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4. Royal Bb Clarinet Reeds by D’Addario

The Royal B flat reeds are ideal for both beginners and intermediate clarinet players, because of their soft nature.

This particular package comes with 10 reeds, but you can also go for the 3 reeds pack if you want.

And that’s not all. The reeds come 1.0-5.0 strength ratings, so you get to pick what works for you.

Most players praise the field cut design of these reeds as they provide a lot of flexibility, especially to classical and jazz performers.

Plus, they come ready to use, so you can be sure to receive value for your money. Besides, at $19, they’re pretty affordable.

If you find yourself comparing them with the Rico line, then you will realize that they’re a little bit more durable.

The downside, however, is that these reeds are hard to customize, but that shouldn’t be a problem since people are always on the look-out for different features.

Pros
  • Have a filed cut
  • Available in various strengths
  • Can be applicable for both jazz and Classical performances
  • Offers impressive cross-band compatibility
Cons
  • Few defect complaints

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5. Vandoren CR8035 Bb Clarinet

If money isn’t a problem and you wouldn’t mind spending any amount of money for durable and top-notch reeds, then the Vandoren CR8035 are here for you.

The reeds produce impressive sound, which not only sounds professional but will also give you the confidence you need for that much-awaited life performance.

You will love the V12 profile and the 56 rue lepic design combination, which gives you access to all registers within your Clarinet.

Plus, you get to enjoy the neutral, rich, and deeper sound it produces.

You, however, should consider other types of reeds if you’re a beginner as these ones respond too fast, making them suitable for advanced and intermediate clarinetists.

And to ensure you enjoy the freshness of each reed, the manufacturers have packed them in Vandoren flow packs.

Their strength ranges from 2.5-5.0, and these particular ones weigh 0.007 ounces.

Pros
  • Excellent for live performances
  • Ideal pick for intermediate and professional players
  • Impressive tone
  • Distinctive design
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Not beginner-friendly

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6. D'Addario Woodwinds Mitchell Lurie Premium Bb Clarinet Reeds

The Mitchell Lurie Premium Bb Clarinet Reeds don’t come cheap, but they’re a worthy investment thanks to their premium grade cane make.

They offer durability and reliability to clarinet players as they’re more accommodating in terms of consistency in response and offer impressive playability.

Besides, the D’Addario brand is well known for the manufacturing of highly dependable musical devices.

So, you can expect the same from these reeds.

Also, the fact that these Mitchell Lurie Premium reeds are filed cut guarantees your accurate measurements, which will undoubtedly reflect in the top-notch sound quality that your Clarinet will produce.

The package comes with 5 reeds and offers the strength of 3.0. But they’re also offered in strengths of 1.5- 5.0.

Pros
  • Thinner tip
  • Easy to play
  • Amazing quality
  • Value for money
Cons
  • Too soft and fragile reeds

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7. D’Addario Reserve Classic B♭ Clarinet Reeds

Sometimes richer sounds make Clarinet playing so much fun.

And if this sounds like what you’re missing, get the D’Addario Reserve Classic B♭ Clarinet Reeds, which guarantee a richer sound, thanks to their thick blank.

The 10-pack 3.5 strength reeds are impressively dynamic, offer a consistent response, and are easy to articulate.

You can also find then in strengths of 2.0- 4.5 and a 25-pack.

Because of this, these reads make a perfect choice for advanced and intermediate clarinet players, as they might be a little bit too difficult to handle for beginners.

These D’Addario Reserve reeds are made out of foreign grown cane, thus assuring their users’ durability and reliability.

Pros
  • Durable and reliable
  • Ideal for advanced and intermediate players
  • Guarantees warm and richer sound
  • Very consistent
Cons
  • The tip cutout isn’t perfectly rounded
  • Not beginner-friendly

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8. 10 Bb Clarinet Reeds Tanbi Music CLR101

For a clarinet beginner, the best gift they can have is soft and moderate strength reeds.

And these Tanbi Music CLR101 clarinet reeds make a perfect choice.

Yes, they are soft, come with a strength of 1.5-2.0, and that could only mean that they’re easy to control.

Also, if you’re an experienced player and would like to try out some soft reeds, then you can pick them as well.

They will not only give you brighter sounds but allow you to perform some higher intonations if you get the medium box.

This particular package comes with 10 reeds, nicely packaged in separate plastic cases.

And to ensure durability, the manufacturer has sealed them with nylon.

But that’s not all! You also get to receive a tube of clarinet cork grease in every box, which applies to all woodwind instruments.

Pros
  • Comes with cork grease
  • Premium quality reeds
  • Suitable for both beginners and intermediate players
  • Plastic case of each reed
  • Offer medium reeds as well.
Cons
  • Few complaints on inconsistency, though the company responded pretty fast for an exchange.

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9. Bravo Synthetic Reeds for Bb Clarinet

While it’s a common assumption that all quality reeds must be made out of cane, it isn’t usually the case.

A good example is these Bravo Synthetic reeds, which are made out of non-toxic synthetic material.

And according to numerous positive reviews online, they are quality.

One of the first things you will like about this reeds is the fact that their tip is high-humidity and crack resistant, making them reliable and durable.

They, therefore, have the upper hand as compared to their cane counterparts, as wear and tear aren’t in their vocabulary list.

Another thing is that the 3.0 strength 5 reeds are packed separately to offer the convenience of usage.

Pros
  • Long-life
  • Humidity and cracking resistant
  • Come in strengths of 1.5-4.0
Cons
  • Sound quality isn’t great for advanced players

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10. Other LEGERE Bb Clarinet Reed (BB3.0)

If all you want are reeds which provide more stability and resilience than the popular cane reeds, then the LEGERE Bb Clarinet reed is what you need.

The reeds are made out of the special polymer compound, and they provide an impressively sound quality, which will give you the confidence to perform for a crowd.

They are also resistant to both humidity and cracks, so you don’t have to worry about your immediate environment as you perform.

And that’s not all. These reeds aren’t even rigid. If anything, they perfectly mimic the features of the wet cane reeds, therefore easy to play.

Pros
  • Can withstand wear and tear
  • Amazing response
  • Value for money
  • Humidity resistant
Cons
  • A little thicker for a 3.0

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How To Choose The Best Clarinet Reeds For You

          The Strength of The Clarinet Reed

This is one of the most important features you should consider whenever you want to purchase a reed for your Clarinet.

You see, the clarinet reeds are normally sold according to strength. And usually, they range from 1-5.

So, in this case, a 1 strength reed is the softest that there is in the market, and the 5 strength clarinet reed is the hardest.

The difference between the hardest and the softest reed lies in their ease of playability, where the softer ones are easier to play, and the harder reeds are not.

Therefore, if you’re a beginner, you would want to consider a reed strength of around 2 -2.5. And a pro clarinetist can go for the strength of 4-5.

          Reed Cutout

Reeds are normally cut. Therefore, you should take time to examine the cutout and see if it’s a French file cut or a regular cut.

Remember, if a reed is file-cut, then you can expect a faster response time and vice versa.

Also, if your instrument’s mouthpiece produces a darker sound, filed reeds will be ideal.  But if the mouthpiece’s sound is brighter, then go for a regular-cut reed.

And if you find yourself confused about the type of reed you should pick for your instrument, always feel free to consult your teacher.

          Check Out the Brand

There are various clarinet reed companies in the current market. And while all promise to offer high-quality reeds, not all of them keep their word.

So, if you’re a beginner, it’s advisable to stick to popular brands such as Rico, Vandoren, and the many others mentioned in this article.

You can always try out the lesser famous brands, once you gain experience in the field and have had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of the marketplace.

Take, for example, Rico. It’s a US brand and most famous among beginners due to the soft nature of the reeds they manufacture.

Vandoren, on the other hand, produces high-quality reeds, and their craftsmanship is on another level.

I could go on and on, but the main point here is that, know what you want, and then source it out from reputable brands.

          Is There A Bulky Option?

Although most of the reeds we have reviewed here come in bulky, not all brands offer that option.

Most Clarinet beginner players are often tempted to go for the single reeds, given that they tend to be cheap. But that isn’t a smart choice.

Remember, the more you practice, the more your instrument’s reed is likely to experience some wear and tear, and the more often you will have to change it.

That means, if you only purchase 1 reed at a time, then you will be frequenting music stores from time to time for a new order.

And that can be tiring, especially if you have other things to do or have to travel several miles to the closest music store.

Also, what happens if the reed decides to fail in the middle of the practice session?

Do you see the inconvenience that could come your way?

That’s why it’s always advisable to purchase reeds in bulk. That way, you will only be picking the best reed in the batch and get to business.

For instance, if you buy a box of 10 reeds, then they can comfortably serve you for a couple of weeks.

So, if you don’t see yourself heading to the music store in a few weeks, then it’s better if you purchase more than 1 box at ago.

Remember, mostly, not all reeds in a box will be favorable for use. You will have to discard 2-3 cracked/split, discolored ones. And you should do so immediately you open the box to avoid inconveniences later on.

          The Reed Function

The Clarinet is fixed unto its mouthpiece. And because of that, they play a huge role in the type of sounds produced whenever you play.

Some reeds are good for jazz music, while others can comfortably switch between jazz and classical tunes.

Also, if your focus is to use it for leaning purposes, then a soft reed would come in handy. But for professional performances, the harder the reed, the better sound quality you will get to wow your audience.

          Reed Maintenance

As much as you want to purchase the right reeds for your Clarinet, you should also consider the maintenance costs you’re likely to incur.

For example, wood reeds are high maintenance as opposed to synthetic ones. So, they might not be favorable for a beginner student.

Also, reeds that come in a case are easy to maintain, because all you need is to place them in a favorable environment and you will be good to go.

You should, however, ensure that you try them on from time to time.

Also, reeds that are resistant to humidity and cracks make a perfect choice, especially if you’re living in a high-humidity environment.

FAQs About The Best Clarinet Reeds

What Clarinet Reed Strength Should I Use?

The strength of the clarinet reeds you use will primarily depend on your capabilities. The basic scale of reed ranking ranges from 1-5, with 5 being the hardest and 1 the softest.

In fact, a few manufacturers label their reeds as “soft,” “hard,” and “medium.”

A reed strength 2-2.5, makes an ideal pick for a beginner (not hard but not too soft), intermediate players can go for 2.5- 3.5, while advanced players mostly settle for 3.5 and above.

Therefore, it’s up to you to identify a reed that suits your current needs and go for it. You can always change the strength level on your next purchase if you aren’t comfortable with the present one or feel you’re ready to move to the next level.

It also depends on the type of music you want to play.

How Long Should Clarinet Reeds Last?

Here, I would say that the correct way to look at this question is how long you can use the reed before discarding it, and not necessarily how long it can last.

There is really no absolute answer to this question as it depends on a lot of factors.

For example, if you play your instrument several times a week, then you might find yourself changing a reed every week.

But if you don’t practice that often, then it might go for even a couple of months, 6 months even, before you find it necessary to discard.

That said, the type of cane also matters a lot. Some are long-lasting, while others are not. And you simply can’t compare the two time-frames.

But, most clarinet players confess that it isn’t an easy choice, especially after you develop some connection with the reed.

So, don’t overthink if you ever find yourself in such a situation.

Are Harder Reeds Better?

Harder reeds are really not that better. It’s simply an assumption that has been passed on for years.

Nowadays, it isn’t uncommon to find advanced players playing a 2. And this has something to do with their mouthpieces.

For example, a jazz player will prefer 2.5 reed strength and below, thanks to their large mouthpiece tips.

A classical player, on the other hand, will use a harder reed to match their more closed mouthpieces.

So you see, it really isn’t true that harder reeds are better than softer ones, it simply depends on your expectations and of course circumstances.

Also, harder reeds survive longer on higher altitudes, the same way softer reeds are a perfect choice for humid climate.

How to Put A Reed in A Clarinet

  1. Have the ligature
  2. Examine the reeds and decide which one you want to use
  3. Use a little water to wet the reed, if you see the need
  4. Now slowly slide the ligature unto your Clarinet’s mouthpiece to its almost rightful position. Don’t tighten the screws.
  5. Let your we reed slid under the ligature
  6. Now push the ligature unto the bottom part of the reed then tighten it, a little

Check out this YouTube video for a better explanation:

How Do You Know What Size Reed for The Clarinet to Choose?

First, it’s important to note that the strengths or reeds vary in half measures. For example, 1, 1.5., 2, 2.5, and so on.

The number refers to the size of the reed, and that’s measured in thickness. But, even the thickness varies with the manufacturers.

If you’re using a beginner clarinet, then you would probably start with 1.5-2.5.  The more advanced you’re, the larger the reed size you’re likely to use.

Also, the size depends on the type if the instrument you’re playing. So, if you can’t seem to decide correctly, then don’t be shy to let the experts at the music store help you out.

What Reeds Do Professional Clarinet Players Use?

Most professional clarinet players will use 3 strength reeds and above.  But, others can comfortably use the 2.5 reeds and play pretty well.

So, there is really no rigidity in this. Although professionals mostly play the hard reeds of 3.5 and above due to the quick response they offer.

Conclusion

To become a professional clarinetist, you have to know how to select the best reeds for your instrument.

And now that we have discussed the best 10 in this article, you have to go through the various features before choosing the reeds that perfectly suit your preference.

Don’t also forget to consider your budget while at it.

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