Vandoren reeds are a fan favorite amongst many clarinet players. I have been using Vandoren reeds since I was in eighth grade, and they have been tried and true ever since.
When purchasing your first Vandoren reed box, it may be confusing to know which type of Vandoren reeds are best suited for you. This article will discuss the four different types of Vandoren clarinet reeds. Along with each description is a video explaining the qualities of each reed from a Vandoren expert.
The Vandoren company
The Vandoren company is the number one company selling clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces, clarinet accessories, and reeds. The Vandoren company is a family business started by Eugène Van Doren in 1905. Eugène was a clarinetist for the Paris Opera. In 1967, Bernard Van Doren took over the company and introduced new technology and machinery. With the benefits of technology, Vandoren became a major manufacturer of clarinet and saxophone reeds and mouthpieces. The Vandoren products are used by beginner, intermediate, and professional players around the world.
Vandoren Reeds for Beginners
Vandoren Juno Clarinet reeds are great reeds for beginning clarinetists. Clarinet can be a frustrating instrument to play as a beginner because it requires strong air support, finger dexterity and coordination, a developed oral cavity, and strong embouchure muscles. Vandoren decided to not let reeds get in the way of being a successful beginning clarinetist. Vandoren created the Juno reeds so that beginners can successfully create a sound from day one. The Juno reeds are also at an inexpensive price which is perfect for beginning instrumentalists. The reed is cut specifically for beginners. The design of this reed allows for a full and even sound right away as a beginner. The benefit of this design is that band directors and teachers can begin teaching about tone quality early on in the student's musical journey. The Juno reeds are softer than the other Vandoren clarinet reeds. Once the student feels comfortable with reed basics and creating a good sound on the clarinet.
The Vandoren Juno reeds are available for Eb, Bb, and Bass clarinet.
In this video, band directors, students, and parents tell their stories with Juno reeds:
Vandoren Traditional Reeds (Blue Box)
The Vandoren Traditional reeds are very popular, especially for clarinetists who are beginning their journey with the Vandoren company. These reeds have a thin tip and a thick heart. When played, the response is quick, the articulation is clear, and there is a pure and even sound throughout all of the ranges. It's a great reed for students of all experience levels and genre of music.
I was introduced to Vandoren reeds when I began private lessons in 7th grade. I started on the Vandoren Traditional Reeds. These reeds helped me produce a full sound right away. I appreciated these reeds as a beginning clarinetist because I was able to focus on strengthening my embouchure muscles, air support, and oral cavity movement without worrying about whether or not my reed would speak.
Vandoren Traditional reeds are available for Eb, Bb, and Bass clarinet.
Vandoren Premium Reeds
The Vandoren Premium Clarinet Reeds provide their own unique profile and sound. The premium reeds are great for clarinetists who are advancing in their skills.
Vandoren V12 reeds have a thicker heart and tip than the traditional blue box reeds. This allows for more color in the sound. This reed also has a longer palate that allows the reed to vibrate more, producing a sound with more depth and richness.
My freshman year of high school, I transferred over to the Vandoren V12 reeds. At this point in time, I had developed a good air support system and my embouchure and oral cavity muscles were stronger. It was time for me to switch to a reed that had a thicker tip. The thicker tip on the V12 reed allowed me to project my sound more.
Vandoren V12 reeds are available for Eb, Bb, and Bass clarinet.
The Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic reed is made from a thicker cane (German-style blank) and more tapered towards the bottom of the reed. This feature allows for more rich, centered/focused and pure tone. It also provides stability within all three registers of the clarinet.
I transferred to the Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic reeds my junior year of high school. The University of Eau Claire - Wisconsin held a "Clarinet Day" where clarinetists from around Wisconsin and Minnesota came to learn and play in clarinet choirs, master classes, and workshops. At this clinic, local music stores gave out a variety of free Vandoren reeds for the attendees to try. I took the 56 Rue Lepic and I fell in love with the reed right away. This reed has many unique qualities to it that help advanced clarinetists to produce a beautiful sound. First, this reed centers the sound which allows the clarinetist to match pitch and tune easier while in an ensemble. Second, this reed allows the clarinetist to project their sound which is great for a solo performance and ensemble performance. Lastly, I find that these reeds are very consistent. It is common to only have only three or four reeds that actually work in a box of ten. However, I have found that in a 56 Rue Lepic box, about eight or nine work very well. I use the 56 Rue Lepic reeds in my collegiate playing.
The Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic reeds are only available for Bb clarinet.
The Vandoren V21 reeds are Vandoren's newest reeds. It is a hybrid of the Vandoren V12 and the Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic. The blank of the V21 reed is conical and thicker like the 56 Rue Lepic reed and a profile of the V12 reed. This reed is perfect if the clarientist wants quick responses and warm tone colors.
The Vandoren V21 reeds are available for Eb, Bb, and bass clarinet.
I have not yet tried the Vandoren V21 reeds, but I have friends who play on these reeds and absolutely love them. I hope to try these reeds in the near future.
Reeds play a vital role in producing a beautiful sound on the clarinet, so it is important to be educated about all of the different types of reeds and their qualities. Finding the reed type that best suits your taste and skill level is not a quick process. The types of reeds that work best for you may change depending on humidity, weather, room acoustics, and skill level. Throughout this process of trying out different reed types, it's important to stay positive and patient! I hope this article helps you through your journey of purchasing Vandoren reeds.