Gary Smulyan's Baritone Saxophone Reed Trial

by VandorenTV

Date Posted: April 05, 2017

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Updated July 29, 2020

Gary Smulyan Baritone Saxophone Reed Trial


Baritone saxophone playing – JAVA Red

(0:17) I’m playing a JAVA Red 2.5 on my Vandoren B9 V16 mouthpiece. This reed is definitely different than the traditional Blue Box that I’m used to playing in the fact that it’s a little harder, a little more resistance in the reed. I probably wouldn’t play this reed in a jazz quartet situation but I would really feel very comfortable playing this in a classical setting, say a sax quartet, or playing a piece with a piano. I think this reed would be perfect for that kind of situation.

Baritone saxophone playing – JAVA Green

(0:43) I’m playing the JAVA Green 2.5 reed on my V16 B9 mouthpiece and this reed really plays great. It’s got a real nice bite, it’s got a real nice sense of cutting through, and I could see using this reed in virtually any ensemble that I would play in. It’s different than the Blue Box that I’m accustomed to playing. There’s a little bit more resistance, the air doesn’t go through as fast, which I actually like because you can get more control. But like I said, this reed is really fantastic and I would definitely play this reed no matter what musical situation I found myself in.

Baritone saxophone playing – ZZ

(1:35) I’m playing the ZZ 2.5 reed on a Vandoren V16 B9 mouthpiece, and I have to tell you, this reed is screaming! This reed is fantastic, it’s got an amazing amount of edge, bite, and it cuts. I’m going to start playing these reeds, I really like these reeds a lot and I would use these no matter what situation I find myself in. It’s really versatile, not too much resistance, and it’s not too free-blowing, everything seems to be really just right about this reed.

Baritone saxophone playing – Blue Box

(2:30) I’m playing a 2.5 Blue Box reed on my V16 B9 mouthpiece. After trying these four kinds of reeds, this is really like coming home. I’ve been playing this reed for over 20 years, and for me, it’s really a perfect balance of edge, bottom, and resistance. This reed really is easy to work with, I can really get everything I need out of my instrument, and what's in my head, my feelings, and my emotions. Everything really comes out easy without a lot of effort, with this reed, so I guess there’s a reason I’ve been playing this for a long time.

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