What Reeds Are Best For Beginner Saxophone?
The best reed for beginner saxophone is a size 2 or size 2.5 reed. Most beginners start with Rico, Rico Royal, or Vandoren Brand Saxophone Reeds. Your teacher will usually recommend one of these types of reeds to start with.
Reed sizes vary in half measures from 1.5 to 4. The higher the number, the thicker the reed and the better tone you can get. The lower the number, the softer the reed is. Start with a softer reed and build your strength up to a thicker reed.
Some manufacturers use numbers for sizes, they start at 1 ½, 2, 2 ½, 3, 3 ½, 4, 4 ½ and so on; Others will use “soft”, “medium”, and “hard” instead.
The size indicates the thickness of the reed. Manufacturers also vary on their reed sizes from one to another. For example, Vandoren is thicker than Rico so a Vandoren size 2 may be similar in thickness to a Rico size 2.5. It is recommended for beginners or young students to start with sizes 1½ - 2, or “soft” reeds, and move up to a thicker reeds as they progress.
As you purchase your reeds, make sure that you are buying the correct size for your specific instrument. Saxophone reeds differ from clarinet reeds. This also means that alto saxophone reeds only fit alto saxophones, baritone saxophone reeds only fit baritone saxophones, and so on.
Once you've been playing for a while, you'll want to explore different reed sizes and brands to broaden your sound palette.