Synthetic clarinet reeds

I play a 3.5 Vandoren classic reed on clarinet. What would be a good equivalent synthetic reed? Which brand plays the most like natural cane?

I started to use a Legere Signature reed in September and I prefer it to cane. I was spending so long messing around with cane reeds finding the right one for the conditions, getting placed exactly right etc. Now I just put the reed on and play - and I think I’m getting a better tone too.
Legere produce a strength comparison chart
I was playing on Rico Royal 2.5 but went down to a 2 when changing to Legere.

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Légère European cut 2.5 for me. Its superb. Was previously playing with a Rico/Daddario 2.5

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+1 for @Joy for reminding us to use the strength charts.

Every time I tried a Légère it was always too hard. I was probably not paying enough attention to it. Last year I picked up a bass clarinet Légère Sig, and had to exchange my first reed to a 2.25 to match the D’Addario 3, and it plays really really well.

Funny you ask this now. I have a Légère Sig for clarinet and Venn (D’Addario) coming for alto sax tomorrow. And an American cut Légère coming for tenor sax back ordered. I’m hoping I picked the correct size, but again I recommend using the exchange program if needed.

For whatever reason, I’ve never liked the Légère on my alto sax, due to how it felt to articulate, but it feels fine on the bass clarinet. I used one on and off for tenor early on and it was so/so.

I tried a Légère reed #3 on my Tenor Saxophone. Played better than I thought it would but the middle octave range had a buzzy / edgy like sound to it. The longer I played the worse it got. Other than that I was impressed but not enough to give up on the cane reeds.

I forget which kind it was but I do know it wasn’t any of the jazz cuts.

According to Michelle Anderson (of Clarinet Mentors) the Legere reeds need to be fixed very tightly and right at the top of the mouthpiece.


Thanks to all for the input. I was not familiar with the exchange program and strength charts… Looks like Legere is the recommended brand as well.

I wonder if the European cut Legeres are significantly different to the signature range. My European cut is in the same strength as the Rico Royal I was using, and its fine.

I found with my Legere’s that you can’t shave them down really without ruining them (maybe it’s just me?). But for sure, I have to try my best to line the tip up exactly with the mouthpiece tip. This is hard because the plastic is sort of “milky” clear, not yellow like wood. To high or too low makes it quite stuffy.

I found this to be a good breakdown of the synthetic reed market. I particularly liked the manufactures expected longevity, as that’s not often clearly stated. It’s good to keep in mind, especially for students who might play these daily, that they won’t last forever. And the it’s still a good idea to have more than one in rotation. As a doubler it’s a little different, since I’m not touching all of the horns nearly as often (as I should), during no gig times. I keep a note every time I open a reed of the date, so I have a reference of just how old the reed is.


I’ve really only had one that worked well. It has lasted 3 years so far with basically daily practice. How long do you consider “forever”?

I use a Bari tenor sax reed on bass clarinet. Hated it on tenor, love it on bass. Go figure.

Legeres are a god send to the doubling pit musician, I have been using them on my saxes and clarinets for years. Even have one for bassoon for the odd book where it is required.

I have been experimenting with Fibracell reeds on clarinet for several weeks with excellent results. I also have played them successfully on bass clarinet for several years although I don’t play bass as regularly. In my recent experience the Fibracell reeds are a little more free blowing than the Legere reeds that I have tried. They are very responsive with a good tone.

Neither brand has given me the exact cane reed experience, but playing the Fibracell reeds has boosted my confidence significantly, probably because I know how the reed will respond throughout a whole performance, no second guessing.

I would definitely refer to Fibracell’s published strength chart since their strength numbering system does not approximate those of other manufacturers. Fibracell reed strengths have a lot more and finer gradations than most reed manufacturers, which is very, very helpful when it comes to having a consistent supply of no-worry reeds.

Here is a link to their published strength chart.