I've found myself in a deep dark part of reed hell recently. It's a place that makes you want to just burn your twenty dollar bills, rather than to play any more terrible reeds. I would rather jab these bad reeds into my eye sockets than to actually play one of them on an entire gig. These bamboo things may look like saxophone reeds, but they're really Satan's fingernail clippings. Each time I put one of these hellish shards onto my mouthpiece and blow I hear the mournful wailing of condemned souls and the howls of the hounds of hell. I must have been a mass murderer or Spanish inquisitor in a past life to deserve such reeds in this life.
For the last couple of years I've been playing Riggotti Gold reeds on both alto and tenor. For a while there I felt like my reed demons had been banished from my life. All was well, I was happy, life was good to me. Suddenly the bottom dropped out and all of my tenor reeds stopped working. Each box of reeds seemed to get worse and worse, until it started seeming like I might be better off just using old tongue depressors or even dried cat turds instead of reeds. The sound would be the same and I would have a lot more spending money on hand.
The last eight to ten boxes of Riggotti tenor reeds that I bought have all sucked ass. Not just run of the mill ass, but dirty stinky crusty ass. After each order of these reeds that I go through without finding anything that plays, I usually go to the local music store and buy a box or two of name brand reeds, hoping against all odds that one of them will work. Once in a while I find one that kind of sounds passable, the rest always suck.
The reeds I've recently tried have been Rico Jazz Select, Vandoren Java,V16s, and ZZs, Rico Royal, Hemke, La Voz and regular Ricos. After wasting about $150 on my last order of Riggottis I decided to start searching out reeds that I have not yet tried. I got $177 worth of reeds in the mail yesterday and played through all of them in about one hour, not a single good reed. I tried Ponzel (squwAAck), Brancher (brAAck), Rico Concert (fweep), and Australian reeds (these were so bad they they would have been really funny had they not cost so much). It would be a hell of a lot cheaper if I were to just start smoking crack and just settled for shitty reeds!!!
I can't even write about this anymore because it makes me too sad.
Just take me now Satan, oh terrible lord of darkness.