Clarinet reeds – Clarinetists ALWAYS need reeds. ALWAYS! I recommend they have at least one new box a month. Find out what reeds they play on and buy a few boxes. Remember, you need to have the proper reed strength that they play on at this point. Different reed companies have slightly varying scales as to strength. For instance, a Vandoren 3 reed might feel stronger or heavier (or harder to blow) than a Rico 3.
For beginner students, buy 2.5 reed strengths. If they’ve played a little more than a year, buy strength number 3. Generally, by eighth grade (or playing 3 full years), they should play at least 3.5 strength or higher. Reed sizes go up to strength 5 and for many clarinetists 4.5 to 5 is too hard.
I’m a professional clarinetist. I was playing strengths 3.5-4 through high school and have continued on those ever since varying brands and types.
I play on the Vandoren Rue-Lepic reeds 3.5+ (yes these come in quarter strengths). I highly recommend these as they are the most consistent I felt per any box.
Reeds are a finicky part of clarinet playing. The joke is that per a box of 10-12 reeds, you might find 1-2 worth using. Seems like an awful percentage of quality, right? Well, this is life in the clarinet world. However, I’ve found that the more you practice, the better chance you’ll make a good sound on about any reed. Of course the other side of this coin is that the better you get, the more finicky you become in picking clarinet reeds.
One other brand I’ll recommend is the Rico Reserve Classic Clarinet Reeds.
I’ve tried these recently and feel they offer a good quality product that produces a good refined clarinet sound.