Vandoren V21 Saxophone Reeds “The New Standard For Classical”
Vandoren V21 Saxophone Reeds
I have played on almost every type of Vandoren reed on the market today except for the V12’s. Currently, the Vandoren Java Red box 2.5 has become my favorite cut as mentioned in my Vandoren Product Overview(Vandoren Product Review). Since Vandoren has released the V21 reeds for alto and tenor saxophone, I was interested to see how the V21 line was different from the Traditional, Java, V16, ZZ, and Java-Red line.
Due to the popularity of the V21 reeds for clarinet, Vandoren decided to expand this line to the alto and tenor saxophone with reed strengths starting at 2.5 and going up to 5.0. The V21 utilizes a unique conical design which Vandoren and players found provided a dark, focused, and full-bodied response throughout the entire range of the saxophone and even into the altissimo. Vandoren Product Specialist Michael Fenoglio, see’s the V21 line suited for musicians who are “looking for something darker than traditional reeds but with slightly less resistance than V12’s.”
Since I typically play on either 2.5 or 3 strength reeds from Vandoren depending on the cut, I decided to try out a box of 2.5 strength V21 reeds for tenor saxophone (see reed comparison index below for further detail). I found the 2.5 V21 reeds to play on the harder side and actually used a ReedGeek to shave a few of them down but I was pleased to see no flaws or imperfections in each reed. I did find these reeds compared to the traditional Vandoren Blue Box to play darker as well as were very clean and focused without any edge. I found it was very easy to articulate on the V21 reeds and the consistency from low Bb up even into the altissimo was very good.
Although the V21 reed is tailored towards the classical musician, I believe some saxophonist primarily focused on jazz would enjoy this reed as well. After trying the Vandoren V21 saxophone reeds, I still prefer the Java Red, V16, and ZZ reeds due to the edge, play ability and core these lines have to offer. With that said, if you are currently playing on the Vandoren Traditional Blue Box, I believe you will enjoy the Vandoren V21 reeds as having a more complex and darker sound that is easy to control and articulate. If you are currently using the Vandoren V21 saxophone reeds, please leave a comment below with your thoughts.
Reed Comparison Chart
May 7, 2018 @ 10:46 pm
I use V21 3.0 occasionally on Theo Wanne Westcoast Mofo 110. Its a metal high baffled tenor piece. I enjoy the darker, powerful tone as opposed to the brightness of Java Green. Very excellent reed.
May 24, 2022 @ 7:58 pm
“I finally found someone” e.g. V21 2.5 after playing almost Vandoren reeds. I agree with you, V21 is focused on classical & sacred music. I use to play sacred pieces in our church. To me v21 is slightly bright but not too dark imho. It is focused warm sound that gives a beautiful texture in my instrument. Suffice to say, this is the reed for me.