REEDS, REEDS, REEDS! The bane of a sax player's life!
So many brands, cuts, prices - it's a minefield! Then you find one that you like and the next one is totally different!
It's no wonder that over the last decade or so many players have been opting for premium quality reeds - better cane and more exact manufacturing on a raw material that by it's very nature is inconsistent.
The best cane produced on the market comes from the french company Rigotti - hence why most of the boutique brands have their reeds manufactured by them (Roberto's Winds, Boston Sax Shop, Francois Louis ...). One thing that all these brands have in common is excellent Rigotti cane - grown and harvested the old fashioned way. They may cost a little extra but are far more consistent reed to reed and last a good while. All these companies have their reeds completely manufactured by Rigotti but with their own specific design, cut and response. We've tried all of them over the years and can report they're all excellent!
A few years ago we tried Lupifaro's Jazz and Classic cut reeds made by Rigotti and again were super impressed, so when we heard about their new EVO cut reeds, we simply had to have a test.
Here's what Lupifaro say about the EVO:
"Lupifaro Evo Reeds are an evolution of our previous Lupifaro Jazz. We modified the cut in order to obtain even more vintage sounds and a feeling closer to oldschool reeds.To obtain this new cut the milling machines' settings were pushed to their technical limits and some reeds may present an irregular cut on its back (more square rather than "U" shaped like classic unfiled cuts). This unusual aesthetic difference does not affect in any way the sound quality and shall not be considered a defect. The cane we used is a natural raw material and is never perfectly regular in shape.
Lupifaro Evo Reeds give an unparalleled steady and balanced response throughout the whole registry, keeping the sound full and compact. These reeds are hand selected and the quality check is as strict as it has always been."
So what do we think about them? MON DIEU - they are fantastic! Superb quality cane (as expected) with a beautiful, warm, thick, woody tone full of character. Amazing, even response in all registers.
How do they compare to other Rigotti produced reeds? Somewhere between Rigotti Gold and Boston Sax Shop (the 2 best selling premium reeds on the market). Not as bright as Rigotti Gold, not as dark and edgy as Boston Sax Shop.
I tested a couple of boxes over a few weeks and was blown away - enough for us to pull the trigger and make them available here in the U.K.
As ever, we're offering them for purchase as single items, so you can buy a couple and experiment - you do not have to commit to full boxes from us. They're currently available for Alto and Tenor saxophone in strengths 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5 and 4 and are "sensible" strengths - they compare to Vandoren JAVA, D'Addario (Rico) Royal.
BUT don't just take our word for it have a butchers at these reviews from the excellent NeffMusic and BetterSax: