I used these exclusively back when I played in high school. I was on a Bundy II (nightmare) so the only thing I could afford to spend extra on was reeds and mouthpieces. And let me tell you, these made an immediate improvement compared to cheaper Rico reeds.This was a great reed, definitely built for classical playing. However, for jazz stuff I used my teeth to compress the area of the reed right behind the tip where it started to thicken for a brighter tone. This worked well and had the added benefit of being easier to tongue and prolonging the life of the reed. I even used that for my brief fling in a ska band.Speaking of the thinner tip, it makes articulation very easy. Also, I was never fast on the tongue and tended to do aggressive double tonguing. The only complaint I had was that the thinner tip was more prone to chipping with my double tonguing - a small sacrifice for great sound and playability.Overall a great reed with a very warm sound. This was one of the reasons I was able to hold down first chair with a crappy Bundy II.
These reeds are very nice and i don't use anything else. I play on strength 3 reeds and they work fine. My only complaint is that sometimes there are a few bad reeds, but other than that they're a good buy.
I used to play on 2 1/2's but I bought a pack of these reeds, 3 hardness and now whenever I play, I sqweek all the time. It usually goes away when I play really loud but I can't play soft anymore. I'll ask my band director tomorrow and see what he thinks though. Otherwise these are great reeds! Tip is very even and well formed.
I would highly recommend these reeds to anyone, the Vandoren reeds, no matter what strength, produce a better sound than the standard reed my high band director carries. My middle school jazz director told me about these and after trying them I hate to use anything else. Especially useful for jazz styles, again, highly recommended.
When I went up to Michigan last year on vacation, I bought some Vandoren reeds. These are great. They improved my playing quality by 50%, and it's not just a placebo either. I did a blind test and ended up still loving the Vandorens versus my past reeds, ones that my band teacher had recommended.