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Thread: Whatever Happened to Ricos?

  1. #1

    Question Whatever Happened to Ricos?

    Before I got all mixed up with the Vandoens and all, I used Ricos and Rico Rayals for my first 3 or four years. Now, more and more, I see people going back to them. I don't remember why i stopped usig them in the first place. What about you guys (and girls). What made you switch to the Vandorens or others? Is there really a difference?

    THanks!

  2. #2
    Distinguished SOTW Columnist / Forum Contributor 2008 Hurling Frootmig's Avatar
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    I grew up on Rico's and Rico Royals. I went through a time when I played Hemke's and tried every Vandoren out there. I think the ZZ's are o.k. and they somewhat remind me of a Rico. Fibracells are the norm for me on alto and soprano. On Bari and Tenor I play Rico's or Rico Royals again. I picked up many boxes for a great price for Bari and since all reeds need a bit of work I don't mind finishing the Rico's.

    There's a difference between Rico products and Vandoren products. I happen to prefer Rico's as that's what I've used since the age of 10 or so.
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    Distinguished SOTW Member Saxland's Avatar
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    Default Ricos

    Great question. I was big on them on a meyer 5 on alto then I discovered at age 15 I could get a darker more powerfull sound on vandoren blue box and then the dark powerfull quest started. I went up to Vandoren blue box 4 then zonda 4. I found that now that I stopped growing, my throat and neck are larger, as is the resonance chamber in the lungs. By going down to a Rico royal 3 and opening up the throat the resonance is darker and slightly less powerfull but way more flexable. I think all the time as a teenager playing with rock bands made me compete with the band. Now I'm big on how I want to sound and then miking it.

    Rico royals, hemkees and rico jazz select are my favorite reeds on alto. As well playing mouthpieces with efficient facings instead of stock facings makes the reeds sing a whole lot better instead of fighting with them.
    Last edited by Saxland; 02-06-2006 at 12:56 AM.

  4. #4

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    Happiness is a wet Rico reed. -Dexter in Round Midnight

  5. #5

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    wet Ricos work well, but now i prefere Vandorens (because i had a pack with a few bad Ricos)

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    I prefer RICO products over Vandoren - I primarily use LaVoz tenor reeds but picked up an Orange Box of Soprano reeds and they work great - on soprano of course. I have all my middle school students by Rico Orange Box just to keep the expense down.

  7. #7
    Distinguished SOTW Member/Logician Grumps's Avatar
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    I just started using Alexander Superials after three decades exclusively playing Ricos, and Rico Royals in particular, on all my horns. My old boxes finally ran out and after going through box after box of new Rico Royals to find a single playable reed, I'd just had enough of them. I'm not one to fidget with reeds. Take 'em out, suck on 'em for a bit. Then play. That's my reed test. If they don't play, well, perhaps next time I take it out, it'll work better. Eventually I get through all of them. Or did... but not with these new Ricos. They were bought by another company not too long ago.
    They should have just changed the name as well, 'cause they ain't Ricos no more.

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    Last week I dug out an old orange box of Ricos and tried one on soprano after getting tired of a few other brands wimping out. I was pleasantly surprised. I always thought Rico Royals were a good plain jane no-frills way to compare mpcs......for some reason though I feel the need to always look for something that might be better.....so have tried Hemkes, V16's, Z's, the various Alexander versions, etc.....I never seem to be totally happy with any reed for long.....must be a middle age crisis....an awfully long one....

  9. #9
    Distinguished SOTW Member Razzy's Avatar
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    I feel like they are different kinds of reeds and I like both for different reasons. They have different tastes too! I like La Voz on tenor and bari and Rico jazz on bari and soprano, but I don't like those on any other horns. Likewise, I prefer Vandoren javas for alto and sometimes tenor but I don't like blue box and I'm not a fan of ZZ's. V16's are good for tenor but I don't like them on alto.

    The lesson one can glean from all that is that some things just work for us and our setups, and others don't, regardless of brand. The cut or strength designation or whatever of certain styles of reeds work better for me on different mouthpiece and different horns. Sometimes the Javas will suddenly stink for a while, at which point I might go back to the Rico jazz on alto. Different crops and all, some years are better than others. I feel like Ricos last longer but that Vandoren gets a better sound on the whole.
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    The most prolific Distinguished SOTW poster, Forum Contributor 2014 gary's Avatar
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    Well, I just had a pleasant experience. Normally I buy reeds by the box and normally use Vandoren Trads, Hemke, and Jazz Select. Several years ago I played some Rico Royals and didn't like them.

    Day before yesterday I decided to get an assortment of reed makes and strengths, among the two Royaly mainly because that's all the music store had in that strength that wasn't Hemke of Vandoren. I got two. I played them at a rehearsal Thursday and was blown away with the sound and response and that was from both, exactly the same. They are so good I'm using them on a gig I've got tonight (pop cover band, BTW). So I guess I'll be trying more of them in the future.
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  11. #11

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    I used to use ricos, Royal and plasticovers but when my supply ran out I was forced to try "Flying Goose".
    My last box of ricos wasn't up to par and the flying goose's sounded great. They are cheaper too.

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  12. #12

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    I use Ricos in the orange box---no complaints.
    "Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire"---GKC

  13. #13
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    Ricos have more edge and cut (to my ears anyway) than Vandoren. And since I like alot of cut I prefer Ricos. But Vandorens can tame a very edgy and piercing horn like Eb clarinet. My Patricola eefer plays much nicer with Vandorens than with Ricos.

  14. #14
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    Ten years ago I use to play the Javas and swore by them. I still think vandoren reeds are finished much better than any of the rico reeds, so if you're not into working on your reeds then I like the vandorens.

    Of course I tend to think the sound on vandorens are a little thin compared to the rico jazz selects I've been using for the past year. The price of RJS and the fact that I work on all my reeds give me the best product I've come across after trying gobs of reeds from different manufactures.

    I like the RJS because I feel they have a gutsy darker sound. I also feel they lend themselves to better control over the horn, there seems to be less problems such as cracking notes like I had with javas using my NY Link.

    Of course I've never been able to get the rico(orange box) or the royals to work consistantly for me. Occasionally I find a nice reed from those, but one just has to look at vandorens or RJS to see the obvious quality and thicker heart material to notice the higher quality. Also the royals have a bad problem of shoddy workmanship such as split tips or crooked facings and vamps out of the box.

  15. #15

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    I always played the vandorens. But i recently bought 10 different brands of reeds and decided I like rico better. It isn't my favorite reed. My favorite is brancher jazz. But the rico's come close.

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