Another returning to the fold, which reeds to use

Hi. I played clarinet throughout junior high and high school and then stopped playing for about 20 years. Picked it up about a year ago and have been taking lessons and enjoying it very much. My question is about reed strength comparisons. I am presently playing Mitchell Lurie strength 4 but am considering buying some Gonzalez FOF and/or Zonda which I have read good things about. What would be a comparable reed strength in those two brands to the reeds I am currently using. Thanks for your time. I enjoy reading your comments.
Lincoln, Nebraska
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Thank you for your note and question about reeds. The answer to Mitchell Lurie is just about anything else, but especially the two brands you mentioned, Ganzalez FOF, and Zonda, (Classic).
It is not that Mitchell Lurie is bad, or so bad, it is just that I have found them to be astonishingly shortlived despite any alternation one may try. In my estimation, that means that the heart of the reed, the center, is too thin. In Zonda and in Ganzalez there is much more to the reed and they will last much longer, however you must get three or four and alternate them in order for them to do their best for you and your playing. Actually,I find the Zonda to be more expressive, more able to do my bidding which has a lot to do with flexibility of the quality, however the Gonzalez has better duration. The latter is supposed to be similar to the Morre reed of bygone days that has a thicker tip and more heart than others.
In either reed, you should be able to use number 3 with considerable comfort.
Learning about reeds is interesting and if you want the experience of a clarinetist who has worked out the problems and put their solution in a book, get Tom Ridenour’s book on reed preparation. It omes with things you need to adjust reeds, a DVD and it’s great. I mention it only because as I read it, I found that I had learned these things over a lifetime of playing, so to get it written down is a good deal, and well worth one’s whie.
Play well,
Sherman

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