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Bass Saxophone Reeds: Cane & Synthetic

Bass Saxophone Reeds: Cane & Synthetic

Cane Alexander Classique MARCA My Masterpiece by Maccaferri  Rico by D’Addario Vandoren
Synthetic Fiberreed Légère      

When it comes to what kinds of reeds to use on your bass saxophone, there are a number of choices these days. OK, so compared to alto or tenor saxophones there are clearly not as many, but there are still many more than there were 20+ years ago. 

Your reed choice is intricately linked to your mouthpiece choice (a newer page on that forthcoming). If you use a modified—or even an unmodified—baritone saxophone mouthpiece on your bass sax, then your choice is simple. As a matter of fact, even some vintage bass saxophone mouthpieces were designed for bari reeds. 

If however, you are looking for true bass saxophone reeds, then you have to ask yourself the same question any other sax player asks: cane or synthetic? There are some excellent options for both. My goal is to list all the current choices, and provide links to where you can find them. 

As I poured over all the reed options for bass sax players, I did notice something: Thomann Music in Germany did seem to have among the best selection and prices. However, you do have to consider the current exchange rate, your shipping costs, and possibly your country’s taxes, when comparing prices. 

NB: Due to the relatively few number of bass saxophone players out there compared to even bari players, reed manufacturers make bass saxophone reeds in only 1 cut/style. (Usually those aimed at classical/traditional players.) If you want more options, you should seriously consider picking up a baritone saxophone mouthpiece specially modified for bass saxophone—or a bass sax MP that uses a bari reed.

Cane bass saxophone reeds

Alexander Reeds Classique

Company’s Description

bass saxophone reeds, cane reeds, Alexander Classique, reed box with single reed beside it on the right side

In 1997, following the introduction  of Superial and “DC”, we felt another line of reeds was needed to address the specific needs of classical woodwind players or jazz players wanting a bit more resistance and darkness in their set up than our other models offer. Starting with the clarinet model, we tried to conceptualize what kind of reed we could create that would provide musicians with a wide palette of expression, and classically grounded performance characteristics…those that produce a warm, dynamically balanced, sonorously beautiful tone.

While investigating what direction of design we should pursue, we knew that there had been a reed made years ago which classical clarinetists spoke of in almost reverential tones. Although this reed never became as commercially successful as some of the more “name” brands, it had been in fact used by some of the top clarinetists in the world, among them some members of the Chicago Symphony clarinet section. To the lament of many, production ceased some years back.

We worked on a prototype which was influenced by this reed’s design, but with certain improvements that we felt would actually make it more suitable to present day musical settings. This same philosophy was also followed for the saxophone models but with a somewhat different profile design we felt would bring out the best in that instrument. We also had the advantage of using more accurate hardness testing and cutting machines so we could manufacture a much more consistent reed than the original model.

With testing feedback from some top professional classical clarinetists and saxophonists, we arrived at the final design of this new reed line christened “Classique”. We went into production for all models and Classique is now being used not only by classical and concert performers, but any others looking for a darker tone which this reed’s harder tip and heart produce.

In Classique, we believe we have achieved our goal of capturing the essence of that great traditional design, but with improvements developed to enhance dynamic response, clarity and register balance, which we feel produces a “singing” tonal quality that is definitely classical in its conception. It should also be noted that a growing number of jazz players seem to enjoy Classique’s response these days as well.


Strengths Available

1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5


Box of 5

Where to buy

Alexander reeds has an established worldwide dealer network. It is also worth checking with the brick and mortar music store you usually deal with, since wholesalers often carry brands that local shops can order in as a one-off.

MARCA Superieure

bass saxophone reeds, cane reeds, MARCA, box containing 5 reeds, Superieure, Company’s Description

Ongoing refinements in Marca’s manufacturing processes have resulted in a reed of both the highest quality and the most uniform consistency; The Marca Supérieure reeds for clarinet and saxophones. While professionals can benefit from these high-quality reeds’ fine balance, rich timbre, and lively response, educators and students will find them long-lasting and, most important, consistently playable, reed after reed, box after box. The Supérieure has cemented Marca’s harmony of professional quality and economical uniformity. The Marca Supérieure reed has contributed much to the renown of our company. This model gives a clarinet sound neither too dark not too clear…

  • The Selection of Marca reeds strength is controlled during the manufacturing process.​
  • The flexibility of the reed.
  • The finest quality of cane, gives to Marca reeds the uniformity and balance and consistency of the reed strengths​
  • Marca Supérieure Reeds -The Marca Supérieure reeds are available for the all saxophones and clarinets instruments.
  • The canes are selected one by one, producing high quality reeds, We must select the finest cane and control each one​
  • The Marca Supérieure Reeds are the Highest Quality reeds we make.
  • Available Strengths 1,5/2,0/ 2.5/ 3,0/ 3.5/ 4,0 and some Instruments 4.5 [bass even higher than that]


Strengths Available

1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5


Box of 5

Where to buy

Marca bass saxophone reeds are available directly from the company through their website.

Although they don’t show a dealer network, if you Google Marca bass saxophone reeds you get a lot of returns for music stores that sell them. It is also worth checking with the brick and mortar music store you usually deal with, since wholesalers often carry brands that local shops can order in as a one-off.

My Masterpiece by Maccaferri Reeds

bass saxophone reeds, cane reeds, old school plastic box with snap closure, reed box, My Masterpiece reeds, Maccaferri Reeds, 2 reeds in front of the boxCompany’s Description

Designed for a wide variety of playing situations, Maccaferri Reeds are manufactured  using proprietary technology and engineered for consistent ease of play right out of the box.


Hand finishing and direct quality checks at each step of our 9 step process.  We gauge our reeds at two points to ensure a reliable strength grading.  Constant checking by accomplished players.


Established in 1939 by Mario Maccaferri.  Our reeds have been used by some of the most famous players for generations. Direct personal supervision by Maccaferri family.

We blend mechanical precision, experience and individual attention to bring you the most consistent experience. Maccaferri reeds are available in boxes of 5, 10 and 25 reeds.  


Strengths Available

1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 4, 4.5, 5


Boxes of: 5, 10, of 25

Where to buy

This is a bit of a mystery. Maccaferri Reeds appears to have 2 websites. The first is, and is really the company’s website. In the footer of their website it directs you to what appears to be their e-Commerce site: The problem is that the banner on the top of the Reedstore reads: “Our Webstore is closed until further notice. Email us on the contact page to be notified of updates.”

BTW, notice that there is no HTTPS at the front of the reedstore’s URL. That means it is NOT a secure website to input anything of a sensitive nature (like your credit card, etc, etc). Maybe that’s why they shut it down. The company is perhaps in the process of doing a site-wide update. Just speculating wildly here… But anyways… Getting back to where you might be able to buy these My Masterpiece bass saxophone reeds.

  1. So you can use the Contact Page and ask company directly about purchasing bass saxophone reeds. Or, 
  2. You can try to use the Where to buy page on the website and see if you have any more luck than I did. I had none. Zero. Zip. (The French American Reed Company is in serious need of some website overhauls… Just saying.)
  3. It is worth checking with the brick and mortar music store you usually deal with, since wholesalers often carry brands that local shops can order in as a one-off. 
  4. Google can be your friend. See what pops when you search for: my masterpiece bass saxophone reeds. Given search results change over time and location, by the time you click on the link, you might actually find something useful.

Rico by D’Addario

bass saxophone reeds, cane reeds, contrabass clarinet reeds, orange box Rico, cardboard reed box, Rico by D'AddarioCompany’s Description

Rico by D’Addario Bass Saxophone reeds are crafted with beginners and educators in mind, thanks to their traditional blank and profile for ease of response, plus unfiled cut for added support. These reeds are available for a full range of clarinets and saxophones to best suit your playing needs.


Type: Unfiled

  • Traditional blank and profile
  • Ideal for beginners
  • Designed for ease of play
  • Priced affordably for educators and parents
  • All D’Addario reeds are designed and manufactured in the USA from naturally-grown cane


Strengths Available

1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 3.5


Box of 10

Where to buy

Pretty much everywhere. Any brick and mortar music shop that is a D’Addario dealer can get them in for you. As a matter of fact, even non-Rico dealers can get them from some wholesalers. 

Online, your options are pretty much limitless. There are your usual suspects (country dependant):

Again, let Goggle be your friend and see what pops.

Vandoren Traditional Bass Saxophone Reeds

Company’s Description
This reed is designed to produce a quality of extremely pure sound

This reed is designed to produce a quality of extremely pure sound due to:
• A very thin reed tip (the area of reed with maximum vibration).
• A solid vertebral column (more cane in the area which climbs gradually to the heel).


SR252 Box of 5 strength 2
SR253 Box of 5 strength 3
SR254 Box of 5 strength 4

bass saxophone reeds, cane reeds, Vandoren Traditional reeds, blue cardboard box with white bass saxophone image, Traditionals feature the thinnest tip with the thickest heart, resulting in crisp articulation with a full, dark sound.


In order to guarantee the excellence of the Vandoren brand and to enable musicians to have confidence that they are playing a genuine Vandoren product, we have devised a system of authentication.

Each reed and reed box contains an identification code. Musicians and retailers can confirm the authenticity of their Vandoren reeds and reed boxes at any time. Each reed and reed box can easily be verified at:

Source: (bass sax-specific reed info) & (technical & authentication aspects)

Strengths Available

 2,  3, 4


Box of 5

Where to buy

Vandoren does have a dealer map on their site, but it is very limited. I personally know of lots of brick and mortar music shops that sell genuine Vandoren products that are not on that map. That’s why it is worth checking with the brick and mortar music store you usually deal with, since wholesalers often carry brands that local shops can order in as a one-off. 

I know I am sounding like a broken record, but let Google be your friend, and see what you find. Vandoren bass saxophone reeds are really among the most readily available of the quality, cane bass saxophone reeds on the market. 

However, due counterfeiting, I would strongly urge you to only buy Vandoren reeds from a reputable dealer, and not from some fly-by-night shop on eBay, or other online, offshore auction or sales site. Why? Because you simply don’t know what you’re getting, and you might very well get ripped off. 

If by chance a reputable shop ends up with counterfeit items, they will make it right because their rep on the line. XYZ imports from China, China doesn’t give a crap if you give them a shitty review, but a good shop will. Do your homework up front. It will save you $$, frustration, and lots of headaches later. 

Synthetic bass saxophone reeds

Harry Hartmann’s Fiberreed NATURAL 

bass saxophone reeds, synthetic reeds, Harry Harmann's Fiberreed Natural, blue package with tip of white reed showing, German-made reedsCompany’s Description
Natural and Natural Classic Fiberreed

This Fiberreed is totally made out of the white hollow fiber foam resin compound which copies the structure of the natural cane (Arundo Donax). The Natural Classic Fiberreed consists of the same material like the Natural Fiberreed. It has a steeper cut sounding warmer and darker than the Natural Fiberreed.

It suits perfect for a vintage jazz sound or Classic mouthpieces like the Selmer C*.



Pure hollow fiber in a natural cane design. The straight translation of the positive attributes of a cane reed with synthetic materials. Clear appearance with a clear sound.

Fiberreed …

  • last 20-30 times longer compared to a cane reed
  • play 100% from the first second
  • are extremely durable and resistant against splitting
  • never dry out because they do not absorb moisture
  • are alway available in exactly the same quality
  • are easy to clean and therefor hygienic and odourless even after month of use

If a Fiberreed you bought from us does not have the right strength for you, you may return it in between 14 days after your buy. We will send you another strength after your request without additional charges.


Strengths Available

S (soft = 1.5), MS (medium soft = 2), M (medium = 2.5), MH (medium hard = 3), H (hard = 3.5)

Check the Reed Strength Chart on Harry’s website to see how it compares to the reeds you are currently using.


1 per pack

Where to buy

Fiberreed does have a Dealer Listing on their website. That said, weather or not dealers have bass reeds in stock—and in the strength you’re looking for—is not too likely. 

If you live in the US, or the US $$ is more beneficial to you, you can buy from Fiberreed’s US distribution center directly

If you are in Europe, or buying in the Euro benefits you, you can buy directly from Harry’s shop in Germany.

Légère Bass Saxophone Classic Reeds

bass saxophone reeds, synthetic reeds, Legere Classic, black & red package with clear reed showing, Canadian-made reedsCompany’s Description

reed personality chart, Legere Classic reedsThe Classic for saxophone are extremely durable. This cut is based on the first prototype and produces a darker, focused sound. The thicker tip makes it ideal for projecting and providing a full, rich, and percussive sound.

The Classic are more percussive than the Signatures making it ideal for marching bands and large ensembles.


A durable and darker reed with fewer overtones than the Signature [which is not available for bass saxophones at present]. A thicker tip and heart produces a purer tone with fewer complexities. The Classic for Saxophone is the recommended cut for marching band performers and those blending their sound with a large ensemble.


Strengths Available

2, 2.5, 3, 3.5

Here is Légère’s reed strength chart with the relevant reeds highlighted. 

saxophone reed strength comparison chart, Legere, Vandoren, Rico

Also worth mentioning is that like Fiberreed, Légère offers an exchange program should you get the wrong strength of reed.


1 per pack

Where to buy

Légère does have its own online store where you can get your reeds directly from them. Honestly, that would be my first choice if I was looking to get one of their bass sax reeds. 

Légère also has a Retailers Listing on their website. That said, weather or not dealers have bass reeds in stock—and in the strength you’re looking for—is none too likely. 

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