Vandoren, which was founded in 1905, is now one of the most popular makers of mouthpieces and reeds for clarinet and saxophone in the world. Begun by Eugene Van Doren (1873-1940), a clarinetist for the Paris Opera, the company did not start really growing until his son, Robert Van Doren (1904-1996), took over the business in 1935. In 1967, Bernard Van Doren (b. 1945), grandson of Eugene, took over the company. During this time period, the company started making its most famous mouthpiece for clarinet, the B45. Still today, Vandoren continues to be a prominent manufacturer of reeds and mouthpieces.
Vandoren clarinet and saxophone mouthpieces are made of hard plastic called ebonite. Their V16 saxophone mouthpieces are also available in a metal variant. Vandoren makes mouthpieces in a wide range of styles, tip openings, and facings, for classical and jazz playing. Vandoren also makes clarinet mouthpieces in the German and Austrian style.
For a number of years, Vandoren has manufactured ligatures, both of the flexible (leather) and metal variety.Vandoren also makes string ligatures (known as Klassik ligatures).
Vandoren's reeds are well known throughout the world. The company makes clarinet reeds in a variety of styles. Vandoren makes both of French and German styled clarinet reeds.
Varndoren is also well known for making many different varieties of saxophone reeds. French styled clarinet reeds
Traditional reeds (blue packaging) are the most widely played style of reed.They are available in strengths from 1.5 to 5. They are made with a .09 mm thickness at the tip and a thickness of 2.8 mm at the heel.
More expensive than the Traditional Reeds, Vandoren V.12 reeds (Silver packaging) are produced from the thicker cane that is used to make saxophone reeds. At the tip, V.12 reeds have a thickness of .10 mm and at the heel, they have a thickness of 3.15 mm. This is equal to .124 inches, which is where the name V.12 comes from. The V.12 reeds come in strengths from 2.5 to 5. These strengths don't correspond to those of Vandoren Traditional reeds (a strength 4 V.12 has a similar hardness to a strength 3.5 Traditional reed). The V12 reed produces a darker, richer tone than the traditional reed.
The most expensive type of Vandoren reeds, the 56 rue Lepic reeds (black packaging) are named after the address of the Vandoren central offices on 56 rue Lepic, Paris. They differ from the other two types of Vandoren reeds in that they come from the thickest cane. At the tip, 56 rue Lepic reeds have a thickness of .11 mm and at the heel, they have a thickness of 3.25 mm. They are very similar to German style reeds.
The White Master and Black Master are designed for German and Austrian clarinet players, respectively. Their cut is particularly calculated to suit the characteristics of the German system clarinet mouthpieces.
Black Master reeds have a larger and thicker cut than White Master reeds.
Like clarinet reeds, Vandoren saxophone reeds come in a variety of styles. The most basic is the Traditional reed, which is very similar to the Traditional clarinet reed. Vandoren also makes the JAVA reed, available in filed and unfiled varieties, which is for jazz playing (JA is from jazz, and VA is for variety and Vandoren). In 1993, Vandoren began making the V16 reeds, also for jazz, which have a thicker tip and a longer pallet than the JAVAs. There's also the ZZ, intended for jazz. Vandoren has recently released the V12 for classical music and JAVA Red cut for jazz.
Vandoren also produces double reeds for oboes, english-horns, bassoons and double bassoon
I would definitely use Vandoren traditional reeds (No. 2) for my soprano sax!!!!