Rico was kind enough to provide free of charge, today I’d like to pit the unfiled and filed Rico Jazz Select reeds in a battle to the death.
Overall, the Rico Jazz Selects are good reeds, but I wanted to get into the dirty details of the differences and similarities between the cuts. I broke the battle down into three main categories: tone quality, response, and consistency.
Unfiled: Deep slightly spread tone with enough vibrance to give the sound some presence, even tone throughout range and dynamics
Filed: Focused vibrant tone with more highs than lows, even tone throughout range and dynamics
Unfiled: Feels easy to play through and responds promptly to articulation
Filed: Feels slightly more resistant than the unfiled reeds, responds even more quickly to articulation
Unfiled: Often needs to be soaked/warmed up, variable reed quality (like most brands...), pretty consistent reed strength
Filed: Often plays out of the box, some variability in reed quality but less variability than the unfiled reeds, pretty consistent reed strength
Unfiled: Ben Plays Donna Lee
Filed: Ben Plays Donna Lee again
Conclusion: The two cuts offer different tone qualities with neither lacking in presence. The other differences between the two cuts, though many, are almost negligible once you have decided on the cut that best fits the kind of sound you're going for. The one drawback for both cuts, especially the unfiled, is the inconsistency in reed quality.