How do I know if I need to upgrade to a thicker reed? Are there any signs?

I’m a clarinet player if that helps. Also, do reed thicknesses translate through brands, like is a Rico 3.5 the same as a Vandoren 3.5?


Some say that a harder reed will give better tone, but only for a player that has developed the embouchure for it. A soft reed is easier to play. Marching on the field, tone is secondary to sheer volume, so I used a 2 or even 1. In concert, a 4. (Alto sax)