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Reeds Do reeds dry out?

MandyH

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I just wondered if reeds dry out?
It seems I have 4 reeds left in a box of 10 Alto sax reeds. 3 of these 4 are like playing a floor board! The 4th one is good (rather nice in fact!)
But I noticed that the date I opened the box was September 2016 (so 21 months ago)
The opened box has been kept in a ziplock sandwich bag inside a lock & lock sealed plastic box in a drawer.
Given the normal British weather of the past 21 months, I’m surprised that these 3 reeds are so hard to play.
I have no idea how I’ve managed to keep 4 reeds out of 10 for so long - I have been playing far more Baritone, so maybe that’s it.
But I just wondered if it’s bad luck, or if they are resurrectable?
I know there’s lots of talk about “bad” reeds and variability, but I have almost always been able to play every Reed straight out of the box, no fussing nor faffing.
If it makes any difference, these are D’addario royals, 3 strength.
 

jbtsax

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As long as I have played the saxophone I have never had every reed in a box play well. If I get 6 out of 10 I am thrilled since 4 or 5 is the typical number. I have also found as I practice more, I become more discriminating about the reeds that are acceptable. If you have "The Art of Saxophone Playing" by Larry Teal there is an excellent section on how to adjust reeds. It takes time, and there is a bit of a learning curve, but you can make those reeds that are unresponsive play well with a bit of judicious scraping in the right spots.
 

Jazzaferri

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ATG system, video is worth the price of admission. It may be online in which case one can watch it and then get your own less expensive kit together.

Have done the whole insane level of reed adjustment thing including measuring a single reed at a number of points with a dial gauge (a la ray reeds 220 page how to adjust a sax reed) the ATG system is the easiest and quickest way to make almost any reed playable.
 

Phil

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A lot of players will buy old reeds of their liking...some that are not made anymore.

Reeds are not cheese. They dont go bad.
 

MandyH

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Reeds are not cheese. They dont go bad.

I didn't think they did TBH.

I was very surprised that of the 10 in the box, the first 6 played fine, yet 3 of the final 4 are challenging (to say the least, one I can't play yet!)

And, as I said, I know others often comment on the playability straight from the box, but I doubt I've had more than a couple over the 9 years I've been playing, that I couldn't play.

Obviously my "bad" reeds have all gathered together in the end of this one box :D

But I have Larry Teal (somewhere) and will dig him out and follow his advice!
 

Colin the Bear

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If I find a box with a few reeds in, I would assume those were the ones that wouldn't play. I had some old stock Baritone rico royals that went off in the box and I have one left of a box of selmer reeds from the 1950's, bought in the 1980's that all played beautifully. I'm saving the last one for a special occasion.:rolleyes: Bits of cane are by their very nature are inconsistent. The manufacturers take great care with growing, harvesting, storing and cutting. Then they have to test them to see what's come out.

I've been particularly impressed with Rico Reserve (Fc) alto reeds. They seem to be very consistent and play from the get go and last for ages. I usually only change them when they look disgusting. Something to do with inter nodal cane. I have no idea either.
 

Targa

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A little sunshine might perk him up a bit . . .
Depends, a little sunshine can be disastrous for someone back from the grave.
Thinking of which you're not Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are you?
 

MikeMorrell

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I really have no idea, Mandy, but (without any experience or insight) I wouldn't be suprised if your reeds weren't in exactly the condition they were in (for better or worse) almost 2 years ago.

Before you throw the 3 out of the 4 out, you might want to repeat the steps of 'breaking the reeds in' and adusting them. Some of them might have dried out or warped due to temperature/humidity differences (or leaks). Some of them might have just needed adjusting when new.

Mike
 

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