Ok, so being a person that doesn't mind courting a little controversy every now and again. I thought I would ask. Why? can't people just get a reed out the box and play it. OK, so you wet it a bit first then just play. Before the missiles rain down let me explain my thinking. If you take a plasticover reed as an example you can't soak it and prepare it as so many would advise. It is still just a normal reed just coated.( I am not going to talk about synthetic reeds here as thats another topic). You can't sand them down, you can't press the fibers of the cane down with flat object, finger nail would be a good example I have heard people mention. Even though I have only been learning the sax for 10 months now( time does fly when you're having fun) I have yet to take a bad one out of the box. Is this a subject that only seasoned players have problems with as it does seem to be these that talk about it the most, or is just the fact that they have a more developed tone and can notice subtle changes from reed to reed. Just for info I started out on rico royals 1.5 then jazz select 2s and now use rico royal 2.5's.. Sorry for the long post..