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Reeds Reed preparation????


Well-Known Member
If we are talking about reed rotation we should also cover reed preparation. So the following is my own thoughts and opinions and I don't say it's the right thing to do with reeds!! The instructions is translated from Swedish to English so I'm not sure I got the right expressions. So please don't judge me to hard!

The quality and playablity of reeds are better nowadays. The machines and the methods for reedmaking have made a big progress over the years. You don't find so many "really reeds" in box nowadays. When I look at unused reeds from the 20's, 30's ... to today the evenness and playablity of the reeds have become better and better through the years. So there is less need for prepare reeds nowadays. But you can "wake up a tired" reed by doing some "voodoo"! I used to rotate over two or four reeds because the reedgards I used hold two or four reeds. I don't do reed preparation anymore. I'm playing Rico Plasticcover. ;}

My teacher in the mid 70's gave me the following instructions. I'm sure you can find simular instructions in saxophone books... :

1. The reed is to soft and produce a "buzzy" sound: Use the reedtrimmer. Just small pieces between the testplaying.
2. The reed has less resonance and produce a dull sound when you play soft: Polish 1 and 2 with sandpaper.
3. The reed has less resonance in the low register: Polish 2 with sandpaper.
4. The tip of the reed is to thick after using the reedtrimmer: Gentle polish the 7+8, the backside of the reed, with a file or a whetstone.
5. If the reed is overall/general hard to play: Gentle polish 7+8, the backside of the reed, with a file or a whetstone.
6. Reed is squaking: Balance 2.
7. Hard to make a soft attack in the high register: Polish gentle 2+1 with sandpaper.
8. Powerless or week tone in the high register: Polish 3 with sandpaper.
9. The mid-register has less resonance: Polish 4 with sandpaper.
10. The low register is hard to play: Use a razorblade on 6.
11. The reed is still hard/heavy to blow: Polish and balance 6,5,4 3 with razorblade and sandpaper.

X is a important area of the reed and shall not be prepared/worked! If you look against a light the reed shall have a symmetric "V-shaped heart" in the middle of the reed.

You need: A small glas plate or plexiglass plate, file (plane), whetstone (plane), reedtrimmer, fine-grained sandpaper, and razorblades.

Keep the reed wet while you are working. Always work in the direction of the fibrer. Take it easy.! Just small adjustments. Try on a old reed before you prepare a new.



Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
I tried this at time's over the year's and could not be botherd to do it,still cant so i must be a lazy sod.I just soak mine for long lenth's and the one's that play i use and the many that dont just get hidden away,cost's me cash in the long run but the thought of sitting sanding,cutting reed's wont agree with me and a like an easy life.We got our own thing's and way's of getting going but for me life's to short and would rather be playing than sanding a reed.

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