Not remotely.I can see that for good players this sort of reed prep is important, but for the raw beginner to both music and the sax, like me, how important is it?
The idea only some of the reeds in a box will be good reeds is something I still have problems understanding.
As a beginner I would assume that if anyone was going to find one reed easier or harder to play than another then it's going to be someone like me - someone who just doesn't have the experience and knowledge to play around any problem a reed may have.
Except, if the comments are to be believed, I should have encountered at least one bad reed by now, especially as I don't buy expensive ones. But I haven't. Some last more than others, but that can be down to a million different things. I've stopped using mouthwash to clean/wipe reeds, for example, as that seems to destroy their longevity.
I'm going to suggest something now that may result in the pitchforks being dug from the back of the garage and the pitch tar being reheated for one last mob riot, but, well, could it be that 99% of so-called 'bad' reeds are actually perfectly okay reeds that happen to meet a player who's having one of those days and needs something to blame?
Have you tried synthetic?