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Reeds Reeds! >:)


Playing alto 2 1/2 years
I have a Reed Juvenator and two other similar home made reed "humidors". Since I bega, 2 1/2 years ago, I've purchased a lot of cane reeds. Almost all are Vandoren, mostly Blue 2 1/2. I have many other alternatives, some Blue 2, a couple Blue 3, Jazz ZZ in 2 and 2 1/2. I always gravitate back to the Blue 2 1/2 most of the time. The thing is, my oldest reed, which has be at least two years old, sounds and feels the best! How weird is that? I also have some reeds sitting out. They dry up but, when I wet them some of them sound and feel good. The new reeds out of the box rarely sound or feel right.

Currently, I have the old, old reed, and almost as old reed and a new (1 week old) reed in the Juvenator. The oldest sounds best, as I said. The second oldest sounds fine too. The new one feels like it needs to be broken in.

Does this say anything about my playing? Or is it just the way cane reeds work?


Senior Member
Edinburgh/Hot Rock off African Coast
Wow. Don't get too attached to em Randy you may get burgled.
Some round here keep them sodden in booze. I used to revolve them too but now I just get them as cheap as I can and make them work." Most of time" pain involved.
Any Reed worth it's salt will be ok after a proper session or is it perhaps a combination of the Reed and the embouchure melding. I have played long 2.5 hr Busking gigs where I swear the dog of a Reed was my sweetheart at the end.
That's why I will never use fake reeds again.


Brisbane, QLD, Australia
I have a confession to make, too. Reeds are supposed to wear out quickly. Few in a box are any good. That is NOT my experience.

Like your experience, my reeds seemingly last forever, too. In 50 years I've never thrown away a reed unless I chipped it beyond repair. These days I use a Reedgeek to flatten tables so as to use them on different mouthpieces. 50 years ago I played clarinet for 3 years at 1 hour per day and never threw away a reed. Recently I used one of these 50-year-old reeds on my soprano sax with no issues.

With my Alto I only played a few times per year but I used the same reed pack for 50 years.

For the last 8 months or so I have played between 1 to 2 hours per day on a mixture of Soprano and Tenor. I've not had to throw away a reed. I even saved a chipped one.

I rotate lots of reeds at any one time. About a month ago I experimented with playing one reed only to see if I could "wear" one out. I played the same Hemke 2.5 reed every day for 1 to 2 hours for a fortnight and it gave out, getting all stuffy. I figured it was merely too wet so I put it back in rotation, gave it plenty of time to dry out (about a week) and bingo it was good as new again after a Reedgeek treatment. It's still in my rotation.

I can also use every reed in a box, sometimes with a little Reedgeek coaxing.

On Soprano I mainly use Hemke 2.0/2.5/3.0 and Vandoren blue box 2.0/2.5 and D'Addario select jazz 2M filed. I find blue box colourless but a dream for palm notes. D'Addario much more colour but palm notes difficult.

On Tenor I've used mainly Rico 2.0/2.5 and more recently D'Addario select jazz 2M for much more colour.


Seeker of truth and beauty
Oneonta, NY
I've had really experiences with cane reeds as well. I generally find all 10 in a box playable, some very good but all at least good. I do have a reed geek and flatten the tables as well as evening the sides if needed. This was my experience the long period I played Java greens and over the last year with Rigotti Golds. Take care of them and they last.
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Saxholder Pro

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