Tutorials

Reeds Sanding reeds

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,406
Location
Daventry
Any tips from the experts on the gentle art of modifying reeds with a bit of B&Q fine grit sandpaper? I've never bothered before but maybe I've just been lucky with reeds. I've certainly never found any more than about 1 in 10 so unplayable that I've chucked them, but either I've become more picky or I had a bad batch of Javas because I found 3 of 5 in a recent batch about as lively as a lollipop stick.

So I went to work on them with a bit of the aforementioned DIY gear, left over from the weekend project of painting the front door. I always figured this was a technique for the experts, but I thought, what's to lose? The ruddy things were useless, so I could hardly make them worse. Amazingly, after a bit of trial and error, I have 3 perfectly good reeds that play the way I expect a Java to play. I must admit, it was all a bit random; a bit off the tip, blow - better response but still muddy sounding, a bit off the body - then a bit more - and bingo - we have reed perfection! A very satisfying evening - but I suspect there's a lot more science to it than that!
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,623
Location
Rugby UK
I've used the same precise scientific approach myself, but my weapon of choice was a very sharp penknife! I simply held the blade at about 90 degrees to the reed and gently scraped away some wood. I tended to avoid the thicker center of the reed and just scraped the sides and a little of the center of the tip as well, sort of in a "U" shape. Great results, I managed to turn a fairly lifeless reed into something quite playable. I have repeated the process since,also with good results!
 

Andante cantabile

Senior Member
Messages
695
I sand them down on occasion. I have found that only the tiniest part needs to be removed, and not anywhere near the tip. I have never attempted to trim with a Stanley knife or similar. What I have found is thaqt they don't last much longer anyway.
 

AlanU

Member
Messages
624
Location
Enfield, North London
I favour 'smoothing' the underside of the reed with the blade of a Stanley knife held at right angles to the reed, stopping short of the tip.
Laying the underside on a steel rule I then stroke toward the tip with a more rounded tool to crush the open ends of the tubes and produce a smoother surface. Without cutting or taking away any material.
 

Martin

Member
Messages
212
Location
Grenada, West Indies
I've used the same precise scientific approach myself, but my weapon of choice was a very sharp penknife! I simply held the blade at about 90 degrees to the reed and gently scraped away some wood. I tended to avoid the thicker center of the reed and just scraped the sides and a little of the center of the tip as well, sort of in a "U" shape. Great results, I managed to turn a fairly lifeless reed into something quite playable. I have repeated the process since,also with good results!
I do the same, Taz, but I use a one edged razor blade and I try to take it off evenly from the centre and edges of the thick part. I've managed to make some real duffers playable like this, but I've never produced a fantastic reed.

Martin
 

daveysaxboy

Big ruff Geordie bendy metal blower
Messages
3,352
For me lifes to short and i am lazy,if they dont play they go in my very large box of crap reeds but after time i find a few that age well and then i am sorted.
 
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