SYOS

Reeds Sanding reeds

dooce

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,418
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
3,640
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
693
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
646
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
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
3,345
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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