This reed started so-so but after a few sessions it came to life and has gradually become a great reed. But then it started needing careful positioning on the mouthpiece before it sounded its best, and today I just couldn’t get it to seat properly for a clean tone. I’ve tried to photograph it so that you can see how the unsupported section of reed has swelled.
My usual techniques when this happened is the rub it vigorously up and down on a bit of plain paper, this acts like a very fine sandpaper that reduces the deformation, and usually the reed is back to its former glory.
This time it needs a little more work, if you look at this photo:
The razor blade is positioned in the area that should be flat on the table of the mouthpiece, and as you can see there is more light on either side than in the middle indicating a gap either side. I think I’m just not getting a good seal at the sides and as a result the reed just isn’t as good as it was.
Normally I either abandon the reed and reckon it’s had a good life, or I do a bit of halfhearted scraping with a razor blade and maybe make it worse or maybe extend the reeds life a little – it seems somewhat hit and miss.
What do you do, and if you are a reed fettler do you do it from the very beginning, or do you wait until you notice the performance noticeably drops?
With the cost or reeds as they are, I’m becoming keen to extend the life of good reeds and hopefully improve those that don’t play as well.
All the best.