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This doesn't happen too often but about a year ago I came across a box of Vandoren traditionals that had a couple of reeds in it that were dull, sounded dead, lacked core and projection. They played like split reeds. This was after breaking them in.

I knew of some players that let their reeds age before they play them, so I wrote down their playing characteristics mentioned above on a piece of paper and just put them aside and did not touch them for a year.

I tried them this week and they had completely changed, they are now very good in fact.
Just goes to show that you have to be patient sometimes, they were just not aged enough.
Has anyone else tried this?
 

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Yea, just yesterday actually I came across some old alto reeds that did not used to play well at all. Then after play testing them again I found a couple that played really well now after not being touched for a couple months.
 

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I don't have to, I often buy nos reeds.
 

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By the time you buy your reeds they could easily be a year old. Vandoren reeds are sealed and packed at a particular humidity level, so it could be that they need a little more drying. Maybe? Vandoren's site had a presentation on the making of reeds, and they say the cane is dried for 2 years, so it's difficult to imagine it becoming much drier.

I'd be more likely to go with jbtsax's assessment though.
 

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Have you considered the idea that maybe the reeds are the same, and it is your embouchure and playing skill that has changed? :)
If that were the case, I would have found all of them unplayable. It was just those 2 or 3 reeds.
I've been playing the same reeds exclusively (Vandoren trads #3) for 6 or 7 years.

I remember Bill Street recommending this in a Saxophone Journal interview.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
.... the cane is dried for 2 years, so it's difficult to imagine it becoming much drier.....
I don't think it has anything to do with dryness, more to do with aging of the cane.
 

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I too have found some reeds to play way way better after letting them sit for a long time. I don't think it was any change in my skill or embouchure either...im pretty sensitive to the way the reeds just respond and vibrate.
 

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I did my own extensive research into this question. For a number of years I filed away reeds that did not "make the cut" of reeds going into my actual play rotation. The thinking was that perhaps they could "age" more and perhaps their characteristics would change for the best and be of some use in the future.
My results were ... no change they still sucked(if not worse - for the introduction of moisture process had begun and then stopped...). The "aging" of the cane takes place before the reed is cut. You may benefit from simply letting new reeds "acclimate" by letting them sit out for a week before introducing moisture though.
 

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I've had teachers tell me to set aside reeds if they don't play well. If the humidity levels of your climate change then the reeds will also change. I set aside some reds in October, after hardly playing them. The climate was very dry here, but now it is very humid and the reeds play great.

It all depends on how picky you are about your reeds. I'll set them aside when I could get away with playing them, and sometimes I go through several boxes of reeds a month. So I am often setting aside reeds that are OK, but by waiting I sometimes see a huge improvement.

If the reed has been worn out from playing or it is warped it probably won't improve.
 

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I've had teachers tell me to set aside reeds if they don't play well. If the humidity levels of your climate change then the reeds will also change. I set aside some reds in October, after hardly playing them. The climate was very dry here, but now it is very humid and the reeds play great.
Here's the likely answer right here.
 

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Not really since I put them aside for a full year, so the climate is exactly the same (cold/dry).
 

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there are reeds that just plain suck no matter if you age them or use them in dry or humid climate for example i kept and older half box of LaVoz tenor reeds
For three years and they sucked then. the other day i take it out and play one on a new piece and they sucked worse almost losing an octave somewhere.
 

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Not really since I put them aside for a full year, so the climate is exactly the same (cold/dry).
This winter seems a bit different than last winter though. But that used to be the case with me when I used Ricos way back when. If they didn't work right away for me, I'd put them aside and they might work better at another time. When time/climate variations no longer seemed to do the trick, that's when I moved on to another brand.
 
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