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Hi,

Does anyone have a link to a video or other resource for adjusting reeds using a reed knife or other tool? What are the principles and techniques for making reeds responsive and reliable?
 

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Hi,

Does anyone have a link to a video or other resource for adjusting reeds using a reed knife or other tool? What are the principles and techniques for making reeds responsive and reliable?
Well, you could do an internet search for "reed adjustment books".

There must be quite a number. You may have the best luck looking in clarinet land; the principles will be the same.

Try Larry Teal's Art of Saxophone Playing, for one. Check Hal Leonard, also Woodwind and Brasswind probably has a section for "books".

Berklee Press comes to mind, too.

Since adjusting (and making) reeds used to be taught as standard subject matter for any trained single-reed player, there will be tons of resources available.

Do students not learn this any more as part of the standard curriculum for reed players?
 

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Buy the Ridenour Reed system. (not me) its designed for band directors. You can adjust reeds and watch TV at the same time. Videos on you tube K
 

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actually you can make a scraping knife of many knives that you own already and I use a canoe whetstone for fine adjustments, works beautifully and costs nothing or pennies
 

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actually you can make a scraping knife of many knives that you own already and I use a canoe whetstone for fine adjustments, works beautifully and costs nothing or pennies
My very elaborate reed adjustment "system" consists of a small penknife (1.25" blade) and a Cordier L'Uniq trimmer. And my hands and eyes.

40+ years now and still haven't seen the need for anything else. If I were making reeds from scratch I would probably invest in a real "reed knife" just for the heavy material removal work, but it certainly isn't needed for adjustments.
 

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Search this site - much already posted about it. Bottom line is ... no need for fancy tools, a sharp pocket knife will do. No need for text books ... you can learn by doing it yourself. It is super simple - keep the reed on the mouthpiece, scrape the vamp a bit, rinse, test, scrape, repeat until you like the results. DAVE
 

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Dumb question regarding balancing: Let's say I rotate the mouthpiece such that I have more lip covers the reed on the right side. Then rotate so more lip covers on the left side. Now if with more lip on the left the reed blows stuffier, does that mean the right side (which is should be vibrating more when the left side is dampened) is more resistant=harder, so I need to scrape on the right?

Trying to ascertain that the stuffier sound/feel equates to harder and not softer.

Of course this can be refined playing higher and lower notes to determine where to scrape the reed on its long axis. I usually first compare low, medium and high notes before doing any scraping.
 

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Now if with more lip on the left the reed blows stuffier, does that mean the right side (which is should be vibrating more when the left side is dampened) is more resistant=harder, so I need to scrape on the right?

Trying to ascertain that the stuffier sound/feel equates to harder and not softer.
Yes to both statements.

If the reed plays more stuffy with the right side vibrating (left side dampened), then the right side is too hard and needs a bit of sanding.

A stuffy sound/feel generally equates to excessive reed stiffness (too hard).
 

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It's good so I have been doing it right for years. I suppose stuffiness on one side could also be due to a lack of elasticity, in which case scraping the side that doesn't vibrate well will either make no improvement or make things worse. But it is worth a try.

What I had been doing wrong for years is using a piece of #400 or #600 wet or dry paper. This takes a loooong time to remove enough material on the lower part of the reed to make much difference in response. Scraping with a knife is so much quicker.
 

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MM, the reason that reeds are stiffer on one side or the other is that cane is a plant, and grows organically, responding to its environment as it does so, and so the material is more-or-less springy depending on the external forces it was subjected to. Remember that all reeds of the same cut and style are cut on the same machine - the #1 1/2 reed and the #5 reed are cut exactly the same. But the #5 reed has stiffer more resistant cane. The reeds are graded into strengths AFTER they are cut. So it's no surprise that one or the other side of a reed would be slightly stiffer than the other.

I use sandpaper to balance reeds, but use #320, that's fine enough not to do damage but heavy enough to remove material fairly quickly. I also make sure to remove material all along the side, from the back of the vamp to the tip, so that I preserve the overall shape of the reed cut.
 

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What I had been doing wrong for years is using a piece of #400 or #600 wet or dry paper. This takes a loooong time to remove enough material on the lower part of the reed to make much difference in response. Scraping with a knife is so much quicker.
Take skeller's advice and use a bit coarser sandpaper. Scraping with a knife also works, but I've had better success with sandpaper, maybe because it's too easy to remove more than necessary with a knife.
 

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much depends on the knife and the angle you use it. Shaving is precisely shaving, not digging in it
 
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