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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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4,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi guys and gals,
Just another learning question from me. Why do some reeds play perfectly straight out of the container and others need to be broken in first. I got a new set of vandorens about a week ago and there still crappy as. They are so porous its incredible. You put them in your mouth and suck on them and they just flow straight through them, the last lot I had when you sucked on them they were fairly resistant to drawing moisture through them nand they played fantastic, and just before they completely died they are not even slighly porous, and I only ended up throwing some away because they squeeked every time I went to play on them. These new reeds are so hard to play with and they sound horrible. Ive been playing on them each day but there YYYYuck. Any recommendations can you get a bad batch of reeds, whaat do you look for on a good reed
Thanks
Steve
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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13,048 Posts
This is difficult to handle here. It would be better to discuss this with your teacher as there is a lot of information to go over on this subject.

The basic thing to look for is a good heart to the reed - the area in the center of the carved part. When you hold it up to the light there should be a heart shaped darker area in the center of the reed. This indicates thet the cut and density of the reed are probably OK- but it's not always a consistent indicator. Sometimes the ones that look bad are the good ones.

Do you break in your reeds or do any kind of finishing? There are many schools of thought on this and it is best left to your teacher to give you a demonstration. This link shows a few techniques to "improve" bad reeds. Look under tips and articles.

There are several good books on the subject. A decent inexpensive one is "the Saxophonists Reed Doctor" by Moore & Downing. A compact volume with much good information. Worth owning and keeping in your case till you understand it.

Good luck. I spent years playing cane, but now play synthetic almost exclusively.
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member/Technician
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4,690 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the link, Ill have a good reed. My biggest concern is how porous are reeds meant to actually be. My teachers explanation for a poor playing reed was play the reed if it doesnt play well then it needs to be broken in, play it today for 5 minutes tommorrow for another 5 and the next day for another 5 then leave it a week and start again but 10 minutes at a time now ect until the reed plays nicely. This probably works for a reed that has a slightly higher cut than what im used to but I was just curious if reeds are meant to be extremely porous or not, Ive noticed reeds play the best and sound the nicest when they have just a slight bit of porosity to them. Are they meant to simply gum up over time or the internal structure collapse over time allow a better sealing system, is this the purpose of breaking a reed in, or do we break a reed in because the reed is too hard for that player, I know reeds are graded so If I buy a 2.5 reed I can end up with anything from a 2.4 to a 2.8, if I get a 2.8 then maybe the purpose of breaking it in is to allow it to become a bit softer into my range.
Dont reed to much into this however Im still at the learning stage
Steve
 
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