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Distinguished SOTW Member
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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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