Saxophone Reeds: 9 Unknown Facts About A Reed

Are you buying a saxophone for the first time? Then, as you browse for the facts of a saxophone, you’ve probably seen the talks of the right saxophone reeds.

The reed is one of the essential parts of a saxophone.

So, the choosing of Reed rightly is of great importance. The reed controls the sound of the instrument drastically.

saxophone reed

Also, it’s one of the least expensive pieces of your sax. For this reason, you should know certain factors about a reed.

From brand to strength, here are 9 unknown factors about a saxophone reed to help you buy yours.


Factors of Saxophone Reeds

A saxophone reed is a thin strip of material. It vibrates while playing and thus produces sounds.

As a beginner, you should have some knowledge about reeds. Some factors are –

1. The comparisons between the brands of saxophone reed are not crucial

When you purchase a reed, one of the first things you come across is to decide which brand to buy. Each player has their preferences.

But you should know regarding sounds quality; they don’t have many differences.

If you compare the different brands, you ‘ll find the differences are minimal.

So, don’t increase your concern about brands. Buy the one you like and start learning to play the saxophone

Personally, my favorite is Vandoren reeds.

When I started saxophone playing, I started with Vandoren reeds. However, I have also had success with Alexander Superial reeds.

You’ll also find the same success. However, your choice is always the best.

2. Ways of predicting the best reeds to play

The price of saxophone reeds is quite much. So, it’s better to know what you should buy before buying your saxophone reed.

Before making a purchase, to find the best reed pore over the reed boxes. There are some signs of bad reeds.

Notice them and avoid them while buying. The signs of bad reeds are for example –

  • ​The fluctuating grain widths.
  • ​The cut side of the reed is rougher than the usual grain.
  • ​Discoloration of the grain.
  • ​One side if the reed is thinner or thicker than the other side. Look from the blunt aspect of the reed.

3. Don't push yourself to play hard reeds

A common misconception of the new players is that they believe in playing hard reeds.

new player

They think to play hard reeds make them more excellent in time.

Well, it’s not like that. You should proceed with soft reeds. First, enhance your skills with softer reeds. Then, practice playing hard reeds.

Many professional saxophone players have gained excellence with softer reeds. Focus on developing a good embouchure.

Besides, increase adaptability with your instrument.

4. Match the reed with the mouthpiece

A good reed does not play well if it doesn’t match with your saxophone mouthpiece. It does not allow the reed to play to its full potential.

match the reeds

For the harder reeds, the narrow tip opening mouthpieces usually fit better.

And for softer reeds mouthpieces with wider tip openings match well.

5. The wet reeds play better

However, the wet saxophone reed play better than dry reeds. There are many ways to wet a reed.

You can soak them in your mouth before playing.

Also, you can soak it in a small container of water before the moment of playing. The reed may get warped for drying quickly.

A quick and straightforward remedy of this ailment is soaking the reed in water.

If water does not solve the problem of warping, soak the reed in an alcohol solution.

6. Try the synthetic reeds if the natural reeds fails

If you fail to play natural reeds, the synthetic reeds can be a better alternative.

However, many professional saxophonists think they sound worse than the natural reeds.

But one plus point of synthetic reeds is they don’t warp or crack over time.

Now, it’s totally up to you to think whether to buy a long lasting reed or better-sounding reed.

7. Purchase in bulk

When it comes to buying a saxophone reed, it’s better to buy in bulk.

As a result, you won’t have to run to the musical store when you need a new one.

Practice with different kinds of reeds. Keep at least three reeds with you to play with at all times.

8. Which strength?

While buying the saxophone reed read the strength or hardness of the reed. It usually correlates with the reed density.

Almost all sax reeds are labeled with 1 through 5 numbers. The hardness of the reed increases as the number increases.

Many players falsely believe that “work up” to harder reeds make them play better. But softer reeds also play better.

9. Filed or unfiled reeds?

When buying a reed another aspect to decide is the filed reed or unfiled reed. Ultimately you should learn to play the both types.

filed vs unfiled reed

A filed reed has a double cut, and it vibrates more. Thus, a filed Reed generates brighter sound.

As the unfiled reed vibrates less, it produces darker sounds.

Buy the one that works best with your saxophone mouthpiece and your playing style.


​Final Words

The saxophone is a star musical instrument in jazz, bands or solo performances.

So, if you want to write your name too in this star list, start learning saxophone.

For that, you have to know better about its parts. Reed is a crucial part of a saxophone.

Without the reed sound producing is impossible.

So, learn the little things of good reeds. I believe the article will be helpful for you in this respect.

 Happy Music!

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