What reed should I use?

Reed strength is measured in numbers in half measurements from 1 up to 5. The thickness or strength of the reed in relation to the air strength of the player will affect the tone quality produced. Beginners will start on a soft reed usually a 1½. This will result in easy production of sound. As the upper range is included students may need to move up in strength to produce a strong supported sound in the upper register of the clarinet or saxophone.

All brands will vary slightly in their strength and quality. Beginners will often break reeds as they learn how to take care and it is recommended at this stage that there will be no difference in the reeds. To start off it does not matter if the student uses the cheaper brands. As the student progresses they should be encouraged to try different brands of reed and decide which brand they prefer. Each musician will prefer different reeds, it will depend on the individual.

When a new reed has been bought there are steps which can be taken to ensure the quality of the reed and its life span last longer. First soak the reed in room temperature water for about 5 minutes. Once it has been soaked remove it and wipe away excess liquid. Place the reed on a flat surface with the flat on the reed facing down on the surface. Place the pad of the thumb on the thick of the reed and run toward the tip. Repeat this step a 3 or 4 times. This seals the grain of the reed preventing it from becoming water logged as you play.

After playing take the reed off the instrument wiping excess moisture off before storing in a reed case. Always have 3 or 4 reeds that you are happy with and alternate the use.