3 things you should know about saxophone reeds

If you’re struggling with your saxophone reeds, you’re not alone.

Playing the saxophone can be a rewarding experience, but dealing with the reeds can be frustrating. In this article, we will discuss four things that you should know about saxophone reeds to make the process easier.


The first thing to know about saxophone reeds is that they are inconsistent. Reeds are sensitive to temperature shifts and other environmental factors. They are sensitive to weather and humidity, so don’t expect a package of reeds to be precisely the same. If you buy a package of 10 reeds of the same brand and strength, they will likely be different from each other.

The inconsistency of reeds can be frustrating, but it’s essential to understand that it’s normal. Don’t expect every reed to be perfect or the same as the last. If you’re struggling with a particular reed, try a different one from the package until you find one that works for you.


The second thing to know about saxophone reeds is that strength isn’t everything. The strength of the reed depends on the mouthpiece you’re using. If you have a closed mouthpiece, you can use a higher-strength reed. But if you have a mouthpiece with a wider tip opening, you’ll need a lower-strength reed.

For beginners using a classical mouthpiece like the Yamaha 4C or Selmer C*, a 2 or 2.5 reed is suitable. If you’re using a mouthpiece that allows a lot of air, such as an Ottolink 6 or Mayer 6 or 7, a 3 or 3.5 reed might be too much. Remember that the strength of the reed is relative to the mouthpiece you’re using.


There are tools available to help improve the consistency of saxophone reeds. One such tool is the Reed Geek, which can help adjust the reed’s shape and improve its performance. Other tools, such as sandpaper, can be used to adjust the reed’s thickness and make it more suitable for your playing style.

It’s essential to remember that these tools won’t make a bad reed good. Still, they can significantly help improve a good reed’s performance and extend its lifespan.

View ReedGeek on Amazon

Proper Care is Essential

The last thing to know about saxophone reeds is that proper care is essential. After playing, store the reed in a reed case that allows it to dry out properly. This will help prevent mold and bacteria from growing on the reed and extend its lifespan.

It’s also a good idea to rotate your reeds regularly. If you have several reeds, rotate them daily to help extend their lifespan. Remember to clean your mouthpiece regularly to prevent bacteria from growing and affecting the reed’s performance.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, saxophone reeds can be frustrating, but understanding these four things can help make the process easier. Remember that reeds are inconsistent, and strength isn’t everything. Tools can help, but proper care is essential for extending the reed’s lifespan. With these tips in mind, you’ll be on your way to playing your saxophone with confidence and ease.

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