Reed Adjustment Suggestions

My reeds generally play very well for most players right out of the box. However, I recognize that everyone likes a little something different, so here are a few “If, then” scenarios for adjusting my reeds. These tips are likely applicable to any reed style.

First: soak my reeds. I play my reeds soaked in warm or room temp water for at least a minute, preferably two. As they break in they need more or less soaking depending on the particular piece of cane.

Adjusting the tip opening for tone color and resistance. The tip opening is your first point of adjustment. Often the tip of a new reed will flare open and collapse a bit as it’s played in. If this happens the first time you try my reed, gently flex the tip closed with your fingers to relax the cane. At this point the reed should play. You shouldn’t have to do this much or at all after a day or two.

If the reed requires too much air pressure to play: The tip and throat area is probably too open for you. First try adjusting the first wire by flattening it with a pliers. A tiny movement will make a big difference in how the reed responds, so make small adjustments. You can add some zing to the sound by flattening both wires. If you want to remove some zing or buzz from the sound, round both wires by squeezing from the sides. The second wire should probably be somewhat less than perfectly round, but a completely round wire is acceptable. My reeds have a fairly dramatic fulcrum effect, so a small adjustment to the wires is likely all you need.

Scraping tips (if wire adjustments aren’t enough):

A) Reduce resistance and increase vibrancy at the expense of stability by scraping a bit out of the middle of the heart/tip area. Basically you want to take the fingernail shape pattern in the scrape and pull it back a bit, making a longer tip area. I use a knife here.

B) Make the sound a bit less zingy and add some resistance to the reed by removing material from the “rails” – the very side edges of the reeds. For the 10mm from the tip back use a bit of fine sand paper, for the back 16-18mm of the blade use a file.

International Customers

Thank you for your interest in my reeds or in the Little-Jake pickup. Reliable international shipping is a fair bit more expensive than my shipping costs within the US. I only charge the actual shipping costs, no handling fees or mark-ups on shipping. For customers outside of the US and Canada I prefer to ship USPS Priority Mail International to make sure you get your product in a timely manner. Click the appropriate button to add the costs to your cart, then if you need, use the back button on your browser to return here to add the product if you haven’t already done so.

For reeds, click this paypal link to add an additional $27 for Priority Mail International shipping costs.
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For the Little-Jake pickup, please be aware that the threading used for the Little-Jake is an SAE measurement of 10-32. The tool used to make the adapter must conform to this measurement but can be difficult to find outside of the US. If you know you have access to this tool, great! Otherwise I can purchase the necessary bit and tap pair for your repair person to make the adapter. Combine this cost with the additional international shipping costs by adding this to your shopping cart.
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