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.

Advertisements
Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s