Saxophone Forum


by silversax440
(29 posts)
11 years ago

Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

So guys, is anyone making their own reeds or buying reeds several strengths to much and filing them down? Tell us about it... or what reeds are working for you ? (for legit sax)

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  1. by Bibimbop
    (53 posts)

    11 years ago

    Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

    I've never tried making reeds by hand. I've always been curious, but I don't think I have the patience to really do it right. I'm pretty typical, I use Vandoren 3's for alto right out of the blue box. I buy alot of reeds, and I've found that just taking care of them makes them last much longer. I keep them in a Selmer reed case that has the glass for the bottom so the reeds stay flat. Also I keep them in a tupperware container with a sponge to give them a little humidity control (I picked this up through a Sinta student I met). I've also experimented with legere synthetic reeds. I love them for tenor and bari and have switched completely over for those horns, but for alto and soprano I haven't become real confortable with them so I stick with cane. I like Vadorens, but I've had real consistancy issues with them. I've tried Zonda's and Alexander Superials with not much luck...and other suggestions?


    1. by Bibimbop
      (53 posts)

      11 years ago

      Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

      Oh...also, I've just tried sanding down reeds that are too hard with fine grit sand paper. Has anyone been using reed knifes or other tools? How's it been working?


      1. by silversax440
        (29 posts)

        11 years ago

        Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

        I've been using a reed knife, reed rush, and sometimes a reed trimmer. At first I was just touching up reeds, trying to make more out of a box playable, but now I've been taking Vandoren Blue Box #4s and sanding them down. I'm actually having good luck with some of them, however I'm stuggling with dynamics with these reeds, and usually dynamics is something, that I don't have to concentrate that much on. Any ideas out there? Bibimbop: I go through alot of reeds too and I'm having the same trouble finding reeds that are consistent. I used Alexanders for along time and then got fed up and switched to Zondas. Now I'm switching between Glotins, Brancher Classical Operas (which I like alot... right at the moment haha), and of course I'm still playing around with the Vandorens. Also, Bibimbop, you mentioned keeping reeds in a container with a sponge. do you keep the reeds in a case while in the container? or are they on a piece of glass? and do you keep them flat or upside down, like when you would air dry reeds? Thanks, Shaun


        1. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          I use flexible manicure boards - the kind with different levels of abrasiveness on them. NOT the sandpaper-type - these are all synthetic.


        2. by Bibimbop
          (53 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          I keep them in the selmer reed case, which has glass in it that they lay flat on. Then I put them in tupperware with the sponge. Reeds are going to change now matter what, but I think this helps keep them around just a little bit longer. At the very least they will definitly seal longer. I haven't tried the Glotins and I've been curious. How do the strengths compare to Vandorens? Also... I've had this debate before, and I'm still not decided... When soaking your reed before playing do you like to just let it soak in your mouth... Or do you put in in water (like double reed players do)... Or does it really make a difference. I'm curious as to what people think about this.


        3. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          I like to soak my reeds in a shot glass so that they get evenly and thoroughly hydrated. Also, there's less risk of whacking the reed on your teeth.


        4. by Bibimbop
          (53 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          The problem I've run into doing that is that sometimes I get reeds that are over-saturated. How long do you leave them in?


        5. by sax_maniac
          (984 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          I find that soaking them for about 5-10 minutes is enough. I then blow on the end to force out the excess moisture. You'll see tiny bubbles on the vamp! When fully saturated, any warping tends to straighten out. I don't think it damages the reeds to keep them submerged for long periods of time. I know people who keep their reeds submerged in salt water - in the case - inside a tupperware container - not just with a sponge, but actually in water. That seems a bit extreme to me. To each their own. Even if the reed has a little waviness at the tip, after about 5 minutes of playing, it's usually gone.


        6. by SelmerParisPassion
          (59 posts)

          11 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          The couple of times I bought a box of Vandoren reeds, I used a nail/manicure file to sand them down a bit and get rid of the unevenness further back in the reed. Worked pretty well. I've never tried actually making them, though, I lack the patience and probably coordination too. Christie J


        7. by spottspidermunki
          (55 posts)

          10 years ago

          Re: Handmade or Commercial Reeds?

          i use vandoren javas, blue box, and V16's. consistancy within boxes is off and on for me. sometimes i'll get an amazing box, others are terrible. glotins are a bit softer than vandorens. u can download a reed comparison chart off the net at a bunch of places. jus run a yahoo search and see what comes up. i like superial dc's for tenor on my dukoff. they all seem pretty consistant. has anyone tried Hemke's? i personally like them a good bit. they're a little softer than vandorens, and play well for the price. they're really dusty coming out of the box, but they clean up quite nicely after polishing and soaking and such. plus rico has made a new reed-holder w/ a flat plastic bottom which i am impressed with. i'm jus wondering what u guys' thoughts r on the topic. Joel