This chart was given to me buy a great saxophonist and woodwind player in L.A.,
I have found that buy studying the chart and assessing the corrections made to the way the reed plays, as you make the changes, eventually you don't need the chart, but will be able to correct what is wrong with the reed, or at least improve it.
When the chart says use
, I use a
single edged razor blade
very lightly and follow the instructions on the chart.
When it says
, I use the razor blade with a little stronger stroke.
Some reeds just don't have any life or vibrant quality to start with
. Those I just toss and forget about.
Since I changed to the Rico Select Reeds, (
I do not endorse Rico reeds, just telling you what I think
), I've found they are more consistent than any other reed I've used. Actually, they remind me of the old Rico reeds that came in the brown boxes. A number
2 medium filed is sort of like a hard regular 3 reed
. So if you decide to try them, keep in mind that they are harder than you would expect by their number.
The heart of the reed, basically below the 3, 3 where the X is, needs to be strong and even. This makes for a good vibrating quality. Also, it is very important that the tip be consistent from left to right, 1,1,1 on the chart. Hold the reed up to the light and look at it. You will be able to see if the heart is balanced and even, peaking in the middle, and if the tip is even, one side will appear as clearly as the other. Before you start fooling with the reed, soak it for 5 minutes or so and then give it a play. Regardless of how it looks, sometimes it plays great, go figure!
Because I'm on the road so much, I have created my own little repair kit that I've found invaluable. 1st, a good reed cutter, available anywhere. 2nd, a set of jewelers screwdrivers. You really don't need the philips heads, but they come with the kits. 3rd, a small pair of needle-nose pliers. 4th, a single edge razor blade, which I carry instead of a reed knife. 5th, a small piece of 100 grit cloth sand paper, used for working on reeds and on the horn when necessary. 6th, rubber-bands, different sizes from medium to large, for quick fixes when a spring goes bad. And last, but not least a spring puller. These can be purchased from a repair shop or can be made, a lot cheaper, from a metal knitting needle. The hook side of the knitting needle is used to pull the spring and the rounded other side has to be shaped into a "V", to be used to push the spring. Take a look at a regular spring tool at a repair shop and you'll see what I mean. The one side of the V is a little longer than the other. Oh yeah, super glue, small pieces of thin cork and felt also come in handy for quick repairs.
For a printable copy of this chart,