Your 3 Wishes

Walking Through the Desert

Imagine you’re walking through the desert and you come across a genie’s lamp. You rub the lamp and out comes a genie! You’re granted 3 wishes, but you are also warned that if you decide to use these wishes, there will be a price. Along with your wishes, you’ll also be granted a new trial in your life. You think about it for a second, and it’s an easy choice to go with the wishes. And, there’s no need to wonder what you’ll wish for. You know exactly what you’ll do with your 3 wishes. Here they are:

  1. You wish for the best saxophone in the world
  2. You wish for the best mouthpiece in the world
  3. And, oh yeah, you take that last wish and wish your way back home to safety

Wouldn’t it be great if you had the best saxophone in the world? The tone would be amazing, each note would be easy to play, and of course it would look really cool too. And then there’s the mouthpiece. It allows you to play at every dynamic level easily, allows quick articulation, and a perfect response.

The Story Continues

Now that you’ve arrived home and you have your perfect saxophone and mouthpiece, you break out your reeds. All of a sudden you feel like you’ve made an error in your wishes. You should have wished for the perfect reeds! How could you have been so careless!

You understand that the reed can make or break your whole set up. At that moment, your heart sinks. You begin to understand your new trail in life. You may have the best saxophone and mouthpiece in the world, but the genie has placed upon you not just a trial, but a curse. You are cursed to play on the worst reeds in the world!

It’s Just a Dream

At the height of intensity, you wake up and realize that it was all a dream. You are 100% relieved. You recognize your blessings in your life and have a great day. Why? Because, as any saxophonist knows, you can have the best saxophone and mouthpiece in the world, but if you have bad reeds, you’ll never sound as good as you should. In fact, you can sound like a completely different saxophone player.

Have You Noticed?

As you can tell, the reed is very important to your success on the saxophone. You may have already experienced this to some degree. For example, you may sound great one day, and the next day your tone isn’t the same. You may sound like a completely different person.

2 Points

For a beginner, this day to day difference can be caused by many things. Today, I want to focus on the reed. There are 2 points I would like to quickly cover that can cause the issue just mentioned. And here’s what you do to fix it.

Problem #1- The Reed is Dry

This may seem simple, but don’t overlook this important point. Keep in mind that if you set your saxophone down for a moment, the reed could dry out. It may still seem wet enough to the touch, but the playing condition could still be too dry. Take a moment to get the reed wet again. Get the whole think wet too, not just the tip area. Submerse the whole reed, so the back end is wet too. You’ll notice a difference in regards to “ease of play” if you’re not doing this already.

Problem #2- The Reed is Crooked

There are many philosophies of where we should place the reed, but as beginners, we want to place it in the center, and have the tip of the reed like the image below.

reed placement on saxophone mouthpiece

Make sure the reed is not too high or low. Notice the black sliver of mouthpiece at the tip. If you copy this, you will have the reed at the correct height.

Feel free to experiment with reed placement. I would suggest setting the reed as instructed above and see how it plays. You can then make slight adjustments in multiple directions to see if it makes the tone better or worse.

That’s It!

I hope you enjoyed our story, but more importantly, I hope these 2 tips will help you produce a better tone on the saxophone. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in our comment section. If you would like more information on setting the reed correctly, you can check it out in our free lessons.

We would also love your help getting the word out. You can help us by “liking” or sharing this post with the social media buttons on this page. Thanks and have fun playing!

Comments 4

  1. Spot on the reed is crucial. I’m using a Meyer 5 M mouthpiece and I have tried several reeds. A Rico Jazz Select 2M is working for me at the moment.

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  2. Hi Jeff,
    Yes, reeds can be drastically different from each other. I have learned to adjust them, if possible. I use the “ReedJuvinate” preservation system to keep my reeds moist, and so far I really like it. Very simple, and my reeds last much longer. I have an older Vito alto, and use either 2.5 or 3 Java reeds and also the same strength with the ZZ reeds. They both work great with this horn.
    Thanks, Tim

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