Your Perfect Reed Is Here!

The Question I Am Asked the Most Is:

How can I get a better tone

A few weeks ago I provided a chart and printout titled: 18 Tips for a Better Tone. You can gain access by clicking here!

This is the 1st of many posts that will dive into each of the 18 points. Stay with us and your ability to succeed will sky rocket. So let’s get started!

The Reed

You can have the most expensive saxophone available, but if your reed isn’t working properly your saxophone can sound cheap and broken down. Luckily, it’s easy enough to fix. Put on a new reed and you’ll be ready to go!

The Broken Reed

I’ve had plenty of students come to their lessons trying to hide their reed from me. Why? because it’s broken. Sometimes, they’ll even argue that it’s just a chip and it doesn’t feel any different. Whether they can feel a difference or not, their embouchure, oral cavity, and throat are making adjustments. When they eventually use a good read, they’ll need to unlearn these changes. Don’t make yourself learn new habits on account of bad equipment- it’s a wast of time. Throw out that chipped reed and put on a new one!


Does it really matter what brand of reed I use?


And your choice of reed can be determined by your skill level. For example, if you’re a beginner, I would not suggest a professional reed. Instead, a student reed (such as a Rico or Rico Royal) would be a good choice. They work easily for the new saxophone player and they are less expensive- bonus! I’ve made some suggestions for reeds on a previous post. Check it out here!

Beginner reeds vs pro

A pro saxophone would be great for any level of player. Reeds aren’t the same. If a beginner starts on a pro reed, they may have some difficulties. Here’s why.

The beginner reed is designed so the student can produce a tone easily. However, the sound quality is sacrificed in order to allow this to happen. Of course beginners don’t normally start with a pro’s tone, so the sacrifice in tone quality is not missed. The professional reed can be more difficult to play, but once you become familiar with this reed, your tone will jump up a level or two.

So When Should I Switch to a Pro Reed?

If I were to give you the amount of time that a student should play on a beginner reed, it would be somewhere between 6 months to a year- depending on how often the student practiced. 

Another way to decide is this: There are a number characteristics that can help you know if it’s time to go pro. Here are just a few:

  1. Every new reed is easy to play (you want this on day 1 of learning the saxophone- it’s not necessarily a bad thing)
  2. Low notes come out easily but high notes don’t
  3. All your reeds begin to produce a buzzy tone

Be aware that these characteristics can be caused by other issues too, but if your playing has 2 out of the 3 characteristics listed above, you can experiment with moving up a reed strength, or go pro. We’ll also talk more about reed strength next week!


How do reeds affect your tone? What’s your favorite brand? Please share in the comment section below! If you liked this post please help us to spread the word by sharing or liking this article. Thanks!

Comments 2

  1. My setup:

    Yamaha Tenor YTS 62-II with Otto Link “new vintage” Metal mouthpiece 7*
    (6 months ago, I used a Otto Link Metal Super Tone Master 7* with Fibracell 1,5)

    Yamaha Soprano YSS 475 with Ottlo Link Metal 7*
    (6 months ago, I used a Bari 68 with Rico Royal 2,5)

    Both mouthpieces are using LaVoz medium reeds.

    I have too much difficulty in reaching the high and low registers and my tone is getting poor…

    1. Post

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