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Reed Making Tips | Paula Brusky, PhD

You are going to need to make a LOT of reeds before you master the techniques, so keep at it and learn to find the fun in it!

A few tips to reed making:

  • Keep track of what you are doing so you can learn from your success and failures, make a reed journal
  • Let your reeds age AFTER the tube is formed.  The longer you let a reed dry and settle before you clip the tip, the more stable the reed will be.  Best thing I ever learned in reed making was to wait six months before clipping the tip, the consistency I’ve attained by doing this is truly remarkable.  I wait six months before clipping the tip on a reed blank, which means planning ahead so I have reeds for now and reeds waiting for the future.
  • After your initial scraping that got the reed down to the correct measurements, give it time and put the knife away!  A LOT can be done with wire adjustments.  I rarely scrape a reed on the day of a performance, if it was a good reed to begin with, a wire adjust is usually all it needs to be fantastic again.

Learn how to profile, shape, or form tubes