Sunday, December 26, 2010

Post Christmas Present Review

I hope everyone is having a great holiday! This may be a day late, but I wanted to share with you some of the awesome gifts my dad got my for Christmas.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Aquilasax Alto Saxophone Review

These days, there are tons of saxophone brands, there are the eBay saxophones for $199.99 and free shipping that fall apart in one week and the better known brands like Selmer Paris and Yamaha. I was recently sent an Asian made horn from the company Do Aquilasax saxophones stand up to the well established brands, or do they fall at par with the bad eBay saxes?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Who Wants a Free Gift Certificate? Winner!

Watch the video below to see if you won! Thanks for everyone who entered (I had 40 entries!!!).

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

BA Sling Review

First Impressions: Many saxophonists play for prolonged hours because of concerts, gigs or just practicing. I know that even after an hour of playing or marching, I get a stiff neck. Most people would say that you should use a harness, but they are constricting and can look silly with an alto. Well this long time problem has now been solved by the BA Sling, the harness-neckstrap-all-in-one!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Practice your Sight Reading!

These days, you can find everything on the Internet. While searching, I stumbled across the site This great site does what is in it's name, it helps you practice your sight reading. Well, to a certain extent. This site helps you with the rhythm aspect of sight reading. Using the green bar at the top of the page, you can choose a different meter (time signature), then number of measures you want the exercise to be, and the level of difficulty (1 to 5). When you click the button, the site generates a random assortment of rhythms for you to count or clap. Stumped? Don't worry, just click the play button and they will play the rhythm for you. On the go? Click the print button to print the exercise out, and practice on the go. Think you are a master? Try the beta program that lets you change time signatures in the middle of the exercise. This site is a great tool that should be bookmarked by every student musician, and the best part is it's FREE! Check this site out today.

Pre-UIL Success!

As you may or may not know, I am in my high school's marching band. Yesterday, I was at Pre-UIL, a marching competition to prepare us for UIL Region marching contest. At Pre-UIL, we competed against 15 other bands. From all the 16 bands, they chose 6 to advance to finals. Our band was lucky enough to advance to finals. At finals, we played our guts out and ended up winning Grand Champion! Below is a video of our preliminary performance. Enjoy!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Which type of metronome should I buy?

Below is an article courtesy of on purchasing a metronome, the musician's best friend.

Texas All-State Etudes 2010 Help

For all of the Texas high school students who are working on the All-State Etudes for this year, here is a great FREE practice kit from James Barger for Alto, Tenor, and Bari. It features midi recordings at different tempos, tuning notes, and other practice tools. Download the kit here.

Good luck practicing!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Forestone 2nd Generation Synthetic Reed Review

Forestone Reeds is a great synthetic reed company that combines the traditional cane with a more modern synthetic. If you have read my previous review on the original Forestone Reeds, you would have seen that these are great pro-quality synthetic reeds. Well Forestone has come out with the 2nd generation of their amazing synthetics. Check out this updated review to see what has been improved.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Chromatic Sax by Jim Schmidt

In the world of saxophones, new technology doesn't come often. We might get something like a high g key on the alto or some new neck design that is supposed to radically change your sound, but what about a totally new fingering system? Well, Jim Schmidt did just that by inventing a tenor saxophone that implements an easier fingering system. Since the saxophone is based around the concept where closing holes makes lower notes and opening them makes higher notes, Jim decided to make a saxophone where you only have to lift one finger to move up chromatically. It also features two octave keys (for each thumb) and a C# key operated by the left hand thumb! So what are some advantages of this saxophone over the current fingering system, the Boehm system, used? Here are some from his website:

Saturday, August 21, 2010

*CLOSED* Who wants a free Gift Certificate? (Giveaway)

You might remember that I recently reviewed Theo Wanne's Enlightened ligature. Well, if you would like one at a cheaper rate or want to purchase any other Theo Wanne product, then you will want to enter this giveaway! The nice people at have decided to sponsor a $25 gift certificate giveaway! So how can you win?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Flavoreeds Review

Have you ever popped that reed in your mouth wishing it tasted like something other than cane? Do you want an easy way to tell when your reeds need to be replaced? Do you need some incentive for young beginners to practice? If you answered, "Yes," to any of the above questions, you may want to read this review and see if Flavoreeds are for you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Theo Wanne Enlightened Ligature Review

First Impressions: The packaging of the Theo Wanne Enlightened ligature was very nice. Each piece and a spot and fit nicely. When you order the Enlightened ligature, you receive the reed replacer (a unique twist on the traditional mouthpiece cap), two pressure plates (alive gold and heavy copper), an extra screw, a screwdriver for changing pressure plates, and of course the Enlightened ligature.

Saxotone SuperStak Handmade Wooden Ligature Review

I was recently given the opportunity to try the Saxotone SuperStak ligature, a wooden ligature that is handmade. The Saxotone SuperStak Wooden Ligature is a ligature made for all "common" saxes (see below) and bass clarinet and clarinet. It is handmade and totally customized depending on what your mouthpiece's make and model is. This make this ligature unique to other ligatures since they are only made after you order them. Are they worth the money? Find out in the review below.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

CenterPitch 10 mini Tuner/Metronome Review

Hey everyone! Sorry for not updating in a while, I just finished band camp (and had a blast), so I haven't updated my site in a while. Anyways, On Board Research (the creators of the CenterPitch metronome/tuners and the Beatnik) sent me the newest metronome/tuner in the CenterPitch series, the CP 10 mini! Read the review below to see if this metronome/tuner combo is for you!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Cleaning Your Saxophone Crook/Neck

Keeping your saxophone in good condition is crucial to making every performance the best it could be. If you are restoring an old horn or need to give a new one a good clean, follow the instructions in this article from SH Woodwind in order to get your sax neck back to it's shiny state it once was in.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Cool Saxophone Quartet

If only we could play this for Solo and Ensemble Contest (if we were talented enough...)

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Production of a Saxophone

Have you ever wondered how your instrument came to be? Saxophones (and every other instrument) take a while to manufacture in order to provide a quality instrument. Selmer Paris created the video below to show how that convert a piece of sheet metal into a true work of art. Be sure to watch this video, it is quite amazing what process it has to go to in order to be able to be found in bands everywhere.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Hello everyone! If you are wondering why I haven't been posting in a while, it is because I have been out of the country and only came back last Sunday. It was an awesome vacation, but I did not have time to update my site. Also, since I have been back, I have been at band camp (which has been hard work but very fun) which has also prevented me from posting much. I just wanted to make this post to let you know that this website did not die. Also, I have the winner for the Forestone reed giveaway contest! To see if you were the lucky winner, watch the video below:

Congratulations to the winner and thanks to everyone who entered. Remember, there will hopefully be more giveaways coming up, so keep checking back! A new review will be coming up soon, so check back soon.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

*CLOSED* Contest Time!

Recently, I reviewed Forestone Reeds (if you haven't read the review, you can read it here). The nice people at Forestone have agreed to give me one of their professional-quality reeds to give away for FREE! That's right, you can get a $25 reed for free! How cool is that? If you are the lucky person chosen to get a free reed, you can choose any of their strengths (they range from F2-F5), and they will send it to you absolutely free! So how can you get into this awesome giveaway? Well, here are all of the ways to earn entries:
  1. Comment on this post with at least one reason why you deserve a free Forestone reed - 1 entry
  2. Join my website (link to join is here), or if you are already a member, you still qualify - 1 entry
  3. Answer the trivia question: Forestone reeds are made from a mixture of polyurethane resin and wood cellulose fiber, up to 50 percent of which is comprised of what material? (need help? visit for the answer) - 2 entries
  4. Make a YouTube video at least a minute long talking about this contest and why you should win plus give a link to this post - 5 entries
  5. "Like" Forestone Reeds' Facebook page (link here) - 1 entry
  6. Refer members to join my site- 2 entries/person (limit 10 referrals, but of course you are free to invite more people)
Tally up the numbers, and that is up to 30 entries into this drawing! So, now that you have done all of that, how do you notify me of what you did? Just shoot me an email at with a short description of what you did (#1- copy your comment and user, #2- send me your username, #3- send me the answer, #4- send link to video, #5- just write that you did...This is going to be on the honor system, please don't abuse this to get an extra entry, #6- tell your referral to email me with the subject, "I was referred by..." and put your username for my website Note: You must me a member of my site to get extra entries this way)

I will assign a random number for every entry and put it into I will hit the random button 25 times (once for every dollar an alto Forestone reed is worth), record it, and post the video. The winner will have 1 day to respond to my winning email message, or they will forfeit their prize and a second drawing will be held. The deadline for entries is July 16th (but the drawing may be later because I have to process all the entries). Good luck to everybody that enters!

logo and picture courtesy of

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hodge Products Reed Case Review

First Impressions: Hodge Products sent me a black faux leather reed case that holds six alto sax reeds or seven clarinet reeds. The centered logo on the top of the case gives the case an elegant yet simple look. Opening the case, I saw a sloped acrylic table that holds your reeds. I also noticed messy glue work on the foam insert. Near the bottom left corner was a small yet noticeable glue splotch on the foam. There was also a chip near the top portion of the sliding lock.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Hodge Products Alto Saxophone Silk Swab Review

Hey everyone! Recently, Hodge Products kindly sent me an alto sax silk swab and a reed case. If you have never heard of them, be sure to read this review and the upcoming one on the reed case. They are a great company and have great prices.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Forestone Reeds Review

These days, synthetic reeds are a love-hate relationship. You either love 'em or hate 'em. But with advancing technology in our every growing society, companies like Forestone Reeds (pronounced "forest-tone") can help produce better synthetics and hopefully get more musicians to like synthetics. Read the review below on how Forestone is the future of reed production.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Website Spotlight: Jary Custom

Have you ever bought a mouthpiece and wanted it refaced, replated or just fully customized? Well, Mr. Jary at can do just what you need plus more. He offers refacings, adding a baffle, replacing or repairing a bite plate, and many other services. His prices are reasonable and he is a really nice person. Plus, if you want a fully customized mouthpiece, he can purchase the mouthpiece for you if you aren't sure which one you want.

Friday, June 4, 2010

*CLOSED* First Giveaway!

Hello everybody!

I decided I need to give some incentive to join my site, so I came up with a giveaway. I will be giving away items related to the saxophone as well as money! So how can you get in on these future giveaways? It's very simple. All you have to do is click this link, click "Join Site" and fill out the form. It only takes a few seconds and it will make you eligible to win some pretty cool prizes! If you are already a member, then you don't have to do anything else. If you become a member, you will also be notified whenever there is a new post on the blog. So here is the first giveaway. You win some awesome, never been used reeds (strength 3 and 3.5)! Okay, it's not a new car or sax, but it is free. So all you have to do is join the site to be eligible. I will assign a number to every member and use to choose a number. If that number matches your name, you win! The drawing will be held once I reach 20 members, so if you really want some new reeds, I suggest you start inviting people to join!


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Manhasset Symphony Music Stand Review

Hello everybody! Recently, Manhasset sent me a really cool red music stand. If you aren't familiar with Manhasset, they are one of the oldest music stand makers and very well known among the music community for the well made products. Their stands are found in schools and concert halls as well as homes of musicians who won't settle for anything less.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Website Spotlight: is the website to turn to for all tuning needs. They are the makers of the IntelliTouch and CenterPitch tuners as well as the Beatnik electronic practice pad. Many of their tuners are clip on in order to provide the most accurate feedback. Plus, all of their tuners are under $55! My personal favorite is the CenterPitch 10 with a large, easy-to-read screen, auto-transposing and a built in metronome that can be set from 25-250 bpm. Their entire line of products offer great value for money. Check out today!

The CenterPitch 10

The IntelliTouch Classic

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bois Excellente and Classique review and comparison

First Impressions: Bois Ligatures are awesome ligatures that don't screw on. These ligatures were easy to put on and take off so that I could easily change reeds. However, it does take some skill to put these on. For example, apply too little pressure and your reed moves. Also, it can be difficult to do with one hand, but after messing with it for a while, I got down to where I could put it on in no time. One cool thing about these ligatures are the packages. They are cylindrical tubes that hold the storage box for you ligature and a cool mouthpiece cap. It must be a high school thing that I am obsessed with this packaging. :)

Consoli Ramplig Review

Ligatures are a very important component of the saxophone and clarinet. It holds our reed and can influence your tone. Consoli Ligatures sent me one of their signature Rampligs to review. Find out if this awesome ligature is right for you by reading the review below.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Website Spotlight: Hodge Products

Hodge Products is a great manufacturer of products for woodwind instruments. They have reed cases, mouthpieces, reeds and reed making kits (for double reed instruments) just to name a few items. My favorite product will have to be the reed cases. They don't just make them out of boring materials like plastic but also leather, fabric and wood (I personally like the wood cases)! Another plus is that their cases can hold 2, 4, 6, 8, or 10 reeds. Usually you only see 5 or 10 reed cases, so the amounts in between are nice. If you want to stand out, you can look into purchasing this Asian-inspired 4 reed case for $43:

Or stick to a more traditional, wooden approach for $59 (holds six reeds):

Whatever you choose, any of the reed cases will be a great choice in keeping your reeds in great shape. Hodge Products also offers many metronomes and tuners from brands such as Korg, Quick Time, and Central Pitch at great prices. So if you want some cool items like an awesome reed case or a new metronome, check out Hodge Products today.

Friday, May 7, 2010

One of those off topic posts...

Hey everyone! So I recently started playing tennis and found this cool site: It is all about tennis, and to celebrate their one year anniversary they are giving away a free tennis racquet! I think that is pretty cool, so if you like tennis, check out the contest. It ends July 5, and if you win, be sure to thank me :D

Sunday, May 2, 2010

On-Stage Stands Tall Alto/Tenor Sax Stand Review

Recently, I was sent a saxophone stand to review on my site. Did I think the list price of $50.99 was too much or just right? Read on to find out.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to Play Great: A Guide from an Amateur Player

Hello everybody! Today's guide entry will discuss my favorite mouthpiece for beginner saxophone players. I hope you enjoy, and remember, if you have any suggestions for this series, please email me!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

What is the History of...?

Below is the second installment of the What is the History of...? series. If you have ever wondered how this Italian saxophone maker began, check out this article found directly from their site. Enjoy!

New Training Tool or Just a Conversation Piece?

Hello everyone,

After searching the internet for interesting new inventions in the world of the saxophone, I present to you something that will blow your mind. It is a keyless saxophone! Yes, you just read that right, it is a saxophone without any keys. This product reminds me of a spin off of the slide saxophone (see it being played here) except it looks more alto saxophone-like. Invented by Siguard Rascher, this strange invention seems to be used to help train a student in overtones, improving tone quality, and lung capacity (see the testimonials below):

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mouthpiece Case Review

Recently, a guy named Sonny sent me a mouthpiece case to review. He does not mass-produce these cases but instead hand makes each one. Read this post to find out what I think about his mouthpiece cases:

Monday, April 19, 2010

How to Choose the Right Mouthpiece

When I began playing, I was never told about the different type of mouthpieces, the different materials, and how each material could affect the sound. I was just told by my director, "Go buy a C*." If, as a beginner, students were educated in how each material and type of mouthpiece affected the tone, durability, and what style each mouthpiece is used in, they might better understand why we can't use a metal mouthpiece in concert band. Here is an interesting article from that will hopefully clear up the cloud of fog for beginners.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

WHAT?!?!? Flavored Reeds?!?!?

So apparently I've been missing something here. No one ever told me that reeds can be flavored! According to Flavoreeds, a company making reeds in flavors other than cane, a student's playing will improve because soaking a reed will no longer be unpleasant (although I do like the taste of cane, different flavors would be nice). Also, this reed has the nice plus side of notifying you when to change reeds: when the flavor is gone, it's time for a new one! The flavors are Strawberry, Bubble Gum, Cherry Red, Watermelon, Cinnamon, Mint Green, Piña Colada, and Blue Raspberry (the most popular flavor, but it turns your lips blue). It looks like these reeds come in two packs for clarinet and alto sax, and three packs for tenor sax. All reeds come in strengths ranging from 1.5-3.5. I would love to try these reeds!

What is the History of...?

This is the first post of a mini-series called "What is the History of...?" It will feature the history of famous manufacturers, styles of playing and musicians. If you have any suggestions for this series, feel free to email me This post, written by Steven Knight of, talks about the history of the Selmer alto saxes.

How to Play Great: A Guide from an Amateur Player

Hello everyone! I decided I will try to make a guide on this site about how to become a better player through the eyes of an amateur. As I am only an amateur and do not know everything about the sax, this should be very interesting. So without further ado, here is the first (and possibly only) installment of How to Play Great: A Guide from an Amateur Player.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Clark Fobes Debut Mouthpiece Review

Clark Fobes agreed to send me a free Debut mouthpiece to review. Read on to find out what I think; plus, band directors and private lesson teachers, visit his site to find out how you can get one for free too!

First Impressions: Upon first trying out this mouthpiece, I found it very easy to produce tones, unlike my beginner mouthpiece. At around the same price, I would have opted to use this mouthpiece if my music store sold these. Great for beginners and intermediates (some clarinet and saxophone players at my high school still use these), this mouthpiece is very solid for learning how to play.

Cost: $44- Alto, $47- Tenor, $39.50- Clarinet, $65- Bass Clarinet

Design: All Fobes mouthpieces are hand finished and tested to insure that the best tone and quality are produced with each mouthpiece.


  • At $44 for an alto sax one and $39.50 for a clarinet mouthpiece, this mouthpiece is very affordable
  • It plays very smoothly and will be great for beginners
  • Tone production is easy on this mouthpiece, making it ideal for beginners


  • Only sold at select retailers

Rating: 5/5 stars

I loved this mouthpiece! It is so easy to play and has a nice sound. I wished I had purchased this mouthpiece as a beginner instead of a no name $40 one which was so much lower compared to this. Clark Fobes knows how to make mouthpieces and definitely displays this through his Debut mouthpiece. And don't forget, if you are a private lessons teacher or band director, contact Mr. Fobes through his website for info on how to get a free Debut mouthpiece!

 The alto sax version of this mouthpiece

inside view of mouthpiece

back of piece

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Marca Superieuer Reeds Review

Hi everyone! I hope you are doing great! I know that as I type this, it is currently snowing in my part of the US! Talk about crazy weather! It looks like spring might not be right around the corner for us. Marca Reeds sent me a box of ten reeds to review on here. Were they amazing or horrible??? Read on to find out!

First Impressions: Marca Reeds seems to have an imitation Vandoren reed called the Marca Superieuer. According to the site:

The Marca Supérieure reed contributed to re-elected our company, this model maintains a sound very balanced, neither too dark nor too clear, it is a resistant reed which currently is sold to more than one million specimen per annum. Its elegant presentation, out of black box is very appreciated by the musicians.Professionals and students will find a balance thanks to a consistency and a distribution of the wood, which gives to the Marca Supéreure reeds a superb tonality.
When I tested these reeds, I found that they played ok, and didn't sound amazing. Being cheaper than Vandorens, I didn't expect anything more, so for the price, they are worth it.

Cost: $20.99

  • Cheaper than Vandorens
  • Easy playability

  • little quality control (many of the reed's cuts were uneven)

Rating: 3/5 stars
These reeds are cheap and are great if you need a backup reed. I would recommend these for beginners who aren't sure if they are serious.
they sent me 12 reeds

back of the reed

Saturday, March 27, 2010


Here is a great article I found courtesy of :

Choosing a reed

Saxophone reeds are quite expensive,and to add insult to injury they are often not consistent unless you go for synthetic reeds. They are made from natural products and most manufacturers seem to fall short when it comes to quality control. To be fair to them, it is not always possible to pick out a bad reed visually, and of course you can’texpect them to be play tested before boxing them up. However it is possible tospot some obvious flaws in a reed, but many shops won’t let you cherry pick the best ones out of a box. Many players have just got used to the sad fact of life that you buy a box of reeds and throw some of them away. If the shop does let you sift though a box, there are several things to watch out for:
  • Coarser than average grain which you can see on the exposed shaved or cut part of the reed. This takes a little experience to spot but after a few weeks of selecting reeds you should get a feel for what is right.
  • Inconsistent widths of grain.
  • Discolouration of the grain. (NB Discolouration on the shiny bark is not a problem).
  • Lack of symmetry, i.e. if one side is thicker than the other. Easiest to spot when looking directly at the blunt end, not the tip.
  • Any imperfections in the flatness of the table (this can be cured to a certain extent - see below)

Having said this, none of the above is foolproof, there is a slim chance that a reed which fits any of those criteriais still a good blowing reed, but I think those points give you a good rough guide to visual reed selection.

Which Brand?

Which brand you use can be subjective,all of the main brands have their devotees and it’s a good idea to try as many different reeds as you can once you feel confident enough to test them. I useRico Plasticover (these have a plastic coating) as I find they play well straight out of the box, but I also like Alexander Supoerials. These seem to have a higher percentage of good reeds per box, but they are more expensive than other brands. The difference between the main brands is minimal, and I am also happy playing La Voz, Hemke, Vandoren and other types of Rico, not just Plasticovers. I am hoping to do a comparison test and will post the results here soon.

Which Strength?

Many people believe that as youprogress on the saxophone, you "work up" to harder reeds. I think this is a fallacy, possibly born out by a desire to appear macho. Reed strengths are usually measured from grade 1 (very soft) to grade 5 (very hard)in half steps. Very soon after I started, I believed that "real"players used very hard reeds so I used grade 4, but I soon realised that although this made me play very loud and could get altissimo notes quite easily, it was difficult to get a good sound on low notes, and hard to play quietly or achieve a good vibrato or some of the note bending effects I wanted. Since then I have been gradually "working up" to softer reeds. I say working up to softer reeds because, paradoxically, softer reeds can be harder to play loud or high, so a lot of work on diaphragm and saxophone embouchure is needed to achieve the same loudness and high range as with a hard reed. The plus side though is that once you have managed this, your overall dynamic range and flexibility of tone will be greater. Vibrato and note bending will probably be much more flexible and low notes, especially subtone, may be better and easier.

Which strength you end up using can depend a lot on the mouthpiece. As a general rule, mouthpieces with wide tip openings and/or shorter lays(facing curve) often are best with softer reeds, while narrower tip openings or longer facings can have harder reeds. Much will depend on the style of music you play, usually classical players will prefer a narrower tip and a harder reed. My preference is for a wide tip (125 on tenor) and medium soft reeds(2½. Beginners (especially children) should probably start on a soft reed,e.g. 1½. Most professional players end up using between 2½ and 3½.

Conditioning a reed (aka Preparing or "prepping" a reed)

I find that reeds play best when wet,you can moisten them in your mouth for a while or soak them in a glass of water(some people recommend alcohol such as vodka). If you have the time and patience, it is a good idea to "run in" a new reed by wetting for a few minutes every day for three or four days before playing. If a reed has become warped due to drying out too quickly after playing it may need several minutes soaking, otherwise I prefer to just moisten with saliva.

It’s unlikely that all the reeds in a box will play well. You can improve the immediate playability of a reed sometimes. If the underside of the reed is not flat, take a piece of fine emery paper, lay it flat on a piece of glass and gently sand the bottom of the reedby moving the reed across the emery paper lengthwise. Alternatively scrapegently with a razor blade holding the blade almost at right angles across the whole width of the reed and use steady smooth strokes.

The exposed fibers of the reed on thecut part will be quite porous. It is a good idea to "polish" this area by rubbing along the grain with your thumb. Be careful not to damage the tip of the reed.

Checking again after you have played on it for a while

After a reed has been played on, the wetness can sometimes cause further slight distortion. Often this can be curedby simply tightening the ligature slightly, but it can also be worth resanding or scraping the bottom of the reed. However, this could be symptom of an uneven mouthpiece table causing water or spit to get under the reed.

Altering a reed’s strength

You can make a reed harder or softer yourself. To make it harder you can either clip the end off with a reed trimmer, or find a coin with the same curve, hold it against the end of the reed and burn off a little at a time. Trimming a reed may not be ideal as it changes the basic geometry of the reed - the heart becomes closer to the tip so you should not trim off more than about 1/32 of an inch (1.5 mm).

In this picture the slightly shaded area represents the thicker bit of reed you would see if you hold it up to the light. The heart is very important.

Imagine taking a bit off the tip, the heart therefore becomes closer to the tip so upsetting the possibly ideal contour as in this picture of a reed that has had too much trimmed, you can see there is very little shaved reed between the heart and tip:

There are other problems involved withusing a reed clipper to rejuvenate an old reed:
  1. The reed gets a built in bend following the curve of the mouthpiece lay (possibly worse for those of us who leave the reed on the mouthpiece)
  2. The composition of the reed deteriorates: the fibers break down due to saliva saturation and constant flexing and vibration of the reed, so even if you have cured the reed of being too soft, it will still not vibrate as well as a younger reed

A reed clipper in this case is likely to have only a short term beneficial effect, but with the side effect of compromising the make up of the reed (i.e. the heart becoming closer to the tipas I said earlier). If this side effect is not as pronounced as the beneficial effect of "hardening" the reed, then you may have a few more minutes or even hours of use from the reed.

To make a reed softer use reed rush,fine sand paper or a very sharp blade to gradually remove material from the topof the reed. Gently sand or scrape the sides (of the top) towards the tip,don’t sand or scrape the middle or heart of the reed, which should always be bullet shaped as in the pictures above when you hold it to the light. Do not remove any material from the tip or near the tip.

Comparative reed strength
This chart compares the strength of various different makes of reed.


Welcome to they new Saxtastic Saxophone blog. You may be wondering why I had to switch. When I created my site, I had a limited amount of memory. It turns out that I only have one gigabyte of memory left, so I had to find another site to host my blog. will still be active, but this will be where the blog is from now on. Sorry for any inconvenience.