Tips for Fine Adjustment

A new reed needs time to get used to the moisture. Therefore, do not forget to break in the reed. Please be careful and do not play it too long for a few days. If necessary, you can smooth the underside and the vamp to remove any projecting fibres.

1. the reed is too soft

Here you have the possibility to try to fix the reed a bit towards the tip of the mouthpiece to test if the reed gets harder to vibrate. If this is the case, cut off the reed tip with the reed cutter. At first only very little and if necessary shorten it again a little bit.
As a further aid, the underside of the reed can be reground, whereby the point of pressure of the fingers is shifted towards the end of the reed. This makes the reed more open at the mouthpiece tip and the reed feels harder to blow.

2. the reed is too hard

In this case, the underside and tongue are slightly smoothed to remove any standing fibres. If the reed is still too hard, sand the shoulder a little bit (this can also reduce any noise of the reed).
If this also does not lead to the desired success, the whole vamp/cut must be adjusted. During this process, the symmetrical halves of the vamp are ground thinner with a circular grinding movement, whereby the core/heart of the vamp should not be touched. Likewise, the reed tip should not be ground too thin (see point 12).
During the rotation test it can be determined whether both vamp halves can vibrate equally freely. The mouthpiece is blown alternately to the right and left. If one half of the vamp does not vibrate freely enough, it is too thick and must be reground.

3. poor response in the low register

The rear part of the reed is too thick. Therefore a little bit of cane must be sanded away from the shoulder to the middle part of the vamp. The core should not be touched.

4. poor response in the middle register

In the area below the tip of the vamp, a little bit of cane must be removed. For this fine work it is better to advance step by step, so that you can always test the reed in between. Likewise, the tip and both corners/edges of the reed must not be ground thinner by mistake (see points 11 and 12).

5. poor response in high register

The vamp may be too long or the whole cut or the side edges may be too thin.

6. poor response in staccato

The reed tip and the reed tip area are not balanced. Therefore the vamp does not vibrate freely enough.

7. the reed is narrow and little air flows through the mouthpiece opening

The underside is probably warped. Therefore you should smooth it out and take care of the tip of the reed so that it does not become too thin. Furthermore, a little bit of cane can be removed at the shoulders and the reed vibrates more freely. It is also possible to grind the reed tip area a little bit thinner in general.

8. the reed is wide open, much air flows through the mouthpiece opening

The underside is smoothed a little bit. If this process does not yet lead to the desired success, the underside can be reground with the finger pressure shifted to the center.

9. making the reed vibrate freer and give more possibility of modulation

For this purpose, the front area of the vamp can be removed from the side edge in a circular pattern towards the inside.

10. the reed rustles

It is quite possible that the noise of the reed will decrease after some days of breaking in the reed. If this is not the case, the surface of the reed can generally be smoothed a little bit and also the area of the shoulder of the reed.

11. the reed flatters

The corners/edges of the reed tip area are too thin and must therefore be rounded off.

12. the reed whistles

In this case the tip of the reed is probably too thin. To change this situation, shorten the vamp with the blade cutter. But a crack at the blade tip can also be responsible for an uneven vibration of the reed.

13. the reed “rattles” in sound

Possibly the vamp has too little core in the middle of the reed tip area or the tip is too thick.