Saxophone/Saxophone reeds

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Question
I guess my question would also apply to other woodwinds that use reeds.
I wanted to know if reeds cam have an 'aging' limitation if after being used for a short time then set unused for a somewhat lengthy time. I have several reeds that I used about 4 years ago and I did not play my sax and only played my clarinet. I have started playing my sax (tenor) again. Some of the reeds seem to have gotten much stiffer and I have a difficult time in getting them to make any sound at all. I always rotated the reeds and when I last used them they all worked just fine. Also, the reeds are all 2 1/2 Ricos.

Answer
Hi Richard,

I went through the same thing several years ago. The strength of the reed is determined by the thickness and profile of the cut. The embouchure muscle weaken from  not being used. If the reeds had never been used they should be fine BUT, the ones that were used and stored for any long period have been damaged by the chemicals in the saliva breaking down the fibers. I have some reeds from the 1950's that still play as designed because they were still sealed. Best to replace the used ones with new reeds.

Jeff Frazier
owner - J and J Woodwinds

Saxophone

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Jeff Frazier

Expertise

Any questions related to the repair, refinishing and restoration of band instruments (woodwinds and brass).

Experience

I am co-owner J and J Woodwinds LLC, a full service repair and restoration facility locatd in Shreveport, Louisiana. We have been in business since 1985 providing customers worldwide with the repairs and restorations that many will not do!

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Apprenticed under one of the finest repairmen in the business at Williams music in the late 1970's/early 1980's. His brother is listed as one of the top band instrument repair techs in the nation!

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Featured on KTBS 3 (Shreveport, La) in October 2009

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US Army Band, US Navy Band, US Air Force Band, beginner and pro players across the globe

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