Care and Preservation of Reeds


Cane from which reeds are made is a water plant and does not like hot, dry weather. Do not store reeds in a dry, overheated room. This takes the life out of the reeds and is liable to cause them to crack and split. Carry your reeds in a tightly fitted case. Better still, wrap them in oiled silk. If you carry on your person more reeds than will fit into your case, carry them in an outside pocket, not an inside pocket, as the heat from your body has a drying effect which is harmful.

Caring for Reeds After Playing

Clarinet and saxophone reeds should be flattened against a piece of glass, plastic, or nonrusting metal while they dry after being played. This will keep the tip from drying with wrinkles or waves in it. To remove excess saliva from reed, squeegee it by pressing it with the fingers against the facing of the mouthpiece or against a piece of glass. Wash the reed occasionally in lukewarm water and soap. This removes bacteria which may cause mold. Mold or mildew will ruin the reed.

Keeping the Reed Moist While Playing

Keep your reed moist during long periods of rest in a playing engagement. Most players hold the reed in the mouth but some use moist cotton. The oboe and bassoon players must give special attention to their reed as it is liable to dry out and close up. These reeds are gouged very thin and dry out quickly.