Recently, I wrote a guest post for my good friends at the Dallas School of Music about an (un)common solution to dealing with squeaky reeds. (The article originally appeared here.)
I created a video with this solution. The text from the article also appears below the video.
Let me know if this works for you!
Squeaky Reeds? Try this…
You’re ready to play the best solo of your life…
The guitarist just finished their turn, you take a huge breath and SQUEAK!!!!
All the ideas you had in your head go out the window as you are insanely
embarrassed and are now furiously focusing on NOT squeaking again instead of expressing your ideas.
This scenario (or something very similar) has happened to a majority of saxophone players in their careers. Some of us have sworn off wood reeds because of this and lack of consistency. Some of us have gone through boxes, no, crates of reeds trying to find the perfect one that will hopefully last more than a week. Some of us have gotten adept at adjusting our reeds, but are sick and tired of spending hours doing so.
A couple of years ago, I was listening to a terrific interview with Ricky Sweum conducted by Doron Orenstein (www.BestSaxophoneWebsiteEver.com). He has played in 49 of 50 states and has performed with such great jazz orchestras as the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Gerry Gibbs Thrasher Big Band, Chie Imaizumi Jazz Orchestra, and the USAF Falconaires.
In the interview, Ricky was talking about how living in higher elevations, where the air is dryer, was creating havoc on his reeds and playing. He decided to store his reeds in a waterproof container (like a Witz case that people use to store their ID if they are swimming underwater) filled with Listerine. Why Listerine? It contains alcohol, which is an anti-septic, so that your reeds don’t get moldy even though they are wet all the time. The Listerine kills off germs too. An added bonus is that they taste and smell great!
The interesting thing is that the reeds respond very quickly and tend to last much longer in the Listerine solution than in a regular reed case. In fact, Ricky said he had one reed that lasted 5 years!!!
Naysayers claim that reeds should not be waterlogged. But storing the reed in the Listerine solution regulates the reed to stay in one state, a wet state, instead of fluctuating from a dry state to a wet state, which over time, wears out the reed.
How to use: I use a reed holder that can store up to 4 reeds and I place those reeds in the Witz case filled 1/3 to ½ with Listerine. Remember to replace the Listerine every 2 weeks (minimum) to keep the reeds fresh and keep the germs at bay. You can find Witz cases on Amazon.com.
This remedy really seems to work, especially for performing in dry and low humidity conditions. Try it, and let me know what you think!
Here’s a NEW Solution!
ReedJuvinate is a new way to store your reeds and control the humidity. It also keeps your reeds germ-free.
Learn more by watching the video below, and by reading my article on this new product here.
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