Updated: May 11
Playing saxophone well is all about making it as easy as possible, and that includes keeping your reed in great shape. Proper saxophone reed storage is one of the keys to doing that. Keep reading below to learn more about how to store saxophone reeds.
The Key: Keeping Humidity as Consistent as Possible
Have you ever started playing on a reed and noticed that the tip of the reed was wavy? This is a warped reed. Much like other wood, reed cane can become warped if it goes from dry to moist and vice-versa too quickly. This happens because moisture absorbs or evaporates unevenly, leaving the cane wavy (and really difficult to play). Changing weather can often be the culprit, but the transition from its case to a warm, saliva-filled mouth can also warp the reed.
Proper reed storage is key in preventing reeds from warping. If you store your saxophone reeds in a slightly humid environment, then they won’t be as shocked when they enter your mouth.
How to Store Saxophone Reeds In Order to Maintain Humidity
Below are a few different saxophone reed storage options to help keep your reed’s environment (mainly humidity) as consistent as possible.
Reed Storage Option One: On a Glass Surface
This option isn’t so much about keeping them in a humid environment, but rather it mitigates how the moisture is managed when you put the reed away. When a reed is placed on glass, the relationship of the glass to the cane allows moisture to evaporate evenly across the reed which prevents the waves/warping. So while we aren’t directly controlling the humidity, we are keeping the moisture from absorbing or evaporating unevenly, which prevents warping. You can buy a piece of glass at a hardware store for a few dollars and go the homemade route, or you can buy pre-made glass reed storage boxes. Selmer used to make a popular one, but we haven’t seen that for sale recently.
Reed Storage Option Two: Humidity-Controlled Boxes
Vandoren also makes a humidity-controlled reed storage box where you can control the humidity level with a thermostat-like interface. Pretty fancy right? I’ve never owned one, but have had several colleagues who love them. The downside (and probably why I’ve never owned one) is that they’re pretty pricey.
Reed Storage Option Three: DIY Humidity-Controlled Boxes
Lastly- a homemade, DIY humidity-controlled box. There are a couple of different ways to accomplish this, but I’ll mainly focus on my method which has worked very well for years.
How to Make a DIY Saxophone Reed Storage Box:
Purchase a Rico Reed Vitalizer Pack (2-way humidity control). I recommend purchasing the 72% humidity pack, at least to start with. They only cost about $4-$5.
Purchase an air-tight container (I like the “Snapware” type containers), available at Target and other grocery stores.
Put the reed vitalizer pack in the storage container, along with your reeds (keep the reeds in the plastic cases they came in).
It’s super easy and only costs about $15-$20! Organize your reeds with a box for each saxophone: soprano, alto, tenor, and baritone so that you can keep your reeds nice and organized.
Rico also makes a pre-made version of this humidity-controlled reed case. I personally owned one for many years (and clumsily dropped it one day- the reeds were fine, but the case was not so happy). Even though I loved that case, I ultimately stuck with the air-tight container because I could keep more reeds in it and it was more airtight.
There are also many other creative ways to successfully store reeds. The possibilities may be endless!
We hope you found this article about how to store saxophone reeds to be helpful! If you have any more questions, ask us here.
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