Playing saxophone well is all about making it as easy as possible, and that includes keeping your reeds 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.
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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 saxophone 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.
*Note that all of these saxophone reed storage options apply to cane reeds and aren't necessary for Legere plastic reeds. If you'll be playing outdoors or in a very dry environment, I recommend consider a Legere reed.
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.
Making Your Own DIY Humidity-Controlled Reed Box
There are a couple of different ways to accomplish this (including a reed-specific storage case), but I’ll focus on my DIY reed storage method which has worked very well for years.
How to Make a DIY Saxophone Reed Storage Box ($10-$20):
Purchase a Reed Vitalizer Pack (2-way humidity control). I recommend purchasing the 72% humidity pack.
Purchase an air-tight food storage container (something like this, available at Target and other grocery stores as well). You can go with glass or plastic, depending on your preference.
Put the reed vitalizer pack in the storage container, along with your reeds (keep the reeds in the plastic cases they came in).
Purchasable Option: Pre-Made Humidity-Controlled Cases
D'Addario makes a pre-made version of the DIY reed box/case here. I personally owned one for many years (and clumsily dropped it one day- the reeds were fine, but the case was not). Even though I loved that case, I ultimately stuck with the air-tight container because I could keep more reeds in it.
Other Option: Utilize Glass
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 I haven’t seen that for sale recently.
I hope you found this article about how to store saxophone reeds to be helpful!
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