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All About Reeds

Austin Music Center has a large selection of reeds in stock to meet your musical needs. 


What does the number on the reed mean? 

The number indicates the strength and tone of the reed. A higher number indicates a stiffer reed and is more difficult to play due to the breath support and embouchure needed to produce the desired dark tone.

New players benefit from asking their teacher which strength to use.

Which reed is better-one made of natural cane or one made of synthetic materials? 

Natural cane reeds from a variety of regions are typically the preferred material because they produce a rich tone. However, they are effected by atmospheric conditions, for example humid versus dry air, unlike reeds made of synthetic materials. They are consistent regardless of weather conditions.

What is the purpose of the different parts of a reed? 

The size of the tip dictates the initial response. Thin tips create an immediate sound. Heavier reeds can handle more air.

The vamp is without bark. Longer vamps are more flexible and responsive while shorter vamps have more focus.

The heart determines the tone and color of the reed. A thinner heart produces a reedier quality than a thicker one.

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