How to Put a Reed on a Saxophone Mouthpiece – Better Sax
Reed Setup Guide

How to Put a Reed on a Saxophone Mouthpiece

Today, for all of you beginners, we’re going to talk about the best way to put a reed on a saxophone mouthpiece.

This is tricky at first. But once you get it, there is only one RIGHT way to do this.

Step 1: Wet the Reed

First, put the thin end of the reed in your mouth for about 5 to 10 seconds to get it wet. It needs to be wet to function properly. Then rotate it around and wet the flat part on the other end.

Step 2: Wet the Mouthpiece

Next, you’ll want to wet the flat side of the mouthpiece. This is called the “table.” It’s the part of the mouthpiece your reed will go. I wet this part of mouthpiece by wiping the wet reed across the table. You don’t need a lot of moisture, just enough to act as a glue to stick the reed and mouthpiece together.

This is very important in creating an airtight seal, which is essential to creating a good sound.

Step 3: Line up the Reed & Mouthpiece

Now, you’re ready to place the reed on the mouthpiece. You want to line up the tip of the reed to line up with the tip of your mouthpiece. Thanks to your saliva, the two surfaces should stick together.

Step 4: Place the Ligature

Next you’ll add the ligature, which will hold both pieces together. You’ll have to loosen the screws and slide the ligature to just below the filed part. The center of the screws should lie below the center of cane, and the screws should always go on the right side of the mouthpiece.

Step 5: Double Check & Tighten the Ligature

At this point, you’ll want to double check everything is lined up correctly. The rails, or sides of the reed, should be lined up perfectly with the edges of the mouthpiece.

This whole process is worth taking time to do it properly. A poorly lined up reed will just cause more problems down the road.

Finally, make sure to tighten the screws on your ligature and voila! You have successfully setup your mouthpiece.

Final Thoughts

Hope this quick tutorial helps, if you have more questions, be sure to watch the video above! Still unclear after that? Feel free to leave a comment below with any questions you may have.

Look for more? Check out “How to Improve Every Saxophone Reed.”

Also be sure to follow BetterSax on Facebook, InstagramLinkedIn, and YouTube to stay up to date with us for news, giveaways, and other saxophone tips and tricks.

About the Author

As the founder of Jay’s mission is to help developing saxophone players break away from traditional music learning methods and discover a more efficient, practical and fun way to become a Better Sax player. The BetterSax YouTube channel’s videos have been watched by millions and thousands of students have made meaningful progress on their instrument thanks to BetterSax courses.

Jay Metcalf


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2 thoughts on “How to Put a Reed on a Saxophone Mouthpiece”

    1. Gary, I wipe off the excess moisture on the reed and then put it in a reed case. The one’s we are selling here that you linked to are my favorite. The reed itself will have enough moisture in it to keep the humidity going in the reed case for a couple of days. So for me, there is no need to add my own (extra) moisture which gets very troublesome.

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