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.
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.”
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2 thoughts on “How to Put a Reed on a Saxophone Mouthpiece”
Hi Jay – once finished with a session (practice or performance), what’s the best practice for storing the reed. I’ve read where some players store their reed in a container with a damp (one or two or three drops) of water and seal till the next session. I’m going to assume we should place the reed in the holder?
I also noticed you have a nice wood box with magnets. https://bettersax.com/product/bettersax-deluxe-wooden-reed-case/
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.