If you play an instrument with a reed, you know just how much of a difference finding the right reed for your needs is. In the same line, you also know how devastating it is to lose one of those amazing reeds, whether through warping, bending, or cracking. Thankfully, the Reed Geek is here to help! The Reed Geek is a heavy metal tool, machined to precise edges, that lets you shave off the reed material to get the desired flatness, curve, and consistency. Is this article and the video above, we’ll go through exactly what the Reed Geek can do, and how you can get started using it! Think a Reed Geek would be a useful tool for you? Click here to purchase!
How Do I Know If I Need To Fix My Reeds?
The first step to fixing something is knowing that it’s broken. Sometimes it’s easy – a large crack, or a crease where there shouldn’t be. But sometimes it’s not obvious – and for instrument reeds, that can be most of the time. Reeds are delicate, small, and thin, so it can be difficult to know when your reed needs to be repaired. Typically, there are two ways a reed can warp – outward “()”, and inward “((“.
To test if your reed has warped outward, you’ll need to find a truly flat surface – something with industrial tolerances of thickness. Things like sheet metal or glass is a great option. A polished and finished table can also do in a pinch. place the reed on the “flat side” down (the side that would go against the instrument), and very gently place two fingers on either long edge, feeling for a wobble or tilt. If you do feel that wobble, that means your reed has warped outward “()” and is wobbling on the center, like a cup laid flat.
Alternatively, your reed could be warped inward “((“, in which case the flat surface wobble method won’t reveal any problems. For this, you’ll need to “polish” the reed. Thankfully, it’s easy! Take a piece of paper, and place your reed on top of the paper, on top of your flat surface. With the reed on the paper, and the paper on the flat surface, use the weight of your hand and fingers (not pushing down!) to move the reed in circles on the paper. Do this for 15-20 seconds and check the reed. Either the whole flat surface will appear glossy, or only the edges of the reed will. If the whole thing has a sheen, then you’re good! Your reed is flat and you don’t need to fix it. If only the edges are glossy, your reed has warped inward, and will need to be repaired.
My Reed Is Warped, How Do I Fix It?
Once you know your reed needs to be repaired, it’s time to use the Reed Geek! Like we said above, the reed geek is heavy, with very sharp corners. To shave material off, use the weight of the Reed Geek and place a corner against the section you need to shave (the middle for an outward warped reed, the edges for an inward warped reed). Move the Reed Geek up and down the reed, and you’ll notice what looks like sawdust coming off. It’s working! Don’t take too much off though! Taking material off your reed will affect the sound, and taking too much material off can ruin the reed altogether.
That’s really it! And while this is sounds (and is) fairly basic, it can be challenging if you haven’t done it before. Take your time, practice on older reeds you don’t use anymore, and gain some experience! You’ll find that taking a few minutes to work on your reed can give it months and months of extra life, saving you money in the long run! Once you’ve taken the material off that you need, give it a quick polish to both get rid of the sawdust-like material you’ve shaved off, and to triple check that it’s flat, and then give it a play to make sure it sounds great again!
If you think the Reed Geek is something you can use, be sure to check it out on our website!