Clarinet Tip #6: Don’t Pick A Hard Reed

I played quite a lot of Clarinet when I was young, and wasn’t too bad at it. Then I stopped; for about 20 years. Then I started again. I found that I’d forgotten lots. Even worse, I discovered that there was a lot basic stuff that I should have learned, but hadn’t.

So thought I’d share a few of the things I should have learned when I started, but didn’t; until now.

Hard reeds are not better.

I used to think that as you got better, you gradually increase the hardness of the reed you use. This is only true for absolute beginners.

Once you are using reeds with a hardness around 2-3, then you should choose them so that they suit the combination of you, your mouthpiece, and your instrument.

Experienced players, who know how to adjust reeds (with things like a knife, and dutch rush), might choose reeds slightly harder than what they play so they are about right when adjusted to suit.