Students and clients of mine are often left to wonder, “Why does he insist so strongly that I soak the reed in water?”
If I could term one habit as ‘miraculous’, this might be it. In order to improve every aspect of your reed’s life, soak it in pure water rather than your mouth.
First of all, start out with an excellent handmade reed. Check out Tiger Reeds — they’re not ‘cheap’; they’re excellent value.
Avoid machine-made, mass produced 2×4, buzzy monstrosities — check out the reed options and try one! Visit the Reeds page to purchase.
Your bassoon or oboe reeds are turning color (darkening), developing an unpleasant odor (stinky), or otherwise breaking down and becoming soft and soggy faster than expected.
The reed should be soaked in pure water rather than saliva before it is played. As an additional step, a rinse or quick dip in water at the end of playing will further help remove any accumulated deposits.
A clean medicine/pill bottle is an excellent reservoir, and if crushed it will not shatter like glass. Wash it out periodically, and do not store water in it.
Color will remain vibrant golden-white for much longer.
Odorous compounds will be diluted and flushed from the reed.
Reeds will play better for much longer (better response, better tone, more consistent over lifespan).
If water is carried in a convenient, watertight container the inconvenience is nonexistent; taking the extra minute to soak the reed in water provides tremendous long-term benefits to the reed’s life, vastly improving your performance ability and helping out your bank account.
The small bother of pouring water into the reed soaker cup. If you find filling up a 30ml bottle too difficult, be prepared to purchase many more reeds in the meantime.
Do you have a puzzling bassoon or oboe reed question?
Ask the reedmaker and he’ll make a post about it!