Chris Apps’ reed advice: sanding isn’t always necessary

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If your new reed is too hard to play don’t reach for the sandpaper straight away. When you receive a reed it will be very dry. This lack of moisture will make the fibres of the cane stiff and reluctant to vibrate. Blow through the reed without the pipe for thirty seconds or so to relax the fibres.

If this doesn’t make the reed easier, it may be that the mouth is too big. Try giving it a good squeeze and maybe rock it back and forth a bit whilst squeezing. Remember to do this after blowing warm air through the reed. If you think you may have gone too far, put the reed down for a while. It will most likely open a little.