Woodwind Instrument Reeds FAQ’s

With so many different types of reeds out there, how do you decide the best for you? Well, the first step is educating yourself on the basic terminology associated with reed. 


Tip – The tip of the reed is responsible for vibration and is where the strength is tested. The thicker the tip, the more resistant the vibration and larger the number. Hence a number 2 1/2 reed has a thinner tip and would vibrate with less resistance than a number 4 reed.

Heart – The heart of the reed is the tone color of the reed. The thicker the heart, the darker the tone quality – the thinner the heart, the brighter the tone quality. In general, jazz players desire less wood in the heart for a brighter sound and classical players prefer a reed with more wood in the heart for a darker sound.

Stock – The stock of the reed, which can be a number of different sizes, has a bearing on how the ligature sits on the reed and around the mouthpiece.

Table – The table of the reed is the bottom area of the reed. It must be flat for the reed to vibrate properly.