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How Long Does a Synthetic Fiberreed Saxophone Reed Last?

By March 11, 2018September 8th, 2019sax reeds, saxophone articles

Many people have asked me “how long do these fiberreed reeds last?” Good question I’d say. It’s just been a year now that I have been using them so I haven’t been able to give an honest answer.

I got about 11 solid months out my Fiberreed Onyx. I started using it in February of last year and sometime in December I started to feel it getting weaker. I have heard some synthetic reeds are suppose to last a year and some at least 6 months. This is possibly quite true, depending on the brand and the amount a player uses it of course.

I didn’t play mine everyday but did use it as my main reed during this period of 11 months. I would say if you’re having 2 hour practice session everyday you won’t get 11 months out of this synthetic reed.

How To Make Your Reed Harder

What To Do When Your Reed Gets Worn Out And Feels Too Thin

With a worn out cane reed you can lengthen it’s life by clipping a hairline fraction off the very tip. You can achieve the same thing on a synthetic reed by sanding the tip. With a very fine 1000 grit sandpaper, sand the tip down at a 90 degree angle. Kinda like when you file your nail.

How To Make Your Reed Softer

What To Do When a Reed is Too Hard

Many new cane reeds outta the box will feel a little stiff, even if they are our perfect, preferred strength. It’s quite easy to take a reed tool or even just some fine grit sandpaper and shave it a bit. You can also do this with a synthetic reed.

Start working on the tip of the reed. Usually doing just this will give you a brighter sound almost immediately. Those who have gained more practice at this can also work on the “heart” of the reed and closer to the edges.

If the Lower Notes are Hard to Play

If the lower register is hard to play grab slightly rougher sandpaper and work the lower, or rear part of the cut. It is necessary to remove more material to achieve noticeable result. Make sure that after each sanding you play your reed for testing and to see what has changed.

If Your Reed is Wider Than Your Mouthpiece

If your synthetic reed sticks out too much at the side of your mouthpiece you can also sand it along it’s side edges until it’s flush with the mouthpiece.

Because not all mouthpieces are exactly the same size, the reed may stick out a bit along the side of your mouthpiece. To make your reed narrower, hold it at the shaft and move it up and down on the edge of some 500 grit sandpaper.

Careful not to put pressure to the tip of the reed. This could change the shape of the reed. Shave the reed on one side, then the other, alternating until it’s even with the mouthpiece edges. Finish by rounding off the reed edges with the fine 1000 grit sandpaper. You’ll want to pay special attention where your embouchure will come in contact with the reed so as not to cut your lip!


  • William Cingolani says:

    Valuable info. I do play/practice at least 2 hrs a day. I have 4 onyx soft reeds and I rotate them from time to time. The onyx soft reed is my primary reed. I also have 3 onyx medium soft reeds.

  • well your a hard core player, so i would say thats fantastic, it should last me years LOL

  • Tim56 says:

    Johnny: As you know, I having been using synthetics for many years. 6 I think? Any way, I started with Fibracells. There OK. How ever the Legers are much better for me. I have the Onyx MS and S. I did sand the tip on the S. Plays nice. The MS is good too. I have the Hemp, MS. I do change them on a regular basis. So, not having them too long, Time will tell. I do not use cane any more. Why take the time to mess with cane? These reeds are there and ready to go. Tim

  • Thank you
    From a nearly beginner from south of France

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