Learning how to insert a reed in the mouthpiece of a tenor sax requires caution so as not to split the new reed. It will take a little practice and some coordination to get it right.
To change your tenor sax reed you will need:
- The new reed you want to use
- The mouthpiece of a tenor sax
- A small glass of warm water
- Before you begin, gently put the reed into the glass of warm water. You want the water to just cover the thinner section of the reed. This will soften the reed and expand the fibers. You can also place the reed into your mouth, on top of your tongue, to have the same effect.
- After you have mastered changing your tenor sax reed, you can do it with the mouthpiece still attached to the instrument, if you like. While learning, it helps to take the mouthpiece off.
- While holding the round end of the mouthpiece in your left hand, loosen the screws on the ligature with your right hand. The ligature is the metal band that attaches the reed to the mouthpiece. Do not remove the screws, just loosen them enough to get the old reed out and the new reed in.
- If there is an old reed in the mouthpiece slide it out now. Hold the new reed by the edges of the fatter end with the flat side of the reed facing the flat part of the mouthpiece. Gently slide the new reed in, fat end first, between the ligature and the mouthpiece. Be sure the end of the reed is even with the end of the mouthpiece.
- While holding the reed against the mouthpiece with your left thumb, tighten the ligature screws with your right hand. Replace the mouthpiece on the neck of the tenor sax and you are ready to play. That’s all there is to inserting a reed in the mouthpiece of a tenor sax.