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This is where I start to get a bit picky. A lot picky, actually!

This pickiness (if there is such a word) is a direct result of having been poor, and when you are poor you want your reeds to last as long as possible.

The theory was - and still is in my book - that if a reed has plenty of even(ish) "fibre" stretching to its tip, it will hold its strength and its tone longer. This can be checked by holding it up to a light-source. - (See the image left) - However, I suggest you don't bother. Music shops do not look kindly upon itinerant reed players scrutinising their goods so closely - discarding some, keeping others. And the other customers - probably the straights - wouldn't understand anyway.

I'm only telling you what I do.

What you must do, however, is find a reed-strength/mouthpiece combination that suits the way you play, and the way you want to sound. Stick at it long enough and you will find your own way of achieving that.

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