Choosing a clarinet tree
Know what level of tear you need. Reds are ranked in hardness levels, where 1 is the softest and 5 is the hardest. Beginning players usually start at a 2 or 2.5, and will advance to higher numbers as facial muscles develop. Hardness refers to flexibility and strength, not thickness. Your teacher can help you decide which number you want to buy.
Understand that there will be varying degrees of quality, even in a box with reeds. Clarinet trees (like reeds for other woodwind instruments) are made from a woody sugar plant called arundo donax. Since reeds are a natural product, variations will occur in color, strength and tone. Expect to find some good reeds along with a few disappointments in each box.
Hold the raft up to a candle. You should see close, evenly spaced vertical lines running from the bottom of the cut part to the tip. If the lines are unevenly separated, reed will not play as well. There should also be a rounded, denser (darker) part of the heart called the heart. Make sure the heart is in the center of the nest. The red should also be the same thickness on both sides, and the tip should fit exactly the clarinet mouthpiece.
Try the fox. Does it play well at all dynamic levels? Is the tone clear in high and low registers? Can you formulate clearly? Try reeds from several manufacturers, as the methods for cutting and shaping reeds vary with each one.
Break the drain gradually. Play a few minutes on each reed and rotate them so that you have several reeds in good condition.
Tips and warnings
Playing clarinet entails the constant task of selecting and maintaining sharpness to the instrument. There are many characteristics of clarinet flood, and knowing how to find one that suits your instrument and playing ability will help ensure a pleasant experience with clarinet.