(The following is taken from my posting on the Clarinet Bulletin Board, answering a posting concerning find the perfect reed.)
“If one is searching for the perfect answer to the problem of reeds, it is my feeling that one can find it only by creating it, for most certainly it differs for each of us.
Making one’s own reeds takes a bit of time,and a few tools and more than anything, good cane, for which you must find a reliable source.
There was quite a nice comment about the sound and feel of cane on this site, which is quite correct. It cannot be duplicated by plastic. The Legere reeds all play, but they sound and feel strange almost from the beginning. They have also other “cuts”, the Quebec cut, which has a deeper sound, not as bright, or “brittle” as I have heard the term used many times. But they last a shorter time and begin to change almost from the first or second day….and that begins to sound like any cane reed, however the cane sound is superior from day one. I played and tested these reeds for a period of six months and I found what I think anyone who tries them for any length of time will find. They are simply not in the same place as cane reeds, for reasons of sound,response, longevity, and expression.
The reed you make yourself will be more difficult to make prior to getting what you want, but when you do and, you will, you will find the reed will last exponentially longer than any commercial product.
With three or a half dozen of these, you can play and practice and perform for a year or more, and be making more at the same time. It really is the classic win-win situation. Make your own. Plastic or synthetic are just that; not for making beautiful expressive phrases on the clarinet”.