Understanding reed strengths

In general reed strength is the measurement of the density and stiffness of the cane.  The purpose is to provide players an indication of how the reed with vibrate when played.  Softer reeds typically require less "wind" to make them vibrate and create sound. Harder reeds are more difficult to vibrate but can be played louder.

Why do strengths by brand and manufacturer?

Like clothing sizes there is some variation across manufacturers and brands. 


The chart to the left shows a general guideline of reed strength which may be indicated by numbers, or by words. The lower the number the softer the reed. Younger or less-experienced players use a softer reed than advanced players and professionals.



2 - 2.5

3 - 3.5


4.5 - 5






Click on the image to view a comparison of reed strengths by manufacturer.