The Sanborn Process

This entire process takes place over the course of approximately 3 weeks.

  1. Fill your Reed-Well   with warm water and soak the reeds in the jar for 2 hours
  2. Dump the water out, but leave just a little bit at the bottom to keep in some moisture.
  3. Place the reeds into their individual plastic covers or let them cling inside of the Reed-Well with the moist sponge and cover with plastic lid.
  4. Every day during this 3 week process, take the reeds out of their covers, and push the pulp off of the back each the reed using your finger.
  5. Once the pulp has been pushed off of the reed, play the reed and compare it to all of the others. Scratch the number corresponding to the rank of the reed on the plastic reed cover (the best reed would have a “1” scratched into the cover, of course).
  6. Every few days during this process, with just a little bit of water in the Reed well soak the tip area of the reeds, but leave the rest of the reed dry in the open air. Let the reeds dry off this way for 45 minutes. Make sure you don’t lose track of which reed is your number 1, 2, 3, etc. Marking the reed with a marker should do the trick. After the 45 minute tip soaking, play your reeds and see if your reed ranking has changed at all.
  7. Once you find your best reed, assuming that, like Sanborn, you play every day, leave the reed on the mouthpiece when you’re done playing, and seal the mouthpiece cap on the mouthpiece using tape so that no moisture escapes.
  8. Once the process is complete, you can have many weeks worth of reeds waiting for you in your Reed Well. This is ideal for someone like Sanborn, who spends longs stretches of time on the road. Naturally, during those stretches, while travelling from gig to gig, he doesn’t have time to go through the process of picking out the best reeds.