Friday Reeds | Reed Anatomy

On today’s #FridayReed we discuss the anatomy of the single reed. Yes, the reed is a very scientifically complex part and even the slightest change in the anatomy will affect the sound, tone and playability of the reed!


Légère Reeds are engineered from a mathematical description of a reed profile that outlines each specific part of the reed for ultimate consistency and reliability.

Tip – The tip is the thinnest and most fragile part of the reed. This allows for precise articulation and precision in the sound. The shape and thickness of the tip determine the flexibility and typical characteristics of the reed.

Vamp – The vamp is the length of the reed from the unshaped bark section to the tip. Depending on the reed cut and profile, the vamp can vary in shape, thickness, and curvature. A big part of the reed’s quality and characteristics come from the structure of the vamp.

Spine – The longitudinal center of the reed.

Heart – At the center of the vamp, lies the heart or core of the reed.

Rail – The flat, outer edges of the reeds are the rails. The rail will vibrate as the player blows creating specific sounds and tones.

File – Reeds with a filing around the heart of the reed are called "French Filed". Part of the shoulder of the reed is removed facilitating vibrations and achieving a particular tone.

Stock or Bark – The stock is the sturdiest part of the reed; the bottom half. It is solid and mostly unshaped. It is advised that musicians handle their reed by the stock to prevent any damage to the tip. The heel is the bottom part of the stock that faces outwards.