In an earlier post, I summarized the specs of five promising reed cases, each of which promise long and healthy lives for your reeds. I decided to spend a few dollars and see what all the hype was about.
ReedJuvinate was at the top of my must-try list. Creator John Mackey designed the storage system to be a humidified, airtight, sterile environment, in order to protect against the two leading causes of reed death: warpage, and bacterial, fungal, and mold growth.
He designed the case based on the results of his own scientific experiments. Want to learn what’s really happening to your reeds? Click here to learn more about the results of his experiments. Disclaimer: you might wish to burn all of your current reeds after reading this.
So did the reed case live up to the expectations?
Yes, and no.
First, let’s discuss the positive results. I kept 3 reeds in an extremely humidified environment, and played on them each for thirty minutes a day for 2 consecutive weeks.
1. Did the reeds grow any bacteria, fungi, or mold?
No. After two weeks of playing, my reeds exhibited zero signs of bacterial or fungal growth. No rotten smells, nothing. My reeds were perfectly preserved and sterilized, exactly as promised.
2. Did my reeds last longer?
Yes. After two weeks, my reeds are still in working condition.
3. Are my reeds invincible?
Maybe… This requires more than two weeks of experimenting, and I’d like to do a follow up post with results from a four week experiment. TBD.
So, what are the downsides, if any?
1. The case is supposed to hold six b-flat reeds. Three fit into the reed sleeves, and three fit between the sleeves and the wall of the container. Unfortunately, because the sleeves are slightly bendable, the space between the sleeves and the wall of the container fluctuates. Basically, the reeds between the wall and the sleeves tended to slip and fall into the bottom of the container. They only had an inch or so to fall, but it certainly was tricky to fish them back out again.
2. The magnet inside the case isn’t actually attached to the wall of the case. Or perhaps it was when I first bought it. Anyway, it became dislodged and started floating around. When placing a reed back into the outer sleeve, it collided with the magnet and met its sudden death.
3. This isn’t actually a downside, but just a fact. The reeds supposedly come out ready to be played, without soaking. This is true for the first week, I would say, after soaking the sponge in Listerine. After that, the constant opening and closing of the lid I think allowed just enough moisture to escape so that it was no longer at 100% humidity. After about a week, the case was still very humid, but not quite saturated enough to play the reeds straight out of the case. This is a simple fix, of course. Just add more Listerine.
In summary, I’m pretty happy with my case.
My reeds are very healthy, even if I can only truly keep three reeds in the case at a time. They play well, and they are definitely lasting longer than my reeds have ever survived. I like the size, it’s easy to travel with, and it’s great to have three good reeds to take to my studio. If I’ve been sitting for a 45-minute lesson and suddenly feel compelled to play to demonstrate something, I have complete confidence that any one of those three reeds in my case will respond immediately. That’s a very good feeling! And, if nothing else, three good reeds is way better than 10 dead ones.