A reed is often attached to a musical instrument. They come in different quantities, such as double or triple. I wonder which type of wood and/or other material is available for making an effective reed.


1 Answer 1


Your question is very broad, in that you do not even attempt to clarify what purpose it serves. There is an abundance of various reed instruments out there. Why are you interested in the material used? To build your own reed instrument? Are you a double-reed player who needs to make their own reeds?

  1. The most common reed material when it comes to Western music is cane (Arundo Donax). The vast majority of saxophone, clarinet, bassoon and other reeds are made from that plant.
  2. Synthetic reeds are becoming reasonably popular with regard to Western instruments. Most are made from polymer compounds, like polypropylene.
  3. Palm leaves can be used for some instruments too, like the quadruple-reed sralai.
  4. Willow, brass and steel can also be used for other instruments, like harmonica, concertina, accordion and their variations.
  5. Stone and bone would be some of the less conventional reed materials, mostly associated with folk instruments.
  • @PiedPiper, how would one distinguish between a reed and a membrane then? Because a lot of resources seem to refer to that membrane as a reed.
    – Pyromonk
    Commented Sep 28, 2019 at 23:59
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    A reed vibrates and produces the sound. The membrane just resonates in sympathy with the sound. You can replace the membrane of a dizi with scotch tape and the instrument will still work. You only lose the richness of sound.
    – PiedPiper
    Commented Sep 29, 2019 at 8:01

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