There is also such a strong demand for Rigotti reeds that every supplier usually runs out weeks before each new shipment arrives, but I do think that the biggest factor is the exchange rate. This means that all the European instrument makers have also been jacking up their prices. In fact, Selmer just bump their prices up almost 15%. Those Chinese horns may be starting to look a little better to some people.
Even if the dollar bounces back in the near future the reed companies will never drop their prices to reflect the stronger dollar. We're F$cked. I'm now going to totally reassess how I deal with bad reeds. No longer will I be able to afford to luxury of going through a box of reeds, picked out the good one and giving the rest to my students. I'm going to have to break out that infernal reed rush, reed knife and reed clipper. It really frustrates me to try to get shitty reeds to work. So few of these reeds ever turn out to be playable for me, they usually work right away or they never do. I'm just not patient enough to polish these exorbitantly expensive turds of reeds until they play. Will only wealthy saxophonists have good sounds in the future?!
I suggest that if you play European reeds you stock on as many of them as you can afford and sock them away. Find a supplier who hasn't sold out of the stock that they bought at the lower prices if you can. I know that Woodwind & Brasswind is out of the strengths that I play (if they did I certainly wouldn't be telling you about this), so see if they still have your reeds and snatch them up while you can still afford to throw away shitty reeds.
If the dollar drops any more I just might be cutting into some of the bamboo on the side of my house. At least I'll be able to feel confident that everyone else will also be sounding like crap.
Here are some pages about working on reeds:
Adjusting the single reed DVD
SOTW forum on reeds
Something that I've found useful for chosing and adjusting reeds is a funny little tool called the Reed-O-Meter. It measures reed strengths and is probably similar to the tool that reed manufacturers to sort reeds by strength. Once you have determined which reed strength you require, the Reed-O-Meter will aid in the consistent selection of reeds of exactly that strength.You can order the Reed-O-Meter from WWBW.
"For a number of years we have worked with some of the biggest names in music to produce custom made reeds. These tailor made reeds can be produced with specific profiles and cane treatments. In the past this was a very manual process. Now with the help of new software tools the process is much more efficient. Access to a mass produced yet consistent custom reed has never been easier. Please contact us to discuss your plans."