Picking a Reed
Look for a reed that has a symmetrical tip opening, crows when dry with some lows in the tone. The central pitch of the crow is normally between F and G. When playing a new reed candidate, check Test 14, and 18 slur ups. The best reeds will do both of these basic tests before the reed has been tuned and refined: a quick way to pick out a reed from a batch. At this time you can also make a basic decision about whether you like the tone of a reed. If the sound is extremely bright or dark, this will indicate additional work that you may not want to do.
Fixing Tip Opening Symmetry Problems
Most tip opening distortions are the result of reeds that are formed with problems in the symmetry of the throat of the reed which translate to the resulting tip opening. If problems in the reed throat in forming the reed are not corrected, there is no good way to undo them after the warp of the blade has been set.