Numero uno: many brands of reeds come in quarter sizes! (Vandoren V12 & Gonzales, more specifically)
Ziffer zwei: You have so many more reed options now! Next time you buy a box, try a quarter size stronger. Experiment and decide what you like! (Broke? Reeds in your stocking this Christmas!)
Saelie (that's number three in High Valyrian): Once you establish a super amazing strength of reed for yourself, consider the weather. Look outside, do you see a snowy supernova? If so, it may be wintertime and fun-fact number three is that the feel of resistance in a reed can change from season to season. The general rule is: cold weather season, use a slightly heavier reed. Summertime, go a quarter size softer.
For example, I use Gonzales brand reeds. I have a pretty resistant mouthpiece, so during the summer I use a 3 1/4 strength reed. Once the weather turns cold consistently (which in Indiana can be anywhere from October to December) I switch to a strength 3 1/2.
Tailor that method to your own current reed size and you may notice a lot more satisfaction with your reed cycle!
Blogging about reeds? I must be MAD!
.Here are some tools and tips of the clarinet and reed trade for younger players to supplement the musical education received from band directors and music teachers. I've tailored these methods (used by professional clarinet players!) to be accessible and user-friendly for the beginner to intermediate clarinet reed-hater.