Klarinet Archive - Posting 000159.txt from 1994/09
Subj: Re: Perfect-a-reed and Reed Wizard
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 1994 09:23:57 -0400
On the Perfect-a-Reed,
>>Has anyone heard of the products called Perfect-a-Reed and the Reed
>>Wizard? What do you think of these products?
I used the Perfect-a-Reed (produced by Ben Armato) when I lived in New York City
some twenty years ago. I remember being given an old, out-of-adjustment
Perfect-a-Reed by my teacher, so I called up Ben Armato; nice man. He came over
to my apartment, picked up the device, and promised to return with it. While
working on it, he dropped it, rendering it useless. So, being a gentleman, he
replaced it free of charge.
The device's purpose is to allow one to balance a reed (i.e., to insure that as
you ascend the vamp of the reed, the thickness increases evenly at relative
points on each side of the reed. There are two assumptions hidden in this
approach: (1) that your mouthpiece rails are balanced as they curve away from
the tip; (2) that the bottom of the reed is truly flat. Neither of these
assumptions is a given. If the mouthpiece rails have a slight warpage,
balancing a reed will have the effect of *unbalancing* it relative to your
mouthpiece. If your reed's flat bottom surface is not truly flat, you cannot
get accurate measurements on Ben's guage. That said, both of these items are
desirable--your mouthpiece should have balanced rails, and your reed should have
a flat table.
The guage was useful, but--apologies to Ben--mostly as a training device for
learning how to handle reeds. Specifically, it demonstrated how little wood can
be removed to achieve clear results. Once you learn what it is you wish to do
with your reeds, and once you learn how to do it, you won't need the guage.
But, I do recommend it -- in fact, it is the only device I recommend for those
who wish to learn how to adjust reeds. It is recommended with the following
admonition--it is only a tool; using it demands skill and patience; it is not an
answer in itself; once you learn how to use it, you won't need it any more.