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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000606.txt from 1997/12

From: Bill Hausmann <>
Subj: Re: Reed Physics
Date: Thu, 11 Dec 1997 22:00:49 -0500

At 10:25 AM 12/11/97 -0800, Tim Roberts wrote:
>Is there a web site which discusses the physics of reeds, or perhaps a good
I am a "dedicated amateur." I've seen others clipping, sanding or making
>other physical adjustments to their reeds, but I've always been hesitant
>because I couldn't predict what the effect of any particular adjustment
>might be. What does clipping the end do to the reed? (And "shorten it",
>while correct, is not the answer I seek...) What about sanding the=

There is a diagram and chart taken from "The Art of Saxophone Playing" by
Larry Teal. A lot of easy to understand information on adjusting reeds=

>Is there an "algorithm" for choosing a particular strength of reed, beyond
>simply trying each one? I had long held the na=EFve notion that strength=
>somehow directly related to sophistication; beginning players play 1=BD or=
>and gradually move up the scale as they "mature". I've come to realize
>this is a foolish notion, but I don't have a solid explanation with which
>to replace it.
Depressing numbers of school band directors believe this, too. Yes,
stronger embouchures can (and probably should) handle stiffer reeds. But
that is only part of the whole picture. The match involves one's personal
embouchure, mouthpiece, desired sound, etc. In general, open mouthpieces
take softer reeds, closed facings require stiffer reeds. In the end, I'm
afraid there is no substitute for good old trial and error.

>I've also been experimenting with non-cane reeds. Cane purists will want
>to stop here and move on to the next message. ;) Does anyone else use the
>"plasticover" plastic-coated cane reeds from Rico? They seem to last
>forever, and the tone stays exactly the same from week to week. My
>Fibrecell reed is OK, but a bit bright for my taste. I have one clear
>plastic reed which has a nice, very consistant, warm tone for me; I would
>like to use it full-time, but I get a chirp or squeak when rapidly
>attacking middle-of-the-staff D, Eb and E. Is this a familiar problem
>which perhaps has a known method of correction?
Plasticover reeds have some adherents among jazz sax players. They tend to
be bright and last a long time. I haven't tried Fibrecell yet, but I hear
they are much better than the Bari clear plastic ones. I hope so. I tried
one for my tenor. It is suitable only for marching or desperate doubling
situations where the reed will otherwise dry out before you make a rapid
switch to that horn. The good news is they can be sanded and worked like
cane reeds, which might solve the imbalance that is causing your squeak.

Hope this helps.

Bill Hausmann
451 Old Orchard Drive
Essexville, MI 48732
ICQ UIN 4862265

If you have to mic a saxophone, the rest of the band is too loud.

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