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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000783.txt from 1998/03

From: "Edwin V. Lacy" <>
Subj: Re: Zonda reeds & Husa's Apotheosis
Date: Sat, 14 Mar 1998 11:43:31 -0500

On Thu, 12 Mar 1998, EbKlarinet wrote:

> Also, Eric asked about Zonda's grading. I find that they play softer
> than V-12s, but not by an entire half strength. I use V-12 #4, so I go
> back and forth between #4 and #41/2 on Zondas.

As someone has mentioned earlier today, in the case of Zonda reeds, it
would not be correct to say that a #4 is a #4 is a #4. The Zonda's can be
bought in a soft #3, a medium #3, a hard #3, a soft #3.5, a medium #3.5,
etc., etc. I think they are actually capable of determining something
like 60 different grades of hardness. To simplify things a little, they
have combined the strengths comprising a range of three gradations so that
there are about 20 different strengths. The key is in the "lot number"
printed on the back of the package. If this lot number ends in the letter
F, that indicates soft #3, G indicates medium #3, and H indicates hard #3.
I, J and K are the three grades of #3.5, etc. (I hope I have all this
correct. I know that this is the grading system for the alto sax reeds,
and it should be the same for the clarinet ones, although the letters
which end the lot number may be different.)

So, in order to get what you want, you have to buy them from a dealer who
knows what this is all about, or you have to try to explain it to the
salesperson. Say that you want reeds in the soft #3. If you want to buy
them from one of the large nationwide mail order dealers, you have to
describe exactly what you want and how to determine the strength, all this
to a person who may not quite be sure what a clarinet is, but who was
chosen for the job because they have a nice telephone voice, etc.
Sometimes they get quite impatient because it doesn't seem to them that
this should be such a big deal. This has been a problem for some of my
students who may not be quite so insistent as I am that they get exactly
what they ask for, and pay for.

Perhaps Zonda needs to consider some kind of simplified system. The reeds
themselves are great, in my judgement, and the fact that the grading is
more precise can be a big advantage. But, it requires that the consumer
be able to both determine which strength works for them and to buy that
strenght consistently and without too much trouble.

Ed Lacy

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