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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001682.txt from 1998/04

From: Shouryu Nohe <>
Subj: Re: [kl] HFC (Fiberreed)
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 14:19:19 -0400

On Wed, 29 Apr 1998, Craig D. Butcher wrote:

> has anyone tried the "Harry Hartmann's Fiberreed" advertised in the Woodwind
> and Brasswind catalog (spring/summer 98)? This is a synthetic reed,
> "manufactured from Hollowfiber foam compound, a newly developed material
> that performs better than cane".
> Well... maybe. But my experience with reeds is very frustrating, and I find
> in a box of reeds a significant variation in strength. These are advertised
> as "not for everyone, but one exactly like the other".

I haven't tried it yet - I'm usually pretty open minded about these
things, and will eventually as soon as I find $18 in the cushions of my
couch...oh wait...I don't have a couch....

I am very suspicious about ads like this. Thing is, I can make an entire
box of V12's work for me, piece of cake. Yes, there is a strength
variation - Vandie sets up the boxes like this especially since days are
not exactly the same. A box of Vandie 4's will actually contain reeds
between a 3.8 to a 4.3. Why? Because sometimes the weather changes or
your lips are tired. I find this very useful. It is NOT nearly as bad as
that stupid ad for Rigotti reeds state (it's on page 84 of the same
catalogue) - that's a load of crap, at least where Vandies are concerned.

The way you make reeds work is you break 'em in correctly. You seal them
and sand them so that the backs are flat - most reeds, larger reeds
especially, warp during shipping in such a way that the back of the reed
is convex, and doesn't sit completely flat against the table of the mpc.
The result is a reed that feels distinctly too hard. If you sand the
warpage away, the reed will play fine. (for exact instructions on how to
properly test and sand your reeds so that they play great, go to

How does this apply to this Hartman reed business? They advertise that
these reeds last 10 times longer than cane reeds. Now, I tend to make my
reeds last longer than most students, because I constantly rotate my
reeds - I don't stick with just one good reed, you play on several. ANY
good player does that (but that doesn't mean that doing that makes you a
good player! ^_- ). Now, considering that there are ten reeds in a box,
and say you're efficient, and can make your reeds last longer than the
average. Fiberreeds last ten times longer than a cane reed. So one
Fiberreed, on average, is equivelant to a box of reeds. I pay $16
(Muncy's) for a box of Vandies, which I can make every one of them
playable. Or I could pay $18 (WWBW) for a Fiberreed. As a budget
concious college student...I'll take the first option.

Now, if playing a reed right this minute without soaking, etc, or the
climate of your area NEVER changes so that you need a harder reed (sudden
rainstorms during the summer render your reeds suddenly soft for a day or
two here in NM, so having the slightly harder reeds in the box is a bonus
for me), then the Fiberreed is for you. At least, that's MY analysis.

My opinion. Like I said, I'll try one sooner or later. Heck, when I
marched, I prefered the Fibrecells over vandies due to cost and
durability (but for concert, I play cane). From the sound of the ad, this
Fiberreed is better than Fibrecell (which I think is the best of all
plastics currently on the market), and it's worth a shot. But my guess is
that I'll end up sticking with the V12's in the long run. ^_^

Shouryu Nohe
Professor of SCSM102, New Mexico State Univ.; ICQ 6771552
Coffee Drinker, Musician, Otaku, Jesus Freak, Admirer of Women
(Not necessarily in that order)
"A steak dinner is supposed to impress us?" - Ikari Shinji
"Does she really think we'll go crazy over a dumb steak dinner? Man,
the second impact generation has got some really cheap
standards." - Langley-Sohryu Asuka

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