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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000215.txt from 1999/04

From: Roger Garrett <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Reeds, should I put them in water?
Date: Sun, 4 Apr 1999 11:11:26 -0400

On Sun, 4 Apr 1999 wrote:
> Do you reccomend putting reeds in water? What are the
> advantages/disadvantages of doing this?
> Thanks,
> Nick

Now this is a good question!

In the 1970's a questionaire was sent to clarinet teachers and performers
who help major positions in the United States - I believe by Goldman
(first name excapes me). In fact, a second questionaire was sent out just
last year I believe and we are still waiting for the results/compilation
of that one. In any event, many clarinetists discussed ways to prepare
reeds. I will try to remember to grab that copy off the shelf in my
office when I am next there and check it for references to soaking in
water vs. ? Saliva perhaps?

I used to soak only in my mouth or get the reed gooey with saliva (several
of them), and allow them to soak on top of my reed case (resting on the
bark side) before playing and adjusting/practicing. I have long since
stopped that practice and put them in a shot glass filled with water. I
like soaking the entire reed. Reasons? Hmmmm.......I don't know if it is
accurate or not, but somewhere I aquired a belief that the minerals in the
saliva break the pores/fibers of the reed down more quickly than water.
Water also seems to do a better job of soaking the entire reed - although
the older the reed, the longer they have to soak. For me, they just seem
to play better when they are broken in and then soaked in water.

But what a great question - I'm curious what others do?
Roger Garrett
Professor of Clarinet
Director - Concert Band, Symphonic Winds & Titan Band
Advisor - Recording Studio
Illinois Wesleyan University

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