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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000652.txt from 1999/04

Subj: [kl] vintage reeds
Date: Wed, 14 Apr 1999 14:09:19 -0400

Jim Lande asked,
<Does anybody collect vintage reeds? >

I'm interested in old reeds, too. Haven't been looking for them at all, but
I've been saving whatever I find in old cases, although so far I think all
the ones I've found are no older than about the late 1950s (maybe not that
old). I haven't been able to steel myself to put an obviously used reed in
my mouth. Eeeeeew. In fact, some the apparently-unused ones gross me out,
too, because they're porous material that would tend to hold onto whatever's
in them and there have definitely been things living and breeding in some of
those cases. I found some gooey green reeds in a half-rotted case that
contained a sax with a fat, fleshy fungus growing inside. Yeccch. So those
reeds, vintage or not, went straight in the garbage!

I've soaked some clean-looking ones from less-disgusting cases in Sterisol
(mouthpiece disinfectant, a cold sterilizing solution, sold by Ferree's
Tools) for an hour, rinsed them, left them in sunlight to dry (sunlight is a
good disinfectant, too) and then re-soaked them the usual way in water and
tried them out. Haven't died yet.

They've been uniformly dreadful reeds, alas, and began to split and chip
right away. I think the many years of "ageing" under who knows what
conditions probably left them brittle. Maybe the Sterisol made matters
worse. I've decided that when I find a one-of-a-kind reed, I'll leave it
alone and try to keep it in good condition. When I've got more than one,
I'll try it out.

Hey, maybe we could start a craze for these on eBay! Wonder what someone
would give for, "Rare, antique clarinet reeds with unique patterns, possibly
occult symbolism, created by scarce species of non-human life forms...." ;-)

"The word is 'Pitch and Pay': Trust none."
Shakespeare, Henry V, act ii, sec. 3, line 51.

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