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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000472.txt from 1999/06

From: "David B. Niethamer" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Cordier Reed Clippers
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 1999 12:41:30 -0400

>On Tue, 15 Jun 1999, David B. Niethamer wrote:
>> Cordier (and the others like it) get dull very fast, and crush the reed
>> fibers as they clip them, affecting the sound of the reed.
on 6/15/99 9:45 AM, Roger Garrett wrote:
>I have been using the same Cordier for the last 18 years and have never
>had a problem - and that includes 5 years of making reeds from blanks!
>Still, I am interested in your view of the Vandoren clipper - is the shape
>different than the Cordier? Have you ever had to change the blade?

Roger - I don't own one - they're pretty expensive. I've only seen it in
action, and used it (someone else's) a time or two. I can't remember if
it can be shaped or not.

I'd be interested for you to try shaping some tips by hand with
sandpaper, to see if you notice a difference in the sound of the reed.

What I hear as the difference in sound is a more mellow, resonant sound
when I form the tip by hand. Clipped reeds have a brassy, sometimes
unfocused quality which only goes away with significant tip work in
balancing the reed, if ever.

Neil Leupold wrote:

>Do you accomplish this by abrading the tip with sandpaper
>flat against the front edge of the reed?

I do this by working from each corner in toward the center, starting at
about a 45 degree angle. The sandpaper is at a 90 degree angle to the
plane of the flat back of the reed. If you sand from the center outward
to the corner, the risk of tearing the outside fibers is too great, and
you could ruin a reed - been there, done that. I then gradually round off
the shape to match my M13Lyre. When the shape is pretty close, I drag the
tip **lightly** over some 320 or 400 wet/dry sandpaper (I have a few well
used sheets on my desk, so they're even less abrasive than if they were
new). This raises some "fuzzies" above the tip of the reed, which I sand
off **very lightly** with the goal of not changing the basic shape of the

Hope this is at least somewhat understandable.


David Niethamer
Principal Clarinet, Richmond Symphony

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