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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000689.txt from 2000/04

From: Dan sutherland <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Adjusting reeds
Date: Sun, 16 Apr 2000 20:57:56 -0400

I have before me "The Gomez Tool No.1". It is 3 pieces of plexiglass
secured together with 4 screws with wing nuts which allow adjustment of two
of the plexi plates to enable reed centreing. There are thin red lines
that indicate the correct allignment of the reed. At the business end
there are 5 thin slots of graduated depth, the longest in the centre is
about 5 mm.
At the time of the Gomez [gizmos] Tool's creation [1978] Harold Gomez
was principal clarinet of the National Ballet of Canada Orchestra. He
created the tool in response to the constantly changing conditions of his
reeds while touring.
Of more interest than the tool itself, although the tool could prove
quite a stumper in a "guess what this is" contest, is the companion
pamphlet. It spells out various innovative ways to adjust reeds including
surface scratches to remedy excessive softness, hardness, etc.
I have not used the tool in many years but am not sure why. I know,
finding an extremely thin blade to make the incisions, was one difficulty.
I learned from this that reeds with cracks or cosmetic anomalies are not
always "throw aways".
I believe that Harold Gomez is still in Toronto and may be on faculty at
the Royal Conservatory of Music there.


Me to my son Eric, age 6. "Some day I will disciplin you the way I want

At 10:03 AM 4/11/00 +0100, you wrote:
>On Tue, 11 Apr 2000 10:57:32 +0800, said:
>> Tony Pay wrote:
>> > On Mon, 10 Apr 2000 20:57:18 -0400, said:
>> >
>> > > > Oh, one other thing: you can *split* the reed, once or more
>> > > > times, at the tip, down about half a centimetre or so. I tried
>> > > > this about 10 years ago for a few months, but find that I use it
>> > > > relatively rarely now. (There used to be a gadget that did it
>> > > > for you.) It can help with some reeds.
>> > > >
>> > >
>> > > What does this do to the sound or the response?
>> >
>> > It made them, er, *better*:-)
>> >
>> > Tony
>> Tony, Can you describe how you do the splitting - do you produce two
>> thinner adjacent wafers, or do you make "cuts" across the width of the
>> reed?
>> Thanks, Karel.
>All this was intended to be a little bit tongue-in-cheek, though
>certainly there was such a device on sale for a bit.
>You could make either one or three small incisions, the first being in
>the middle of the reed and the other, optional two on either side of,
>and parallel to the first. If you made one incision you separated the
>right from the left side of the reed a small distance down from the tip,
>and if you made three incisions you divided the breadth of the reed into
>four 'wafers', as you called them.
>As I recall, the incisions to right and left of the central incision
>were slightly shorter than the half-centimetre I talked about.
>The incisions were made with wafer-thin blades, and amounted to a
>separation of the fibres rather than anything more drastic. A
>safety-razor blade is the right sort of tool, though perhaps you don't
>have such things in the US anymore.
>I suppose the 'half-baked explanation' of the procedure might have been
>that it allows one side of the reed the freedom to vibrate a bit
>independently of the other, which could be imagined to break up any
>unwanted torsional vibration of the reed in its entirety. But I'm just
>making that up.
>In a way, I'm sorry I mentioned it, because it's a bit gimmicky, and
>might spark off a worldwide epidemic of mangled reeds if we're not
>careful. You're probably better off making sure the response of one
>side of the reed is comparable to the response of the other, something
>that I probably should have said in my original post. You can check
>that either by rotating the mouthpiece in your mouth as you blow, or by
>mounting the reed slightly to one side or the other.
>In fact, just mounting the reed slightly to one side or the other on the
>mouthpiece can often improve it a great deal, and it's something that
>many students don't think of trying seriously. After all, it's a
>reversible change, unlike anything you do with a knife....
>And if it disturbs your sense of elegance to have your reed skew-whiff
>on your mouthpiece, recall that Amati violins are quite 'crudely' made.
>Vibrational elegance doesn't necessarily correspond to physical
>elegance. (As the archbishop said to the actress.)
> _________ Tony Pay
> |ony:-) 79 Southmoor Rd
> | |ay Oxford OX2 6RE
> tel/fax 01865 553339
>... The reader of this tagline exists only while reading me.
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