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Klarinet Archive - Posting 001064.txt from 2001/02

From: howard klug <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Warped reeds
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 2001 12:05:51 -0500

I thought I might weigh in with a few observations about this warped reed

1. The slight waviness at the reed tip is only a reflection of incomplete
moisturization (it ain't wet up yet), or, when it dries, of having dried
at slightly different rates across the tip. Neither should negatively
influence the performing characteristics of the reed AS LONG AS YOU wait
long enough for the reed to wet up. Those reeds which are straight across
when dry, will often get wavy shortly after being wet, and then, if left
alone, will straighten themselves out after a few minutes. This time
interval until a reed is ready to play is often based on how long you've
been playing on it (days, weeks, months)...the more the pores are closed,
the longer it takes for the moisture to penetrate the surface. Those
clarinetists who are impatient will often iron the tip on the table of the
mouthpiece to get rid of the waves. Leave the reed will
usually straighten out on its own. If one is really impatient to get one
of these "family heirloom" reeds playing, soak it in very hot water (or
tea or coffee) for a few seconds.

2. The more serious warping is that which happens in the middle of the
reed where it fits the bottom of the window of the mouthpiece. This is
the area between the ligature and your bottom lip, where an insecure seal
caused by the convex reed brings about a great deal of tone control
problems. You can discuss various cures for this warpage (sand paper,
reed knife, etc.), but the best cure is not to cause it in the first
place....NEVER put a wet reed to dry on a flat, impervious surface like a
glass plate. This causes the top of the reed to dry quickly (it is
exposed to the air) and the bottom to dry much later (as it is not exposed
to the air). Any time you take a piece of wood this thin and dry it
unevenly on its two sides, the reed is guaranteed to suffer internal
stresses, often causing the bottom to become convex as the rails pull off
the glass plate as they dry first. SOLUTION...dry your reed thorougly
before putting it away, or turn it upside on the kitchen table (label up)
to dry (air can now get around both sides of the vamp).

As a result of the drying strategy in #2, I never have any warped reeds.
I suggest you all try "bottoms up" as an anti-warpage approach to drying
the reeds.



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