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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000194.txt from 2001/05

From: jim lande <>
Subj: [kl] breaking in reeds
Date: Mon, 7 May 2001 00:42:40 -0400

I know that some reeds are better than others and that reeds ultimately get to be dull and worn out. I have not noticed that reeds broken in slowly end up playing either better or longer than others. I don't doubt that it is true, or at least somewhat true. I once heard Hamiet Bluett (on time modern sax quartet) describe how if he played high enough
notes on his bari sax using a new reed, it would split. He avoided this by breaking in slowly. My questions are:
1) what is the mechanism by which wetting and drying breaks in a reed.
2) why can't reed makers automate the break in process before we get the reeds:

Cars used to have to be broken in because all sorts of milling scraps of metal and other crud were in the engine when new and would all get into the first change of oil. Makers thought that it would take 500 miles to get the oil to pick up all the crud. Until the first oil was changed out at that point, running the engine too fast or too hot could
allow the crud to damage the engine. This is much less of a concern today. I am fairly sure that the phenomena need for breaking in cars and for breaking in reeds differ significantly..

jim lande

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