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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000267.txt from 2002/02

Subj: [kl] Handmade reeds
Date: Sat, 16 Feb 2002 12:42:27 -0500

Chris Hill asks:

>>I've been making my own reeds again, and am having a problem in that I
can't get the reeds to last more than a few days, at most. I've been using
Glotin, Rigotti, and Olivieri blanks, all of which I think are reputable
blanks. When I used to make reeds a few years ago from Steuer blanks, the
reeds seemed to last 4-6 weeks. Does this seem to be a cane problem, or could
it be that I'm doing something to cause this? I suspect it's me.<<

Chris -

Try a sacrificial lamb. Take a new, decent commercial reed (the kind you
were using before you started making them by hand), cut 1/2" off the tip and
re-profile it. If it lasts OK, then the problem is the cane blanks. If it
dies fast, it's something you're doing.

Chuck West gave a great presentation on reed making at the ClarinetFest a few
years ago. He gave several test for blanks, one of which was to take a
ball-point pen and draw a line from side to side across the bottom. On good
cane, the line will be smooth and even; on bad cane, it will be uneven and

I don't remember where I learned this, but try looking at the butt end of the
blank, with the tip end facing away from you. Mature, well-seasoned cane has
a thin dark layer under the bark.

Good luck.

Ken Shaw


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