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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000643.txt from 2003/06

From: "Patricia A. Smith" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Survey - What brand of reeds do you use?
Date: Fri, 20 Jun 2003 15:27:43 -0400

Walter Grabner wrote:

>Several new brands of reeds are on the market. Some established brands seem to have taken a dip in quality, some have seemed to improve. So - what reeds are YOU using these days?
>Also what reeds do you recommend for young (middle school) students.

I am using Zondas, in the 4- 4.50 range (can't recall how specifically
they are marked) as well as one of the Davie cane products. I find the
Davie cane an especially good reed, so far. However, these reeds have
been in my possession a while, since I am not playing a great deal at
present. I tend to avoid Vandorens these days - just got tired of
meddling with them.

For students:

The best brand, quality AND price-wise, so far as I can tell, are either
the regular Mitchell Luries, or the Mitchell Lurie Premiums (for
students who do a bit more playing, and are somewhat more advanced
players). As a teacher, I tend to go with whatever brand best suits
student and mouthpiece. I never insist upon a particular strength for a
student - I will normally start them out on a 1½ or 2, but if they need
stronger, due to a stronger air column, that is fine. Of course, one
has to be on the look out for that old devil, pinching.

Were I a middle-school band director, chances are I'd try to buy
Mitchell Luries in bulk in several sizes, with students paying a "reed
fee" at the beginning of the year to finance this. That way, there
wouldn't be the problem of parents rushing out at the last minute to
replace broken reeds (well, not as often, anyway. Nothing is 100%
foolproof after all) or even having to worry about them all that much.
Then basically I could make advance purchases at certain times, and
make sure I always have plenty in stock.

Were I working atm as a high school band director, I would most likely
encourage the section to try Legeres for marching - it's making the best
of a bad situation and keeping the cane reeds for concert use. Since
young players tend to be on the move a lot marching - not just on the
field/parade grounds, but also in transport, on busses, etc., I think
that the extra stress of reeds that may/may not play, etc. is avoidable.
Two or three Legeres could, theoretically, last a student through four
high school marching seasons. Note I said, "theoretically". Also, if a
student got a good sound on a Legere, I wouldn't mind him/her using it
for concert playing as well. Again, it really would depend. IMO, at
that level, students should be able to be a bit more independent
concerning reed choice (with the proper guidance, of course.) I guess
it would mostly depend upon the best compromise I could get for sound
quality with limited financial resources. Somehow, I don't think the
clarinet section would enjoy selling candy bars to finance reed
purchases ;-)

Patricia Smith
(who posts to klarinet half-asleep, I assure you. - Jeckle, the mouse,
and Emperor of the Universe)

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