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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000881.txt from 2003/06

Subj: Re: [kl] Adjusting Reeds
Date: Wed, 25 Jun 2003 11:19:44 -0400

In a message dated 6/24/2003 11:47:22 PM Eastern Standard Time, writes:

> I'd also like to know if anyone has been successful in making reeds they can play on. I tried it once (reed making) under the direction of my teacher as an exercise. >>

I made all my own clarinet reeds for well over a decade. I began when I was in college and continued through grad school and the years when I was teaching and performing professionally.

We used to get cane, in the form of blanks - pre-cut sections of cane, flattened and slightly wider and thicker than a typical clarinet reed.

The best cane came from Alliaud, in France. It was the most beautiful stuff in the world. A white or creamy color when the bark was removed, it worked beautifully with tools and made exceptional reeds. We were all devastated when Alliaud informed us that he was reserving the cane only for oboe and bassoon reeds!

When you get great cane, you can make great reeds, and tailor them precisely to your mouthpiece and embouchure.

I have some tube cane from the Zonda folks, aging in a box in my studio. Someday when I have time, I'll launch into it and see what it yields. (Right now, I'm so busy overhauling clarinets, I hardly have time to practice).

I know David Niethamer makes all his own reeds, and performs beautifully. If David is presently monitoring the list, he might add some comments.

Making reeds is time-consuming. The upside is that hand made reeds can last much longer than "store-bought" because you can season them well as you make them (usually a week long "seasoning" before you make the final adjustments.)

With the reeds lasting much longer, your overall time spent "fussing with reeds" is reduced slightly.

Walter Grabner
Reed making book, mouthpieces, repairs

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