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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000307.txt from 2003/10

From: "Ken Wolman" <>
Subj: Re: [kl] More on reeds
Date: Fri, 10 Oct 2003 09:01:14 -0400 wrote:

> 7th grade, in a small town in Central Ohio, on a WWII vintage metal
> instrument), we all played on the reeds available from the vending machine in
> the
> bandroom -- 25 cents a throw. And without intending the least bit of snobbery
> (which I have no standing to claim), that's where I learned to despise Rico
> reeds.
> Sometimes there were other reeds in the machine, which I much preferred --
> honestly, I don't remember the brand -- or perhaps I got them in Columbus on
> those rare occasions when we went into town. But I do know I hated the Ricos.

Ah memorie! In the 5th grade, renting metal clarinets from Bronin's Music on
Simpson Street in the South Bronx. These were probably the most awful
instruments anyone ever devised. Anyone from New York will know what kind of
welfare dump Simpson Street became not that many years later--a collection of
hot-sheet hotels, places to cop drugs, and engage in every illegitimate business
under the sun. The film "Fort Apache The Bronx" was based on the Simpson Street
Precinct, and doesn't paint a flattering picture of New York cops. Maybe some
people will think that renting out those tinny clarinets to schoolchildren fits
into the general corruption:-). At least when one of my kids started playing the
gave him a Buffet B-12.

Reeds? Ricos of course, in the ever-familiar orange box. They gave them to us
or forced them on us. I suspect the fact I sounded like musical death (Beethoven
would have thanked God for his deafness) had more to do with me than with the
reed, but I too developed a prejudice about "original" Rico reeds that I don't
have to overcome because there are so many different types out there. But the
fact Rico still make them fifty years later suggests that (1) they're not all
that bad or (2) there are a lot of schools that still buy them by the truckload,
so they're a mainstay product or cash cow where the kids learning to play sound
like they're mooing.

I once had the chutzpah to show up with Chiron reeds and was told not to use
them. I don't know if they're even made anymore. Rico is into so many different
reeds now they've become like some multinational cane conglomerate. My reed of
choice is Mitchell Lurie #2. But look at the bottom of the box and bang-zing,
Lurie is from Casa Rico. Yeah, I know there are other kinds. I have a house
full of reeds I don't use. I keep coming back to the Luries--they're great for a
guy who wears partials.

Kenneth Wolman
Proposal Development Department
Room SW334
Sarnoff Corporation

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