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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000342.txt from 2005/05

From: David Niethamer <>
Subj: [kl] Tom Ridenour's ATG reed system
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 20:58:31 -0400

I've been thinking recently about Tom's reed adjustment system, which I
bought last summer at ClarinetFest. I don't have the need to make reeds
nearly as often as I did when I was grinding out the full time
orchestra gig, but I still prefer to play on my reeds as opposed to the
commercial variety. That's the subject for another post, though.

The first thing I find really interesting about ATG is the fact that it
goes completely against the received wisdom that we've all learned
about working on reeds, namely - always scrape **TOWARD** the tip when
working on a reed. I can't think of the right words to describe this
type of thinking - not exactly creative. But the logic of the whole
presentation is unassailable once you start to follow his procedure.

In the few batches of reeds that I've made since last summer, I've
found the ATG tools to be very helpful. I have a lot of reed tools -
knives, a certain expensive reed profiling tool (which, by the way, I
found very useful in itself - but I like ATG better), reed rush, etc -
but none of them are simpler and more useful than the ATG tools for me.
I've been able to adjust new reeds and balance them to my mouthpiece
more quickly and accurately than ever before.

I confess to being something of a klutz with a reed knife - I've ruined
lots of reeds that seemed promising by performing "just one more
operation" with sandpaper and/or a knife. The problem (for me) is that,
with most tools, even the slightest slip creates an uneven surface that
seems to make the reed less responsive. ATG creates a smooth curve on
the reed surface that helps it to resonate. I was worried that sanding
onto the tip if the reed would lead to occasional disaster, but (knock
on wood, or arundo donax) so far that has not happened.

The book is a bit verbose, and the DVD is fun. the equipment is
simplicity itself - a glass plate, and a sanding block (curved on the
sides) that accepts sandpaper of varying grit strength attached with
double stick tape. the whole thing is a bit overpriced in my view,
though I have no argument with Tom's right to profit from his
invention, and I ask myself (when I'm whining about the price) whether
something that works so well can possibly be overpriced? Compared to
that other expensive profiling tool?

What I want to know is whether anyone else has used Ridenour's system
and tools, and what the reaction is to it.


David B. Niethamer

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