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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000354.txt from 2005/05

From: Karl Krelove <>
Subj: Re: [kl] Tom Ridenour's ATG reed system
Date: Tue, 24 May 2005 22:20:26 -0400


I've been using the ATG kit for nearly a year. My reactions exactly
duplicate yours. I have never been as consistently able with either rush
or a knife to make responsive reeds out of the commercial ones (VanDoren
V12) that I use, and with ATG I can even salvage many of the ones that
seem unplayable out of the box. In fact I'm currently going back through
several hundred reeds I've already discarded once, including some old
VanDoren "purple box" ones that I'm pretty sure are from the 1970s. I've
recently switched to one of Walter's mouthpieces, a much more
reed-friendly one what I had been using, and the combination of the
mouthpiece and the ATG tool have made reed adjusting far less of a chore.

The DVD is much more useful that the booklet. I tried at first to use
the thing by just reading the written instructions and couldn't figure
out as simple a thing as how to mount the sandpaper on the block. I
generally dislike video instructions because they have to be viewed in
real time - you can't skim over redundancies or unneeded examples by
fast-forwarding because you might miss something important. I'm usually
too impatient to sit through the video. I'd prefer to jump right to the
main instructions in a printed manual and be done with it. Unless the
manual's been re-written, Ridenour's video is a must.

Karl Krelove

David Niethamer wrote:

> 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
> David B. Niethamer
> -------------------------------------------------------------------
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