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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000044.txt from 2005/07

From: "Lelia Loban" <lelialoban@-----.net>
Subj: [kl] matching reed & mouthpiece tips
Date: Tue, 05 Jul 2005 13:24:19 -0400

Patricia A. Smith wrote,
>I think (and this is a personal opinion, YMMV)
>that many of us mess with reeds way too much,
>and end up with many fewer usable reeds than
>we would otherwise have, if we often were more
>patient and left well enough alone, and left some
>reeds to themselves for a while, and came back to
>them later on - sometimes quite a bit later.

I agree with you about that, Patricia. I don't think I've ever had a truly
bad reed become a good one, either from age or from anything I did to it,
but some mediocre reeds have improved with age. Most recently, just a few
weeks ago, I found a reed case (one of the simple, black plastic Vito ones)
buried at the bottom of a junk bag. In the case was one lone Rico Royal
alto sax reed labelled "eh" and "u". Those are my symbols. "Eh" means
playable but not much good, and "u" means unresponsive. That reed was more
than eight years old, because I prefer other reeds for alto sax, and
thought I'd used up the last of my one box of Royals when I first bought my
alto clarinet in 1998. (I do prefer Rico Royal baritone sax reeds on my
contra-alto clarinet.) Planning to take the old reed down to the dungeon
to leave in my tool box, for use in testing for leaks, I tried it out on
both alto clarinet and alto sax. Big surprise--it played responsively and
well. I promptly relabelled it,"g" for good, and put it in with my reeds
for alto clarinet practicing. I never did a thing to that reed except
ignore it for the better part of a decade. I don't bother trying to fix
unplayable reeds any more.

>In fact, I'm curious to know, just how long it took
>most folks when they first started making their own
>reeds, to make the tip - from either a blank, or the
>entire half of the cane tube. (I'll own up: the entire
>idea kind of scares me. I have visions of wasted cane
>tubes in front of me, and a depleted bank account
>and no reeds for my trouble!)

Yeah--I know some people swear by making their own reeds, but I have a
suspicion I'd end up swearing *at* them. I'm happy with commercial reeds
most of the time, though I do think about learning to make my own when I
adjust (or mis-adjust...) a modern commercial reed to fit some oddball
vintage mouthpiece. Sometimes I think it might be quicker to start from
scratch.

Lelia Loban

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