Klarinet Archive - Posting 000168.txt from 2005/07
From: ormo2ndtoby@-----.net (Ormondtoby Montoya)
Subj: Re: [kl] matching reed & mouthpiece tips
Date: Thu, 14 Jul 2005 06:43:51 -0400
> Assuming that part of the tip overhangs the
> mouthpiece, do you also intend to thin the tip
> wherever you change its shape --- in order
> that the tip will continue to taper evenly to
> a 'sharp edge' across its entire width?
David Niethamer wrote:
> If I understand the two of you, you're talking
> about two different things. [very large snip]
> After I've shaped the tip [because material
> was overhanging the mouthpiece tip], the
> reed plays "harder". So the reed material
> overhanging the tip of the mouthpiece has
> some effect on the playing characteristics.
Without photographs or diagrams, it's difficult to keep the language
concise, but I was trying to say:
If you clip a reed with a reed clipper, but you do nothing else, you
have removed the tip's thinnest material. You leave behind a slightly
thicker cross-section at the 'new' tip (after you have re-positioned the
reed slightly in order to accommodate the missing length). The effect
is to require more force to bend the 'new' reed tip down to the
As shorthand, we say that the reed is now 'harder'.
The detail to which I wanted to call the original poster's attention is:
If the clipper removes a constant length of material (as measured from
tip to butt) across the reed's entire width, then (all other things
being equal, which they ever are) the tip thickness will also increase
uniformly across its entire width.
-BUT- if we begin with a freshly manufactured reed whose tip happens to
be square (as we look perpendicularly from above) and if we round the
tip in order that the square corners don't hang out beyond the
mouthpiece's rounded tip, we have effectively shortened the reed more at
its corners than we have at its center. Since the reed tapers (as our
eye travels lengthwise from butt to tip), we have effectively thickened
the reed more at the sides (where we removed the most material) than at
Unless we do some sanding to either side of the tip's centerline (that
is, to either side of the spine), we have changed the 'gradient of
thickness' across the reed's tip. We have done more than just change
the tip's shape as viewed perpendicularly from above.
The existence (and then removal) of overhang may not have been the cause
of any sound differences. Redistribution of thickness across the tip's
width may have been the cause.
A similar train of thought applies if we decide to narrow the reed along
its edges in order to match the mouthpiece's width.
My original purpose was to prompt the person who began this thread:
When you "reshape" the reed's tip, are you merely changing its shape as
viewed from directly above, or do you also (attempt to) compensate for
the new 'gradient of thickness' that you have created across the tip's
width? This gradient will vary noticeably depending on how much length
you remove at various locations across the tip's width, and the sound
differences (if noticeable) may be caused more by the new cross-section
than by the absence of overhang.
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