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Klarinet Archive - Posting 000175.txt from 2010/12

From: "Kenneth Metz" <>
Subj: [kl] Splotchy Reeds
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 2010 22:04:10 -0500

I've never experienced this before and I'm curious to know if anyone else
has. A couple of months ago I opened a new box of reeds and began using
first four, and later another four, all of which gradually became discolored
over period of a few weeks.

It began with small dark spots or lines that eventually grew to cover from
10% to as much as 80% of the flat side and perhaps 50% of the other side,
although it varied considerably from reed to reed. The discoloration
appears, in color and pattern, as if someone had held a pencil sideways and
randomly jiggled it over the reed surface to cover it with graphite, similar
to what one does when attempting to see impressions in a writing pad of
previously written note by covering over the portion of the paper that has
not been impressed by the writing implement (imagine Cary Grant doing this
in North By Northwest). However, neither wiping nor scraping the surface
removes the discoloration. And soaking the reeds seemed to accelerate the

All the reeds played fairly well (with the usual variations) although I
stopped using them as the discoloration progressed. (I had hoped to use
them in a December concert but thought better of it.) There are still two
unused reeds that appear to be perfectly normal. (I'm saving them for a
future experiment.) No other reeds showed this effect during the same time
period, even though they were all treated the same and stored in the same
place when not being used.

Any ideas about what is happening here?

Ken Metz

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