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 My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2017-11-27 02:49

Hello everyone,

After years on Vandoren Classic and some unsuccessful trials with different "V"-type reeds. I've finally switched my reed brand. It's not that I dislike the general cut and responsiveness of a Vandoren Classic reed (I used to play the 2.5 on a Viotto B3 Mouthpiece), I've just had enough with 3-5 reeds in a box of 10 ending up too "stuffy", even after a day of playing, which I could eventually throw away, because they'd be useless even for practice.

After stumbling over Pilgerstorfer, I thought: "Why not?", It's easy enough to order even single reeds from Thomann. BTW, I tried a few Steuer Classics too and like them, but...
Pilgerstorfer has an incredible consistency, quality and texture I haven't seen before. Every single reed I've tried so far was perfectly usable and responded beautifully even when not played in. I've tried the "Dolce" first, which are ideal for a more classical/orchestral player, despite some people finding them to limit their ff, I'd say they're "loud enough" but not as expressive, making it difficult to convey a clearly audible vibrato.
This is different with the "Morré" french cut reeds. One could compare them to a Vandoren in it's very best form, only they're even better. There is an incredible freedom of expression possible and the altissimo is very "safe to play", as I can tell after today's band concert. My embouchure got a little tense, but this dreadful altissimo F in p-pp was spot on in "Elsa's Procession to the Cathedral".

I'd recommend both types and cannot say for sure why the Morré cut reed is slightly more expensive, maybe it uses even better cane. You'd be best advised to try this one first, as the Dolce is probably the better choice for orchestral players, while the Morré feels like more fun to play. They main reason I love these reeds is their (in my experience so far) impeccable reliability and responsiveness. Steuers are nicer than Vandoren, but Pilgerstorfer are quite a revelation.
It's hard to compare their sizing to Vandoren, but it feels like their 2.5 is the same as Vandoren 2.5. Hard to say for me by now why I require softer reeds, but it seemed like Pilgerstorfer 3 sized reeds aren't as hard as Vandoren Classic.

Go give these reeds a shot. I'm confident you'll find them superior for their cane alone. They definitely last well so far, so there's no reason for me to buy Vandoren anymore.

Best regards
Christian



Post Edited (2017-11-27 03:13)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2017-11-27 04:02

Have been using "Morré" German cut for a long time. Very nice reeds.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-11-27 10:56

Thanks for the great reviews you've been giving us, Christian! These reeds sound like they are worth trying out. You should really try the Steuer Exclusives if you haven't. I like them a lot!

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-11-27 18:13

Biggest difference between the different models of French-cut Pilgerstorfers seems to be the the tip, though I think Morrés are thicker as well. As I have a fairly open facing, the thin tipped Dolces work a lot better for me, and yes, they're plenty loud. I find them quite similar to Behn's Arias. Morrés are sort of a cult reed in the U.S., which might be why they can charge more for them. There's a reason why two of the best mouthpiece guys here sell Pilgerstorfer.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: klim 
Date:   2017-11-27 19:36

I'd like to try one but $35 shipping to USA? Ouch. Do you know of a US retailer?

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-11-27 19:49

Clark Fobes and Brad Behn both sell these.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Kalashnikirby 
Date:   2017-11-27 22:44

Thanks for the kind words, Ray! I'm getting a bit obsessed about the gear (but it's so much fun :)!)
It'll take a while till I've used my Pilgerstorfers up, but I'll give these Steuers a shot, too.

Their "Morré" cut reeds are made of french cane (as opposed to the others??), so this is probably the reason for them being more expensive.
According to their website, the cane is dried for 6 years before being processed, which is pretty impressive. Much like with aged grenadilla, you'll immediately feel a difference compared to more "industrial" products.

I'm currently figuring out which reed is the best for a soft and fast staccato, though both Pilgerstorfers I've ried excelled in this area, too. Older reeds tend to make a weird high pitched noise, but I think this phenomenon occurs later and in a less annoying form with the Pilgerstorfers.



Post Edited (2017-11-27 22:46)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-28 00:07

In the US, Clark Fobes sells Morre reeds for much less PER BOX than he charges for the Dolce and the Exquisite cuts of Pilgerstorfer. See his website. But I will be reminded in a subsequent post that since only 6 Morres come to a box, versus 10 Dolces and Exquisites, the Morres are still more expensive than the Dolce and Exquisite. So, I stand corrected.

https://www.clarkwfobes.com/collections/reeds.

Morre is not now a "cult" reed in the US. Many more players use Vandorens and more and more are trying Legere composites. Steuers have their followers and Behn's are gaining in popularity. Some play Gonzales and other reeds.

The confusion probably results from there being two different Morre reeds. The old Morres (according to Gregory Smith) were made near Vienna by Karl Firstl and imported to the US in small quantities sold mostly at the Marks Music Store in Farrell, PA. This was in the 1960s and early 70s when Robert Marcellus used and recommended them. They were made of very thick cane and ran very very hard for their numerical marking. Something like a 3.5 would be more like a 5++ in a Vandoren. Marcellus stated in an interview that he used #2 and #2.5 Morees on his Kaspar mouthpieces.

These old Morres, when you could find one that played, gave a very covered and mellow sound because of high quality of the cane. They were always difficult if not impossible for the average clarinetists to buy because Marks Music had a limited supply and there were no other retail sources that carried them. I managed to get some only because I had a friend studying with Marcellus and I knew the right shibboleths to say to Carl Marks to make a purchase. The new Moree is a lighter much more vibrant reed that does not duplicate the sound or overall playing characteristics of the old Morre. The new Morre is pretty easy to order on Internet and does not have anything like a "cult" following or special mystique.

Speaking loosely, in the 60s when Marcellus was at the height of his fame you might say there was a group of followers who played Kaspar mouthpieces (especially the Kaspar 13), used inverse Bonade ligatures with the middle band nearly removed by a jeweler's saw, played old Morres (unaffectionately known as the "plank reeds," "popsicle sticks," and "two by fours") and tried desperately to sound just like the master. Followers they were, to be sure, but
"cult" members, I think not. Most students of Harold Wright and other influential players were not as enamored of the old Morres and gladly played what we now call blue box Vandorens. After Marcellus retired from the Cleveland Orchestra in 1973, the quality of the old Morres declined and, along with it, American players' interest in them.



Post Edited (2017-11-28 05:13)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: J. J. 
Date:   2017-11-28 01:18

“I find them quite similar to Behn's Arias.”

Uh, well, yes. They are both great reeds... for a reason.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Justin Willsey 2017
Date:   2017-11-28 03:57

There are only 6 reeds per box of the Morres, hence the lower price.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-28 04:29

You're right. I just corrected my former post. From Fobes, it would be $30.00 for 10 Morres vs. $25.00 for 10 Dolce or Exquisite reeds. But my preference is for the Behn Arias. Behn also now carries the Dolce and Exquisite (and some Legeres) but not the Morre.



Post Edited (2017-11-28 05:15)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: 2cekce 2017
Date:   2017-11-28 06:49

I just recently tried the pilgerstorfer reeds and I was greatly impressed with them. I won't stop using vandorens as I prefer them with my marching band. I order pilgerstorfer from Clark Forbes for my Bb and Eb for my orchestral band. I like both the morre and dolce as they respond so well.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-11-28 18:49

Christian, according to the advertising, the cane for *all* the Pilgerstorfers comes from the Var region of France, and they do have the French flag on some of the boxes. Seabreeze, the old Morrés were indeed made by someone else, but Pilgerstorfer seems to have deliberately introduced a perception of continuity with the box color and appearance, the different stamp, and so on. As to their cult status, I remember a session at a music festival were Dave Shifrin gave a revelatory presentation on the things with us all gazing on in wide-eyed wonder. There was a fair amount of mystery and exclusivity surrounding them, and I remember a road trip several of us made to Marks Music to score some of them, although the experience fell short of "Fear and Loathing." They did not, at any rate, involve a special beverage or color of sneakers. Couldn't ever get them to work. They had a fuzzy sound for me, probably because the tips were thick back then, too.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: TomS 
Date:   2017-11-28 18:55

I've not tried many highly regarded reeds like the Behn and others ... but I am gonna stick with the Pilgerstorfer Dolce reeds for now ... they have really changed my clarinet life ... cheap, fairly consistent, amazingly well balanced (even though some look a little asymmetrical), articulate well and have a nice center and ring ... they run about 1/4 strength soft ... and, they last a long time, if you break them in properly and seal them. I now store them in a Rico case with two pieces of paper towels slightly moistened with original Listerine ...

#3.5 on a Vandoren M13-lyre and you are in business ... easy blowing and nice sound

I don't know why Vandoren can't do as well ...?

Tom

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: seabreeze 
Date:   2017-11-28 19:53

Ha, Ha, Dorjepismo, I can tell you were indeed present among the "adept" at that audience with Carl Marks to receive the Eleusinan mysteries. Did he give you the spiel about how big modern orchestras required big, tuba volume sounds from the clarinet and only big, thick cane reeds on Kaspar 13's could give you that capability? I was always a terrible agnostic on that point, thinking that nobody ever said they couldn't hear Stan Drucker in the big brassy Bernstein New York Phil, with his rather Frenchy sound, extrovert vibrato and phrasing, thin tipped Vandoren Reeds, and French Alelandais mouthpiece. But like the others, I always kept my mouth shut and bowed submissively, thankful that Marks deigned to sell me a box of two of the blessed bamboo.



Post Edited (2017-11-28 20:22)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2017-11-28 20:28

I don't see where they make bass clarinet reeds. Am I not searching properly? Thanks!

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-11-28 20:57

Tucker, Reeds Direct Cambridge (https://www.reeds-direct.co.uk/clarinet/bass-clarinet.html?manufacturer_and_brand=2996) and Thomann (https://www.thomannmusic.com/pilgerstorfer_clarinet_reeds_french_filed.html) have "Profundos."

Seabreeze, I was pretty much a fly on the wall back then, but got the whole spiel from the friend who drove on that trip and who studied some with Marcellus. I was more on the Wright side of things, and didn't look into Stanley until later.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-11-30 06:26

dorjepismo, tucker,

Not meaning as a diss to the Pilgerstorfer, but in an email exchange with Clark Fobes asking him about the Profundo reeds, he said he helped Pilgerstorfer develop these reeds, and he was not too happy with the outcome. However, only you can determine if works for you! That said, I tried their German-style Basso reeds back in the time I had a German-style BCL a year ago. Terrific reeds! Fuller and richer than the Steuers!

But back to the Bb reeds, I am very intrigued and been itching to try out the Dolce 3.5s, which(according to Clark's website) should be in similar strength to the Vandy Blue Box 3s I play on my Fobes Europa 3 mp and also a Fobes barrel. This thread just came in the right time!!

Josh


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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Roxann 2017
Date:   2017-11-30 06:48

I've likewise switched to Pilgerstorfers and love them!

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-11-30 07:36

Josh, I only mentioned where they're advertised. Haven't tried them myself, so I can't say whether they're any good. With a name like that, it sounds like they should come from Cuba and you smoke them instead of playing them. The only time I totally enjoyed playing bass was with a German system Wurlitzer I was borrowing, so I know how that goes.

The Fobes Europa is pretty similar to the Pillinger I play, so Dolce 3.5 should work pretty well with it.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: HANGARDUDE 
Date:   2017-11-30 14:30

dorjepismo,
I know this is off topic of this thread, but good to know another player who plays Pillinger's mouthpieces! My alternative mouthpiece(rather than calling it backup) is a Pillinger P45b(on his F2 blank). It is terrific! I use the same reeds on it as with the Fobes Europa 3.

Josh


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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-12-02 20:06

My student came in with one, and immediately I said "why is your sound so thin?"

He replied - that is the same thing you said about a year ago when I tried these also!!!

Easy to blow, but sound is the main thing. That is what the audience hears!!

Thin and bright, not for me.

However, it *IS* possible that the reeds that he bought were too weak. However, as he is a "less young" student, he plays a softer setup. However, the upper register was well in tune, and those reeds did go up without being flat, so it couldn't have been way too soft.

http://www.MyTempoMusic.com

http://www.skypeclarinetlessons.com/about.html

Sponsored by Backun/D'Addario/BG/Silverstein/ Artist Teacher and Soloist

Post Edited (2017-12-02 20:10)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-12-02 20:53

What kind of mouthpiece and facing does he use?

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Micke Isotalo 2017
Date:   2017-12-03 19:32

Just a small clarification about the flag on Pilgerstorfer reed boxes. It doesn't indicate the origin of the cane but the cut. French flag = French cut, Austrian flag = Austrian cut and German flag = German cut.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-03 20:09

Thanks for the clarification Micke. I was a little confused also. Good to know

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: TomS 
Date:   2017-12-04 21:19

The Dolce reeds are centered and clear ... but I would not call them "thin" (the high register is round and sweet, not buzzy and raspy as other brands) ...

As a contrast, I've found the Rico Reserve Classics to be usually "dark and thuddy" and with less consistency ... but when you find a good one, it's pretty good ... I probably need to revisit D'Addario's reeds ... I like buying American, when possible ...

I've boxes and boxes of Vandoren that I just can't get to work for me ...

Tom

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2017-12-04 23:31

TomS wrote:

> The Dolce reeds are centered and clear ... but I would not call
> them "thin" (the high register is round and sweet, not buzzy
> and raspy as other brands) ...
>
> As a contrast, I've found the Rico Reserve Classics to be
> usually "dark and thuddy" and with less consistency ...

This is ***so-o-o*** mouthpiece dependent. Apart from the fact that people mean so many different things by these descriptors.

If you're not pleased with the reeds you're using, you really have to take heart (and credit card) in hand and try different ones until you find one you like on your equipment.

Karl

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Bob Barnhart 2017
Date:   2017-12-08 01:45

Based on the comments in this thread, I decided to try the Pilgerstorfer Dolce reeds myself. I usually play VD Traditional #3 on a Kessler-Backun III mouthpiece (1.16xML facing), similar to the Viotto B3, so I thought I'd try a box each of #3 and #3.5.

I tried the 3.5s first and not only were they the right strength for me, out of the 8 I tried, I think I could play 7 in a concert without any adjustment! Mostly I was impressed with "feel", the warm/clear sound, and response of the reeds. The feel is hard to describe, but they seem to provide a nice "cushion" (rather than a restrictive resistance) that I could really blow into at all dynamics over the entire range of the instrument without losing the focus or warmth of the sound. For me, this allows an additional level of expressiveness over my VD Traditional reeds. The only other reeds I've played that had a similar feel were Gonzales GDs and the old Rico Reserve, but they did not have as nice a sound as the Dolces.

The only drawback I've noted as I'm breaking them in is that they seem to play about 5-10 cents low, I sense that this may be a side-effect of the flexibility/cushion that are characteristics of the reed's feel. I can correct for this by taking a bit more mouthpiece or using a 1mm shorter barrel. I think that this characteristic may subside as they break in, but I'm not sure yet.

My best friend and his wife tried a couple of the reeds (he plays a somewhat open Wodkowski and she plays a BD5) and they both really like them on first trial, again mostly the feel of the reed.

Given the feel and pitch characteristics of the 3.5s, I'm not inclined to try any of the #3s as they would (probably) be too soft, and I'm afraid the #4s would be too stiff/restrictive which would impact flexibility/expressiveness. Rather, I think I'm going to try a box of the Morre #3.5 as they are supposed to be just a bit stiffer.

Bob Barnhart



Post Edited (2017-12-08 01:48)

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: zhangray4 
Date:   2017-12-08 04:34

Thanks for the review Bob. I've been struggling with reed/mouthpiece setup recently, so I bought 2 boxes of Dolces, both strength 4, as I usually play on VD traditional 3.5 and the strength chart on Forbes website suggested a strength 4 Dolce.

Before I even played it, I noticed how thin the tip of the Dolces were. Extremely thin. So I put it on and tried 3 of them. Way too soft, was doing glissandos without even trying. Swapped my mouthpiece to my very open VD B45 and it was still too soft. Yes it was free blowing, but extremely soft.

Would you guys suggest me getting strength 5 Dolces or maybe strength 4.5 Morres? And yes they did make me go flat as well, and since I am usually a bit flat, it was quite unbearable.

-- Ray Zhang
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"The point is not to take the world's opinion as a guiding star but to go one's way in life and working unerringly, neither depressed by failure nor seduced by applause."
-- Gustav Mahler

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2017-12-08 10:30

The nice thing is that they also have a sample package. Moreover, you can even customize what kind of combination you want for your sample package. Just send an email to Alex, he will send the package even without asking payment. You just pay when you get the reeds!

Also, I believe a sample package which is consist of different cuts and strengths is very good for the trial of new mouthpieces. With one certain cut and strength of reeds, usually you would end up with something similar to your old mouthpiece.

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 Re: My new favourite reed: Pilgerstorfer
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2017-12-08 14:02

Dolces need at least a half strength greater than anything else one uses, and possibly more. The thin tips will probably be less than ideal on closed facings, or if one's embouchure is used to applying a fair amount of pressure to the reed. The weather just changed here, and now all those Dolces that used to sound great are sort of thin for me as well, so I'm also working up some Steuers. After awhile, you just start taking reed epiphanies with a grain of salt.

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