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 boiling legeres
Author: rgoldem 
Date:   2017-12-09 02:42

I read somewhere that I can soften a Legere reed by placing it in boiling water. For people who already did this experience what are the exact procedure and for how long should I leave the reed in hot water?

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2017-12-09 04:35

I've done this several times. Only the last inch of the tip of the reed needs to be dipped into boiling water for about 2-3 seconds.. This will soften the reed by about a half strength, ie make a 3.0 into a 2.5. The reed will harden slightly over the next few hours to about a 2.75 and will stay at that level. Doing it a second time has little effect. A soft reed can be clipped, but only a tiny sliver of material should be removed. The European cut reed is slightly wider than the standard Bb reed and does not fit into some normal Bb clippers.

Tony F.

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2017-12-09 04:38

I’ve done this with some success. For me, it definitely softens the Legere. There’s some question whether the reeds revert to their original strength eventually. I found the effect permanent. Or permanent enough that didn’t notice then changing back after a day. Perhaps a week of sitting (I can’t remember that long) they returned to ‘normal’.

I only use hot tap water. I’ve never submersed the tip/vamp for more than 10 seconds (I’d start with a few seconds). I feel you can always repeat the process, but it’s doubtful you can successfully re-harden the reed.

~Robert L Schwebel
Mthpc: Behn Vintage, Lig: Ishimori, Reed: Aria 4, Legere Euro Signature 3.75, Horns: Uebel Superior, Ridenour Lyrique

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: fskelley 
Date:   2017-12-10 00:03

After much experimentation I found 130F water is perfect. Cooler doesn't do much, and hotter does too much too fast. With 130F, a dip of a few sec (1/3 to 1/2 way in) makes a marked improvement, good for the day- perhaps might need it again after playing a while. But then, how to get and keep water at 130? I've gone another direction and use a hot aluminum surface instead of water. I'll post all the details after I've lived and performed with my system a few months longer.

I am in general not looking for a strength reduction- merely to "perk up" the reed for the day. Makes all the difference in the world, to me. If you're happy with how your Legeres play "cold"- by all means skip going down this road. If you like it you may never be able to go back.

Stan in Orlando

EWI 4000S with modifications

Post Edited (2017-12-10 00:12)

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: Klose 2017
Date:   2017-12-10 00:35

But any clipped them to make them harder?

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: fskelley 
Date:   2017-12-10 02:14

Clipping is a one way street- heat treatment (apparently- if you're not too severe) reverses itself eventually. For sure do not clip a previously heat treated Legere without waiting days if not weeks for it to come back.

Legeres are very hard to clip cleanly compared to cane. Test your technique on one you know is no good. European needs a soprano sax trimmer. Hard to trim as little as you might want. I discourage it, but if you're desperate*... After clipping you may need to sand or scrape if it came out ragged, again much harder on any synthetic than cane. I swore off such operations, and wondered what possessed me to even try them.

*I'm reminded of something I read about the 1958 Buicks. "Only desperate men put fins on fins", or close to that. Clarinet playing has made me that desperate from time to time. Doing better these days, mostly from accepting what works and making the most of it, good advice most of the time in most subject areas.

Stan in Orlando

EWI 4000S with modifications

Post Edited (2017-12-10 04:31)

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: DavidBlumberg 
Date:   2017-12-10 03:29

How to get and keep water at 130??

Use a thermometer and wait for it to cool to that.

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 Re: boiling legeres
Author: fskelley 
Date:   2017-12-10 04:16

Well, yes. But my microwave is downstairs and I practice upstairs. I learned how much water and how long would get to 130F, maybe a bit hotter. But I might want to dip again 30-45 min later. A thermos flask full of hot water worked pretty well, and it stayed usable until it cooled below 125F or so (water can be hotter than you measure with infrared thermometers!). Then one day I spilled hot water from the flask onto my hand and shirt as I was going up the stairs (lid was well closed, but gasket had shifted out of position). That was painful and scary, but I was not scalded. 5 deg hotter or a bit more spilled and I might have had a bad time and not played for a while either. 130F will scald, but is a lot safer than 200F. I'm glad I can recommend lower temps especially for younger players. (Though anybody of any age can be cautious or not- a word to the wise is sufficient.) My non-water rig is safer IMHO. More on that later, I'll be prepared for the peanut gallery.

Stan in Orlando

EWI 4000S with modifications

Post Edited (2017-12-11 20:07)

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