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 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?
Author: TomS 
Date:   2017-12-29 19:08

This is a little off the subject, but might illustrate that sanding the bottom of the reed might be beneficial and won't destroy the heart of the reed if you are just sealing the pores of the cane ...

I've just watched some master classes given by Steven Williamson (Chicago Symphony principal). And, I am trying his approach to reed management and I think it goes something like this:

1. open two boxes of reed (he likes VD Blue Box, #5)

2. using the finest grade of sandpaper (600 grit and higher), and placing the reed on a flat surface, gently sand the entire vamp of the reed. This is really just polishing the reed to close off the pores and make it less likely to get water logged

3. now, turn the reed over and lift the heal end of the reed, pressing the tip of the reed to the flat surface (flexing it slightly) and sand from midway to the tip

4. holding the reed away from the flat surface, sand from the midpoint to the heal. Again, this is actually just polishing the reed, only a few molecules being removed

5. wet the reed in the mouth and play it only for 5-10 seconds and only in the low register

6. allow the reed to dry face up or down under a light

7. go thru the remaining 19 reeds with the same procedure

8. by the time all 20 reeds have been sanded/sealed and played, the first reed you played is ready for an even lighter sanding (finer grade sand paper) and play testing, this time, extend the playing time to 20 seconds

9. go thru all 20 reeds and repeat the procedure again and again, doubling the playing time each test and sanding more and more lightly each time using finer grade abrasives each time ... eventually you are just using notebook paper

10. at some point (and Mr. Williamson doesn't make this very clear ...) you will have extended you playing time so that you can actually use them for practice and performance

11. fine adjustments for imbalance is made by shifting the reed left or right to compensate (he rarely uses a reed knife)

12. Mr. Williamson claims 16 out of 20 performance grade reeds using this procedure (!!!???) Wow!

13. You will find that the reed strength has dropped by about 1/2 grade, so start out with about 1/2 strength stronger than you normally play

Now, Steven Williamson seems to be of the "no pain, no gain school of playing" and uses a rather hard blowing setup and a lot of wind pressure and focus.

I've been experimenting with this over the last few days and it seems promising. Hey, if it works, I'll use it! I am also using a little heavier reed (back to Blue Box for this experiment with VD M13-lyre)

I suspect that by sealing the reeds before they are even tested may have some possible benefits ... I think that perhaps reeds leave the cutting machine from Vandoren's plant are in a fairly well balanced condition as a DRY reed. However, the surface of the reed may have different absorption rates at different spots for saliva, which will introduce imbalance when the reed is wetted. Sealing the pores of the reed each test and exponentially increasing the "break-in" time might go a long way to end our reed frustration ...

Proof is in the pudding ... time will tell.

Tom

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 Topics Author  Date
 Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
nellsonic 2017-12-29 11:02 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
dorjepismo 2017-12-29 18:01 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
TomS 2017-12-29 19:08 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
kdk 2017-12-29 20:02 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it   new
Ken Lagace 2018-03-03 20:46 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
dorjepismo 2017-12-29 20:26 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it   new
nellsonic 2017-12-29 22:47 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
kdk 2017-12-30 00:47 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
kdk 2017-12-30 01:00 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Ed 2017-12-30 02:28 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Bob Bernardo 2017-12-30 06:03 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
ClarinetRobt 2017-12-30 07:26 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Ed Palanker 2018-01-02 18:40 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
vrufino 2018-01-04 19:18 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Arnoldstang 2018-01-04 22:38 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
kdk 2018-01-04 22:45 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
nellsonic 2018-01-05 03:01 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
rdc 2018-01-05 19:55 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
A Brady 2018-01-05 23:13 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
TomS 2018-01-06 00:25 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Philip Caron 2018-03-03 21:44 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Ken Lagace 2018-03-05 03:10 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
William 2018-03-03 22:28 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it   new
Ken Lagace 2018-03-03 22:31 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Brad Behn 2018-03-04 02:58 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
kdk 2018-03-04 03:28 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Ken Lagace 2018-03-04 06:34 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
kdk 2018-03-04 07:50 
 Re: Does flattening a reed really make it "totally toast"?  new
Ken Lagace 2018-03-05 03:03 


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