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 Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2018-02-08 05:27

I switched to Aria reeds last spring and love them. I have been recommending them to everyone! I normally use 4s, but the last box I ordered, last November, there were at least half of them that much softer than usual. Do you think I just got a dud box? Is it the winter dryness affecting them somehow? Normally I get at least 8 useable ones. This box I might get 5, if I'm lucky. The others are thuddy sounding and too soft.

Has anyone else had this happen with these? Should I order another box of 4s? I did try 4.5 a while ago and found they were slightly too hard. I love the ease of response I get with 4s normally.

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: jonathan.wallaceadams 
Date:   2018-02-08 09:39

The same thing occurred to me. Like you said, 4.5s are too stiff so I make do with the 4s by pushing them up a little higher. Of course, this affects the response, but even after this, I find them superior to other reeds. A colleague of mine bought a box of 4s in January and they were a closer to the original strength than the November- early December batch.

For me, the 4's give me a fluid, dense sound. I say that they're "like butter," if that makes sense.

Just an aspiring student.
Buffet Tradition
Mpc.: Hawkins "G", Barrel: Moba, Reeds: Reserve 3.5+

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-02-08 19:41

Me too. I play an open mouthpiece, and 3s had played pretty well out of the box, whereas I needed to work 3 1/2s. The last batch I got, split between the two strengths, I still need to work 3 1/2s, but 3s are too soft to use. They're still relatively new, and I'm guessing he's still working out exactly how the strengths are going to work. They're pretty similar to Pilgerstorfer Dolces, though, and I've consistently been able to use 3 1/2s out of the box with those.

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-08 19:52

Brad Behn would probably be a person who is worth asking about this. When I've had questions about Aria reeds, he has answered my emails very straightforwardly. I think he'd know if something has changed.


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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: ClarinetRobt 
Date:   2018-02-09 02:26

When I talked to Brad about this months ago, he mentioned he first batch was softer than intended. The second batch, released in December?, I believe, he was hoping to resolve this problem. No idea if it was.

I have a couple of boxes I bought before a recent price increase and I haven't even touched them yet. I'll have to go check them and see.

~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: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2018-02-09 03:33

ClarinetRobt wrote:

> When I talked to Brad about this months ago, he mentioned he
> first batch was softer than intended. The second batch,
> released in December?, I believe, he was hoping to resolve this
> problem.

That was my question to him. Sometime between the first box I bought of #4-1/2s, which played very easily on my mouthpiece, and the next box not long after, the #4-1/2s had become unplayable. He told me then that there had been an adjustment in the strengths, but I don't remember exactly when it was without going back into my email archives.

I don't know what may have happened since.


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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-09 06:02

Well as a reed master, maybe some poor quality cane came in, bad measurements? If anyone wants to send me a few I play on 3 1/2 strength reeds. Vandoren and Steuer, and even 4's. I'll test them and you can let Brad know the results.

Brad and I have great respect for each other. I don't mind helping him out.

Designer of - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces and the La Vecchia mouthpieces

Yamaha Artist 2015

Post Edited (2018-02-09 06:03)

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-12 00:53

Thank you for your comments above.

While ARIA reeds are designed for optimum performance on Behn mouthpieces, it has been a wonderful surprise to note their popularity on other mouthpiece brands as well.

ARIA reeds come from my 32 years experience as a reed maker. My goal was to make a reed available to my clientele that would match or surpass my own homemede reeds. And to this day I continue to handcraft reeds from tube cane. This important benchmark helps keep ARIA’s quality and consistency in perspective.

I also note that I have received praise by many professionals for the quality of my handcrafted reeds, AND for ARIA reeds as well. In fact I personally find ARIA to outplay many of my homemade reeds – yes the goal – but perhaps a bit of a blow to my ego. That is good stuff I think! So to the point, yes I do believe I have achieved my goal to offer a reed that plays as well or better than my homemade versions.

HOWEVER – you won’t get that result from every reed in a box. Similar to my homemade reeds, not every reed is great. I probably get about one great homemade reed out of every four I make, and yes I also get that sort of yield from ARIA. Note also that the other three ARIA reeds are usually very good options too, which will indeed serve in some capacity. Please know that I critique my reeds from my reference point as principal clarinetist of the OKC Phil. A very good group – not the Boston Symphony, but certainly a good group which keeps highly trained professional musicians on their toes for sure. I am very fortunate to have this baseline or reference point, and this standard is embedded in everything I make.

Regarding quality, ARIA's cane is selected for a very responsive, and tonally rich reed. ARIA’s cane is free and easy blowing; ARIA's shape further ensures vibration, response, and resonance. And each finished box undergoes our extreme vetting hand selection process to ensure the highest ratio of playable stage worthy reeds.

Regarding consistency, this continues to be something I will unrelentingly pursue. While I am very proud to note that I consistently get feedback from my professional clientele that they are getting 8 reeds to play very well out of a box, and even the "duds" outplay many of the "decent" reeds from other makes, I continue to work to make ARIA more consistent. Until 9 or 10 out 10 reeds play with stage worthiness, I will not rest. Yes a tall order, that standard simply has never existed before, and I dare say that ARIA's high yield of quality reeds per box sets the bar very high indeed.

There are several reasons why so many ARIA reeds play.
1. The cane is highly vibrant.
2. The shape or "Vamp" is designed for optimum response.
3. ARIA reeds employ a true-tip strategy. As compared to other brands, ARIA have finer tips, and the result is a more sweet sound, and much improved blow-through.

That said there are several consequences.
1. ARIA reeds play "softer" than other brands. So you should probably go up a strength compared to major makes.
2. By implementing a "true-tip" I am doing something relatively unusual, perhaps risky in the marketplace. It requires a more gentle tongue, and nuanced approach I cherish as an artist, and I dare say, an approach which simply can't be perfected on harder reeds which require the dreaded "bite-'n-blow" style of playing needed on a heavy setup.
3. ARIA strength evaluation is trickier to pinpoint. That is too say, that there may be a wider perceived range of strengths in each box than with some other makes. This is due to several factors – one of which is the true-tip concept. Other factors undergo continued examination, and as a result of this conversation “Extreme-Vetting” during the hand selection process will include critical examination of “strength” as a newfound top priority. That is a commitment I make to you.

The good news.
1. ARIA reeds which may be too light can still work, and ARIA reeds which are too heavy can play as well. Of course the light ones may benefit from clipping, or they could be allocated to practice and scale work, or perhaps a "pops" concert where the rep isn't as nuanced. And the heavier ones may benefit from slight sanding or minimal knife work. I personally find ARIA strength 3.5 to be my "sweet spot", however I often find strengths 3 and 4 serviceable options as well. I can comfortably play all. And to have a variety serves me very well. For example, in a classics concert where I may be doing a symphony by Shostakovich or Berlioz, I may opt for the meatier reed, however when at home in my practice room, the lighter option would feel and sound equivalent, and so I benefit by having both. I NEVER want to work too hard, I NEVER want to implement “Bite-‘n-blow”, and by having the option, I can ALWAYS find a reed which enables a healthy approach to the instrument under any atmospheric condition and under any acoustic condition as well.
2. And yes there is a wider variety of perceived strengths in each box of ARIA reeds than I would ideally like. And yes I am working on that.
3. However, I invite you to also explore the benefits of having a variety of "strengths" at any given time. I think you may find this approach to invite two important things. A) It will provide a better range of options for various acoustic settings common to most musicians. Example: A reed which feels right at a home practice room won’t necessarily be “right” for a large concert hall. Typically a small space needs a lighter reed, whereas a large acoustic environment like a concert hall benefits from a heavier reed. B) Repertoire often influences the reed strength I select. For example, a big Mahler symphony often requires a “bigger” reed than a smaller work by Mendelsohn may prefer.

Thank you for your support. As you know, quality is EXTREMELY important to me, and I am dedicated to making the world’s finest products. If you have questions I welcome them. Phone: 405-651-6063

Brad Behn

Brad Behn

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Musikat 
Date:   2018-02-12 05:27

Thank you for that very detailed explanation and response, Brad! I have to say your Arias were a revelation in my playing. I have tried other reeds but always defaulted to my Vandoren V12s 3.5+, which were good, but did require more of that "bite and blow" style you mention, plus a lot more fixing. The Arias just played so freely and easily that I was more able to focus on playing and technique, instead of reeds. I play on a Gregory Smith mouthpiece.

I was just surprised with this box that it seemed overall notably more soft than the other 4s I had ordered and wondered if there had been a production run that was on the softer side. I even had my 10-year-old son try one of the softer new 4s on his Behn Overture mouthpiece (he normally plays 3s). It was a little stiff, but he could play it with little trouble.

I just want to make sure do order the correct strength next time. Maybe I'll order a mix of 4 and 4.5 to see if the current 4.5 strength is better for me than the ones I tried months ago.

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: dorjepismo 2017
Date:   2018-02-12 20:32

Do like the Arias, and also Brad's advice of having different strengths available. With weather changes and differences in available practice time, relying on one strength of one model of reed isn't a safe thing for me to do.

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Caihlen 
Date:   2018-02-13 05:40

Your explaination made me a new customer. Looking forward to trying them out.


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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: tucker 2017
Date:   2018-02-13 17:53

I wrote to you asking if bass reeds would become available in your Aria line. You responded that there were no plans for bass reeds.

I did the same with Legere and their European cut. They do, however, have plans to make sax reeds in the European cut but not bass reeds.

I'm just curious: Is it strictly a marketing/financial decision because the sales for bass reeds are a fraction of Bb reed sales or are bass reeds more challenging to manufacture because of the size or something I'm unaware of?

I'm still not on board with Legere 100% (although I like the tenor sax studio cut the best on bass). I think I've tried most of the rest of cane reeds and like Steuer and good ole blue box the best.


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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Brad Behn 
Date:   2018-02-14 02:45

Thanks Tucker for your inquiry. I don't have plans at this time to introduce a bass reed because it is a massive project - one which to do correctly would take more resources of time than I have at the moment. I am currently very busy expanding inventory - much to come very soon...

In fact, what you have seen over the past 30 years is only a warm-up compared to what is to come...

I appreciate your interest in a bass reed, and I would like to remind you that I offer two bass mouthpieces (SONO and EPIC) which work very well on both Legere bass reeds strength 2.5, Tenor reeds strength 3, and Blue Box strength 3.

Furthermore, I have been collaborating with principal clarinetists of the Boston Symphony Bill Hudgins - who plays ARIA reeds - to add a second design. I have met with him frequently over the past several years on the ARIA project and he is very happy, however some of our ideas were left off the table to necessitate ARIA's production. Good ideas - and we are working to design another reed design which will enlist those additional concepts. More to come on that in the coming months.

Indeed fewer bass reeds would sell than Bb reeds, however I don't do things simply from a money perspective. I do things from inspiration. So when I have an idea I will pursue it. For example, I actually CNC manufacture bass and Eb mouthpieces, something to date that is not done by anyone else, as far as I know...although I am aware that D'Addario is in development stages of a bass mouthpiece which is coming soon. The resources of time and finances involved in designing and manufacturing a mouthpiece are significant, yet I did it. To be involved in creating something, a work of art, which comes from the heart has been and will continue to excite me, keep me youthful, and full of enthusiasm towards my love of the clarinet.

Your desire for a great bass reed is most appreciated and I appreciate your support. I promise that when I am ready, when I have the right design and manufacturing system to enable something special. I will make it. When I make something, my goal is simple. I want to introduce something which is new, unique, better...the best, and a work of art. I believe I have done just so with my mouthpieces, my patented design innovations, my quality of workmanship, and my include reeds.

I appreciate your noticing.


Brad Behn

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 Re: Question for Aria Reed users
Author: Chetclar 
Date:   2018-02-17 04:56

I really am totally impressed with Aria reeds! The bottom line with me is : the number of usable and “ Performance” level reeds in a box and the sound that is produced. These Aria reeds check both boxes! And I can articulate better also! Bravo Brad!

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