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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-22 07:23

Alexi you bring up a VERY good point. With softer reeds you can prevent biting. For years I used 3 1/2 Steuer reeds, about equal to Vandoren Rue 56 reeds or any 3 1/2 Vandoren reed. As a double lip player you surely don't want to bite. It friggin hurts.

Recently I went up to a 4 strength with a 1.06 tip and couldn't be happier. I remembered a trick which you can do to most reeds from many years ago. When a reed is just a shade to hard, instead of removing cane with a reed knife or sandpaper, whatever you use, to soften up the reeds, this can kill the heart of the reed and you lose that special sound. I hardly ever touch the center of a reed, also known as the heart, and it has some other names, the spine, whatever you wish to call it.

So when the reed is wet and you've played on it for a bit and you know for sure that your lips will suffer, that sound will suffer sometimes, just behind the tip, maybe about 1/4" back lightly push down on the heart of the reed and most of the time this "Relaxes," the fibers. WOW suddenly you have this amazing great reed. Do not do this to a dry reed as it will split. Only wet reeds.

I know sometimes it won't work, but the key is to try it. Heck I was in charge and designed the top reeds at Rico. The Mitchell Lurie line alone sold 1 1/2 million reeds a year. So I picked up some really fun tricks. The Grand Concert reeds came from the Var region of France. They probably don't now, as I pretested all of the cane to make sure it was the very best for the pro line of reeds, included the Hemke, Mitchell Lurie, and the Grand Concert reeds of course. But Rico doesn't have enough cane to support all of the reeds there. So they have cane from Argentina and other places, even in California and there isn't any wind to help make the cane strong. Just tall 13 foot thin poles and thin fibers that don't hold up and after a few days if you are lucky most of the box of reeds are dead except for 1 or 2 good ones. Same with Vandoren. One time Bernard Vandoren ran out of cane so he bought some from Rico. I must say I like Bernard. A very nice man.

With the Steuer reeds the cane fibers are so strong because of the winds blowing the cane from the ocean breezes. That's why the cane is so special. Just a recap, the cane that Steuer uses comes from the Var region of France, right next to the ocean. Unlike 99 percent of the cane in the world this is special because the fibers are so strong from being blown around all day and all night. It's like us working out. The Var region is so special.

For those that don't know this these are pretty much Vandoren reeds, because the main man at Vandoren Marc Charpenter left Vandoren after 40 years and joined the Steuer group. This is a dream. Great reeds from Vandoren's Reed Master. Now after spending about 5 years working with these reeds this one trick of just pushing on a slightly stiffer reed 1/4" below the tip with your thumb can make a bad stiff reed come to a brilliant life and this is why I'm playing on 4 strength reeds now. We are just exercising and flexing the fibers. Not breaking them.

I really like that extremely special sound I'm getting out of these 4's. It's so woody. This is with double lip playing and I can play for hours without suffering. This cut that Marc made is pretty sweet. It makes clarinet playing a lot of fun.

This trick will surely work with other brands, but make sure the reeds don't die first. Play on them for a bit. If they remain hard for a few days then try this trick. I wouldn't go closer than 1/4" to the tip. If that doesn't work try going back more from the tip and see what happens. No reed behaves the same. Even plastic reeds have their moments of frustrations when they aren't working right.

This is not a plug for Steuer. A reminder that I have to buy the Steuer reeds just like everyone else and with the cost of the euro's and Steuer raising their prices, plus the postal service raising the cost 50 cents last month, I don't think I made a penny, if anything I'm in the red right now. I simply like these reeds. Every reed comes from the Var region, so if they are cut correctly they are great.


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


Yamaha Artist 2015




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 Topics Author  Date
 Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-21 02:50 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
johng 2018-02-21 03:06 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Tony F 2018-02-21 03:27 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-21 07:40 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
johng 2018-02-21 08:39 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
EaubeauHorn 2018-02-21 08:47 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-21 22:47 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-02-22 00:06 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
sfalexi 2018-02-22 05:29 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-02-22 07:23 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-22 22:51 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
sfalexi 2018-02-23 04:13 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-02-23 07:38 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-23 08:40 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-02-23 21:32 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-23 22:03 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-25 04:31 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
EaubeauHorn 2018-02-25 06:34 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-02-25 06:44 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-25 09:19 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
johng 2018-02-26 00:54 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-02-26 03:11 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
Bob Bernardo 2018-02-26 03:55 
 Re: Squeaky Reed  new
BGBG 2018-03-25 01:49 


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