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 Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-21 02:50

Practicing Stranger On The Shore with 2.5 reed. Seems good. Get to High Part c5-C6 and almost impossible to make notes without squeaking. Not one or two but just about every one. I get frustrated because do not know what to do then. Not like mid-concert but just playing at home. So thought I would ask what professional and experienced player would do. Should I try a harder reed such as 3? Or work on reed with sanding, polishing, rewetting, etc? Use a new reed? Go to aother easier song? Or what? Just need tips on how to approach problem. Other than giving it up for now.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2018-02-21 03:06

For starters try at least one or two different reeds to see if that eliminates the problem. If not, then check your clarinet for leaks, bad pads, bent key, etc. Is this something new, or does it always happen? If it is new, what has changed? Hard to tell from afar....maybe a better song would help, who knows? If possible, could you record a bit so we could have a better idea?

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2018-02-21 03:27

You probably have more than one reed, so it should be easy to eliminate that as a cause. If there is nothing obviously wrong with the reed and it's the same as you have been using then I'd look for a leak or maladjustment of the instrument. Try backing off the adjustment screw on the G# key a turn.

Tony F.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-21 07:40

I am actually a hobbyist rather than musician and try to play maybe half to one hour a day for just myself and just use 1 reed a day in order, and have about 30 reeds of various age and number of plays from 2 to 3 strength. I also have a box of 2.5 unused reeds. I have not played for about a month now for had no time so it may be I am just out of practice. Had actually forgotten how to make the C5-C6 notes without looking at a chart. I tried the next 2.5 reed and also a 3 reed and they did sound better. At least I was able to sound the note. And my playing improved noticeably since restarting. I suppose it IS logical to first try another reed when first notice a problem. Before breaking in a new one or starting to work on a reed. I will try to remember this in the future. The high register IS better for me with the harder reeds but I just began a new rotation and I am on the 2.5 from the 2 strength now. I just go in order of #1 - #__.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2018-02-21 08:39

Glad to hear it is going better!

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2018-02-21 08:47

I had a clarinet way back in high school that a guy sold me for $5 because he had left it out in the rain. It was not quite straight. I don't know what his parents thought of that.....but I put some effort into learning to play it. I would be in the basement playing, toodle, toodle, SHRIEK, and could hear my parents rolling on the floor upstairs because they had never heard me play any instrument that badly before. Having now, later in life, played on one that did not leak, I now know that my parents' mirth was due to the instrument and not me or the reed. So....get it checked for leaks etc. It could save you a whole lot of frustration.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-21 22:47

Tried the #6 2.5 reed today and it was better....or else I am getting better. Never spent much time on the C5-C6 register.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-22 00:06

In my opinion it depends 100 percent n your setup. For example a 2 1/2 reed is ok if the tip opening is about 1.20, because you have been playing long enough to go to a 3 or even a 3 1/2 by now.

So what mouthpiece are you using and what reed manufacture are you using? Also what is the condition of the mouthpiece? What is the tip opening? Horrible cane will collapse causing chirps. Bad mouthpieces needing facings, or damaged mouthpieces with marks on the table, rails and the tip can cause this.

From experience lighter strength reeds tend to drop in strength. Let's say you are using a 5 strength reeds just as an example. The fibers are much harder of course, so if you have a gauge as I do when wetting the reed it might drop to about a 3 3/4's strength. At the same time a 2 1/2 reed could drop below a 1 strength and not even measure on a gauge, because the fibers are so weak. When this happens the side rails of the reeds fold in and can cause a squeak.

A very simple test is to wet a reed for about 10 minutes, play it, and take the side rail tip of the reed and with your finger and LIGHTLY bend the reed inwards and see if the reed folds inwards and doesn't flex back to the correct firm straight position as if it was dry. If this is the case the reed or reeds will squeak a lot.

So your goal is to get up to about a 3 to 3 1/2 strength as soon as possible. This will help stop the sides of the reeds from folding over.

You can also clip the reeds, making the tips thicker. For example some reeds are only about 0.006" thick. (3 human hairs or so) Some German reeds are 0.0017", almost 3 times thicker, such as what Sabine Meyer plays on. Needless to say these side rails don't fold over. In horrible weather conditions I will sometimes throw on a German reed. Yes they are a tad bit narrow but they work and get you through difficult times.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2018-02-22 05:29

Finding the right reed strength is an interesting thing. There's a balance between too hard and too soft. For me, the way I find the right strength is by testing the extreme highs (altissimo notes), and extreme lows (low E or F). The reed has to be hard enough to have a good control of upper notes without it sounding too bright or harsh, but soft enough that I can get the low E and F out at a soft volume with it sounding too airy (I use a firm embouchure, but don't bite).

It's different per mouthpiece, and as you're finding, harder reeds in general tend to make those higher notes easier. But just make sure that it doesn't compromise your ability to play well in the extreme low registers (for me, a soft volume with very little to no airiness).

Best of luck! I'm curious what mouthpiece you're using as well. While you CAN use a soft reed on a close tip mouthpiece, it's generally just more work than it's worth to control it (for most people).

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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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.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-22 22:51

Maybe I should use 3 reeds in a practice session rather than only one. Like a 2, 2.5 and a 3? Most of my reeds have had up to 20 playings. Go though them in order then repeat.

EDIT:
Maybe I just need to play some high notes instead of songs. Tried a 2, 2.5, and 3. All about the same. Play well afew minutes then start squeaking and jamming up so no note sounds.



Post Edited (2018-02-23 03:08)

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: sfalexi 
Date:   2018-02-23 04:13

BGBG wrote:

> Maybe I should use 3 reeds in a practice session rather than
> only one. Like a 2, 2.5 and a 3? Most of my reeds have had up
> to 20 playings. Go though them in order then repeat.
>
> EDIT:
> Maybe I just need to play some high notes instead of songs.
> Tried a 2, 2.5, and 3. All about the same. Play well afew
> minutes then start squeaking and jamming up so no note sounds.
>

>
> Post Edited (2018-02-23 03:08)

If by 'jamming up', you mean they are physically closing off the tip and air itself is hard to get through, this COULD be a symptom of too soft a reed, too firm an embouchure, or both. Heck, try 3.5s or 4s. And try (if you can) three reeds of each strength. Some music stores sell reeds singly or in small packs so you can try to find the right strength. Don't do ONE 2, ONE 2.5, ONE 3, etc. Try three of each.

Just give it a shot. It'll cost maybe 20-30 bucks, but would be worth it to find the reed size that is likely to give you the least problems.


Bob,

I remember reading somewhere (I'm pretty sure it was "100 tips" from Michele Gingras?) that having yourself or a student play on a softer reed is a useful tool to help solve biting. And you would HAVE to have a loose embouchure in order to control it and have it not close off. My suspicion based on what they're writing (which of course is the worst way to diagnose a MUSICAL problem!, but hey, we work with what we got on a bulletin board!), is that the reed is too soft.


We don't know the setup (mouthpiece) you use BCBG, but for someone that puts in daily work of 1/2 to 1 hour, and knowing that the majority of mouthpieces mass produced are created for a 3.5-4 reed, I'm willing to bet you need to try out a few 3.5 reeds sooner rather than later.

Alexi

Small Group Leader
US Army School of Music NCO Academy


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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-23 07:38

Alexi, agreed - I can't add anything to this without knowing more about the reeds he is playing on and also the mouthpiece. In past posts he was playing on reeds with mold on them.

His solution to play on 2 then 2 1/2 then 3 during his practice sessions in my opinion is confusing and won't solve his problem with squeaking. What I wrote was pointless and very frustrating.

Maybe it's time for him to see a good teacher near him, as we or at least myself won't be able to help him based on his answer.

Cheers!


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-23 08:40

I do not really know what to do. It is a german E-11 and a Lyre M13 MP. I also have the MP that came with instrument. This was not really supposed to be a solution but only what I did today. Like you say, it solved nothing. Maybe just need more practice on the high register. I will read over carefully what you wrote as I have not really done that and do not mean to be unappreciative. Perhaps I expect too much too soon. I previously avoided the upper registers simply because they were not as easy and successful as the lower were. But I admit avoidance is not the path to learning. I am playing on Mitchell Lurie, DAddario, Rico, at the moment and they do not have mold on them. They were started a year or two ago and are stored in a plastic box with 2-way humidity bags like players I know use. I like to play songs but I realize I should be doing more with techniques and less of simply playing easy material. Have not really been taught a way to practice on my own.
Thanks for the suggestions.

Edit: Another thread a poster said reeds lasted 26.5 hours. I have not toalled the time for mine.



Post Edited (2018-02-23 08:42)

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-23 21:32

Maybe I can still help. I actually made the Mitchell Lurie reeds at Rico for 15 years. I was in charge of them and close friends with Mitchell. This is my last attempt. Glad you got rid of the mold issue. You don't need plastic either. Often people place too much into reed conditioning. Look at it this way Mitchell Lurie used the same reed for 8 months to a year. This is unusual. But an example of how he didn't do a thing to his reeds. He just used the same reed everyday, no rotations nothing. I use the same reed until it dies. Then I find a new one. I don't use a rotation system. I play up to 4 hours a day. Change reeds about every 3 to 7 weeks.

His reeds are smaller in length for a reason. They were cut twice for accuracy using 2 large 3/8" diamonds spinning at 15,000 RPM's (Revolutions per minute) This was the ONLY machine with 2 cutting diamonds on the machine out of 32 machines and each machine could cut a reed in 6 seconds or less. Often we had or I should say "I" had to run 2 machines to keep up with the demand as 1 1/2 million reeds were sold of just his per year. Mitchell got 5 cents per reed. So he really liked me and my designs. I made him a lot of money.

Now you are using a Vandoren M13. This is a very close tip of 1.01mm's. You have been playing for well over 2 years now probably 3 to 5 years. It is my strong opinion and suggestion that you should be playing on nothing less than a 3 strength reed Mitchell Lurie reed. I think you should be on a 3 1/2.

Also the tips on the reeds were set at just 0.005", less than 2 human hairs, so the side rails are thin. Very thin and will collapse as the reeds get old causing you to squeak on this very small tip opening mouthpiece. Now I haven't worked at Rico in a long time, but when I was there I picked out only the very best cane. Now that I'm gone and Mitchell is dead the quality control surely has gone down. The musicians there I'm sure are not good and don't care about the cane quality.

So use 3 strength reeds and after a few months jump this up to 3 1/2. This is about right for an M13 mouthpiece. In fact a lot of players would use even heavier reeds such as a Vandoren 3 1/2 plus to a 4.

The Mitchell Lurie reeds don't last as long as other reeds. I would get rid of them after about 20 hours of playing, maybe less, because of the thin cuts and the poor cane quality.

You might want to try an M15 mouthpiece which has about a 1.03 tip opening. You may feel more freedom when playing.

I've told you this before that Rico uses PESTICIDES on ALL of their reeds. Often their reeds are sprayed 2 and 3 times. Notice how I've been warning people about this for years and I'm still warning people. Rico doesn't care. They haven't sent me a single threatening letter. In fact just last week they failed to show up for a hearing. So now we filed to go to trial. I will be asking for something around 1 million. They can't keep doing this. But for those that want to put pesticides in their mouths and bodies and think that it won't hurt them I'm not stopping you. I worry about the kids just starting to play the clarinet. Lets stop this madness. Make Rico pay and make Rico stamp every box of reeds that these reeds have Pesticides on them. Let the parents decide if they want to harm their kids.

Music should be fun. Squeaks are not fun. Try this and see what happens.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2018-02-23 21:33)

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-23 22:03

It occurred to me that maybe professional players do not just start with a 2 reed and go in order until reach the end then start over, but maybe realize different registers require different reeds and maybe practice the piece before the concert and learn what reed works best. I have read that beginners start with soft reeds then progress to harder ones, but maybe they do not then stay at that strength reed but vary according to music and the highness or lowness of the notes. I have not read this and do not know professional players but I thought this might to some degree be true. I have read that softer reeds work best for low register and harder for high register, and normally one starts out with soft and progresses to high. But maybe some music calls for soft and some for hard? Have to change my approach.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-25 04:31

Find it too complicated to practice with several reeds so returned to one reed per practice. If sounds bad will go to next. Playing E5 to A5 on Rico 3 reed. Getting better. Think I just need more practice. May get some new reeds because though do not know the exact length of playing the present ones are are 2 - 3 years old.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: EaubeauHorn 
Date:   2018-02-25 06:34

Bob Bernardo, thank you for the information about Rico and pesticides. I had no idea, and have not used Rico reeds....for someone who concentrates on eating only organic and pastured foods, it would be downright stupid for me to put a Rico in my mouth. People just don't realize what chemicals are doing to them, because the effects are so delayed and no one wants to admit the dangers.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-25 06:44

EaubeauHorn - Your welcome, glad to help.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-25 09:19

After reading the above comments I probably should stop using the Rico reeds, especially since most of mine are Rico and 2-3 years old anyway. I guess I knew this but believe I will look into some non-Rico 2.5 -3 strength. I have a hard time throwing anything away but if had some new ones I would probably use them instead.

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: johng 2017
Date:   2018-02-26 00:54
Attachment:  reed urn.jpg (108k)

Oh No, don't throw out those reeds! The best use is to save them in a nice reed urn like I do.

John Gibson, Founder of JB Linear Music, www.music4woodwinds.com

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-02-26 03:11

Won/t really throw them out. Just use new ones. Ordered box of Steuer 3 classic reeds. Have a box of unoppened 2.5's.
Tried 3 reeds of 3 strength just now and seemed to work well.

I am not really sure WHY save the present ones but there might come a reason at some point.



Post Edited (2018-02-26 03:14)

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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2018-02-26 03:55

I think you are starting get it! Reeds are cheap. About the cost of a Starbucks cup of coffee. Throw them away after a few weeks. Use nothing less that a 3 strength on the Vandoren mouthpiece. Think seriously about never using a Rico product again.

You don't have to use Steuer reeds. You can use anything, but avoid Rico. Maybe try Legere reeds. They seem to last a long time. I can't play on them myself but that's just me. A lot of top pros can. David Shifrin, Ricardo with the Philly Orchestra, but I just don't like the sound and even more the feel. I don't think you will have tip issues with these and the squeaks will probably go away. Remember to change these reeds too about every 6 to 8 months. They don't last forever either. Most players like the European cut. So maybe get the 3 strength European cut.

Good luck.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




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 Re: Squeaky Reed
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2018-03-25 01:49

I think I found why my B3 and C4 always squeaks no matter what mouthpiece or reed I use or how much or how little I wet the reed or adjust fingers.
The tip of reed seems to be sliding to the right, not enough to see through but just enough to squeak no matter how I adjust fingers, I tried sliding it slightly back to left and it improved right away. I will try reposition if I get squeaks and see if it helps. Used to be able to finger the B3 and C4 right away but not recently.Maybe reed slightly out of position? Believe so.

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