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 New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-03-23 01:59

Is it considered better to take a full box of 5 or 10 reeds and try each one for a few days or weeks instead of just using one, wearing it out, and going to the next? I have read where people take a whole box and play on each a few minutes a day for several weeks and that they may be different, like some good and some bad.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-23 02:44

Cane is a natural material and by nature is variable. Within a box of Vandorens (for example) you probably will find six or seven usable reeds (four of which will be really good), and the last three are usually too dull, thuddy, mushy or generally not playable.

I typically open a box, break in all the reeds (five minutes on each, each day) for about four days, then rotate each usable reed one day at a time (so in six days I'd go through all six usable reeds, then the seventh day I'm back to the first reed again). Usually I get a month or so use out of this arrangement before beginning to break in a new batch (box).


That is with really heavy use, practice sessions, rehearsals, and performances.


As a student I would highly recommend having a four reed minimum (buy one of those inexpensive plastic LaVoz reed holders that holds four reeds) through which you rotate through them within a four day period. This way there is no "shock" plucking a new reed from a box when your old reed just dies. It also helps shape your perception of the realities of cane and what you need to do to deal with those variances.





.................Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Bob Bernardo 
Date:   2019-03-23 09:24

Thought we covered this a few times. Also covered mold getting on old reeds.

For me if the reeds play use that one in the box until it dies, 6 to 8 weeks, 4 to 6 hours of playing per day. I'm pretty darn good at adjust and making reeds so during the weeks of playing that one reed I do adjust them of course.

If you live in an unstable climate you may have to change to a lighter or softer reed or a heavier one for a few days. At the same time it's good to play on reeds that are't perfect. This allows you to be flexible if the weather conditions change you you have a concert to play. Hope this helps! We can't allow ourselves to go crazy over reeds. There is a very good book by Fred Ormand. Write to me if you want to really learn about adjusting reeds. I'll email you his contact info.


NEWLY DESIGNED - Vintage 1940 Cicero Mouthpieces


Yamaha Artist




Post Edited (2019-03-23 09:30)

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-03-23 17:42

"We can't allow ourselves to go crazy over reeds."

This may become my new mantra. Thanks, Bob!

-- Beth

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-23 18:36

Good luck with that. :-)



............. Paul Aviles.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-03-23 19:43

You people slay me. :)

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-03-24 03:29

Paul:: Am I correct in assuming you use all the reeds from same box like 5 if 5-reeds or 10 if 10-reed box? And that you use only reeds from same box, not 5 from one box and 5 from another?
I have a box of ten 2.5 and one of ten 3.0 but I bought three 2.0 for was having trouble playing after a 7 month vacation and though the 2.0 are good in lower register I think I am going to need a harder reed for the high notes. Also I think I will start the other two 2.0. I like the idea of rotating and see where many players do this. Open whole box and find some excellent, some mediocre, and some bad. Of course if know how to modify them you might just stay with one and work on it. 7 months ago I was playing on a 3.0

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-24 04:18

I am speaking a full box of one brand, one style, one strength. That takes into consideration that I have finalized exactly what those parameters are that work for me on my mouthpiece. Also, that is a description of heavy, professional use. For me that was Vandoren V21 (a wonderful combination of centered sound and some extra color and warmth. Previous to that I used Vandoren Rue Lepics).





................Paul Aviles

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-03-24 06:17

Thank You.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-03-25 02:05

Began trying this on new 3 pack of 2.0 Rico. Numbered 53, 54, 55. Soaked a few minutes in water then played low part Stranger on the Shore once on each reed. 55 was best, 54 was next, 53 had a little trouble on B4 and C5. Will continue as above suggested.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-25 03:27

If you prefer the Rico brand, perhaps you may want to try the Reserve version. I have a colleague who swears by them.





...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Tom H 
Date:   2019-03-25 08:35

Everyone has a different reed routine. From a box of 10 VanDoren 2 1/2s I usually take out 3 or 4 and give them a blow. I may use the second best most of the time at a rehearsal and the best of the 4 occasionally. Then give all 4 another good blow the day of the concert and make my choice, having marked all 4 with numbers 1-4, and keeping which ever numbered one as second best by my chair in case it's needed during the concert.
I agree with Paul Aviles' assessment of the conditions of VanDoren Reeds per box of 10.

The Most Advanced Clarinet Book--Austin Macauley Publishers
tomheimer.ampbk.com/
austinmacauley.com/author/heimer-tom (PDF samples here)


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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-03-30 02:11

Just cannot seem to get the new 2.0 reeds to play the C5 register. They play the lower registers fine. My old 3.0 reeds play the C5 and lower registers fine. Maybe the 2.0's are too wet from soaking a few minutes or maybe it is my embouchure????

Might also be fingers. Moved reed up slightly on mouthpiece a little higher than mouthpiece and adjusted fingers and got all 3 2.0 reeds to play the high part. Reeds had also dried awhile and I did not rewet them. Just have to work at it I guess. Frustrating though.



Post Edited (2019-03-30 03:37)

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-30 04:57

I'm not sure what you meant when you said that you did not "re-wet" the reeds.


The scenario I envision is that you take a reed out of the box, set it in a little aspirin size bottle of water (vamp end half in the water), after about 2 minutes you take the reed out and place it on the mouthpiece and play for five minutes, then you take the reed off and set it down to dry (putting in reed guard after drying out a bit), return to that reed the next day to repeat the process. Of course you do that for at least three other reeds (or rest of box of ten) for about four days. On the fifth day, you take the first reed out, put in water for a few minutes, place on mouthpiece and play for however long your session or rehearsal lasts (and or use for the rest of day, re-wetting before each practice or rehearsal). The next day, you take our reed #2 and do that. Once you get to last reed, go back to first one.....repeat.


Never let a reed dry out during the playing of it......that's not part of the process.



................Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-03-30 06:29

Paul: I think I mean I soaked them too long. They were in warm water halfway up from tip for around 10 minutes and only lightly wiped them before putting them on instrument. Then I played the low and then the high part. Maybe my mouth was a little 'spitty" also and to be honest I have not really played much in this high register. Most of what I play is D5 and below. I tried sliding the reedd slightly up and down to see if it helped. I had no real idea how wet they needed to be and they came out of a 69% Boveda tupperware container in the first place. Later on after laying flat side up on a glass table maybe half hour I just picked them up and tried them and they were better. I think they will be all right after a little more research and lots of practice. Thanks for the tips. The more the better. I only had 16 formal lessons to start with and play only for myself. I am trying to follow your procedure to see how it works for me but I am "not there yet". I did not let these literally totally dry out but do believe they were too wet to start with. i usually wet them only about a minute before playing.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-30 15:10

The tupperware container sounds suspicious. I would never SEAL a reed in anything. You want some air around your reeds. Maybe a little help in really low humidity situations like Winter where the heat is blowing inside all day long and the ambient humidity may be around 20%.


For example I place reeds in basic holder or case then put the case in one of those Baggies sandwich bags just folded over once (not sealed and no added moisture at all such as damp sponge....just the reeds).


The goal of a gradual break in period is to re-introduce working moisture to the reed....slowly. If you just start playing on a reed right out of the box for two hours worth of rehearsal, chances are the reed will become water logged and just become "thuddy" and unplayable.


I would fear sealing a reed in a high humidity environment will do the same thing. One clear sign of the water log effect is when the reed turns a darker color (greener or browner), or appears to have darker color bands within it.




..................Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: shmuelyosef 
Date:   2019-03-31 21:16

I do know someone (music teacher and professional musician) who keeps his reeds (mostly clarinet and tenor saxophone) in a triple zip-lock dry bag filled with 100% Listerine (yes...mouthwash). He sounds great and the reeds do play right out of the bag each time. He doesn't worry about rotation (he has 15-20 in the bag at any time) and just throws them away when they don't play. He does sound great...

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-03-31 21:32

I have seen double reed players with a sealed bottled filled to the brim with water and reeds (like a pickle jar). If you get a system like that to work.....that's great. But I find for me that when you take a reed out into a very dry environment, the reed can literally dry up on the mouthpiece (after considerable wetting in the mouth mind you) within 30 seconds. I prefer to have reeds "live a little of both lives" so that the playing conditions in which you find yourself matter less.




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-04-01 01:52

This technique is working very well for me, Paul. Thanks for straightening out my thinking and habits.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Tony F 
Date:   2019-04-01 02:49

I think life is too short to waste it on playing with reeds. I take 4 reeds from a new box and test them for a few minutes. The good ones go into my reed case and join my regular rotation of reeds. I then play them in rotation until they die, and as they die I replace them with new reeds selected in the same way. Reeds that don't play well I adjust once and if they still don't play well they become glue spreaders. I play 56 Rue Lepic 3's and generally get about 7-8 good reeds in a box. I get around 5-6 weeks out of a reed.

Tony F.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-04-02 21:22

I have always kept reeds in the plastic holders they come in since do not play professionally and only for myself at home. Used to just dip and wipe off before playing and never play for hours. Then I started reading all the things people soak or store them in like vodka, Listerine, peroxide and whatever. Thinking that was what to do I tried some of these things. Now that I am back to normal and only putting tip in water for a minute or so and letting dry a bit after playing, and not keeping in sealed humid containers they are playing much better.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-02 21:32

A big part of that is where you live.


In Central Florida I had the best reed days ever. I never had to do anything beside my break-in period.


Winter in Boston dried reeds out in less than a minute. I nearly went crazy trying to make reeds playable in Boston during the Winter. I imagine people living in particularly dry climates must do much more to keep their reeds usable during the reed's playing life.




................Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: hans 
Date:   2019-04-03 03:41

In addition to soaking, new cane reeds should burnished.

You may want to try synthetic reeds. They are consistent, reliable, and durable and they come with a replacement warranty.

Hans

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-04-07 06:55

My house humidity is running around 30% in the winter and now.
I can play the C5-C6 on the 2.0 reeds sometimes then sometimes I cannot. Seem to jam and squeak. Maybe the mouth or the moisture changes. Not sure.



Post Edited (2019-04-07 06:57)

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: hans 
Date:   2019-04-07 07:09

It may help you to go through this checklist of some common causes of squeaking:

- a dry reed
- overblowing
- accidentally touching a key
- the middle joint in a clarinet is not properly aligned
- using a "wrong" fingering instead of a better alternate
- a finger not covering a hole
- a pad not seating properly
- a weak spring not holding a key closed
- keys out of adjustment (e.g., the A key)
- unco-ordinated fingering
- a leaking joint
- a cracked instrument (in a wood clarinet)
- too much mouthpiece in the mouth
- a burr on the mouthpiece top rail
- misapplied lip pressure
- a reed is split
- the reed is not perfectly sealed on the mouthpiece
- a reed is too thin at the center of the tip or is stiffer on one side than the other
- a poorly designed, worn, or warped mouthpiece (a warped mouthpiece can be refaced)
- the mouthpiece baffle (the slanted top inside the tip) is too high

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-04-09 03:02

Have to ask. How do you "burnish" a clarinet reed? Never heard of this before and am curious.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: hans 
Date:   2019-04-09 03:28

burnishing - place the flat side on a piece of glass and rub the vamp with a smooth rounded object from the thick end toward the tip.
If blowing into the heel end produces bubbles in the vamp, the pores have not been closed and more burnishing is needed.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-09 06:38

When I used to try this, I'd just rub the top of the reed with my finger a few times during the break-in. I can't say that this made much difference in the performance of my reeds.





..............Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: hans 
Date:   2019-04-09 07:40

Paul,

You weren't "burnishing".

I don't burnish anymore either, since I have been using Legeres for as long as I can remember on my Recital and three saxes. Artie said that he played his best sellers (like Stardust) on a plastic reed and that's a good argument in favour of it.

Hans

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-04-09 15:47

Dear Hans,


What smooth, rounded object would you suggest?




...............Paul Aviles



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 Re: New Reeds
Author: hans 
Date:   2019-04-09 18:53

Hi Paul,

I think there are old BB threads on the topic, including from someone who used a pen. As long as it can seal the fibres, anything smooth and clean should suffice.

Regards,
Hans

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BGBG 
Date:   2019-04-10 03:21

I did not know the term 'burnished' but I have I guess done it when I wet the reed, rubbed the flat side and the butt on a clipboard and rubbed the vamp toward tip with my fingernail. I just DID it but never compared the playing with or without it. I think they were TOO dry for when I started soaking them longer the playing improved.

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 Re: New Reeds
Author: BethGraham 
Date:   2019-04-10 04:18

Hi, Hans --

That is a most useful list -- especially for a beginner like me. There are so many things that can cause squawks apart from the reed. (Lately, as I've graduated to the Clarion register, my biggest challenge is ensuring my fingers are completely covering the holes. [Ring fingers: I'm looking at you!])

I wonder if we learners sometimes get too fixated on The Reed, and if being given too much technical information too early in our practice could make us obsess unnecessarily.

I love the good practical tips you've given in your post, Hans. BGBG: I hope that you're finding enjoyment in your playing despite your reed worries.

What I do is pop my reed into a small pill bottle that's about 1/3 filled with water for about 30 seconds tops. (I only get the vamp wet.) If my reed sucks, I try a different one. When I take a quick break to grab a sip of coffee, I put the mouthpiece cap on to keep the reed ready. At this stage, I'm trying not to overthink it.

I do like to think the coffee enhances my playing. :)

Beth

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