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 e-flat contra-alto reeds
Author: benjamin leis 
Date:   2001-11-20 15:41

Hi,
I just borrowed a contra-alto clarinet for a wind ensemble that I play in. I took some of my contra-bass reeds and used them initially which seemed to work ok. I was wondering if there are actual specific contra alto reeds? I've also been told bari-sax reeds might work as well. Thanks for any info,
Ben

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 RE: e-flat contra-alto reeds
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2001-11-20 17:03

Depends on the instrument and what mouthpiece it takes. Some models use standard bass clarinet mouthpieces and so take bass clarinet reeds. Others are setup for contra- mouthpieces and reeds. Mine is the first type - uses a standard bass clar mpce setup. I will have to open the coffin at home and look before saying what model instrument it is, though.

I have heard of using sax reeds on contra-clarinets, as well as tenor sax reeds on bass-clarinets - success with this will depend on both the mouthpiece and the player.

Bork!

Ralph

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 RE: e-flat contra-alto reeds
Author: Ken Shaw 
Date:   2001-11-20 17:32

Benjamin -

Rico makes contra-alto reeds, but only in the cheap orange-box style. It's better than nothing, but not much.

For my Selmer Eb contra-alto, with a Selmer mouthpiece, I've found that Vandoren bass sax reeds are just the right size. (Vandoren doesn't make contra-alto reeds, and their contrabass reeds are made for the older Leblanc mouthpiece, which is considerably wider.)

Contra reeds last for a long time, so it's worthwhile to do some work on them. Contra reeds should be as soft as possible -- just stiff enough to avoid a "flapping" sound on loud low notes.

However, these reeds almost all warp down the center of the bottom, which kills the response and causes squeaks. Therefore, I buy Vandoren # 4s, which are much too stiff, and put them on a fine-tooth file (or 400 grit sandpaper over a sheet of plate glass). By the time I get them truly flat on the bottom and balance them from side to side, they're about # 2 or 2-1/2.

Good luck.

Ken Shaw

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 RE: e-flat contra-alto reeds
Author: William Hughes 
Date:   2001-11-20 17:39

Benjamin:

Here are some useful threads re. the contra alto, various mouthpieces and reeds. You need to say what model contra and mpc you are using. There are some experienced players here who can advise you further.

http://www.sneezy.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=58789&t=58789
http://www.sneezy.org/clarinet/BBoard/read.html?f=1&i=43874&t=43868

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 RE: e-flat contra-alto reeds
Author: willie 
Date:   2001-11-21 03:53

Like Ken says, it depends on what mouthpiece you have. I have 2 mouthpices for my metal Leblanc contra alto. The stock Leblanc MPc is an older one that uses the full sized contra reed. It sounds best in the lower register but takes a bit more lung capacity. I use the VanDoren #2s on it. The other MPc is a Selmer C* and it is cut for the smaller reed. The bass sax reed fits about perfect, but is hard for me to find around here so I substiitute a LaVoz bari sax reed as it fits nice too. I have to work it over on 1500 grit wet-n-dry to get a better reed but it will work fine after this. The Lavoz bari reed is just a hair wider than the VD bari reed, so it seals better. However if you can find the bass sax reed in your area, go for it as it will sound better.

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 RE: e-flat contra-alto reeds
Author: David Spiegelthal 
Date:   2001-11-21 18:01

For EEb contra, you should be able to use bari sax reeds if contra clarinet reeds are unavailable. Despite advice to the contrary, I recommend fairly hard reeds (#4 or higher) and a mouthpiece that's more open than generally available -- I play on a refaced Bundy 3 which I've opened way up, and I use a combination of Marca and Vandoren #4 EEb contra reeds, and #4-1/2 Fred Hemke bari sax reeds.

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