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Author: Steve 
Date:   2001-03-12 12:54

I am an aspiring Klezmer clarinetist. I've been playing a couple of years and still struggling to build up my chops so I'm not drooling after 20 minutes of playing. I have met several accomplished ethnic clarinetists (Greek, Macedonian Gypsy, etc) who use VERY soft reeds (#1-1.5) instead of #3-4 as used by classical clarinetists. Anyone have an opinion about this issue as it relates to Klez style playing? What is the advantage of harder reeds?

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 RE: reeds
Author: mike 
Date:   2001-03-16 05:10

A lot of clarinetists that play Gypsy, Balkan music etc, play very soft reed in order to have the flexibility to play microtones. Although not used in Klerzme , I also use slightly softer reeds to help facilitate the bends glisses etc

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 RE: reeds
Author: Mel 
Date:   2001-03-31 12:12

What would you recommend as the ideal reed. I have been playing for3 1/2 years, and am finally attacking Klezmer, which was my original goal. I am playing a Buffet R13, with a Van Doren 5RV Lyre mouthpiece, and have been using Rico Royale 3's.

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 RE: reeds
Author: mike 
Date:   2001-04-05 03:58

For legit playing, I use a 5RV with Vandorin 3 1/2 or 4. For klezmer I play a more open mouthpiece with Grand Concert 3. Don't get too caught up in streangths. I've played reeds from 2.5 to 5. It depends on athe instrument, mouthpiece and musician. There's nothing wrong with playing a softer reed. Over time as you progress you probably will change to harder reeds, but that is not a measure as to ability. That is what the recording studio is for.

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 RE: reeds
Author: Ralph Katz 
Date:   2001-04-05 17:49

If you play 4-hour Klez weddings regularly, yes you will HAVE to make changes. You will have to change in order to keep your lip, teeth, jaws, and hands healthy for the rest of your life. This is different from a lot of other types of playing you have become accustomed to. Initially you look at flexibility, but you are the Electric Guitar of the Klezmer Band and have to play a LOT. Unless you adapt, you can really screw yourself up. There ARE people who can play long klez jobs with a 5RV and #5 reeds, but they must be made of different stuff than me. I use a 5RV Lyre and/or Borbeck 11 or 13, depending on a lot of things - essentially the same mouthpiece I use for any kind of playing. This will be comparable to what you use. I end up with the Lyre most of the time, although for specific applications my Borbeck 13 has a pickup. Strengths 2-1/2 or 3 seem to work for me. Brands should not be a big issue, unless you are one of those people who can only play on <substitute-any-name-here>. I carry an assortment of several brands in varying degrees of breakin condition and spend a little time picking a couple good ones before each gig. A couple of years ago I got 20 weddings out of a synthetic reed: I don't really care for the sound it gave, but after that much usage, who can complain? I also have done a lot of work with Alexander Technique - posture issues can be really key to your survival.

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 RE: reeds
Author: Tom Puwalski 
Date:   2001-11-01 17:01

Reeds such a subject!?, All reed companies go through periods of good, great and down right lousy reeds. I'm really liking the Zonda's right now, because they are really tight with their packaging of really similar stregth reeds in substrenths. 3.5i reeds are really just a tad softer than 3.5J reeds. But I will make one major recomendation. GET A REED WIZARD!!! This is with out a doubt the best tool I have in my arsenal for any single reed I have. I use it on Eb, Bb Bass clarinet reeds and all my Sax reeds. It takes reeds that are hard and stuffy and makes them really playable! I wish I had it for the 20 years I was in the Field Band. The other thing with reeds is the general cut. The thick V12 type cut really require a longer than usuall facing or you spent alot of time cutting off the wood in the back or you end up using a reed that's too soft in the tip.

Tom Puwalski, Auther of the Clarinetists Guide to Klezmer, and Clarinetist with Lox and Vodka check out Loxvodka.com

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 RE: reeds
Author: Mark Pinner 
Date:   2001-11-22 12:48

My preference is for the softest reed possible while still being able to play high notes in tune. I have found LaVoz medium reeds good for traditional jazz but for any folk playing I go straight for Vintage #2 which have a great high register and durability and respond nicely to different tongue positions and inflections. I have worked with many orchestral players over the years who have used very soft reeds notably one guy who used VanDoren classic #1 with a Zinner mouthpiece. He was pretty good.

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