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 Reed Blanks
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-07-22 01:05

I have been thinking about making my own reeds (just as a hobby at first, we'll see how well it actually works out for me). Besides the whole complicated process of actually making the reeds, what is a good brand of reed blank? Muncy sells Gonzalez and I see two brands on weinermusic.com, Glotin and an unnamed brand (it just says "Reed Blanks Bb Clarinet"). How do these compare? Any other ones out there? Thanks for the help!

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Dileep Gangolli 
Date:   2009-07-22 15:25

I had a similar question last week, and a poster put this on.

http://www.aw-reeds.de/en/pi-1152309145.htm?categoryId=17

Looks good but expensive.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-07-22 16:24

Thanks for the link Dileep! I had stumbled upon your thread in my searches, but since the title was about tube cane I did not think to read far into it. I've decided to try a few, so I ordered some of the Gonzalez and I think I will order some of the ones from AW. I'll see which ones work the best (if I can get any to work at all :).

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Joseph Brenner, Jr. 
Date:   2009-07-22 16:30

Since you're just starting out, why not begin with the cheapest stuff. After all, you must develop your whittling technique. That takes time and more than one reed blank. Learning how to carve will teach you about carving AND whether you wish to devote time to carving. If you didn't know how to cook but loved mushrooms, would you start out buying imported fresh truffles and use those to learn how to cook AND how to cook mushrooms? If you messed up the first two, you might have blown $50 dollars or more! Similarly, you wouldn't learn to drive a car (including parallel parking) in a Rolls Royce. I wish you the best. I gave up on the first batch of blanks and admitted to myself that I was incompetent.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Dileep Gangolli 
Date:   2009-07-22 17:12

Yes but unless you use good cane to start with, you will never know whether failure was do to a lack of technical skills or poor starting material. Well worth the small investment to start with good stuff and lots of patience.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-07-22 17:57

Joseph, I think comparing reeds to mushrooms might not be a completely fair comparison. After all, reed blanks, even the expensive ones, are really not that expensive. ($30 USD for 25 for the ones from AW, which includes shipping).

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Joseph Brenner, Jr. 
Date:   2009-07-22 18:27

Dear Clariknight,

I grant you that, but I was trying to make a point! After all, arundo donax, whether from Gonzalez, Guiterrez, Sotomayor, or Louis de Var, is within a general range of density...cane is not of the density of balsa or African blackwood; it has a general range of density. A person who's about to learn reed making may not know anything about reeds beyond how to play with one, just as one who's about to learn cooking may not know anything about vegetables beyond eating them.

So, why pay even 10 cents more for some unit of blanks when you may not have ever held a reed knife, nor penetrated the bark of or cut into wood? I dare say that unless a beginner is standing under the watchful eye of the likes of Kalmen Opperman, the person will not make a playable reed in the first 5--10 tries. So, why part with more than one red cent beyond the minimum to learn how to carve on a reed blank? Again, best wishes!

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-07-23 01:07

Joseph, I understand your point, and it does make sense. But what I am figuring is that the AW reed blanks are about 3 dollars more for 25 than say the Gonzalez. If I work hard and get a few reeds made of the Gonzalez, and I just can't seem to make any work, but then I go and make a couple for the AW blanks, and suddenly I start to get some even semi-playable reeds, then I feel the 3 dollars extra has been wisely spent; I won't be giving up on reed making altogether just because I bought the wrong type of blank. Of course, if this doesn't happen then you will be completely correct - but if it does, then I'll be right. (It's all a very big if though, and I want to stress the fact that I understand how very correct you are likely to be; but I am the kind of person that needs to give everything as fair a chance as possible).

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2009-07-25 20:13

Guys -

You are missing the point here.

Dipleep is a clarinetist of the highest caliber. He has been subbing with the Chicago Symphony most of the summer.

There is no point in his working with anything other than the highest quality cane.

I made my own reeds for over 15 years. Unless you work with the best cane, you are wasting your time, and might as well buy commercial reeds. You can't make a great reed from poor or average quality cane.

I'm sure that is what Dileep is looking for - how to find some great reeds.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com
Hand crafted Clarinet mouthpieces

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2009-07-25 21:55

By the way, please forgive the typos. I broke my new glasses last week by sitting on them. I am using my old glasses, which are about 9 years old. I guess I can't really see out of them.

Dileep - I apologize for misspelling your name.

Walter

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Joseph Brenner, Jr. 
Date:   2009-07-25 21:58

1. Yes, somebody who can make a playable reed should use the best cane available.

2. IF a person wishes to learn how to make a reed AND the person has never held a reed blank or applied a reed knife to a reed blank AND the person will not be aided by an on-site tutor to demonstrate and advise on technique, AND the person will be aided solely by printed instruction or a video presentation, THEN how long will that person take to learn how to make a playable reed?

3. I would submit that the person would waste many reed blanks due to the time it took for mental assimilation of reed making knowledge, transferring the knowledge to arms and hands, and refining the gross and fine motor skills necessary to produce a playable reed.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Grabnerwg 
Date:   2009-07-25 23:31

Joseph -

If I remember correctly, my third attempt at making reeds resulted in a playable reed. After ten reeds, I never bought another commercial reed for eight years. During that time I auditioned for, and won both a College teaching job and a Symphony Orchestra job.

I have only modest manual dexterity, but I had adjusted reeds for years, using a variety of tools and techniques.

I was very lucky in having excellent cane in those days. It was obtained by my teacher at the time, Dr. John Mohler, at the University of Michigan.

Later, we lost this source of wonderful cane. It was very sad.

Walter Grabner
www.clarinetxpress.com

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Joseph Brenner, Jr. 
Date:   2009-07-26 03:18

Walter,

I am sure that modesty keeps you from disclosing more fully your considerable talent in performance and reed making, among other things, but let us both hope that the original poster enjoys early success in crafting playable reeeds and can build on that success in future professional endeavors.

I have no doubt that the quality of cane is not what it had been (I'd thought things had slipped 40 years ago), and degradation of quality is not unique to cane. In the course of my own career I have witnessed degration of the quality of writing, speaking, and professional practice. Over the last six weeks I have been caught up in delays caused by poor quality control of automobile parts and supplies such that my registration may expire before the manufacturer's own repair personnel can install a part critical to regulating the output of hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.

Best wishes

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Dileep Gangolli 
Date:   2009-07-27 04:24

Truly, I take no offense by differences of opinion by posters on the BB.

While some may disagree, to me it makes totally no sense to make reeds without the best cane one can possibly get. The cost of raw material is so low compared to what commercial reeds cost, and the potential benefit so great, that eliminating any variables would seem to be worth any additional expense.

I would counsel that there is opportunity cost involved. Reed making is very time consuming and if one monetarily can make per hour where it makes more sense to go work and then buy reeds and throw as many away as is necessary to find a good reed, then it would be logical to just buy boxes in mass quantities and discard all poor reeds.

I think that we as clarinet players tend to award poor product with our wallets more out of habit than out of thought.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: skygardener 
Date:   2009-07-27 07:21

My advice to anyone that wants to start making reeds is to take one step back and adjust the reeds with a knife and clipper and sandpaper. Doing this will make the step to working from blanks much easier because it builds a good sensitivity for the way the reed reacts to the knife, etc.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: David Niethamer 
Date:   2009-07-30 00:53

I've been making my reeds since 1981 and playing on them professionally. Until 2002, I was a principal player in a regional orchestra - 38 weeks of concerts a season.

About the cane - yes, get good cane, because otherwise you won't know whether the problem is with your reed making skills or crappy cane. BUT - what is "good cane"? I bought a kilo of Reeds Australia cane (tubes) about 10 years ago. I made a few blanks and reeds, and hated the way they played and sounded, so I threw the box in a corner of my studio and kept using my first choice - Gonzales tubes. From time to time, I'd give out a few tubes of RA cane to students and colleagues who wanted to learn to make reeds, or try new cane. Last summer, running a little low on Gonzales tubes, I decided to try some of the RA tubes again. They now work much better after "aging" (drying out in my overheated studio!), and I play on those reeds some. So, try lots of cane. If you find some you like, stock up. A kilo of tubes is a lifetime supply! It takes at least half a dozen tubes to get a general sense of how a particular batch of tubes is going to work out, in my experience.

Both Gonzales and Reeds Australia sell tubes. Gonzales only lists bassoon tubes on their web site, but those are very similar in size to a clarinet tube, so it should be OK. They have always been very helpful when I had a question, so I'd bet that they would be able to get you the size of tubes that you want.

About blanks - make your own from tubes. I worked from commercial blanks for a long time before trying to make blanks for myself from the tubes. I could have kicked myself once I started working from the tubes. You have a lot more control over the shape and dimension of the blank if you make yourself. All it takes is 4-5 different strengths of sandpaper, a hacksaw, and a utility knife to reduce one tube to 8 blanks, which takes about 60-90 minutes.

For the last decade, I've used a DeLutis "Reed Machine" to make reeds. I also use his tools for planing and shaping blanks. Not quite as good as making them by hand, but I've gotten lazy in my old age. Before that I used a ReeDuAl, which has its own set of issues, but which will work. I'm a bit of a klutz with tools, so making reeds completely by hand with knives and files is beyond my skills. I've read about it in Stubbins, seen John Mohler and Stanley Hasty do it at conferences, but it's not for me. Others have mentioned other makes of reed making equipment here - but I have no experience with these, so I won't comment. Search the archives.

The main point - if you can adjust a commercial reed successfully, you can get close with the ReeDuAL or other machine and do the final steps by hand and make a good reed.

I find I get 3-6 good reeds per tube - 2-3 that I'd play in a concert, and 2-3 that I can practice on for a good while before they die. Properly broken in, a hand made reed will last a long time. That's what attracted me to making reeds (instead of buying endless boxes) in the first place.

Useful books - Ronald Vazquez's "Handbook for the Clarinet Reed Maker" (or some such) has a lot of good information from an author who did this regularly and played his reeds professionally in a military band. Larry Guy's "
Selection, Care and Adjustment of Single Reeds" is another good book, as is the "ReedMate Guide" (exact title?). you may not agree with everything, but these three will give you a lot of great information.

Good luck, and have fun!

David
niethamer@aol.com
http://members.aol.com/dbnclar1/index.html

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: clariknight 
Date:   2009-07-30 18:10

Walter: I believe Joseph's comments about using cheaper cane at first were directed at me, not Dileep. In response, now having gained a small amount of experience, I think that it is not so hard as Joseph believes it is to make reeds. It is hard, and seems to require much patience, but I was able to make a semi playable reed on my second attempt (unfortunately got a little to excited trying to sand down the tip to a more reasonable thickness and made a small chip). My third try has yielded a very playable reed that could easily make it into my practice rotation.

To note, these first three attempts have all been with the Gonzalez cane. I am going to make (or attempt to make) all ten blanks I have before moving to the AW cane. I cannot tell quite yet if it is my handy work or the blank itself, but there is something lacking in the way this reed plays. If I continue to produce reeds of this caliber and they still don't play as well, then I will know that it is in fact the cane.

I would also like to note that I am not using a reed machine, rather taking a reed knife and slowly whittling down the blank, then sanding it smooth (as per the method detailed in Peter Hadcock's "The Working Clarinetist").

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: michele zukovsky 
Date:   2019-01-05 06:23

Hi David,

i was wondering what source of cane you are using now.
they changed the vandoren german reed cut a few years ago, and i will have to make my own reeds, which i can do.
if you would let me in on your secret cane supplier, i would be so grateful!

all best,

michele zukovsky

zukovsky@usc.edu

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: donald 
Date:   2019-01-08 02:07

Kia ora Michele,
I'm sorry I can't help you re reed blanks/cane (I'm just using up an old supply of Gonzales cane, but I find it a bit "stiff" for my needs). I just thought you might be interested to hear that Vandoren finally paid some attention to the people who were annoyed that they changed the "White-master" reed design, and now make a model called "White-master traditional" that is supposed to be a return to the original profile.
As they are sold in a box that is almost exactly the same as the "new white master" many vendors/suppliers are a bit confused by all this and they may say these don't exist, or are not available etc. But they ARE, I can photograph a box for you if you like!
Whether they are as good as the old white-masters?, they seem to be, I couldn't say if they were exactly the same but that is the intention.

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Paul Aviles 
Date:   2019-01-08 04:31

When I was dealing with Bas DeJong of Viotto mouthpieces, he made a point of recommending the use of the White Master Tradition reeds. They are available at Thomannmusic.com




https://www.thomannmusic.com/vandoren_white_master_25_traditional.htm




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



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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: Ken Lagace 
Date:   2019-01-08 06:54

I have been making reeds for 60 years and this is for the beginners'

I haven't read every word of every post here, but if you cut a half inch off a broken reed and get it to play, you will be getting the skill and experience that comprises 90% of successful reed making. You can collect them from friends etc. to practice on. It may take 100 reeds to be successful at this important skill.
Then invest in good cane. It doesn't sit well with me that you will be ruining good cane when you ruin most of the reeds you work on.



Post Edited (2019-01-08 17:26)

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: xiao yu 
Date:   2019-01-08 07:12
Attachment:  mmexport1546917159905.jpg (816k)
Attachment:  mmexport1546917166372.jpg (611k)

I use CNC machine made my Reed. With different reeds fix tool and milling cutter, Cnc almost can do every step of Reed making .And a CNC machine is more cheaper than a set of Reed machine. If you can drawing 3D model, you can make any cut type of reeds.

=======================
Kenny clarinet studio from China.
Lyrique libertas, ridenour hw mp,legere euro cut reeds.

Post Edited (2019-01-08 07:23)

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 Re: Reed Blanks
Author: xiao yu 
Date:   2019-01-08 07:25
Attachment:  F38369949BEA152B6D37E6697056EE01.jpg (31k)
Attachment:  54F6CC81136A87CA3A3FE18AC0643892.jpg (51k)
Attachment:  9765B08BFA66E1AB7E7B6C3B1A57CB42.jpg (40k)
Attachment:  79C29AD6B6F57173DA8DD258AFA9E8FC.jpg (31k)

I made all fix tools my self.

=======================
Kenny clarinet studio from China.
Lyrique libertas, ridenour hw mp,legere euro cut reeds.

Post Edited (2019-01-08 07:28)

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