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 Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: GBK (---.dyn.optonline.net - ISP in Sag Harbor, NY United States)
Date:   2009-11-22 02:21

From the Rico web site, some interesting tips from Mark Nuccio on his reed break-in process:

http://www.tothestage.com/MediaDetail.Page?MediaId=7939

...GBK

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-22 13:28

I liked it but he doesn't mention when or how he makes any adjustments. That should be part of the break in process. His method is very much like what I suggest with a few minor differences. I totally agree with his philosophy on timing. I didn't like the sound of his reed but then again, it hasn't been broken in yet so I'm not judging, just had to turn the volume down on my computer. ESP http://eddiesclarinet.com

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in Melville, NY United States)
Date:   2009-11-22 14:38

Fascinating. Things that struck me as novel:

He seems to just drop the ligature on the MP, without tightening, then takes a toot, then off the reed comes. (suggesting that he cycles a LOT of reeds on a regular basis & has learned to keep it simple.)

He puts the reed away wet, without wiping it off and evidently lets it dry out in the case until the next playing, rather than letting it air-dry in the room.

Anybody know what type of case he's using?

I also miss any clue about when and/or how he adjusts his reeds; clearly some selection process must take place. Possibly there's another video on the site? (I'll have to check)

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: cxgreen48 (---.try.wideopenwest.com - ISP in Columbus, OH United States)
Date:   2009-11-22 15:27

Mark Nuccio's break-in process really reminded me of Ed P's break-in process (as Ed even noted above).

Maybe it's possible he doesn't even make adjustments to his reeds; he did contribute to the Rico Reserve Classic design after all.

DougR,
Looks like he's using the Rico reed cases.



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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-22 15:54

Doug, yes he is using the Rico reed cases with the Vitalizer inside. You mentioned him not tightening his ligature. When I do my break in process the first day or two I just keep the reed on the mouthpiece with my thumb, that way I can go through a box in just a few minutes. As Mark said, only a few seconds the first day or two. I may put on the ligature the second day depending on the reed. You can check my website to see my method if you wish, which is not too much unlike Marks in many respects. One difference is that he closes the pores on the top of the reed while I don't, I do it on the bottom of the reed in the second day. Everyone has their own method which you should develop by trial and error by taking suggests from others and seeing what works best for you. I don't pretend that my method will work for everyone, but I have gotten lot's of positive feed back from my students and other members of our bboard over the years. ESP

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in Melville, NY United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 03:12

thanks Ed & Cxgreen, it's been a while since I've seriously shopped for reed holders/cases. I've been using a break-in process that GBK outlined for the Gonzalez reeds a while back, and elements from your reed page too, Ed.

I had a bad case of over-humidifying at one point a few years ago and grew some truly spectacular multicolored fluff on my reeds (ain't nature amazing) but your freezer-baggie-plus-vitalizer method may be where I go next, Ed.

Great thread!



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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Clarimeister (---.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Whittier, CA United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 03:46

Is there a link for the GBK breakin method I can't seem to find it via search. I think I remember reading that but can't remember where to find it. Thanks.



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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: GBK (---.dyn.optonline.net - ISP in Sag Harbor, NY United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 04:28

Gonzalez reeds must be broken in very slowly. It will take a number of days (at least 5 or more) to find out exactly what you have, and what adjustments (if any) are needed. As tempting as it may be, do not make any adjustments until this initial period is over and the reed has finally stabilized. You will be surprised in the difference between your initial test on Day 1 and when the break in period is completed on Days 5 -7.

Do not play on the reeds too long during the first week. A few minutes on the first day and increase by 5 minutes each day after that for the remainder of the week.

However, the most common mistake that I find is that clarinetists are initially playing the wrong strength reed. The reed should play at approximately the correct strength on FIRST TRIAL out of the box. If you have to appreciably remove a good amount of cane to make the reed play, there is a good chance you are also changing the basic profile, design and template of the reed. Thus after all the carpentry, it no longer resembles a Gonzalez reed.

After Day 7, I smooth the back of the reed to insure that it is perfectly flat. I use the back of the reed knife, which seems to just remove any high spots. Do not go all the way to the tip - stop approximately 1/2" before.

The only other adjustments which I usually make are a slight amount of balancing, after testing both sides of the reed. I also seem to find that slightly bringing down the right rail (for me) at about the 1/2" point down from the tip adds a bit more response. As everyone's mouthpieces are faced differently, experiment to see if a slight change to the right rail, or left rail (or both, or neither) works for you.

As to sealing the vamp or the underside, that is strictly a personal matter, but for me, simply holding the reed between 2 pieces of cigarette paper and squeezing the excess water - going from butt to tip after each playing - accomplishes the same effect as intentionally sealing the reed.

Gonzalez reeds have a very long playing life due to the high quality cane and tightly packed fibers. Slow break in will help to prolong your reeds.

Again... Let the reeds stabilize.

**Any reed work before the first week (IMO) is premature**.


After the break in period is completed, and you have made any necessary adjustments, during the 2nd week (the first week of full playing) I continue to check the underside of the reed for any possible swelling or high spots. Again, I use the back of the reed knife to correct this, if necessary.

Finally, I must stress - do not over play the reeds in the initial break in period. A few minutes each day is more than sufficient. Also, do not make any knife or sandpaper adjustments until the reeds have finally stabilized. I place all 10 reeds on a plate of glass to let them dry each day, changing the "ranking" of which play the best each day. Often a reed which starts at #10, becomes #1 by the end of the week.

...GBK

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ambler, PA United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 04:30

DougR wrote:

> I also miss any clue about when and/or how he adjusts his
> reeds; clearly some selection process must take place. Possibly
> there's another video on the site? (I'll have to check)

These clips are clearly meant as advertising for Rico Reserve Classic reeds. Perhaps Rico doesn't think the purpose would be served by having him talk about reeds that aren't immediately playable out of the box.

Karl

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Clarimeister (---.lsanca.dsl-w.verizon.net - ISP in Whittier, CA United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 04:51

Awesome thank you very much GBK.



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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ambler, PA United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 05:04

Glenn,

What do you do with a reed that starts out with acceptable tone and response, but as this break-in process continues, gets progressively heavier and less responsive? Do you (a) simply discard it, (b) keep playing it a little each day even though it's more and more of a struggle each time or (c) give in and make some preliminary adjustments while it's still breaking in just to keep it comfortably playable?

Karl

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: GBK (---.dyn.optonline.net - ISP in Sag Harbor, NY United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 05:25

If a reed gets more difficult to play during the break in process it is usually because the cane is porous and has swollen with the introduction of moisture.

I would let the reed dry thoroughly (try having it dry flat side up) between testing sessions.

After a week of short trials I would first check the back of the reed to make sure it is perfectly flat and it has not swollen outwards towards the window of the mouthpiece. Remove any high spots.

Next, being careful not to remove much material, lightly run your reed knife, glass adjusting wand, or sandpaper 2 or 3 times lightly over the entire vamp to bring down any swelling which has occured.

You might also try improving the response by narrowing the entire reed. Holding the reed on its edge, run each side once or twice across some fine sandpaper, from bark to tip.


...GBK

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.starfsm.hi.is - ISP in Reykjavík, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2009-11-23 08:02

GBK said:
"However, the most common mistake that I find is that clarinetists are initially playing the wrong strength reed. The reed should play at approximately the correct strength on FIRST TRIAL out of the box. If you have to appreciably remove a good amount of cane to make the reed play, there is a good chance you are also changing the basic profile, design and template of the reed. Thus after all the carpentry, it no longer resembles a Gonzalez reed."

I've never played a reed strength that felt comfortable from day one and did last me long. I also get fantastic results with the ATG system and it seems to me that say V-12 3.5 strength reed right out of the box sounded just the same as V-12 4 strength sanded a little with te ATG system.

I also brake my reeds over 5 days or even longer.



Post Edited (2009-11-23 10:10)

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Shorewood, IL United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 12:08

"I also brake my reeds over 5 days or even longer"

Sorry,Ice, but I don't understand what you mean...

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: sfalexi (64.208.214.---)
Date:   2009-11-23 12:38

From what I read, it seems Iceland Clarinetist also takes 5 days to break in reeds (not less than like some other people).

Me, I'm lazy. I take each reed and play it a little out of the box, then seal the bottom on a Doctor's Products reed stone (I think that's what it's called). I play it again, make a few minor adjustments to balance the sides a little, and go through the box.

The first day, I pick the reed that sounds the best and use that for practice the whole day. The next day I use the second reed, adjusting if necessary. And just start rotating them through.

I gotta get me some legere reeds. I'm too lazy to be fussin' with cane!

Alexi

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: mrn (---.tx.res.rr.com - ISP in Mesquite, TX United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 12:38

DougR wrote:

<<He seems to just drop the ligature on the MP, without tightening, then takes a toot, then off the reed comes. (suggesting that he cycles a LOT of reeds on a regular basis & has learned to keep it simple.)>>

Actually, he does tighten his ligature in another video.

http://www.tothestage.com/MediaDetail.Page?MediaId=7937

What I thought was a little unusual was that he plays with the ligature upside-down, with the screws on the left side. At first I thought that meant he was left-handed, but apparently not because he writes with his right hand.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: sfalexi (64.208.214.---)
Date:   2009-11-23 12:49

MRN,

Can you tell what ligature it is? It may have just been a ligature that was set up one way, and used backwards (not upside down). For instance, if I took a rovner, and put the opening in the front, the screw would point the other direction. Or a stock buffet metal ligature, and put the screw on the back (away from the reed), it'd point the other direction.

Alexi

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: clarnibass (---.red.bezeqint.net - ISP in Ramat Gan, 05 Israel)
Date:   2009-11-23 12:57

>> Sorry,Ice, but I don't understand what you mean... <<

He just mispelled break... in comparison, some players can break a reed in less than a second  :)

Question for those who adjust/rotate/break in/etc. reeds: Approx how long on average would you say you spend on this per day?

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: mrn (---.tx.res.rr.com - ISP in Mesquite, TX United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 12:57

sfalexi wrote:

> MRN,
>
> Can you tell what ligature it is? It may have just been a
> ligature that was set up one way, and used backwards (not
> upside down).

That's what I meant by upside-down--he's got it rotated so the screws go the other way.

It's metal ligature he's using (not sure what kind, though), so he might not even be able to use it "upside-down" in the sense you're using the term (where the other end of the ligature goes on the mouthpiece first). Usually the metal ones are little narrower at the top than at the bottom, I think.

I've been using nothing but Rovners for the last 20 years or so, so I don't even really remember what it's like to use a metal one.  :)

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavík, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2009-11-23 13:13

Rotate and brake-in is just playing the reed so no extra time goes into it. I usually play each reed 30 min when I'm practicing and one reed first half of band rehearsal and another one for the second half.

As to adjusting reeds: Those I need to adjust it takes about 2-3 minutes. I adjust it if it needs it on day one of the break-in process and make sure that it's still a bit too hard so after 5 days I have a stable reed that will last me 20-25 hours of playing.

I also use almost every reed in the box. All for practice and some just for rehearsal and very few(mostly older ones) only for scales and warm-up.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Koo Young Chung (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Chicago, IL United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 13:50

I'm wondering what happens if you play new reeds longer than a few minutes each time without going the "proper' breaking period?

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.starfsm.hi.is - ISP in Reykjavík, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2009-11-23 14:20

Koo Young Chung said:
"I'm wondering what happens if you play new reeds longer than a few minutes each time without going the "proper' breaking period?"

They will simply loose consistency and have much shorter useful life-span.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed (64.251.52.---)
Date:   2009-11-23 14:41

Alexi wrote:

> Can you tell what ligature it is?

It looks to be a Kaspar ligature like

http://www.muncywinds.com/product.php?productid=1481&cat=0&page=1&featured

I have seen some of the old ones with the screws going the other way as his do. I don't know much about the history of these. Perhaps one of the experts will weigh in.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: knotty (---.dsl.pltn13.pacbell.net - ISP in Hayward, CA United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 14:52

After you play a new reed for a few seconds initially, do you have to put it away for 24 hours? How about playing it two or three times a day with a few hours inbetween?

knotty

~ Musical Progress: None ~

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 16:19

You know, everyone thinks that their break in method is the right way to do it. Of course I have my way, see my website and read my reed articles, but I know that other ways work for people too. There is no such thing as the only way to do anything. 4 day, 6 days, 5 days, 2 weeks, 3 days. Try everything and settle on what seems to work for you.
I used to always begin with reeds that were a little too hard, I still prefer that on bass clarinet but no longer on clarinet. (I break the two types in very differently.) For the last 10-15 years I prefer a clarinet reed that feels good and once it's broken in and adjusted needs or needed to be tapered and clipped very slightly. It works for me. Each to their own.
Iceland, You said you break your reeds over 5 days or more, heck, when I have a bad reed I give it the wall test, if it fails it only takes me a few seconds not days. For those of you that don't know what the wall test is, you push the tip against a wall, if it doesn't break then it must be a good reed. Sort of like the old Witch tests in Old Salem when they dunked a person into the water. I they drowned that meant they were not a witch, if they didn't it meant they were so they would burn them at the stake. Something like that at least. With reeds, you don't have to burn them though.
Iceland, I'm just kidding you, you made some good points. ESP
PS. Let's not forget that this is an advertisement for Rico reeds, which I think are great, I use them myself and I am a Rico performing artist. But I believe that Marks getting all the reeds he wants free and probably the reed cases as well.

ESP eddiesclarinet.com

Post Edited (2009-11-23 21:06)

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavík, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2009-11-23 22:07

It's just that if I don't break-in reeds for at least 4 days(absolutely minimum) then they die on me and that counts for all the over 20 brands that I've tried.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: DougR (---.ny5030.east.verizon.net - ISP in Melville, NY United States)
Date:   2009-11-23 23:55

Ed, I'm interested in how you break in bass clarinet reeds. The reed articles on your site don't deal with the bass specifically. You mention liking your bass reeds to play a little harder than comfortable, initially; what else do you do differently?

thanks, in advance.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 01:41

Well Ice, what ever works for you. I didn't know there were even 20 brands of reeds. I agree that with clarinet reeds I feel they need time to break in, that's why my method takes 4-5 days too.

DougR, I knew I shouldn't have mentioned my bass clarinet reeds but now I will explain. First off, I don't rotate bass reeds, once I decide on the reed I like I play it at all rehearsals and concerts until it dies but I always have several, at least 4-8 others, that I do rotate in my practice sessions or just play for a few seconds every week or so.
I open 2-3 boxes of reeds at a time, only 5 to a box. I play through them day one for about a minute each. I discard the ones that suck, usually only a few. Day two I play them again and choose the ones I like and put them in my reed case in order of quality and simply practice on each of them now and then so when I need to replace my "good" reed I just choose the one I like best. I basically break them in by playing them now and then making any minor adjustments as I go along. I will balance them if needed and usually taper and clip them when they get a little soft but that depends on each reed. Most usually they get a bit softer after playing on them over a period of time. If the reed is good but starts soft I will taper and clip it after the 2nd day. I just don't go through a procedure like I do on clarinet. I use a bass reed on the job anywhere from one to three months, sometimes longer if it holds up, playing it for everything but practicing. I keep my reed case and mouthpiece, with the reed on, in a freezer bag with a Vitalizer in the reed case. When I warm up I leave the reed on the MP and wet it with tap water, re tighten the ligature, I loosen it when I put it in the bag, put the cap back on and play it once I put my bass together. With my bass reeds I don't do anything to the pores like I do with my clarinet reeds. If I haven't played it for several days or longer, I will wet the good reed on the mouthpiece the night before and put it back in the bag so it retains it's full sound. It works for me. ESP

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Iceland clarinet (---.dsl.dynamic.simnet.is - ISP in Reykjavík, 10 Iceland)
Date:   2009-11-24 02:47

Ed said:

"I didn't know there were even 20 brands of reeds"

Reeds Australia,Neuranter,AW,Rico,Vandoren,Xilema,Gonzalez,Glotin,Marca,Peter Leuthner,Alexander Superial,Rudolf Pflaumer(Sinus),Zonda,Rigotti,Foglietta,Legere(if plastic reed counts).

I listed 16 brands but if you take all the different type each brand has then it goes over 20 that I've tried.

More brands that I've not tried: Steuer,Daniel,Brancher,Pilgerstorfer,French American reeds,René Oswald and Rillion just to name few.

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: justme (---.215.19.98.dynamic.ip.windstream.net - ISP in Little Rock, AR United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 03:23

Iceland said: "Reeds Australia,Neuranter,AW,Rico,Vandoren,Xilema,Gonzalez,Glotin,Marca,Peter Leuthner,Alexander Superial,Rudolf Pflaumer(Sinus),Zonda,Rigotti,Foglietta,Legere(if plastic reed counts).

I listed 16 brands but if you take all the different type each brand has then it goes over 20 that I've tried.

More brands that I've not tried: Steuer,Daniel,Brancher,Pilgerstorfer,French American reeds,René Oswald and Rillion just to name few."



Don't forget to mention Forestone synthetic reeds as well.

Take Care.



Just Me




http://woodwindforum.ning.com/

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: BobD (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net - ISP in Shorewood, IL United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 11:05

My recollection: In the mid-1940s Benny Goodman can be seen with his ligature placed "backwards". Some of the clarinet players in our band started doing the same. Reason: B.G. probably didn't have any needle nose pliers.

Bob Draznik

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ambler, PA United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 11:16

Apart from any effect on reed response and vibrancy of having the screws pulling from the back (top) of the mouthpiece instead of directly against the reed, there is a practical advantage to an inverted ligature, whether designed to be inverted or just a standard ligature turned around. It does allow the player to bring the instrument closer to his chin. Some players prefer the closer angle.

Karl

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 13:12

Ice, you have to much time on your hands but you did come close to 20. I assumed you meant different cuts with in a brand but you managed to come close. Very good!
Inverted LIgatures. There was a time that I used a Rovner ligature inverted so the screw was on the left side. After a while I just changed the screw around so the ligature was still inverted but the screw was on the right side. He makes most of his ligature so you can do that. Once I told him that I preferred that particular ligature backwards he designed a new model to be played that way. That was along time ago, I no longer use that model, he may not even make that model any more since he's always improving and upgrading his models. ESP

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ambler, PA United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 13:32

The screw in a Rovner, of course, can be reversed so the same ligature can work as a standard or an inverted one. You can't reverse the screws on most metal or plastic ligatures because the thread is on one side and the counter-bored side without the thread is on the other. You have to go through the unthreaded side first so the screw can grab the threaded side and pull it in.

Ligatures like the Bonade inverted and the Gigliotti are made with room opposite the screws to receive the reed, and with screws that are designed to be turned by the right hand (great for us righties, I imagine a pain for lefties).

For anyone who's lost, none of this, of course, has anything to do with breaking in reeds - just someone's observation about Mark Nuccio's ligature in the video.

Karl

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 16:48

Karl, I assumed everyone knew that the metal or plastic type ligatures were made that way, i wasn't implying that it was in any way a standard in the industry. You are right about being off topic though, somehow that happens often on our bboard. It makes it so much more interesting though sometimes confusing to be sure. ESP

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ambler, PA United States)
Date:   2009-11-24 16:55

Of course you would have known - we've both been playing since before there was anything much other than metal and string. I only wanted to avoid any lack of clarity for younger students who might have wondered if you can reverse any ligature the same way.

Karl

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: Ed Palanker (---.hsd1.md.comcast.net - ISP in Cockeysville, MD United States)
Date:   2009-11-26 14:56

Karl, you're right about the past when there were only metal and string ligatures. "The good old days" right? NOT. Back in my college days, 57-62, we hardly ever heard of trying ligatures. Maybe you would try one or two in your college tenure but no one in those days made an issue or fuss over them. I recall trying a few different ones but it was no big deal back then. Then again, Vandoren was just about the only "quality" professional brand reed out there and they only had one cut available in the USA. Of course they came 25 to a box for about $2.50 a box. ESP

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 Re: Reed break in process by Mark Nuccio
Author: kdk (---.phlapa.fios.verizon.net - ISP in Ambler, PA United States)
Date:   2009-11-26 15:17

"Those were the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end...."

Well, there was also Rico... :-)

Karl

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Great reeds available from around the world

Instruments
Retailers and manufacturers of clarinets, both modern and early replica

Service
Instrument repairs, restorations, adjustments, and overhauls.

Accessories
Accessories that every clarinetist needs - reed makers and shapers, ligatures, greases, oils, and preservatives ... and more!

Music & Books
CDs, Sheet Music, and some of the greatest reference books ever written!

Mouthpieces & Barrels
Fine makers of mouthpieces and barrels, from wood to crystal to hard rubber and plastic

Events
Major events especially for clarinetists

Classified Ads
FREE Classifieds! Instruments, and accessories, For Sale and Wanted

 
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