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 Slightly soft reed - squeaks
Author: Garth Libre 
Date:   2012-11-23 02:29

I still haven't found the ideal mouthpiece for my R-13. For the past week I decided to use the 5RV (not Lyre) and a 3 reed. The 5RV is brilliant, loud, easy to control, full and not resistant. By accident I put a 2.5 reed on this mouthpiece and could simply not get the combination to stop squeaking, especially at the top of the clarion and the top of the chalemeau. As it happens, I use Legere reeds which have only a sticker to denote strength and eventually the sticker falls off. It wasn't until after an hour of steady squeaking that I realized I was using a reed 1/2 strength too soft (a 2 1/2 instead of a 3). Do other people find that a small difference in reed strength can result in uncontrollable squeaking?

I also tried an B46 with a 3 reed, for a less pitch stable but darker and somewhat more resistant sound. In general the B46 plays flat and wobbly. Even with a harder reed the 5RV will not get the more mature dark sound. The B56 is very reed dependant to the point that a slightly soft reed becomes unbearably unpredictable.

Garth, 305-981-4705.

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 Re: Slightly soft reed - squeaks
Author: kdk 2017
Date:   2012-11-23 03:10

If you're comfortable with a 5RV and a #3 reed, your best bet would be to just play on it. There's no inherent reason why a B46 should play "flat and wobbly." It's more open-tipped than a 5RV (even more if the 5RV is a Series 13 version), so they may not play well with the same reeds. Your best course would be to pick one or the other and just play.

A search for "the ideal mouthpiece for my R-13" is IMO pointless - half the clarinet world (more or less) has played on R-13s over the past 60 years using more mouthpieces than you could try in a lifetime with often wonderful results. A mouthpiece may have specific tendencies that one player likes and that others hate, but the quality of the result comes from what the player is doing before the air ever reaches the reed. A player needs first to be comfortable with the basics of producing a consistent sound. The subtleties of one mouthpiece's advantage over another mean little or nothing until the things that happen before the mouthpiece are secure.

To answer your specific question, I've never found that a reed that was 1/2 strength too soft caused uncontrollable squeaking. Too soft a reed has other bad effects on the sound and the quality of staccato, but squeaking caused by a reed comes from a distortion in the way the reed vibrates, which can happen at any strength. If this happened with one specific reed, it's more likely that there was something specifically wrong with *it* than that the squeaking was caused by the strength.


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 Re: Slightly soft reed - squeaks
Author: JHowell 
Date:   2012-11-24 02:45

A reed that is too soft can squeak because you blow it shut against the mouthpiece, and all that will come out is a squeak. Not a problem, just play the harder reed.

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