Home Alt Forums Reeds Shaving your reeds.

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  • #9185
    Matt Wheeler
    Participant

    Hello all,I started off thinking that if you were playing a 2 or a 2.5 you were not experienced at playing the sax. I was having trouble finding the right set up. I purchased a Vandoren mouthpiece v16 m and it did not work at all for me.I thought i wasted my money on it.Went back to the cheapo that came with the sax because it was more free blowing and had less resistance.I wanted to be able to play softer without having to blow so hard to get a sound produced on the sax. One day i ran across a video about shaving your reeds down with a razor blade.I tried it and was amazed by the results . I went to my case and got out the vandoren piece and hooked it up. It was great it was free blowing and had a great sound also . Totally different than the cheapo i was using. Its not to hard to shave the reeds down at all start with the edge and shave inward toward the center (hart) of the reed,then hold it up to the light and see if both sides are about even as far as color of the grain. The sides should be a lighter color than the center. Then put it on your mouthpiece and just hold it on with your thumb and test blow it ,you should be able to tell the difference almost immediately.When it feels right put it on your piece with the lig and give it a try on the horn. Dont throw the reeds away that you think might be bad, this trick can save you serious cash.What have you got to loose you were gonna toss it anyway.Before long you will be buying reeds that are a little stiffer just so you can shave it to your feel.Johnny has a video of this similar using sanding sticks on the reeds.

    #10848
    john
    Keymaster

    Ya right, it’s a good way to make use of most reeds. The razor blade is an extreme method as opposed to the sanding, more gradual effect. I dabbled in this when first starting out at the suggestion of my teacher but I just got too lazy to keep doing it. I guess if you use a brand that gives you a good number of good ones you don’t mind throwing out a few, but if you’re getting mostly bad ones why not give this customization method a try. It can be fun and interesting for many I’m sure. Good post Matt!

    #11664
    Rodney Name
    Participant

    Does sanding a seed to get a smooth top feel provide a better sounding reed?

    #11665
    john
    Keymaster

    i’ll have to try that! All the rico 2’s that i bought have been fine, but i have got one thats a real pig to play, i even gave it a real good soaking but it made no difference. i’ll try the sandpaper method – like you say its heading for the bin one day. One thing i found is keep your old reeds to rub down new reads! and the old reed cases keep them for when you go to starbucks and table you are sitting at is wobbly!

    #11666
    john
    Keymaster

    sanding just for smoothness no, you need to sand it a bit more to actually take a bit of cane off to feel a difference.

    #11667
    john
    Keymaster

    i read an article by a mouthpiece maker, and he said you can soak a reed for 5 mins and with some reeds you can blow through the bottom end and watch bubles come out the heart area. and he goes on to say to make it a good for playing you need to stop it acting like a reed, and to do that you have to seal the pores at the bottom end and on the top where people sand it down. Effectively you’re trying to stop the read from absorbing saliva and becoming waterlogged. So he seals the pores by rubbing with paper, whereas some people seal them with powder or grease from behind their ears! ugh! He does admit to sanding down the rejects. Another article by a concert player – he plays a new read on day 1 for 3 mins, day 2 5mins, day 3 10mins – by day 5 20mins, and if it still plays well Then he puts it away for playing at concerts.

    #11668
    john
    Keymaster

    Some good tips there, thanks!
    I always have 4-5 reeds in my “good” box which get rotated as well. When one bites the dust I know I have a few more that are ready to go.

    #11670
    john
    Keymaster

    another interesting statement the mouthpiece maker said that he could tell the pro’s from the amatuers when they turned up to test a new mouthpiece. The amatuers always turned up with new reeds they hadn’t played on much, whereas the pro’s always turned up with their best playing reeds. He was trying to say that a new reed can sound different to your working reed on a mouthpuece. Also went on to say if you are trying out One particular mouthpiece size, don’t try one, try at least 6 identical ones because no 2 will play the same as one thousands of an inch in manufacturing them csn change the sound! fascinating articles!

    #11671
    john
    Keymaster

    sorry i appologise the statement about trying out new mouthpieces was wrong. The pro’s turn up with new reeds they haven’t played long on whereas the amatuers turn up with their best playing reeds. His logic behind that was that after 5 mins of playing a new reed moulds itself to the shape of your existing mouthpiece and will play differently on a different mouth piece and bias your opinion of the new mouthpiece.

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