Adjusting Clarinet and Saxophone

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11/26/08 3:18 PM

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Adjusting Clarinet and Saxophone Reeds
Working on single reeds does not need to be as difficult as you may think. With a minimal investment in a few tools you may discover that you are soon able to make nearly all of the reeds in each box play to peak performance. Poor quality cane is quite often incorrectly the blame for reeds that do not play well, when many can be adjusted to work suitably. Aside from poor quality cane, there are usually only a few factors that may prevent the reed from being its best. These primary factors are: 1) 2) 3) Warping Balance Hardness

Break In
I prefer to "break in" reeds before doing much work on them. Take a least ten new reeds, wetting each in saliva and playing less than a minute on each reed. Place the reed on a flat surface such as the Muncy Hygro reed case and store at about 70% humidity. Repeat this each day for one week before judging the quality of the reed. Separate the reeds that do not work properly. Click on the link or picture for more information.

Warped Back
If the reed is resistant, lifeless and unresponsive, first make certain that the back of the reed is not warped. Warped backs of reeds are caused by drastic changes in climate such as extreme dryness or
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as extreme dryness or humidity. Flatten the table by rubbing the back on the abrasive surface of the Vandoren reed resurfacer RR200 or RR100 in small circular movements both clockwise and counterclockwise motions. Muncy Winds does have a supply of the discontinued Vandoren RR100 pictured above right. I prefer the RR200 pictured above left. The RR200 will last longer; can be washed, and is a finer abrasive. The finer abrasive produces a smoother finish. When using these reed resurfacers, be certain that the tip of the reed does not touch the abrasive. Flatten only the portion of the reed that lays flat on the mouthpiece table. Try the reed again to see if this has corrected the problem.

If the reed is still unresponsive after flattening the back table of the reed, you may need to adjust the balance. There is no better product than the Armato Reed Wizard to accomplish this task. (See illustration) Place the reed on the platform parallel to the base edge. Use the side of the carriage and the steel post as a fence. Align the side of the reed parallel to the base track. Hold the reed against the steel post with your thumb. Gently move the carriage back and forth to remove mass from the reed surface. When there is no resistance moving the carriage, your reed profile has been balanced on that side. Repeat the same procedure on the opposite side of the platform. Try the reed again to see if your problem has been corrected. Click on the Reed Wizard link or picture to see a video demonstration of this reed balancing procedure on our website.

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If the reed still is unresponsive and resistant it may be that the reed is too hard and needs adjusting in the heart area. (See illustration Above) Place the reed's side parallel to the base beam. Move the reed past the white line to the end of the base table. Move the carriage back and forth and repeat this procedure on the opposite side of the base beam. Positioning the reed tip 1/8" beyond the white line will design softer reeds, and 1/8" short of the white line will design harder reeds. It is easier to work with reeds that may be too hard than those that are too soft. If after moving the tip 1/8" beyond the white line you are still having difficulty it could be that you should be playing reed strengths slightly softer. The reed should complement your mouthpiece facing. The more open the tip, the softer the reed you should be using. The closer the tip the harder the reed you may use. Using these few simple tools is an easy way to get a lot more playable reeds out of each box. In the long run these tools will pay for themselves. With a little practice, you will be on your way to making every reed play great.

Pocket Trumpet
This tiny little trumpet is BIG on sound. This is a fun little instrument. Yes, it is a full sized trumpet wound up into a tiny little package and at a tiny little price now thru the end of the year. Talk about an idea for a cute little stocking stuffer. Your favorite trumpet player would never suspect this little trumpet would fit into a stocking. These tiny trumpets in Bb produce a sound amazingly close to a full sized trumpet. Not to be confused with a piccolo trumpet. It is great for travel when you don't want to lag your full sized trumpet. It comes complete with a specially made gig bag for easy portability.Click on the Pocket Trumpet link or picture right for more information.

Bach Stradivarius Trumpet

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The Bach Stradivarius are legendary trumpets that have set the world standard. Muncy Winds is deducting $ 20 OFF the shipping charges when ordering online from now until the end of 2008. These featured Bach Stradivarius' feature a .459" Medium-large bore, standard weight body, #37 bell, #25 mouthpipe, monel piston valves, and all in a silver plated finish. $ 20 OFF the shipping charge does not apply when ordering more than one instrument for trial. Click on the Bach Strad link or picture for more information.

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