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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have been somewhat fascinated by the concept of making my own reeds since I saw a post from milandro a few weeks ago showing someone using a machine to make their own. My two main questions are:

1. Is it possible to use bamboo for reeds instead of cane, and if not what is the reason?
2. Where should I go to find the equipment needed to do this? Used is fine, but mostly I've only seen new gear which is beyond what I would like to spend until I feel like I want to pursue this as more than just a curiosity.
 

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1. No. Reeds are made from Cane, not bamboo. Bamboo is too hard, and less flexible. I mean, you can--I made a reed from an aluminum beer can. It was terrible.
2. I don't know any machines for tenor or larger, but clarinet and alto sax are here: http://www.thereedmachine.net/products.php

reed making by the tool method (by Joseph LeBlanc, Clarinetist in the Marine band)
http://knol.google.com/k/joseph-lebl...umclypivy7kp/2

reed making by the hand method ( by Douglas Monroe, clarinetist and conductor of the United States Air Force Heritage of America Band)
http://www.scribd.com/doc/7626083/Making-Clarinet-Reeds

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arundo_donax
 

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I have been somewhat fascinated by the concept of making my own reeds since I saw a post from milandro a few weeks ago showing someone using a machine to make their own. My two main questions are:

1. Is it possible to use bamboo for reeds instead of cane, and if not what is the reason?
2. Where should I go to find the equipment needed to do this? Used is fine, but mostly I've only seen new gear which is beyond what I would like to spend until I feel like I want to pursue this as more than just a curiosity.
What a beautiful craft.. I'd be curious how you end up making your own and what inspired you to start? Thanks! Nikki
 

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I always thought bamboo was just a type of cane. However I agree you should use arundo donax, I think if bamboo or other types of caney grasses worked well, people would have done it by now given the several centuries that reed woodwinds have existed.
 

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I always thought bamboo was just a type of cane. However I agree you should use arundo donax, I think if bamboo or other types of caney grasses worked well, people would have done it by now given the several centuries that reed woodwinds have existed.
True. I meant Giant Cane. There's also sugar cane, but I don't think it would make for a sweet sound.
 

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I tried making bamboo reeds a long time ago (but part of my failure may have been due to my inexperience with cutting reeds). When I obtained a reed of a suitable flexibility the tip was much thicker than on a standard reed. With a thicker tip the resonance frequency of the reed will be much lower -and it's bad news because the resonance frequency of the reed must be much higher than the playing frequency.
Also, I think I remember that bamboo is less elastic than cane: when you apply a force the reed bends but then part of the deformation remains.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The two reasons I ask about bamboo is because I've seen synthetic reeds claim to have bamboo in their mix, and also because I have a small forest of the stuff in my back yard that I am looking for things I can do with it. I've noticed that it has a bit of flexibility after it's had a chance to dry out, but at the same time I'm not sure I've grown it large enough to make a tenor sized reed either. This is part of what sparked my curiosity and I would love to experiment with it if I could find the equipment for a reasonable cost.
 

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As someone who lives where bamboo is a noxious weed, I recommend that you get rid of your 'forest'. Nasty stuff takes over everything here. I had a heck of a time getting rid of a stand in my yard where a former owner had actually planted it!

We're also still trying to get rid of volunteer sugar cane that's left over from the sugar plantation days.
 

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Arundo Donax actually is a noxious weed where I live ...
 

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Hmmm.... for 1400 Euros I may as well get myself another horn instead! :lol:
Wow...I didn't check out the pricing :) That's 60-70 boxes of reeds, and you'd still have to buy cane. It's cool that you can use whatever reeds you want as a reference to copy.

Speaking of copying, I've seen 3-d printed mouthpieces (Macsax is even marketing one that sounds interesting), why not print reeds? As inconsistent but apparently acceptable as most synthetics are, a 3-d copy couldn't be much different to try.
 

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I've been trying to kill the bamboo in my backyard for 4 years (injecting Roundup in to it using a syringe). It looks like this year it will finally be dead. That's reason number one to stay away from bamboo. Bamboo = Satan. Second reason is that my experience with bamboo (of which there are many types) is that it tends to have very sharp edges. I've split a lot of used cane reeds (Arundo Donax) to use as glue applicators, etc., and never had a problem. When working with bamboo, I've had it split and leave an edge sharp enough to cut myself. I'm not sure that I'd want a thin sliver of bamboo in my mouth. That doesn't include bamboo shoots, which I eat and enjoy. I think that's the best use for bamboo.

A reed cutting machine is the same price as 60-70 boxes of can reeds. Or, for 1/0th of that amount you could buy a dozen Fibracell reeds which will not only outlast the 70 boxes of cane reeds, but probably also the cane reed machine.

Mark
 
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