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matching reed tip shape to mouthpiece tip shape

804 Views 8 Replies 8 Participants Last post by  milandro
I've used several kinds of reeds on several kinds of mouthpieces and the shapes of the tips never seemed to match. That is, they didn't match until I mounted a La Voz tenor on the anonymous white mouthpiece that came with my new 1955 Conn 16M. Their tip shapes are a perfect match.

That got me thinking: how important is it that the shape of the reed tip matches the shape of the mouthpiece tip? I make sure I don't leave a gap when the tips are shaped differently, but assume many of you who work on your reeds also trim the tip to match a mouthpiece. Does it make enough of a difference that even a mediocre player should get in the habit of doing it? I have some dexterity issues and try to avoid attempting fine craftsmanship when possible, but will risk injury to reed and fingers it if it might be worthwhile.
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On alto mouthpieces I use tenor reeds, or sometimes bass clarinet reeds. So the tip curves are never gonna match up, & there's a bit of overhang widthwise. Regardless, I can dial in the tone I want.

What seems to have a much bigger effect on response is whether the reed overhangs the tip lengthwise, or is underslung, or meets the tip rail exactly. I can't necessarily formulate a rule of thumb, 'coz so much depends on reed variables, thinness of tip rail, ambient humidity, or sunspots. However, any time I'm unhappy with response, I slide the reed forward or back a half-millimeter or so -- et voila!*


* French expression meaning "I should have taken up the viola."
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