Sax on the Web Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,558 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
With respect to balancing reeds. What do you do when the the side the plays worse looks lighter than the other side? ie has less cane.

I've been lightly scraping the side that plays worse- but now I'm noticing that last few times the side that plays worse is less dark....

Thanks in advance.
 

·
Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2013
Joined
·
7,356 Posts
I never have focused on which side plays worse. I don't know how to determine that. But you should be able to feel pretty easily with your finger tip on a wet reed which side is harder to manipulate. And then scrap it down little by little until it more closely resembles the strength on the other side.

The reed would need to be an unusual anomaly to require massive amounts of material to be removed on one particular side.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
Tom Ridenour. The clarinet guy. Very smart about working on reeds.
And I like his clarinet a bunch too.
 

·
Forum Contributor 2015-2017
Joined
·
3,882 Posts
Yeah. About the color. We used to pick reeds out from the box of 25 at the music store. Always took the ones that were symmetrical in appearance.

We didnt know anything. Obviously. Equal thickness on both sides doesnt matter all that much either.

One way to balance the reed is to play it one side at a time by moving the MP in your mouth so only one side of the reed can vibrate. Try left. Then right. Back and forth. Scrape the harder side until equal. Use a pocketknife. Or a fancy tool. Do it right on the horn. EASY. Go gradually.

Not all that hard to get the hang of it. And it is fast after a bit of practice.

BUT. I mostly play Legeres these days. Those are super easy to balance.
They come that way. So that tells you how much fun balancing reeds was for me.

dsm
 

·
Distinguished SOTW member/, Official SOTW Sister
Joined
·
19,559 Posts
One side plays worse, one plays better...
If it's the 'thin' side that's worse maybe it's too thin to work with your particular mouthpiece/embouchure.
Try taking a bit off from the 'thick' side and see what happens.
In my experience, the amount of light/dark on either side of the reed sometimes has little to nothing to do with how well a particular reed will play.
Most of response comes from the area around the top of the heart to the tip. Anything below that general area is covered by your lips. ;)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,684 Posts
Yeah man the fibers of a reed can vary a lot, even from side to side across the same reed. The way the cane looks, its actual thickness, the way light shines through it... they are worth looking at since it's easy to hold a reed up to a light, but can be meaningless. The real test is how each side vibrates, and ideally that both sides vibrate in the same way.
Blowing while damping one side then the other, by rotating the mouthpiece... can be instructive. But go through the range of the horn, say low C - middle C - high C, and blow like a sforzando, a crescendo... try just starting the tone with your breath. But all that can be tedious.
A quicker check for me (and pretty reliable) has been to use my fingertip across the end of the reed, from one side to the other. I also "gauge" the stiffness up each side edge of the reed, from the tip going up the vamp toward the bark. The stiffness at each location should be symmetrical.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,478 Posts
The color of the reed, or its apparent thickness from holding it up to the light, means absolutely nothing. Nothing will tell you how a reed plays except playing the reed. That's why play tests are the only thing you should use to determine what to do to a reed.

I second (and third and fourth!) the suggestion of the Ridenour ATG Reed finishing system. It's worth the $80 or so you have pony up. The reason it costs so much is the DVD and booklet, which are extremely informative.
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
Top