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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I play Fibracells almost exclusively (bass clarinet is the only exception at the moment). One big advantage of synthetics in general is that they are instantly ready to go as soon as the horn is assembled. One apparent disadvantage of Fibracells compared to Legere and some other brands would be that they only come in one flavor. Premiers and non-Premiers are exactly the same reed, the Premiers are just sorted into smaller strength ranges. However, with this new batch on hand I have come to realize there is a significant difference between the sound of a new Fibracell and an old one -- and I don't think it has anything to do with production changes. I think they just become less buzzy over time. Thus if I want the buzz and extra brightness, I grab a new one (easy to do because they have batch numbers on the back and the older ones do not) but if I want to sound smoother (indistinguishable from good cane, at least on my setups) I grab an old one that is still the right strength, but has had most of the extra buzz played out of it. So I guess in a sense they do come in two flavors, well-worn and fresh.

I've considered building a machine to break them in FOR me, which would take reed preparation laziness to a whole new level. Does such a thing already exist? My first thought was to take a squirrel-cage fan (like the blower motor for the air conditioning in your car), hook it to a tube I could shape to fit a mouthpiece, and stick a mouthpiece with reed installed into that air stream. I'd have to use a rubber band or hose clamp or something to simulate an embouchure, and I'd also probably have to leave something attached to the mouthpiece -- a neck, or a piece of pipe, or some plastic tubing. It doesn't matter how it sounds (though quieter would be better) but it needs to be a pitch within the normal playing range of the horn so I'm not breaking in a reed with what amounts to pure altissimo or Tubax pitches.

If someone has a better idea, please feel free to propose it!
 

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Distinguished SOTW Member
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Just use Legere Signatures, they sound better with no breaking in.
I haven't been able to get any Legere Signatures yet, and I have six more Fibracells that have never been played. I also wanted to use this machine to test my hypothesis that playing takes the buzz out of Fibracells without otherwise changing them much. I could hook up the machine and let it run for ten hours or so while I am at work, then compare the reed with ten hours on it to a reed with one hour on it. They'd be from the same batch. Ten hours is a relatively small part of the reed's life, even though it might be the ENTIRE life of a cane reed for the conditions I have to endure. If I don't see a difference (or it's small) at 10 hours, I can give it another 10 and compare again -- lather, rinse, repeat.
 
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