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Discussion Starter #1
hmmm.....

im confused about this topic ^

firstly i've read some people think its useless and others think its wonderful??
can i have some educated opinions on this?

secondly what do u do to 'prepare the reed'?
i've heard of burnishing (rubbing the reed on paper on glass to make it more even?) but how many times do you rub it and i've tried using the pop test but with my hemke 2.5 with selmer soloist mouthpiece i get a half pop almost instantly....


any thoughtful suggestions please
 

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This may not be exactly what you're looking for but...
I use Brancher Jazz 2.5 or 3 right out of the box--no prep. I can also do this with Alexander DCs and Hemkes, somewhat less consistently, although sometimes I do soak the DCs for 5-10 minutes, dry them, and put them back in the box to use later. Everything else I have to soak, rub, dry, play test to find a good one, ect. Too much trouble for me. I just want to take a reed out of the box and play, so I use what I can do that with. Call me lazy...but it works for me. :dontknow:
 

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.....on the other hand taking a number of reeds out of the box soak them for 20 minutes in lukewarm water, lay them on a glass surface, massage the tips with your finger tip, rub the vamp with a hard and smooth object (the back of a used or not usable reed), dry the reeds a little and playtest. Arrange in a reed guard and rotate, insures that you have a number of reliable reeds to play and you do not have to frantically look for one if you all of a sudden need one. If you do this every so often with, say 5 reeds (to select 3-4 good ones) it will take you just a little time and will allow you weeks if not months of playing.
 

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No prep here - if a reed doesn't satisfy me out of the box, I just don't play it. The best I do is keep them in the Rico "Reedvitalizer," a humidity controlled package, after playing. This extends the life.

Waste of money to throw bad reeds out? Probably. Waste of time soaking, pressing, shaving, clipping? Not yet!
 

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I scrape the back of the reed with a knife edge to true up the surface.

Then I balance the reed, again with the knife.

I smooth the front and back with 1200 wet and dry. (go easy)

Then I polish with a rub on plain paper.

Start with reeds a 1/2 strength harder than you usually play.

I don't soak 'em.

The whole prep should only take a minute.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
what about the pop test..?? does it matter if the reed completely seals on the mouthpieces

with my selmer soloist and hemke 2.5 it doesnt work...... :(
 

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Discussion Starter #9
also what about sucking the air out of the reed.......does it do anything or is the soaking in water thingo a better substitute??
 

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soaking is an event which takes place anyway when you play, pre soaking reeds with water ( some people soak them in tea....this is not a joke...:?) makes them elastic, less prone to be internally damage from vibrating at high speed.

Sometimes , If I am in a rush, I don't soak.

Having done the first soaking and curing the first time, this closes the pores of the read making it less prone to soak ,while playing, with saliva.

If you soak beforehand less saliva will collect in the reed fibers. Saliva contains many enzymes among others amylase, this enzyme is designed to break down starch which is holding the reeds fibers together.

I also, sometime, rinse reeds before putting them back, it removes a little bit of saliva and reduces bacterial or worse, fungal growth (if possible give it a rinse in peroxide)
 

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I always sand the back of my reeds (the bit the comes into contact with my lips) with some very fine sandpaper. If I don't, I get a terrible sore where the friction point is when I slur and vibrato (which I do a lot)

I have tried fibracells and plasticovers, but it is not an allergy, it is just a friction sore like chapped lips. It helps if I soak the reed too.

If I don't sand it looks like I have done ten rounds with tyson, after only half hour of playing!
 

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certain reeds are smoother than others, watch out with the sanding because sanding the portion of the reed that comes in contact with your underlip should be weakening the reed (at least that's what all the info which I ever read on reed modification says). I don't work on the reeds (sometimes sand the contact surface with the mouthpiece's table) to make them softer, I find I am not skilled enough to do so.

I clip alto reeds if they are too weak though.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
so dont bother sucking the air out????

also how long do you soak em??? some say 20mins and i've read 3/4 mins
:?

this is an interesting topic everyone has many different opinions!!
 

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soaking them for 10 to 20 minutes its only for the first time, the you let them dry somewhat and then you play them, if you try to play when they are very soaked they won't play well
 

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Discussion Starter #15
ok

so heres what i shall do

-soak my reeds for 20mins in lukewarm water (is 20mins too long the website http://www.superial.com/mainten_breakin.html says it could waterlog the reed)
-rub the 'vamp' of the reed with my fingertips
-'burnish' them (rub the reeds on a glass surface on top of paper)
do they have to be dry when i burnish them or can they be wet?/

-let them half dry and play test

does it sound good???

what about the 'reed vitalizer' and sucking the air out of them.....???
 

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1-check
2-rub the tip while wet and laying on a glass surface
3-burnish the vamp (and a little bit up and down)with the back of another reed or hard and roundedged object
4- let them dry a little
5-playtest
6-every now and then soak and let them dry on a flat glass surface (you can use elasticts to clamp down the reeds)
 

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thejoyofsax said:
No prep here - if a reed doesn't satisfy me out of the box, I just don't play it. The best I do is keep them in the Rico "Reedvitalizer," a humidity controlled package, after playing. This extends the life.

Waste of money to throw bad reeds out? Probably. Waste of time soaking, pressing, shaving, clipping? Not yet!

I've heard several schools of thought. One is to merely suck on the reed prior to playing then rub the vamp with the thumb. Of course this advice came from someone who's very professional and has been playing for decades (Kirk Whalum). The other says if it doesn't work, toss it. Boney James claims he knows if a reed is for him or not the moment he plays it. They must spend quite a fortune on reeds.

Many of the very professional guys don't do any kind of shaving or soaking. I'm not sure if it's a lack of time issue. I've tried the sucking for a little then playing. That only gives 2-3 that are playable out of box of 10!

Reeds are very expensive. I'd strongly suggest that if one knows how to shave and balance then that's the route to take. From what I hear some universities offer entire classes on reed prep, etc. I was told by my most recent teacher don't do any kind of scraping. Despite the fact, I'd like to learn to how shave and balance in order to get my money's worth.
 

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the preparation of the reeds does only extend their usable life to come, it really doesn't do much to increase the success rate in chosing or using them (as Alexander suggest in their instructions). 3 good reeds out of a box of 10 is already a good rate, 3 gig reeds, 4-5 you can use to practice and the rest to chuck out or make soup with :), sounds about right.

Then you have those who take the practice reeds and the rejects and try to make something out of those. Filing and clipping. But it takes forever and you have little success and especially never get the same kind of reed twice.
 

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Dog Pants said:
I scrape the back of the reed with a knife edge to true up the surface.

Then I balance the reed, again with the knife.

I smooth the front and back with 1200 wet and dry. (go easy)

Then I polish with a rub on plain paper.

Start with reeds a 1/2 strength harder than you usually play.

I don't soak 'em.

The whole prep should only take a minute.
I do much the same, except that I do soak them.
 

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milandro said:
the preparation of the reeds does only extend their usable life to come, it really doesn't do much to increase the success rate in chosing or using them (as Alexander suggest in their instructions). 3 good reeds out of a box of 10 is already a good rate, 3 gig reeds, 4-5 you can use to practice and the rest to chuck out or make soup with :), sounds about right.

Then you have those who take the practice reeds and the rejects and try to make something out of those. Filing and clipping. But it takes forever and you have little success and especially never get the same kind of reed twice.
That's why most kids play flute and trumpet. Sax is high maintainance. Better have a good source of income to buy reeds.
 
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