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Discussion Starter #1
Wondered if I might be able to get any thoughts on a reed dilemma...

I play baritone in a rocky soul type band. It's loud stuff, and I suppose I play quite hard.

Just recently though, I'm having issues with reeds splitting. I use a combination of LaVoz medium or medium hards, or Plasticover 3 or 3.5, depending on my mood, and what I dig out the case first.

The last 6 gigs though, I've gone through exactly 7 reeds. Each one has broken in exactly the same way - with a longitudinal split straight down the reed, anything from 5-10mm long, usually along a "vein" in the cane.

It seems to have started sometime after changing mouthpiece, from a stock new metal link, to a more customised HR Link with a bit of baffle in it. The reed splitting didn't start immediately, but I've been using the new mpc for about 8 weeks, and splitting reeds for 3 or 4 of them.

Has anyone got any ideas as to what might be happening, or how I can stop it? In the UK, we're paying the equivalent of about $10 a reed (a box of 5 is about £30!!), and this reed splitting habit is getting expensive!!
 

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I have heard that the cane quality for bari reeds has been sub-par as of late.

I suggest Legere' synthetic reeds. Many folks swear by them.

Good Luck with "The Great Bari Reed Disaster of 2011."
 

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Get another brand, possibly from a completely different source (like another country or continent, Gonzales, for example, comes from Argentina), if they keep splitting there must be some other reason than the cane quality........ in that case see a refacer, your mouthpiece must have something strange
 

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Seems as if the reed is being warped because the butt of the reed is too wide for the mpc table or you may be over-tightening the ligature which is causing the reed to bow and then split. Check out the width of the table compared to your other Link and the "grab" points of the ligature to the sides of the reed. Also, as the mpc has been worked, check the table is perfectly flat. I think the ligature may be the real problem, not the reed quality. Is it a proper bari lig? HR Links will take a tenor lig. but if it has a reed channel under the screws it will compress the sides of the reed and cause bowing. Try the ligature "screws on top" as an experiment!
 

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Did you drop your mouthpiece, or bump against it? Meaning, does it have a little ding or dent in the tip rail? That could cause splits too. It's suspicious that it keeps happening the same way. Unless you have the "embouchure-grip-o-death", I'd suspect something physical about the mouthpiece.
 

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Seems as if the reed is being warped because the butt of the reed is too wide for the mpc table or you may be over-tightening the ligature which is causing the reed to bow and then split. Check out the width of the table compared to your other Link and the "grab" points of the ligature to the sides of the reed. Also, as the mpc has been worked, check the table is perfectly flat. I think the ligature may be the real problem, not the reed quality. Is it a proper bari lig? HR Links will take a tenor lig. but if it has a reed channel under the screws it will compress the sides of the reed and cause bowing. Try the ligature "screws on top" as an experiment!
This is worth looking into. When I was using narrow baritone mouthpieces like Links and JodyJazz Classics I sanded the sides of the reeds. They were too wide for the mouthpiece particularly at the tip. My lower lip would sometimes get caught between the mouthpiece and the reed.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Small update...

I think the ligature might be the problem - it is indeed a screw lig, and it might be a tenor lig. The reed channel does look a little too small, and I had a success in turning the ligature the wrong way up for a gig at the weekend - first gig in 6 weeks without a reed splitting down the middle :)

I shall investigate using a few different ligatures and report back.
 
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