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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last weekend I tried some Vando reeds on bass clarinet, after having played Légères for years. I have to say cane reeds sound much better to my ears on bass, but I have a pretty strong (allergic) reaction to them. Within 30 minutes I develop a burning feeling, and small blisters on my lip and where the skin touches the reed. If I keep playing my lip will eventually split altogether. I've tried soaking, sanding and all kinds of other reed treatment on various brands. Nothing seems to work. Is there some component in cane that can cause this?
 

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of course one can be allergic to anything even something as specific as to be allergic to reed alone. It is possible for you to find an specialist in allergies and see what are you allergic to. They would run some tests (some involving scratching your skin some identifying specific proteins which act as markers in your blood showing a reaction specific to a certain element or group of elements.) and in the end , maybe, you will know what you already know that you are allergic or over-sensitive to cane.

Since this seems to give only a local problem (because an allergic reaction to an allergen could be a systemic reaction and apparently it is not) you could try to put a barrier between your lips and the reed. There are creams or sprays designed to isolate , as a sort of chemical " glove", the skin from outside elements you could try them but I am quite sure that it won't be pleasant.

You could alternatively try to put one of those very thin band aids design for cold sores on your lip and see if that works as a temporary protection.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hmmm If I were to put something between the reed and my lip/skin, would I not sacrifice control, and wouldn't that make the reed vibrate differently? I have tried all kinds of cream and sprays, but all they did was grease the reed. None of them actually helped. I'll experiment with the thin band aid, as I haven't really tried that.
Does anyone know if reed manufacturers use pesticides? Maybe it's those that cause this?
 

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well, reed growers might use pesticides, the manufactures could use some too to prevent moulds.

Gonzales reeds (the largest plantation of reeds in the world, apparently) are grown organically using:

"......Only organic fertilizers are used in our plantations (worm humus or goat manure). We do not make use artificial pesticides or agrochemicals. ....."
http://www.gonzalezreeds.com/english/cane-growing.html

which is nice to know.
 

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I've had an allergic reaction to the nickel head joint on my flute (the silver plate's worn off the lip touch piece). A layer of vaseline on myl ip is good for a quick fix but the best solution I've found is to paint the contact point with clear nail varnish (I suppsoe you could make your vandorens into 'custom vandoren plasticovers' using tihs technique, assumnig nail varnish has a bit of flexibility when dried)
 

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True. I guess the nail polish will reduce the cane's capacity for absorbing moisture. We'll see.
Could just put a single band of polish across the contact point of the reed and you lip. I think the main question here is will dry nail varnish prove flexible enough to not break up when the reed is in use... which would rather spoil the point of the operation
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well I took 4 reeds and applied different quantities of the stuff on different places. Letting it dry now. I'll report back when I've tested them.
 

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yes, and since you apply varnish only to one side the other sides and the unvarnished bottom bit will still absorb moisture if you dip them in water prior to playing
 

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Here is one area where I'm almost glad I'm a girl!
If you put nail polish on the reed any moisture that gets behind it can cause it to 'bubble' and flake/peel off.
Sometimes this happens when I wear nail polish and wash dishes by hand.
It's also not very flexable and could cause issues with the reeds' responsiveness.

Cane is actually a grass like bamboo. Allergies to 'grasses' are pretty common.
There is a liquid 'band aid' called Nu Skin. You may be able to paint that on your lip where the reed sits.
Read the box to see if it's safe to use on or near the lips. I haven't tried it on any cuts or scrapes so I can't attest to how well it works.
 

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well, i did suggest you the same before :) "...There are creams or sprays designed to isolate , as a sort of chemical " glove", the skin from outside elements you could try them but I am quite sure that it won't be pleasant........"

Hansaplast sells a spray band aid.
 
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