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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi fellow players,
It's been a while I haven't visited SOTW but there has been this multi-faceted squeak problem that I've been trying to sort out but I thought I should echo the case in the web.
I had trouble with most of my Rigotti Gold Jazz 2 1/2 medium reeds for my tenor mouthpiece.
The squeak was not like usual staccato only problem but reed wasn't playing at all on my Warburton LA (Eric Falcon work). I would take the ligature off, adjust the location of the reed and it would play fine. Still I would get squeak on the high octave especially in the middle of the stack and up. I thought the reed has issues since I had the original problem with having those RG reeds not playing at all at times. It's interesting that my older box of RG 2 1/2 light was fine with that mouthpiece. 100 percent playability and no squeak.
Then I found that the staccato air blow more or less create the same squeak from some other reeds like Rico Hemke 2 1/2 or Rico Select Jazz 2H.
In almost all cases I revisited the reeds with the gauge and the Reed Geek levelling protocol just in case there was an imbalance in the reed but the same result more or less happened.
I'm wondering if there is a design issue that some reed profiles are made differently (different thickness profile or width, etc.) in a way that some mouthpieces (perhaps based on their facing curve) work best with certain reeds and they are tricky with some other reeds. If that's the case, I think the mouthpiece makers should give optimum reeds for each design in their website so the player doesn't have to do too much trial error, or offer different facing curves based on player's choice of reed.
I really like the edge and definition of Rigotti reeds but I wish I can find a ground that I can play my 2 1/2 Jazz Rigotti reeds without worrying about compatibility, playability, squeak, etc.
I even tried different ligatures in case that would change the squeak issue. It changed a bit but not much.
Also I experience the same squeak in a few other mouthpieces I have too so I think it is a systemic issue.
In all cases the reeds continue to squeak even after they are completely wet and they are played for quite a few minutes.
I thought I bring this issue up and see if your feedback can help dealing with it.
Thank you.
 

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Despite your efforts to balance and adjust your reed scan you see (when the reed is on the mouthpiece) that there is a flat seal against the table of the piece or is there a little bit of space anywhere along there?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Despite your efforts to balance and adjust your reed scan you see (when the reed is on the mouthpiece) that there is a flat seal against the table of the piece or is there a little bit of space anywhere along there?
I will check again. My understanding was that the squeak is the air escape from the flat area of the side rails rather than the table... but perhaps table could contribute to the issue as well. It is just odd to see 9 out of 10 2 1/2 medium Rigotti reeds squeak with that mouthpiece. I'm just trying to remove all the occasional possibilities and get to the bottom of the systemic issue (if there is one e.g. based on the differences in the reed thickness profiles, etc.).
 

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Dear arya44:
You said :
"Then I found that the staccato air blow more or less create the same squeak from some other reeds like Rico Hemke 2 1/2 or Rico Select Jazz 2H."
The problem does not look like it is in the reeds , but in your mouthpiece....
Best wishes
Humbardi
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Dear arya44:
You said :
"Then I found that the staccato air blow more or less create the same squeak from some other reeds like Rico Hemke 2 1/2 or Rico Select Jazz 2H."
The problem does not look like it is in the reeds , but in your mouthpiece....
Best wishes
Humbardi
I know that my Warburton LA is more susceptible to squeak but if I through in a softer reed (like Rico Royal 2 1/2) I don't get the squeak. So I'm trying to figure out the relationship between the mouthpiece, reed, and my embouchure to find out the recipe for this situation. I'm suspecting two things: 1- thin rails of my Warburton LA, 2- harder reed naturally create more pinch from my lower lip/jaw rather than softer reed which allows me to loosen up my lower lip/jaw, 3- facing curve. I have a feeling that longer facing curve allows the air to escape. In the lower octave, this sounds like airy stuff that perhaps blends in well with the nature of the tone but with higher octave staccato the air scape turns into squeak.
 

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When I get the occasional reed squeaking in the upper register I move the reed tip right up flush with the tip of the mpc. Often that is all it takes to kill the problem. If it doesn't work, I grab my stick of lip balm or cork grease, whichever is closer at hand, and rub some on the reed in the area from just below the tip upward. This has worked quite well, and the reason I think it does is that it eliminates whatever imperfections in the tip that are causing the air flowing past it to vibrate in such a way as to make it produce a squeak.

Of course embouchure also is part of the cause, especially when playing a mpc that is new to you and blowing really forcefully. By backing off on your air you can control it too, but the grease on the reed surface solves both causes at once. While not the same thing at all, this is probably similar to aeronautical-related problems like icing on plane wings, for which they spray the wing with a fluid to prevent the ice buildup. One type of deicing fluid has a plastic polymer as a thickening agent to keep it from flowing off too quickly. Cork grease is thicker than lip balm usually, so will work longer before your saliva dissolves it. Neither of these products will harm a reed as far as my experience shows. In fact it may help them last longer.

BTW I play Rigotti too, and haven't found them to be any more prone to squeaking than any other brand. So try my method and see if it works for you.
 

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I think it is just that the piece is new to you, not the reeds.
Although a badly faced piece will hve the same effect.
Short and long facings may also contribute to the squeeking.
Adjusting reeds incorrectly can also cause this.
 

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I agree with Humbardi that the problem may be in the thin rails of your mouthpiece (is the table flat?). I have similar trouble with my Theo Wanne mouthpiece - I think some reeds are not as wide as others, and so they don't close on the thin rails as easily. If a sliver has come off the edge of the reed it definitely has trouble squeeking on the mouthpiece, but plays fine on other mouthpieces.
 

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I agree with Hu
mbardi that the problem may be in the thin rails of your mouthpiece (is the table flat?). I have similar trouble with my Theo Wanne mouthpiece - I think some reeds are not as wide as others, and so they don't close on the thin rails as easily. If a sliver has come off the edge of the reed it definitely has trouble squeeking on the mouthpiece, but plays fine on other mouthpieces.
This I don't understand.
I have several of Theo's pieces and they are truly some of the best faced pieces available and very reed friendly.
Their rails are not overly thin and i would not consider them a problem to play with any width reed., quite the opposite.
Higher baffled pieces can cause these problems if more accustomed to more traditional type pieces but i would doubt that reeds are the primary cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Despite your efforts to balance and adjust your reed scan you see (when the reed is on the mouthpiece) that there is a flat seal against the table of the piece or is there a little bit of space anywhere along there?
I checked the seal of reed again the rails and table. It looked fine. I'll pass another flattening attempt with Reed Geek. I think with the softer reed it is more forgiving with the same mouthpiece since I get plenty of vibration even with loose embouchure. With harder reeds naturally I tend to have a firmer lower lip and it creates the potential. If I move the mouthpiece a bit more inward / outward, it changes the potential of squeaking a bit so I think perhaps the facing curve has to do with it to some extent. Just for some reason when I try harder Rigotti vs. harder Rico, harder Vandoren, harder Gonzalez, etc. it is more prone to squeak. I found a couple of my other mouthpieces that have exactly that pattern.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
When I get the occasional reed squeaking in the upper register I move the reed tip right up flush with the tip of the mpc. Often that is all it takes to kill the problem. If it doesn't work, I grab my stick of lip balm or cork grease, whichever is closer at hand, and rub some on the reed in the area from just below the tip upward. This has worked quite well, and the reason I think it does is that it eliminates whatever imperfections in the tip that are causing the air flowing past it to vibrate in such a way as to make it produce a squeak.

Of course embouchure also is part of the cause, especially when playing a mpc that is new to you and blowing really forcefully. By backing off on your air you can control it too, but the grease on the reed surface solves both causes at once. While not the same thing at all, this is probably similar to aeronautical-related problems like icing on plane wings, for which they spray the wing with a fluid to prevent the ice buildup. One type of deicing fluid has a plastic polymer as a thickening agent to keep it from flowing off too quickly. Cork grease is thicker than lip balm usually, so will work longer before your saliva dissolves it. Neither of these products will harm a reed as far as my experience shows. In fact it may help them last longer.

BTW I play Rigotti too, and haven't found them to be any more prone to squeaking than any other brand. So try my method and see if it works for you.
Thanks. I'll try that. I think I found out about flush with the tip and it helped a bit but not quite. I'll give it more shot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I agree with Humbardi that the problem may be in the thin rails of your mouthpiece (is the table flat?). I have similar trouble with my Theo Wanne mouthpiece - I think some reeds are not as wide as others, and so they don't close on the thin rails as easily. If a sliver has come off the edge of the reed it definitely has trouble squeeking on the mouthpiece, but plays fine on other mouthpieces.
I think side rail coverage definitely has a role in having the mouthpiece more prone to squeak. I have 3 mouthpieces with thin rails and part of the rail is visible from the sides while the reed is on which leaves just a bit of rail thickness touching the reed. I assume in that situation it is just matter of having a strong staccato to let the air scape. I think with softer reeds since there is less resistance and I naturally have more room for a loose embouchure, the air doesn't build up around that area. I guess part of it is learning the intricacy of adjusting the embouchure for playing stronger reeds.
 

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Dear SOTW fellows,

although i rub my cane reeds (Vandoren Red Java 2.5), on a piece of A4 blank paper, after one or two weeks i face the squeaky reed problem. No i do not use Listerine or alcohol to keep them in a good situation, but i always rotate 4 to 5 reeds whenever i practise...i face the problem by pushing the tip of the reed over the tip of the mp but then the reed is kinda stiffy and not so "free blowing"...it feels so "muddy". Any suggestions on this issue? These reeds are brand new, i have purchased since 4 weeks they are not old or much played.
 

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I've found Rigottis a little more prone to squeaking but I like the edge they have.
It sounds like you have a bad mouthpiece issue.
Don't worry, I remember hearing Brecker let out some God awful squeals.
Mine rend to be leaking horn issues that cause the squeals like when you're sloppy on clarinet and don't cover the tone holes.
 

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I even tried different ligatures in case that would change the squeak issue. It changed a bit but not much.
Also I experience the same squeak in a few other mouthpieces I have too so I think it is a systemic issue.
In all cases the reeds continue to squeak even after they are completely wet and they are played for quite a few minutes.
So you have this problem with all those reeds and with not just one mouthpiece, but others as well.
Maybe it's you that's causing the squeaks?
 

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If you're biting and if the facing is then "shutting down" and if the piece has a prominent baffle.... those three things together will push it all to squeak or whistle. Light reeds add to the likelihood.

Sometimes the "prominent baffle" may just be a little too high behind the tip and that will promote a squeak or whistle up high.
 

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It's been nearly a year and maybe the OP has solved the problem, but I concur with warp x. It's not the reeds! And probably not the mpc either. If it only happened on one or two reeds (out of many), then maybe you could blame the reed, but not if it's a consistent problem.

Almost certainly an embouchure issue, possible due to biting too hard, or something of that nature.

Once again, in case the OP is still reading this thread and still messing with the reeds: It's not the reeds.
 
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