Reeds – Part 6 of 1000

A reed is either too soft or too hard. Too hard is usually better because sometimes just playing it will make it vibrate more. The dilemma is, it seems that you need resistance in the reed to have something to blow against and to project the sound but too much resistance and the reed doesn’t vibrate and too little resistance and the reed gives a thin sound and won’t project. It seems as though the minute I do the slightest adjustment to the reed the potential for good sound is lost and I have to forget about using that reed. Does anyone else have this problem and what do they do about it?

Thank you for your literate question.

Yes, you are correct. Every clarinetist has those problems, all of them whether or not they make their own reeds or anything. It is part of the game, as they say. The one large mistake is that you imply that you try the reed immediately after changing or cutting or sanding it.

That is wrong.

You must work on at least, let us say, six reeds at one session. Work for as little time as you can and then put them all away, after wiping them and letting them dry out.

Wait a couple of days for the reeds to change, and they do, and here is the big thing: you change too, and you are no longer attached to the bad reed as much as before.

Playing a musical instrument is a compulsive-obsessive nightmare for everyone, because you must repeat things over and over again. That is part othe definition of O-C. Break that by giving your reeds time to change. You will be happier, guaranteed. So too, will your reeds seem more consistent and less horrid.

Remember, work slowly and patiently, only 6 reeds at a time!


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