Dear Mr. Friedland:
I use a Mitchel Lurie reed, number four and I notice that the texture and the look of the reed seems to change a few days after starting to play the particular reed. It also seems to lose it’s resistance somewhat. I have a friend who uses the FOF Ganzalez reed and this phenonenon doesn’t occure with him. Any suggestions?
Hi, and thank yo for your note concerning the texture and look of aging reeds. The final analysis of any reed, no matter what the name is always the sound of the reed, never the texture , nor the evident color is a consideration. It really is only the sound, though there are other factors but no factor is close to the sound of your reed. Now, with cane reeds, you always soak the reed oprior to playing and you dry the reed following a playing session.
The Mithell Lurie reed is a reed which each of us experiences at some point and the experience is not all that great. Like the ordinary Rico, the Mitchell Lurie is short on duration for playing and also loses the ability to perform in the high register quite soon. I have found it to be quite lacking in dependability, the same for ordinary Rico reeds. They can be used for beginning lessons, but after , well it would be time to change to a more consistant piece of cane.
Here are the brands of reeds that I know and that seeem to diminish frustration rather then to exacerbate.
The FOF Ganzalez reed is one of the best avaialable commercially made reed. Packaging is excellent, cane looks very fine and the blank is made thicker than the normal blank, and there are thos who say that the Gonzalez reed and cut are quite similar to the legendary Morre.
Also the Australian XL vintage ,though made of quite hard cane is very well aged and plays quite well. Zonda, also Australian qualifies for inclusion in he list of reeds which are of a quality much higher than ML or Rico. Yes, and as far as I know they are all superior to any Van Doren product.
While you are the final judge of the reed, there help along the way, which gives you excellent advice and really is beautifully written, comes with examples and tools, and that is William Ridenour’s Book on reed fixing,(I can never recall the name, look on his website for all of his great products) While reading the book, a I repeatdely said to myself, “Oh I learned that here, or in that school or from that clarinetist or whatever”. So, instead of living a lifetime of picking up information, get Tom Ridenour’s superb book.
Remember the final judge of a reed is you, your ear and how long the reed will remain in a playable condition, and yes, be sure you dry your reed prior to replacing it, which helps to extend the life of the reed, and, also, alternate reeds, have at least 4-6 that you can play at any given time.
Stay well and play well.