Vol. 2, No. 47


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9 June 1997

Date: Thu, 5 Jun 1997 19:27:44 -0600 (MDT)
From: Shouryu Nohe <jnohe@nmsu.edu>
To: Bass Peoples <contrabass-list@contrabass.com>
Subject: Bari Sax Reeds

About 'bad' bari reeds...

In all actuality, the reeds are probably not all that bad. There is a proper way to break in reeds for single reed instruments, and most people don't know. The breaking in process is ten times more important for lower instruments than for upper woodwinds as well; this is why you seem to find more 'bad' bass cl. or bari reeds than you do for Bb clar. or sop. sax. The larger a reed is, the easier it is for the reed to warp in storage.

It is completely unavoidable before the break in process. Here's how to fix it:

On a flat surface (a glass pane works best), lay the reed on its back (the flat side) so that from the tip to 1/4 of the reed is hanging over the edge of the surface. Using two fingers on each side of the reed, press it to the glass, alternating fingers so that the reed rocks. If you are testing Cbass reeds, 9 out of 10 says it'll rock. Bass and bari reeds also. This means the reed is warped throughout; the back of the reed is convex, and will not sit completely flat against the facing of your mouthpiece, no matter how much you tighten the ligature. Therefore, it doesn't vibrate correctly, and it is 'bad'. Even if it rocks the teeniest bit, it will affect the playing. If the reed doesn't rock right away, continue trying, and at the same time move more and more of the reed off of the glass, until you get to the butt. Chances are, it will rock at some point. Now, lay a piece of high grain (between 400-500) sandpaper on the glass and sand the back of the reed for a few seconds. This sands away the warp. Test the reed again, and if necessary, sand again, until the reed doesn't rock; the back should feel like glass now. After this, soak the entire reed in water for 5-10 minutes. While it is still soaked, lay it on the glass, and press the reed, stroking it from the butt to the tip (just like you would if just the tip was warped). This closes the reed. (All reeds are open when new; you can tell by dipping it in water for a few seconds, and trying to blow through the butt of the reed.

You'll see air bubbles appear on the vamp. An open reed won't stabalize as well as a sealed one.) After you've pressed out the reed, let it dry completely, and that will complete the sealing process. However, the reed may warp again (but not as bad as before). Test and sand again to fix it. Since the reed is sealed, it shouldn't warp again on it's own, and should play fine. However, after you play on it once, the heart may warp a hair, and that's a hair too much. Test and sand. Usually after playing on the reed once or twice, you may have to test and sand again, but after the second time, the reed will almost always be completely stabalized, and broken in. (BBb C-bass Clar. reeds occasionally require a third breaking in, especially Marcas.)

Also...playing Jazz on a 2 strength??? On bass clarinet and bari sax, I use a 3 1/2 for jazz, 2 1/2 for everything else. I couldn't imagine trying to get a good jazz sound from Vandoren V16 (which is, IMO and our jazz profs, the best jazz reed out there) at only 2 or 2 1/2.

Hopefully, this should save you some reeds...and a few bucks.


________________ Visit me at: http://web.nmsu.edu/~jnohe ________________ 
Shouryuzani Nohe, Musician, Writer, Hacker, Nabiki's PPE, and Jesus Freak
|________A Founder of the School of Improvised Night Martial Arts_______|
|"You know for certain that you are a liar |
| You told me yourself; you know the truth"--The late, great P.F.R. |
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|_______________________________Oh really??_____________________________|
|_J.C.rules J.C.rules J.C.rules J.C.rules J.C.rules J.C.rules J.C.rules_|

From: "Mats Öljare" <oljare@hotmail.com>
Subject: contra-trombone site...
Date: Mon, 09 Jun 1997 10:36:43 PDT

There's a contrabass trombone page at http://capella.dur.ac.uk/doug/contrabass_trombone.html ,who also has a lot of other interesting links.

By the way,what happened to the Wagnertuba in modern music??

Mats Öljare(with an umlaut over the"o")

Get Your *Web-Based* Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com

I think Bruckner used the Wagner tuba quite a bit. Can't think of many others. My guess is that tuba/euphonium players aren't as interested in it because it is left-handed (so they'd rather play tenor tuba), while French horn players would rather not give up the added control from having a hand in the bell.


BTW, anyone interested in more tuba jazz should look into Plunge. I just ran across their CD "falling with grace" (Accurate Records, 1995, AC-5016. The lineup is Marcus Rojas (also of Gravity) on tuba; Mark Mcgrain on trombone and alphorn; Avishai Cohen on double bass; and Bob Moses on drums/percussion. The style is "jazz quartet" with an improvizational feel to some of the tracks. Recommended!


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