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Clipping synthetic reeds

Hubert OG

Confused Member
Messages
28
I'm a big fan of synthetic reeds, and I mean a big one. Being a busy man, my "practice" sessions often last about five minutes, squeezed between daily chores. Thus, being able to get an instrument out of the case and play right away is frequently a matter of playing or not playing. Most probably I won't touch cane again in the next few decades before retirement.

I also have a century old Eb clarinet in an ancient system that mass manufacturers no longer care about. I got a few of the smallest Legeres I've found, and they almost match. Edges of the reed are a fraction of milimetre outside of the mouthpiece rails.

Did anyone try clipping a synthetic reed? Is there a safe way to do this, perhaps heat it before cutting? I already needed to cut back of one so that it fits before the barrel, and the reed acquired a few large cracks in the process (in the hard part, thankfully, so it's playable).

Alternatively, what effects could an oversized reed have on the tone? It seems to be fine, but I wouldn't spot a quartertone if it bite me.
 

jazzdoh

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,556
Locality
West Midlands
I'm a big fan of synthetic reeds, and I mean a big one. Being a busy man, my "practice" sessions often last about five minutes, squeezed between daily chores. Thus, being able to get an instrument out of the case and play right away is frequently a matter of playing or not playing. Most probably I won't touch cane again in the next few decades before retirement.

I also have a century old Eb clarinet in an ancient system that mass manufacturers no longer care about. I got a few of the smallest Legeres I've found, and they almost match. Edges of the reed are a fraction of milimetre outside of the mouthpiece rails.

Did anyone try clipping a synthetic reed? Is there a safe way to do this, perhaps heat it before cutting? I already needed to cut back of one so that it fits before the barrel, and the reed acquired a few large cracks in the process (in the hard part, thankfully, so it's playable).

Alternatively, what effects could an oversized reed have on the tone? It seems to be fine, but I wouldn't spot a quartertone if it bite me.

I also are a big fan of synthetics and yes you can clip them,just be careful and take very small amounts off at time,but beware if you get it wrong and have to scrap the reed its going to cost you big time.
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,060
Locality
I live in Exmouth Devon.
I'm a big fan of synthetic reeds, and I mean a big one. Being a busy man, my "practice" sessions often last about five minutes, squeezed between daily chores. Thus, being able to get an instrument out of the case and play right away is frequently a matter of playing or not playing. Most probably I won't touch cane again in the next few decades before retirement.

I also have a century old Eb clarinet in an ancient system that mass manufacturers no longer care about. I got a few of the smallest Legeres I've found, and they almost match. Edges of the reed are a fraction of milimetre outside of the mouthpiece rails.

Did anyone try clipping a synthetic reed? Is there a safe way to do this, perhaps heat it before cutting? I already needed to cut back of one so that it fits before the barrel, and the reed acquired a few large cracks in the process (in the hard part, thankfully, so it's playable).

Alternatively, what effects could an oversized reed have on the tone? It seems to be fine, but I wouldn't spot a quartertone if it bite me.

Quite often you find players who use oversize reeds e.g. baritone reeds on tenor etc - if it plays use it!
 

altissimo

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,349
Locality
leicester
If the reed plays ok with a bit of overhang, then leave it as is, unless you find it uncomfortable on your lip. I'm currently playing a soprano sax reed on my Bb clarinet with no problem and alto sax reeds on my alto clarinet.

Legere's advice on trimming their reeds -
"Sanding, scraping and clipping of reeds is discouraged. Clipping the reed with a conventional reed clipper is likely to cause tip damage. If necessary, the reeds can be scraped with a sharp blade held perpendicular to the reed. They should be scraped from the top of the vamp towards the tip. Fine sandpaper may also be used in the same way. NEVER sand or scrape the reed in the other direction. Do not try to sand the base of the reed."
 

Hubert OG

Confused Member
Messages
28
Thanks for the advice, I'll leave the playing part as it is, and just shorten the bottom to fit on mpc. I wonder if an oscillating saw would cause cracks as well. Worth a try, I guess.

Quite often you find players who use oversize reeds e.g. baritone reeds on tenor etc - if it plays use it!

Using baritone reeds on tenor sounds intentional. What purpose does that serve?
 

griff136

Well-Known Member
Messages
1,060
Locality
I live in Exmouth Devon.
Not sure but I have done it myself when on a big band gig I'd left my reeds at home and the Baritone was the only one that fitted - surprisingly worked very well, perhaps others have done this through necessity and liked it
 

Colin the Bear

Well-Known Member
Messages
14,925
Locality
Burnley bb9 9dn
After seeing it posted on here, I've used alto reeds on sop. Works surprisingly well. Handy to know if you're out.
 

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