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Reeds Making reeds playable?

U CAN CALL ME AL

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After a couple of years playong synthetics a spot of GAS and a used sax inspired me to return to cane. Four differing boxes of new reeds resulted in a growing pile of unplayables, until - ...

Being a fisherman I use a pellet expader in the preparation of my bait, for the uninitiated this is a small vacuum device and water chamber which sucks the air out of dried bait pellets facilitating the quick absorption of water to sink it.

Despite previous soaking I thought I would try doctoring my reeds using it. Placing two 'stuffy' reeds in the water chamber and applying the vacuum immediately resulted in a fine covering of bubbles on the surface of the reeds. I released the vacuum after a minute or so, removed the reeds and play tested them. Result I now have two perfectly playable reeds. Lightbulb moment? The future will tell, it could be just that the reeds had dried excessively during storage and I was unlucky in my purchases.
 
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Interesting, there does seem to be an ever growing amount of evidence that supports soaking reeds, maybe you have hit on a way of spreading up the breaking in process.
 

kernewegor

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It is true that timber (and although the cane used for reeds isn't timber, it behaves like it) absorbs moisture slowly.

I place two, three or four reeds in a cup of blood warm water and pick one out to play after a minute or two. The rest I have tried taking out and putting flat face down, but they dry out quite quickly.

I find that leaving the others in the water does not make them too soggy, as might be thought, even for an hour or more.

Reed material is quite dense. I suspect that the moisture content of the thicker parts of the reed do not vary very much in normal use.

Incidentally, water can dry out between the reed and the face of the mouthpiece especially in conditions of low ambient humidity even while being played (it might depend how much you slobber...) and the reed can start to squeak, feel wrong in the mouth and become unplayable, even while being more or less continually played.

After soaking in water I give the flat side of the reed a good slobbery lick before putting it on the mouthpiece. In conditions of low humidity I repeat the process if need be. Spit is more persistent than pure water.

In the Sahara it might be necessary to use PTFE...
 

Colin the Bear

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When you're out and about there isn't the facility to soak. I blow saliva from the thick end through the reed tubules till it appears on the surface of the cut to make sure it's soaked through. A quick wet of the thin end and it's time to go. I suppose the blowing is having the same effect as the vacuum. I assume the vacuum draws out the air in the tubules of the reed and when it's removed atmospheric pressure pushes water in, same as the bait. I hope you're changing the water
 

kernewegor

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Fresh water every time!

The Tanalith process for wood preservation uses a vacuum to draw air out of timber and then pressure to put it in, so your science is spot on. And if you can see the spit coming out of the pores then you have a visual confirmation that it is soaked.

I have never done that! Just shoved it in my gob if no water available... live and learn...
 

Colin the Bear

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The difference between reeds, even in the same box is quite surprising. Some you can blow through quite easily and some take ages and a lttle face ache.
 

Targa

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Fresh water every time!

The Tanalith process for wood preservation uses a vacuum to draw air out of timber and then pressure to put it in, so your science is spot on. And if you can see the spit coming out of the pores then you have a visual confirmation that it is soaked.

I have never done that! Just shoved it in my gob if no water available... live and learn...
For some reason 'no water available' reminded me of having to unfreeze the lock on the car door using 'warm water'.
Not that I would suggest using this to soak reeds, well not your own anyway.
 

altissimo

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For some reason 'no water available' reminded me of having to unfreeze the lock on the car door using 'warm water'.
Not that I would suggest using this to soak reeds, well not your own anyway.
you'd prefer to use someone else's? :eek:
 

Colin the Bear

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For some reason 'no water available' reminded me of having to unfreeze the lock on the car door using 'warm water'.
Not that I would suggest using this to soak reeds, well not your own anyway.

Mind you don't get too close. I've had my tongue stuck to an ice lolly and that was bad enough
 

kernewegor

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Useful if the gas regulator freezes up outside your caravan...
 

Twistofer

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Have you tried Vandoren's Hygro Reed Case? They are good for humidification. I also use the Ridenour Reed Finishing System, Reed Trimmer and a ReedGeek. Almost any reed can be made playable with a little elbow grease.

PS: When humidifying, a few drops of grain alcohol (Everclear, Vodka, Ethyl Alcohol (please not denatured)) will prevent mold from growing in your case.
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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Have you tried Vandoren's Hygro Reed Case? They are good for humidification. I also use the Ridenour Reed Finishing System, Reed Trimmer and a ReedGeek. Almost any reed can be made playable with a little elbow grease.

PS: When humidifying, a few drops of grain alcohol (Everclear, Vodka, Ethyl Alcohol (please not denatured)) will prevent mold from growing in your case.

I already use one of these the problem is getting the little b*****s to play in the first instance? The Two reeds initially 'revived' from the dead pile are still playing well. A further two were treated one blows well the other refuses to be broken.
 

Twistofer

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I already use one of these the problem is getting the little b*****s to play in the first instance? The Two reeds initially 'revived' from the dead pile are still playing well. A further two were treated one blows well the other refuses to be broken.

If I can ask, what brand of reed?
 

U CAN CALL ME AL

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Each of the major selling companies one american, one french prefer not to mention details to avoid litigation. I tend to use unfiled reeds for my selected jazz and classical playing!
 

Reed Warbler

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Each of the major selling companies one american, one french prefer not to mention details to avoid litigation. I tend to use unfiled reeds for my selected jazz and classical playing!
You cant seriously believe you'll get sued for saying a reed doesn't play well. Go on, tell us!
 

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