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Multiple Horns, MP Caps and Playing Live

Veggie Dave

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Possibly an odd question; when you're playing a show with multiple horns, do you leave your m/p caps on or off once the show's started? I keep replacing caps when I change horns as I'm paranoid of the reed drying under the stage lights, but I risk damaging the reed every time I do it. I think I'm being overly cautious but I've never had the guts to put my assumption to the test.

Paranoid or sensible?
 

Colin the Bear

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Reed cap on protects from accidental damage. I'm also concerned about reeds drying out.
When i had the strength to take SATB and Clarinet. I used to take all my reeds to a gig, in their holders, soaking in a water filled container

I can't think of a time when I've damaged a reed removing or replacing the cap on a gig.
At home? Several times. Doh!
I think we're more switched on on a gig.
 

Stephen Howard

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Possibly an odd question; when you're playing a show with multiple horns, do you leave your m/p caps on or off once the show's started? I
Off.

You never know when things might change - either in the set-list or with your kit. You might have mere seconds to pick up a horn and start playing. If you really want to push the boat out, wear a sling that's set for each horn.

I've never had a reed dry out under stage lights (how hot d'you think they are anyway??) - and if it's a concern then it's your job to make sure they're kept ready to go. A lick or two while the guitarist is giving it large should be sufficient.
 

lydian

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Plastic reeds.
While they won’t dry out, they’re not unbreakable. I always use caps on stage and in rehearsals, regardless of reed type. Yes, there is a risk of damaging the reed with the cap, but I tend to be extra careful on stage. So to me it’s much riskier to go capless.
 

jbtsax

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When I used to play gigs with doubles I would keep caps on the instruments not being used at the time. When a cap came off I would hang it on the stand so I would remember where I put it. I even used electricians tape to cover the ends of caps that had an opening.
 

mizmar

Senior Member
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stage lights (how hot d'you think they are anyway???
I've not been a stage person since having a parsing interest in stage management... But aren't LED lights somewhat cooler than the old blast furnaces?
 

Stephen Howard

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While they won’t dry out, they’re not unbreakable. I always use caps on stage and in rehearsals, regardless of reed type. Yes, there is a risk of damaging the reed with the cap, but I tend to be extra careful on stage. So to me it’s much riskier to go capless.
I've been using Rico Plasticovers for (counts on fingers) 35 or so years, and never had a problem with a dry reed on stage. I've also never broken a reed on stage....but then I don't tend to beat my horns with a stale baguette between numbers...

When you're on stage it's your job to be ready for whatever happens...and if the cost of a broken reed worries you, find a band that pays better,
 

lydian

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I've been using Rico Plasticovers for (counts on fingers) 35 or so years, and never had a problem with a dry reed on stage. I've also never broken a reed on stage....but then I don't tend to beat my horns with a stale baguette between numbers...

When you're on stage it's your job to be ready for whatever happens...and if the cost of a broken reed worries you, find a band that pays better,
You're only a few years behind me. I first tried plasticovers back in the 70s. Didn't care for them then, still don't care for them now. In the heat of the southern US, I've had reeds dry out within seconds, especially on outdoor gigs.

It's not the cost of a broken reed that bothers me, rather the difficultly playing one. As for being ready for anything at any time, I've never had any trouble removing the cap in the time it takes to lift the horn from the stand and start blowing.

In any case, it all comes down to your tolerance for risk. My house has never burned down, but I still had insurance all those years just in case. A mouthpiece cap is just about the cheapest insurance you can get.
 

Pete Thomas

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In the heat of the southern US, I've had reeds dry out within seconds, especially on outdoor gigs.
I found the same thing in hot climates. Hot and humid not too bad, but hot and dry yes indeed reeds can dry out in minutes and be unplayable, so a mouthpiece cap can help.

These days with stage LEDs probably not so bad.
 

Stephen Howard

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In the heat of the southern US, I've had reeds dry out within seconds, especially on outdoor gigs.

I could be very, very wrong here - but I don't think Veggie Dave is playing southern US outdoor gigs right now...
 

lydian

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I could be very, very wrong here - but I don't think Veggie Dave is playing southern US outdoor gigs right now...
Yes, but from his picture, he appears to have limbs and clothes, all of which can accidentally hit an unprotected reed at any time. I assume his bandmates and stage hands have those attributes as well. Actually, I'm certain they do because I've seen videos.

Broken reeds are the least of the sorts of accidents I've had on stage over the years. I've had horns get knocked over and damaged to the point they were unplayable. No matter how careful I am, accidents happen. So a cap seems like a no-brainer to me.

I understand everybody doesn't feel the same. Check out the sax player in the clip below at 1:45.
View: https://youtu.be/HFMr6PgPT18?t=105
 
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Veggie Dave

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A solid consensus I see. :D

I'm so used to the old days that I still remember freznels that could melt tarmac, which is why I can't shake the paranoia. And as lydian says, you never know who might knock the horn, including me. I'm thinking my paranoia isn't such a bad thing after all, even if the real threat isn't the heat.

Although next summer in the south of France and Italy may be a different matter.
 

thomsax

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Reed cap on protects from accidental damage.
Yes, that's what I think as well.

On many mouthpiece caps there are a big hole in the top of the cap. Why? And they are also oversized. Probably so they are not damage the tip of the reed.

The best way to avoid reeds from drying out on stage between songs is to use cling film/plastic wrap. That would probaly help from drying out a reed. ;)

The player can also drink water between the songs. That helps up.

I know a player that use 3-4 reeds during a gig. Some reeds that are soaking water.
wetreed.JPG
 

Stephen Howard

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Yes, but from has picture, he appears to have limbs and clothes, all of which can accidentally hit an unprotected reed at any time. I assume his bandmates and stage hands have those attributes as well. Actually, I'm certain they do because I've seen videos.

Broken reeds are the least of the sorts of accidents I've had on stage over the years. I've had horns get knocked over and damaged to the point they were unplayable. No matter how careful I am, accidents happen. So a cap seems like a no-brainer to me.

Limbs? Clothes? Are you guys drunk on stage??
I once did a gig with a six foot blow-up dolphin on my bonce, and I still didn't wreck a reed.
As for bandmates and stagehands - it's really easy. You just say "Oi! Keep away from the horns! Savvy?"

Buy yeah, if you're going to spend most of the evening vogueing, or allowing every ne'eer-do-well to get within ten feet of your (presumably) expensive horns, then yes...I think a mouthpiece cap will probably give you one less thing to worry about.
 

Nick Wyver

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Caps replaced usually.
I've had reeds dry out in summer at outdoor gigs. I've not tried it, but a bit of damp folded paper kitchen towel in the cap might help. Or use plastic reeds as others have suggested.
 
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