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Beginner Reed gets wet, I go down tubes?

rotate

Member
Messages
49
Being a beginner it is difficult to compose a sensible question but it seems like when the reed gets very wet that is the end of my ability to play.

It's perhaps not quite as simple as that. But is a sticky, water logged reed a problem generally?
 

Taz

Busking Oracle
Messages
3,662
I notice that after a while my reeds get fairly wet too, I can take most of the moisture off with a quick wipe of the thumb and that seems to do the trick.
I think that too much moisture is also a new or inexperienced player issue. It does improve as you do. You could also have several reeds on the go at once, so when one gets waterlogged you move onto the next until the first dries a little. Should keep you going for hours like that!
 

Pete Thomas

Chief of Stuff
Commercial Supporter
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14,004
The wetness should not be a problem. What can happen though is the reed swells a bit, I just scrape the underside gently with a stanley blade to flatten the table area of the "butt" of the reed, not the pointer business end of the reed.
 

Justin Chune

Well-Known Member
Messages
3,013
You will produce less saliva as you gain experience. Keep a roll of Bounty handy to wipe it dry. I've heard of people sucking the moisture out of their mouthpiece as they play. I don't fancy that much though.

Jim.
 

Young Col

Well-Known Member
Messages
2,419
Excessive moisture in the mpc can be a problem when you're just starting. It gets better with time. Room humidity can be an issue as well. I practice in a room that gets hot and very humid in the Summer and I generate a lot of moisture. It doesn't happen in a larger area with more air movement.
Nick, you joined after the great debate - last year I think - about what to condition your reeds in. The lovely Luluna of vermont (not seen for a while on here) swore by a vodka called Ketel 1. I've found Bombay Sapphire gin pretty good. Don't recommend Martini as it's too sugary and clogs the reed fibres.
YC
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
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21,947
Being a beginner it is difficult to compose a sensible question but it seems like when the reed gets very wet that is the end of my ability to play.

It's perhaps not quite as simple as that. But is a sticky, water logged reed a problem generally?
Is it the wetness on the surface of the reed? Or the reed getting really soft as it gets wetter? Cos if it's the reed getting softer, you could try loosening your embouchure - and maybe a slightly harder reed. But they do go off after a while, and having a few played in and ready to swap when they stop working is a good idea. I guess they start working well enough once the're dry again.
 

rotate

Member
Messages
49
the reed getting really soft as it gets wetter? Cos if it's the reed getting softer, you could try loosening your embouchure - and maybe a slightly harder reed.
I guess they start working well enough once the're dry again.
Yes it seems to get soft and essentially unplayable. So I'll try loosening my embouchure, and my corset for that matter.

I wish I could say I was surprised by the ribaldry and catch penny horseplay that my heart-felt question has unaccountably provoked.:D
 

TomMapfumo

Well-Known Member
Messages
5,219
If you look on the Alexander Superials website(reed manufacturer) there is a method of reed preparation outlined which is really useful to follow - it involves an initial soaking of the reeds first (in warm water) and then stroking them quite firmly from butt to tip on a flat surface, and then doing this after use for a while - the reed becomes firmer, the fibres of the reed are better aligned and your playing should no longer be affected by a "soggy" reed, as you are removing its sponge like quality by packing the fibres down. It should play noticeably better. When I started I used to have very wet reeds which became unusable too quickly - now they seem to go on for absolutely ages to no ill effect.

I'd also look at a slightly harder reed as Kev says, but try the above mentioned method, which provides a degree of hardening anyway.
Kind regards
Tom

It's a good question BTW!
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I'll just add that when the reeds are properly wet, my tone (personal opinion) is the best. Too dry and it's terrible. Some guys say they pick the sax up, give the reed a lick and play - others do it the other way and keep their reeds soaking like Nick, others buy a humidity controlled reed case that is supposed to keep them at optimal wetness... Im not a big fan of Vodka, but maybe I should try some whisky...

My tenor reeds live in a simlpe La Voz case, which lives in a tin, so the reeds dry out and take a bit of soaking before they're playable. The alto ones go in a Roco case, which is supposed to be humidity contolled, but I never bothered with the moisturiser packs. These usually come out slighlty damp, and seem to be playable quicker, so I guess there's something in it's favour.
 

kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Subscriber
Messages
21,947
I wish I could say I was surprised by the ribaldry and catch penny horseplay that my heart-felt question has unaccountably provoked.:D
Good bunch here, lots of help but we do enjoy a laugh...


Yes it seems to get soft and essentially unplayable. So I'll try loosening my embouchure, and my corset for that matter.
Good to see that you're joining in with the ribaldry and horseplay >:)
 

thehunt

Member
Messages
785
I'm with Tom, on this one rotate, i tend to prepare all my reeds before playing. I also follow the Alexander website tutorial on reed prep.
The saliva problem does get better with time, still i suppose if you have had a swig of Vodka or Whisky beforehand it could taste nice... NOT!
>:) Phil
 

johnboy

Senior Member
Messages
1,179
I've always slobbered, and the only time makes any difference, is if the beer's free, then it just gets better and better.
The pull through gets a good soaking as well.

Membership forms for "Alcoholics Anonymouse" available here.
 
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