Other Top Tips

Messages
609
Location
Enfield, North London
#23
With all new reeds I take a Stanley knife blade to the flat side and scrape away the roughness of the cane.
I concentrate on the area that has been stamped with the makers mark. Always very rough there.

Slide the reed, butt end first, under the ligature so you don't snag the tip.
Take utmost care in aligning the reed in all planes. If you're not sure it is perfectly placed, take it off and start again.
 
Messages
609
Location
Enfield, North London
#24
Don't use those nylon things inside the body of the instrument.
THEY ARE NYLON! for goodness sake!!!!
They are not absorbent, and even if they were they would just hold the moisture just where you don't want it.

Make a pull-through thus.
One sports shoe lace (football boot type), the wide flat ones. Cut the ferrule off one end and slide some lead or similar inside and down to the other end.
Take a J-cloth or similar and tie the cut end of the lace around the middle of the cloth. For tenor you can add another, or several a few inches apart.
When the cloths get tatty, (or torn by the octave chimney inside the body) just take them off and replace with new ones.
Repeat ad infinitum.

Now, they really are absorbent!
And cheap and constantly renewable. I use them on soprano (half a J-cloth) alto (one J-cloth) and tenor (two J-cloths).
Oh. And one and a half pairs of laces.

If possible leave the instrument to air before closing up the case

Voila
 
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kevgermany

ex Landrover Nut
Cafe Moderator
Messages
21,648
Location
Just north of Munich
#25
When you're putting the reed on the mouthpiece, hold it closed while you adjust the position of the tip, otherwise it ends up a touch too far back.

While you're tightening the lig, hold the reed to make sure it doesn't move.
 

Jeanette

Organizress
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21,969
Location
Cheshire UK
#26
About reeds trying to go a bit further, what would be your good tips to prepare them ? Immersed in water ? For how long ? What does work for you guys ?
People have different ideas, some will just stick the reed in their mouth whilst setting up the instrument. Others soak it in a glass of water for a minute or two. Some just stick it on and blow....

Jx
 
D

Deleted member 5000

Guest
#27
Dont eat peanuts in between sets.

It can take most of the 2nd set to work out why you cant get a sound, and that you have a tiny piece of peanut jammed in the gap between the reed and the mouthpiece.:(
 
Messages
609
Location
Enfield, North London
#29
Once you've got a new reed half playable persevere and when you've had enough stop.
Swab your instrument nicely and leave to dry.

Now.
Swab the mouthpiece and then carefully align the reed and clamp up the ligature.
While you're away the reed will still try to swell with the moisture it has absorbed. The part secured to the mouthpiece table can't expand.
The part of the reed over the window will expand.

Before you next play, take off the reed and observe the part that was over the window is now convex. Take your trusty 'Stanley' blade and scrape the bulge away.
Stick thin end of reed in gob while assembling hooter, attach reed to mouthpiece....carefully.
And, blow.
 
Messages
609
Location
Enfield, North London
#30
Amongst many varied and interesting subjects was a suggestion from him - somewhere to post useful tips that often aren't passed on. So here it is:
Did I actually suggest that Kev?
My point, as I recall it through the decaff haze was that youngsters so often struggle because those who know lots of 'tricks of the trade' don't pass them on.

I can only assume this is because they think their job is to teach how to read, or finger the instrument.
Or they are neglectful enough to forget what it's like to be a beginner.

There is a lot more to learn, as we have seen in the short time this thread has been going.

I was recently chatting to a 'mature' pro Saxophonist I know at a big band gig.
He said he didn't have a reed ready for his alto, but he'd show me what an old clarinet player had shown him.
He took his trusty 'Stanley' blade and cut a sizeable chunk out of the heart of the reed.
This seems to go against everything written on the subject, but it does the job.

As he said, 'it shortens the life of the reed, but it's ready now!'
He sounded great, as usual.

This kind of lore never finds its way into books.
 
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jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
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6,339
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#31
He took his trusty 'Stanley' blade and cut a sizeable chunk out of the heart of the reed. This seems to go against everything written on the subject, but it does the job.

As he said, 'it shortens the life of the reed, but it's ready now!'
He sounded great, as usual.

This kind of lore never finds its way into books.
And for a good reason. :)
 
Messages
609
Location
Enfield, North London
#32
He needed a reed that would work at that moment. Not a reed that would last for weeks.

He didn't need a treatment that would be regarded as the 'correct' way of doing things, approved by experts. He needed to hit the stage in five minutes.

I was concerned that this theme of personal 'hints & tips' would become contentious.
People are posting their ideas/theories/hints/tips etc. that come from their own experience, for the benefit of those less experienced.

jtbsax: I feel a comment like yours is not helpful.
Please share with us what you would have done, so that we can all benefit from your words of wisdom.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
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6,339
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#33
He needed a reed that would work at that moment. Not a reed that would last for weeks.

He didn't need a treatment that would be regarded as the 'correct' way of doing things, approved by experts. He needed to hit the stage in five minutes.

I was concerned that this theme of personal 'hints & tips' would become contentious.
People are posting their ideas/theories/hints/tips etc. that come from their own experience, for the benefit of those less experienced.

jtbsax: I feel a comment like yours is not helpful.
Please share with us what you would have done, so that we can all benefit from your words of wisdom.
I'm sorry if you took offense. Here is what I know from 50 years of playing and 35 years of teaching.

  • Cutting a chunk out of the heart of a reed will make it easier to blow, but it will sound like a kazoo.
  • Any "seasoned" pro I have ever met would have 4 - 6 playable reeds in their sax case at all times.
  • Most experienced players know how to scrape and adjust an unresponsive in just a matter of seconds in a way that doesn't destroy the integrity of the reed.
  • There is nothing wrong with asking another member of a section to borrow a reed when you have left your reed case sitting at home.
  • Less experienced players need sound and proven advice and suggestions, not "off the wall" gimmicks.
 
Messages
609
Location
Enfield, North London
#34
You don't offend me.

My point is that unnecessary lines like 'And for good reason' help no-one and contribute nothing.
Let's keep to the spirit of this thread, eh?

By the way, why is someone as smart as you on this thread quibbling about what has been posted?
 
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jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
6,339
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#35
You don't offend me.

My point is that unnecessary lines like 'And for good reason' help no-one and contribute nothing.
Let's keep to the spirit of this thread, eh?

By the way, why is someone as smart as you on this thread quibbling about what has been posted?
Sometimes I let my sarcastic humor take over when a more thoughtful response would be more appropriate. I should have said that in my opinion taking a Stanley blade and cutting a sizeable piece out of the heart of a reed is not a useful tip for anyone, especially players with less experience. We can agree to disagree and move forward.
 
Messages
441
#36
Another one in the reed butchery category is placing the reed overlapping the edge of a coin (an old penny when I was shown it) and burning a fraction off the tip with a match. It'd be a £2 coin and a lighter these days, I guess, but it doesn't really work anyway.
 

jbtsax

old and opinionated
Subscriber
Messages
6,339
Location
Beautiful Springville, Utah USA
#37
When I was a student it was a US quarter. It actually sort of worked if you didn't have a reed clipper. Another bit of terrible advice was to press the reed against the tip of the mouthpiece and sand the portion of the reed that extended out a bit. The only problem was that you can't avoid sanding the tip of the mouthpiece as well. :eek:
 
Messages
131
Location
Alameda, CA
#38
If you're gonna play in a band, do not forget your neck strap! Happened to me yesterday night and was.. well.. embarrassing.. specially because I suppose to play a solo... alto guy save my red face...
 

Jonesy

Old Fart At Play
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Messages
716
Location
Birmingham, UK
#39
If you're gonna play in a band, do not forget your neck strap! Happened to me yesterday night and was.. well.. embarrassing.. specially because I suppose to play a solo... alto guy save my red face...
I always have 2 spare, one in my sax case and one in my kitbag. There is usually someone in the band who has forgotten theirs.
 
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