26. April 2006 · Comments Off · Categories: imported, Ramble

The first thing I do when I desperately need reeds is to go through what I already have and see if anything is worth spending time with. The only way for me to really figure that out is to actually practice; tooting a few notes gives me “false positives” and I hate those! (I don’t ever seem to come up with false negatives, though.) So I pulled out what I have in my stash (not in the reject pile, mind you, as those are beyond hope). I also pull out the reeds that are still in process of becoming. (Making a one day reed often means you get a one day’s worth of use out of it. I do reed making in steps and let the reeds rest in between the process. Sometimes they rest for a very long time. Lucky reeds.)

I first tried and worked on a reed that just has this problem with being stiff, no matter what I do to it. It gets a good sound, but sound is really the last thing to work on. First, for me, it’s response and intonation. So the reed was in tune and responds well, but it’s a mouth eater, to be sure. So I played a bit (probably too much) on it, and set it aside as a possibility, but not a welcome one. Another reed I tried went immediately to death row. Poor reed. Then I pulled out the newbie I’d been working on. It still had too much cane on it, but my tendency is to take too much off too soon, so I’ve been biding my time with it. Well, well, well … it just might turn into something! (Dare I say that? Will this hope come back to haunt me?) I’ve been playing in my living room, though. The living room has hard wood flooring and it makes things work easier; the response and sound are lovely in this room. (Eventually my studio will move into one of our now-adult children’s rooms, and my students are in for a bit of a shock as the sound won’t be nearly as flattering.) So I’m going to give that reed (I’ll call it Little Red Reed since it’s thread is red) a rest, and take it later to a dead room and see what it tells me.

Meanwhile, I have to rest my mouth. Testing stiff reeds and doing work on reeds is very taxing on the old mouth. If the reed is terribly hard I start to bite and it’s not a good feeling.

But there you go—things are looking up! For now.

I’m still open to any and all reed donations, of course! :-)
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