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Thread: Keep reeds in water?

  1. #41
    Distinguished SOTW Member Jazz Is All's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    It seems like Milandro's wise words in the 4th post on this thread were a self-fulfilling prophecy because everyone's disparate beliefs about reed wetness have borne them out.

    As far as I can see the whole issue boils down to whether you believe that the drying out of the reed between playings is harmful to it or makes it play worse. If you believe it is and does, than keeping the reed wet, or moist, all the time would seem to be in order.

    If however, you don't believe it is or does, than keeping it wet between playings or even wetting it much beforehand is a moot point because shortly after you put the mpc in your mouth and start playing the reed gets wet by itself. And in fact, in either case--previously wet or previously dry--it not only stays wet but keeps getting wetter the longer you play it.

    Many people feel that this increasing wettness of the reed over a long period of playing makes the reed begin to play worse. IMHO if that can scientifically be proven to be true then it seems it would argue in favor of the school of thought that thinks too much wettness is not a good thing for a reed, and if not, for those who don't.
    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
    That's easy for you to say ...

    Please re-read my post and note that I voiced no personal opinion for either point of view, but merely summarized what I saw them to be. I should have added in closing, that in the absence of any real scientifically accurate tests that prove one or the other (or neither or something else) to be the better method, the argument will continue and people will continue to prep and treat reeds following their personal beliefs. Those may be according to any one of the various, popularly accepted methods mentioned on so many threads, or according to more idiosyncratic ones, some of which IMO almost border on voo-doo-ritual. But after all, who is to say what is right, so until the technical experts give us conclusive data, everyone is free to carry on as they think is best until they find out otherwise.
    Music is a magic elixir. It renews the spirit and fills the soul with joy -- Jazz Is All
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  2. #42

    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    I tried this method 2 days ago with my fading reeds. I put them in a jar tip facing down with an inch deep water to soak the end of the reeds. Surprisingly, all....I mean all of my reeds came to life. They were ready to be played out from the jar, the articulation was great, its warm, but the reed got a tad darker as it used to. I kinda like the sound concept that's coming from my reed and my mouthpiece. I use Saxscape Downtown Prototype and the combination of warm reeds and bright piece is killer in my ears. I think I'm going to keep on diong this until its not working for anymore.

    The only way you guys would know if it works for you or not is to try it yourself...

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  3. #43

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    What's messes me up is when my playing environment changes between humid and dry, reeds that played nice when the air was humid felt like crap when it went dry, and vice versa. Reeds are funny...

  4. #44
    Distinguished SOTW Member Jazz Is All's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by musiciscool View Post
    Reeds are funny...
    Yeah they are, but not ha ha funny.
    Music is a magic elixir. It renews the spirit and fills the soul with joy -- Jazz Is All
    "It's all about the spirit. The body will be gone in a blink, but the spirit never dies. That is jazz." -- Sonny Rollins
    ParkerColtraneMcLeanRollinsGordonGriffinHendersonErvinDolphyKirkLacyHandySheppMarianoSandersG.AdamsBergSpauldingShorter

  5. #45
    Just a guy who plays saxophone. swperry1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    I have been doing the reeds in a jar method since the beginning of this semester. Just thought I would give it a try, and it is great!

    I was always a one to two hour a day player, and often went 2-3 days a week without finding time to get on the horn. Now that school is in session, I am playing a lot more between extra practice, ensembles and outside groups (4-5 hours 6 days a week), but my reeds are lasting a lot longer. I have always kept 3-4 reeds in rotation, and they were lasting about 3 weeks (I date them) before going south for one reason or another (dead, chirping, warped beyond fixing, etc). Clipping NEVER worked for me. Now I am clipping them successfully at about 4 weeks, and getting another 2 weeks out of them...I started 4 new reeds on the first day of the semester (8/29): I threw the first one out in Mid-October. One of those originals is still in the rotation! I played a three set gig the Saturday after Thanksgiving on a reed dated 10/5!!!

    It is a little different getting used to the feeling of a soaked reed, and they do darken in appearance. I feel like they are more responsive, and it is obvious to me that they are lasting a lot longer. Just pull one out of the water (changed every three days) and give it a suck to get the extra moisture off (I know, that's what she said...no need to rip me, I tried to rephrase). A win all the way around if you ask me.

    I use a spice jar that I got at Bed Bath and Beyond for 99 cents, and town water from my faucet at home.

  6. #46

    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    I leave my reeds in water 24/7 as well as my private instructor and a lot of other saxophone players I know. I do not know if it would work with classical saxophone but it seems to be working well for me in regards to jazz. I take about 3-4 reeds out of the box and then mark them 1-4 with a sharpie on the flat side. This is important to do so you will remember which is which.

    I then put them in a small clear container (plastic vitamin jar from walgreens) with a screw top and fill it with water. I use plain old Rico orange box reeds and in fact i do not really care for the sound of them but once I take them through this process they sound killer! After about 24 hours they should be water logged but will not be playable yet. I leave them in the water for about a week but I'll change out the WATER DAILY (this is important to do....trust me)! After about a week I will take each one and play on it for about 4-6 mins and put it back in the water I will also do this again about every couple of days.

    After about two weeks they're ready play. I rotate reeds for every practice session that is why it is important to mark the backs because it is difficult to tell which is which in the water. The reeds are always ready to play and they don't wrinkle anymore. They last much longer as well, sometimes up to two months.

    As far as the consistency goes it seems that if you leave the reeds immersed in water 24/7 they hardly change at all as opposed to dry reeds (just remember to return them to the water after playing so they will not dry out completely or become un-waterlogged). The wet environment is more stable i guess and the changes in humidity the cane has to go through are less extreme, resulting in longer life.

    Soaking reeds just works for me and I like the tone I get from them and as I said before many players do this and while it might not work for everyone go ahead and give it a try before knocking it.
    “I’m going to try to make music out of whatever style it is, being true to the art form itself. If you’re playing funk, stay in the pocket. If you’re swinging, swing — all the way. Play some standards. Play some blues. Play your original stuff. Do it, 100 percent..." - Roy Hargrove

  7. #47

    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    well it sounds like yall spend a lot more hours messing with this than i do. it seems like a bit much to me.

  8. #48
    Distinguished SOTW Member, Forum Contributor 2010 magical pig's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by swperry1 View Post
    give it a suck to get the extra moisture off (I know, that's what she said...no need to rip me, I tried to rephrase).

  9. #49
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    This is where I love my Fiberreeds and Légères even more ....
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    Tenor MkVII - Link STM 8* - Fiberreed Carbon M ¦ Bari SA-II - JJ ESP 7* - Fiberreed Carbon M
    Hear them on The Groove Merchant.

  10. #50

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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    thread hijack: put vegetables in water in the fridge and they last forever (change the water once in awhile).

  11. #51
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Forever?

    Hope you have your G.I. Specialist on speed dial.
    "Nothing is worse for a musician than getting an opportunity you aren't prepared for." - Quincy Jones

  12. #52
    Forum Contributor 2011 McTenor's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    I mix water with Listerine for hygienic reasons(50/50% and 1.5 inch high in a jar)) and keep six reeds stored all the time.
    Preferred taste: peppermint.

  13. #53

    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    This is a video Clip of David Sanborn having a Q and A session at Selmer in France. At some point in the session he is asked about how he cares for reeds and he goes into great length explaining his jars of reeds and how his reeds must be kept wet. He also points out that his reed rituals are a bit over the top and insane. Its long, as the video is broken up into 7 or 8 parts but it is well worth the watch for more than just his reed techniques.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhNcZopC4dM
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  14. #54
    Just a guy who plays saxophone. swperry1's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by McTenor View Post
    I mix water with Listerine for hygienic reasons(50/50% and 1.5 inch high in a jar)) and keep six reeds stored all the time.
    Preferred taste: peppermint.
    I guess Listerine must not use a real peppermint flavoring. Even if very diluted, your lower lip would go numb quickly!

  15. #55
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    I use the Listerine mix since 5 years and never had any troubles....

  16. #56
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    I have to admit I just don't get the whole "zen" of reed finagling. I buy reeds; I keep two in my case; I soak one for ten minutes with tap water in a coffee cup before playing; I play just fine; I rinse the reed under tap water, wipe it with a paper towel, and put it back in its little holder. I've never had a problem, and over 90% of my reeds play just fine out of the box.

    What am I missing?????
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  17. #57

    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnGalt View Post
    I dont see what style of music you play has to to do with it however...
    I have heard some say that playing a lot of altissimo is hard on reeds - maybe that is what the poster meant - more altissimo in funk, etc? Useful post - I have NEVER had luck soaking reeds, but I have some now that are too hard and I think I will give it try.
    '

  18. #58
    Distinguished SOTW Member Jazz Is All's Avatar
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by coltranecrawford View Post
    I leave my reeds in water 24/7 as well as my private instructor and a lot of other saxophone players I know. I do not know if it would work with classical saxophone but it seems to be working well for me in regards to jazz. I take about 3-4 reeds out of the box and then mark them 1-4 with a sharpie on the flat side. This is important to do so you will remember which is which.

    I then put them in a small clear container (plastic vitamin jar from walgreens) with a screw top and fill it with water. I use plain old Rico orange box reeds and in fact i do not really care for the sound of them but once I take them through this process they sound killer! After about 24 hours they should be water logged but will not be playable yet. I leave them in the water for about a week but I'll change out the WATER DAILY (this is important to do....trust me)! After about a week I will take each one and play on it for about 4-6 mins and put it back in the water I will also do this again about every couple of days.

    After about two weeks they're ready play. I rotate reeds for every practice session that is why it is important to mark the backs because it is difficult to tell which is which in the water. The reeds are always ready to play and they don't wrinkle anymore. They last much longer as well, sometimes up to two months.

    As far as the consistency goes it seems that if you leave the reeds immersed in water 24/7 they hardly change at all as opposed to dry reeds (just remember to return them to the water after playing so they will not dry out completely or become un-waterlogged). The wet environment is more stable i guess and the changes in humidity the cane has to go through are less extreme, resulting in longer life.

    Soaking reeds just works for me and I like the tone I get from them and as I said before many players do this and while it might not work for everyone go ahead and give it a try before knocking it.
    So if I have correctly added up the time you say it takes to run this prep (underlined above), from the very start until the reeds are ready to play, it comes to 3 weeks and a day. Man! That's a bit much, don't you think? How do you know when to start prepping the next batch? Do you estimate that if they last 2 months you should begin 5 weeks after the previous one was finally ready, or do you just keep a batch soaking all the time? And if you don't have one going, or even if you do but it isn't far along, what do you do if by accident you nick, chip or split one or all of the 3 or four reeds? Go without playing until the remaining required soak time is up? Just curious, and to each his own, but IMO it seems way way too complicated a procedure to be practical even if it does give the results you say it does.
    Music is a magic elixir. It renews the spirit and fills the soul with joy -- Jazz Is All
    "It's all about the spirit. The body will be gone in a blink, but the spirit never dies. That is jazz." -- Sonny Rollins
    ParkerColtraneMcLeanRollinsGordonGriffinHendersonErvinDolphyKirkLacyHandySheppMarianoSandersG.AdamsBergSpauldingShorter

  19. #59
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    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Starsax A2 View Post
    I have to admit I just don't get the whole "zen" of reed finagling. I buy reeds; I keep two in my case; I soak one for ten minutes with tap water in a coffee cup before playing; I play just fine; I rinse the reed under tap water, wipe it with a paper towel, and put it back in its little holder. I've never had a problem, and over 90% of my reeds play just fine out of the box.

    What am I missing?????
    I can't speak for you, but I think one possible angle can be explained this way:
    Many (but not all)profiecient players (pro's and very advanced student/amautuers) look for a very specific "vibrancy" to a reed ... a certain way it "speaks" or "blows" ... this allows their centered embouchures to get the sound they are looking for. This "vibrancy" is elusive however, usually 20-30% (or less occasionally) of reeds. For them, "selection" is crucial. Not all reeds are created equal. It's a plant. It's cut by machine. There is no way of knowing if a reed is vibrant by looking at it. They think anyone who plays every reed in a box is clearly someone who is not looking for anything special because they wouldn't know the difference between a vibrant reed and "the next one in the box".
    This is a hard thing to conceptualize because if you are not that sophisticated of a player you could not fathom why you would need to fuss so much about reeds.
    The "zen" part of reed finagling is about what philosophy you have to this end. Do you become a craftsman and "do stuff" to your reeds to get them to speak better? Some guys get all crazy with devices and processes ...remember the "drill a hole half-way-through-the-heart-of-your-reed" process that was floated around here in years past? What a hoot! (I'm still sure there are people here that didn't realize that was a practical joke) Some people (I am in this catagory) take a more organic approach of "less is more". Imho, if you have to "do" alot to a reed, it's probably not so great of a reed and wont last very long as a result of any exorbitant processes so then why deal with it. I select the good cane (by play testing), a very short but gradual break-in period (a week? 2-3 playings?), very minimal sanding of the vamp (staying away from the very tip and heart) and table.

  20. #60

    Default Re: Keep reeds in water?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jazz Is All View Post
    So if I have correctly added up the time you say it takes to run this prep (underlined above), from the very start until the reeds are ready to play, it comes to 3 weeks and a day. Man! That's a bit much, don't you think? How do you know when to start prepping the next batch? Do you estimate that if they last 2 months you should begin 5 weeks after the previous one was finally ready, or do you just keep a batch soaking all the time? And if you don't have one going, or even if you do but it isn't far along, what do you do if by accident you nick, chip or split one or all of the 3 or four reeds? Go without playing until the remaining required soak time is up? Just curious, and to each his own, but IMO it seems way way too complicated a procedure to be practical even if it does give the results you say it does.
    No, the whole process only takes about 2 weeks if that. You really don't even have to play the reeds at all for that time period, I feel that it just makes them playable faster.

    Yes you have to remember to change the water and play them a few times the 2nd week but besides that it's not really that complex. I usually start a new batch when I feel that they are beginning to play a little soft but in some cases I have played a reed 2-3 months with no change in tone.
    “I’m going to try to make music out of whatever style it is, being true to the art form itself. If you’re playing funk, stay in the pocket. If you’re swinging, swing — all the way. Play some standards. Play some blues. Play your original stuff. Do it, 100 percent..." - Roy Hargrove

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