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Thread: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

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    Default Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    After reading all the positive comments here on SOTW about the new generation of synthetic reeds, I bought several to try. "Hate" is probably too strong of a word; let's just say I don't like them. I could play them if that's all that was available, but my favorite brands of cane reeds work, respond, sound, and feel so much better for me.

    Anyway, I would throw these synthetic reeds away, but they were expensive and it seems like such a waste. So I want to give them away. I know it sounds disgusting to play a used reed, but if I can disinfect them like a mouthpiece, it should be okay . . . right?

    So my question is: What's the most effective way to clean them? Will Sterisol work without damaging them? Soap and water? Just water? Any opinions on this matter will be appreciated.

    By the way, I'm keeping the Hahns as emergency back-ups in case I ever run out of reeds. At least they sort of feel like cane reeds.

    Thanks in advance for your input . . .

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    I can't answer your question about dis-infecting synthetics, but I wanted to comment about their playability. I happen to like Fibracells, but only on certain mouthpieces. When I put Fibracells on my favorite mouthpieces, I disliked them, too. But after I discovered that they didn't play well for me on my favorite alto and soprano saxophone mouthpieces, I tried them on other mouthpieces I'd purchased/received in trade, etc. - many pieces that I'd long discarded and put in a box in my garage. They played very nicely on long discarded mouthpieces. I suspect one reason is because I favor open tips and the Fibracells just had too much oomph for those open tips.

    My advice is to hang on to them and try them with more pieces. I think that like many things, one must find the right mouthpiece to really appreciate the synthetics. Why would one make all the effort to do that? Because when I travel I often don't take my horns, but I do take mouthpieces (sop, alto and clarinet) so if I come across a playing situation or run into a neat music store, I can play the horns. It is SO handy to have a decent mouthpiece with reed and ligature all assembled, ready to go. DAVE
    Dave

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Like Dave, I tend to hang on to synthetics that I've tried, but for whatever reason they didn't work with my setup. Since I play a whole mess of saxes and clarinets, it's not unusual to run across a mouthpiece (or a problem, such as a pit double that sits on the stand until the last cue) for which a synthetic turns out to be the perfect answer, and it's not like they take up a lot of space on my shelf.

    If you think you're unlikely to EVER want to try it again, however, I'd just wash it off with some nice antibacterial soap and then sell it. When I buy (or mooch) a synthetic reed from a friend, I'll wash it again before I play it, but I don't go through any major sterilization procedure... I probably pick up more virii at work every day of the week than I will from a once-used synthetic reed.
    "Nothing is worse for a musician than getting an opportunity you aren't prepared for." - Quincy Jones

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Buck, I'd heard somewhere along the line that soaking them for a few minutes in hydrogen peroxide was an acceptable method. Don't know for sure - never tried it. When I by a pre-owned mouthpiece, I usually just spray it with Sterisol and rinse it off.

    Hahn reeds are now all I play on bari. Before you give up on them, try other mpc's....

    Al Carter

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Okay, that's good advice. I'll sleep on it. But I'm currently on a reduce/simplify kick, so the thought of hanging onto them indefinitely is not too appealing right now. If I decide to give them away, I'll wash them off and spray some Sterisol on them. Whomever gets them can disinfect them further if they want to.

    Thanks!

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Laughlin View Post
    I'll wash them off and spray some Sterisol on them. Whomever gets them can disinfect them further if they want to.
    I would just wash them in water and soap, let the person receiving the free gift decide if they want to go any further.

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    I would just wash them in water and soap, let the person receiving the free gift decide if they want to go any further.
    that's good advise, anyway, immersion in ethyl alcohol is often recommended for most brands and provides a sure way to disinfect the reeds. There are also specific products but they offer no better disinfection than ethyl alcohol does

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    I would just wash them in water and soap, let the person receiving the free gift decide if they want to go any further.
    Sensible advice. Good call. By the way, Pete, if I sent them to you, could you get them into the hands of some kids through Band on the Wall or Wall of Sounds? I have 4 Legere Signatures (tenor) and 2 Studios (tenor) ranging from 2 to 2-1/2.

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Buck Laughlin View Post
    Sensible advice. Good call. By the way, Pete, if I sent them to you, could you get them into the hands of some kids through Band on the Wall or Wall of Sounds? I have 4 Legere Signatures (tenor) and 2 Studios (tenor) ranging from 2 to 2-1/2.
    That's quite possible. Currently my involvement with them has been in funding MIDi equipment for teaching, but that may be changing, as I have managed to get a saxophone manufacturer who is keen to help out with equipment. I will be speaking to Band on the wall soon and check out how this side of things is progressing. I'll be in touch, thank you very much for thinking of that.

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    I'd double check with the manufacturer before dipping them in alcohol. Some synthetic materials break down when alcohol is applied.

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Legere reeds are not breaking down with alcohol , Benedikt Eppelsheim kept on disinfecting them while he was on the Frankfurt Show

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Buck.
    If you have an excess of hard baritone Fibracells I would welcome them with open arms....I am more than prepared to accept a few germs.
    My views on reeds are diametrically opposed to yours but I feel sure that we can remain friends.
    Experience is an excellent school....but the fees are high.

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Beeflat View Post
    Buck.
    If you have an excess of hard baritone Fibracells I would welcome them with open arms....I am more than prepared to accept a few germs.
    My views on reeds are diametrically opposed to yours but I feel sure that we can remain friends.
    No baritone reeds, but I do have a medium-soft tenor Fibracell that is several years old. I got it during my last open-minded foray into synthetic reeds. Now that I think about it, I don't know why I keep sticking my hand back into the fire. I get burned every time! How much would it cost to ship a small padded envelope to the UK?

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Dolson View Post
    I can't answer your question about dis-infecting synthetics, but I wanted to comment about their playability. I happen to like Fibracells, but only on certain mouthpieces. When I put Fibracells on my favorite mouthpieces, I disliked them, too. But after I discovered that they didn't play well for me on my favorite alto and soprano saxophone mouthpieces, I tried them on other mouthpieces I'd purchased/received in trade, etc. - many pieces that I'd long discarded and put in a box in my garage. They played very nicely on long discarded mouthpieces. I suspect one reason is because I favor open tips and the Fibracells just had too much oomph for those open tips.
    I've even found that different synthetics play differently on different mp's. I love medium-hard fibrecells on my Jody Jazz Classic and they sound waterlogged within minutes on my other 2 pieces while a Bari synthetic works great on my Meyer and not on the Classic. I gave up on cane reeds long ago as I have limited time to practice and don't want to waste it on finding a reed that'll work that day.

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    Default Re: Disinfecting Synthetic Reeds

    You can safely disinfect Hahn reeds with ethyl alcohol.
    Luis Pablo Gasparotto aka Luispa
    Hahn Reeds Distributor for the Americas

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