Closing the pores.

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  1. #1

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    Default Closing the pores.

    I have been doing the Rick Hirsh (see youtube) method for preparing new reeds. Actually, I first saw this method done by a concert clarinetist in a youtube lecture. After a reed is broken in, I stop doing the procedure. Recently, I tried closing the pores on reeds that were already broken in. I don't know if I'm imagining it, but this seems to make a fairly big difference on how the reed responds. Does anyone else do this?

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I do it, I don't really know why other than that I prefer the feel of a smoother reed surface, and I have no opinion about whether it makes any difference either in performance or longevity.

    I've been doing this "burnish the pores closed" thing for over 30 years now, so it's not like I have limited experience with it.

    I have certainly never experienced it making anything worse that I could tell.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I've done both. Learned it from my college professor. He said it helps keep the reed from getting water logged.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    It's a Joe Allard technique, but probably goes back way before Joe. http://saxophonistisches.de/joe-alla...master-speaks/

    Part 2 is where Joe demonstrates this.

    The complete 4 video's are worth watching,.

    The full video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=K-0N7XETP5M

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Me too (for years)...if you're talking about pressing the reed down against a smooth surface to burnish the pores closed (but I couldn't find anything about this by Rick Hirsh on you tube). I only do it once when the reed is brand new. I heard it helps the reed to last longer; not sure if I buy that but it does make sense that it would help prevent water logging. I know for sure I don't like a water logged reed. Wet reed, yes; waterlogged, no.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I use 600 wet&dry for a smooth feel.
    I tried burnishing with a spoon that i buffed but couldn't tell any difference.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I spelled Rick's name wrong. Here is the first video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xRAKij61y_g

    BTW, I discovered that you can avoid (I think) moisture build up on the reed if you polish it up. This used to be a real problem for me, but it may, like many sax problems, disappeared on its own.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    +1 for 600 wet/dry emery paper.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I soften the reed well enough to flatten the whole bottom & compress the vamp. To me, it's, I have to force some reeds into submission. some sanding is usual on the bottom & reed rushing on top if it's really rough.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I took a lesson with Mr. Allard many years ago to determine whether my Vintage Berg Hr or Otto Link STM no USA was the better mouthpiece for me. Without listening to either one, he took the Berg & threw it on his couch. He showed me a lot in one hour to which I still refer when I practice. One of the things he showed me was the white paper treatment.
    100 circles to smooth the bottom of the reed. I still do this and it seems to make the reed last longer.
    George

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I don't think this is closing the pores. It may remove a bit of the grain that sticks out when the reeds are wet i.e. just smooths the surface a bit.

    Reeds work well when they are wet so you want it to get wet. Some people will store the reed with a damp sponge to keep them damp with others storing them in liquid. Personally I think that goes a bit too far and makes the reed too wet producing a stodgy sound.

    Sanding on the bottom can help ensure the reed is properly flat so that it will seal on the mouthpiece.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaman View Post
    Without listening to either one, he took the Berg & threw it on his couch.
    Don't you think that is rather a narrow minded approach to saxophone playing? Or was he telepathic?
    TamingTheSaxophone.com & PPT Mouthpieces
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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I've studied some biology and the fact is that the walls of cells in the wood will break if they dry, get waterlogged or being exposed to saliva. You should dry of saliva and find a liquid that neutralize that saliva, experiment with that. But the most important is to keep the reeds stored in a container that has the sweet spot of moisture. Don't let the reed sit on the mouthpiece and dry out to much.
    I don't know what happens with the cells when reeds are kept in water+listerine, but it,'s pretty easy to take a microscope and study different methods.

    Closing the pores should be a good method slowing down the process of water getting out and in through the reed

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaman View Post
    100 circles to smooth the bottom of the reed. I still do this and it seems to make the reed last longer.
    George
    I do this on printer paper on a 8x10 piece of glass.
    Cut a strip of paper, flip the reed over, and burnish the top side too.
    My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
    ... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oric Muso View Post
    Some people will store the reed with a damp sponge to keep them damp with others storing them in liquid. Personally I think that goes a bit too far and makes the reed too wet producing a stodgy sound.
    I gave that method a good try and found the same thing you describe. A 'stodgy' sound describes it pretty well; just what you'd expect from a water logged reed. But in most cases the water logged reed recovered just fine, once I let it dry out. But some swear by the 'keep the reed damp' method--each to their own.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Pete Thomas View Post
    Don't you think that is rather a narrow minded approach to saxophone playing? Or was he telepathic?
    That was my question also (referring to Allard tossing the Berg w/o listening to it). Is it possible that's where Phil- 'I spit on Bergs'- Barone got his disdain for Bergs?

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Notice that I only took one lesson after having that experience. I felt that the sound he was teaching was more classically oriented. I was interested in Jazz & R&B. Despite his disdain for Bergs, I played the Berg commercially for 40 years until I retired and started messing around with my old Link again. They both have something the other doesn't have. The Berg has power & edge for R&B and the Link has a fuller, more mellow sound that's great for Jazz depending on one's taste. I don't play gigs anymore due to advanced age, but I now have found happiness with a Ted Klum Focustone Precision that has something of both the Berg & the Link. It' alway's sumpin' ! Wonder what's next. When did Phil say that he spits on Bergs?
    George

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    I used to rub my reeds with a rabbit's foot. It closes the pores on the reed and gets me better lotto numbers. Then I switched to synthetic reeds. I now rub those on my own feet.

    I love this stuff.

    Mark

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Quote Originally Posted by Swaman View Post
    When did Phil say that he spits on Bergs?
    He said it on here. At least once, but I think I read it from him more than once. That said, he's opinionated and not afraid to share his opinion. Doesn't mean he's 'right' about it. My opinion is use what works for YOU to help get the sound you're after and in the setting you are playing. I've heard a lot of great players on Bergs (and similar mpcs) who sound wonderful.

    Guess we got a bit off topic here. I wonder if closing those pores on the reed really does anything at all. It's not something that can be easily proven one way or the other.

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    Default Re: Closing the pores.

    Quote Originally Posted by JL View Post

    I wonder if closing those pores on the reed really does anything at all.
    I don't know if it does anything either.
    I like a smooth playing surface though, and I soak 'em a bit every time I play... thought it wouldn't hurt to burnish them some.
    My wife, whose ears I trust, said that my sound is much fuller, richer, more powerful and resonant on this set up.
    ... but really folks... my wife said, " It sounds like a saxophone ".

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