February 2015 Posts

Vandoren Clarinet Reeds – Looking For That Perfect Sound

Reed players are always looking for the perfect sound.  They have that sound in their head and they just need to go find it.  There are many factors that are in play when the musician is searching for it.  One of the most important pieces in that musical equation is the reed.  One of the most popular brands, worldwide, that players from beginner to professional rely on is Vandoren.

Vandoren is known for making a very consistent reed, so, as a player, you know that you are going to get a good reed each time you open the box.  They have quite a few different options and cuts, which makes it that much easier to find the “perfect fit.”   This week we are going to focus on the different styles of clarinet reeds that we stock and the features of them.

Vandoren Traditional This is the standard blue box.  These reeds are the most widely played reeds in the work.  They are suitable for all styles of music.  They are known for their excellent response in all registers.
Vandoren V12– These reeds are manufactured from reed tubes that have the same diameter as the cane used for Alto Sax reeds.  This causes them to have a thicker heal and are cut on a longer palette.  The longer palette means that more of the reed is vibrating which results in a deeper, richer sound.  It also has a slightly thicker tip than the Traditional cut reeds giving more body to the attack of the notes being played.

Vandoren 56 Rue Lepic– This style is designed from a thicker cane with a heel taper very similar to German Style reeds. The tone from this reed is rich and centered.   It has a pure sound  with quick response throughout all of the registers.

 Vandoren V21– This is the newest reed from Vandoren.  This reed takes the shape of the 56 Rue Lepic and the profile of the V12 and puts them together.  This combination makes all registers of the clarinet more accessible with a warm tone.  This also makes the clarinet play more responsive.  Lastly, it is the perfect reed for performances that require the player to play large interval leaps while still keeping and even and rich tone.

If you have any questions about clarinet reeds, please contact us via email or give us a call at 1-800-382-1099.


There’s A Cork In My Flute. What Does It Do?


A common complaint when a flute or piccolo comes in for repair is that “it is just not playing like it used to” or that “it sounds airy”. The first thing we check is the position and the fit of the head joint cork assembly. If it’s not in the right place, or if it’s too loose, the intonation and tone quality of the instrument will be affected. Proper placement of the head joint cork assembly is crucial. Use the following steps to check the placement of your cork assembly.


On the end of your cleaning rod, you will notice a line. This is actually a measuring tool to check the placement of your cork assembly. Place that end of the cleaning rod into the open end of your head joint until it makes contact with the head cork plate. rod-open-endLook into the embouchure hole (blow hole) and locate the line on your cleaning rod. It should be in the center of the embouchure hole. rod-holeIf the mark is down toward the open end of the head joint, you should tighten the head crown to pull the cork assembly back up the tube. If the line is too close to the closed end of the head joint, loosen the crown slightly and push on it to move the cork assembly down. The goal is to get the mark in the center of the embouchure hole. In rare instances, advanced players may find the need to move the cork assembly in order to bring the different registers of their flute in tune with each other.

A common mistake young flutists make is moving the cork assembly for general, every day tuning. Instead, for general tuning simply pull the head joint out of the receiver if you’re sharp, or push it in if you’re flat. Don’t make a habit out of moving the head cork assembly.

The cork part of the assembly will need to be replaced from time to time. The cork dries out and shrinks causing air to leak around the cork itself causing problems. If you notice that your cork assembly moves too freely, it’s time to have the cork replaced.

Quick Tips on Trumpet Care

Daily care and maintenance of your instrument is very important to how well your instrument performs. Watch this quick video below for a few, quick tips on caring for your trumpet.