Tips Posts

Vandoren Alto Sax 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 saxophone reeds that we stock and the features of them.

Vandoren Traditional – This is the standard blue box. This reed has the thinnest tip and the thickest heart of the sax reeds. This provides the player with crisp articulation with a full, dark sound.
Vandoren V12 – This reed has a thicker heel and are cut on a longer palette than the traditional reeds. 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 Java (Green) – The Java reed has a thicker tip and more flexible palette than the Traditional reed allowing for greater vibration. This added flexibility gives the reed a bright sound with immediate response.
Vandoren Java (Red) – The Java Red is very similar to the Green, but it is a filed reed. This makes the reed slightly more flexible for the player giving them a full, rich sound with an extremely precise attack.
Vandoren V16 – This reed was designed for players that wanted the Java reed with more “wood”. It has a thicker heart than the Java (thinner than Traditional) which provides the player with a strong attack with a deep, rich sound.
Vandoren ZZ – This reed was designed by taking the heart, spine and rounded tip of the V16 and putting it with the flexible palette of the Java. It gives the player a rich, colorful sound with quicker response. The ZZ provides an immediate response without sacrificing the brightness and tone quality that is needed for playing Jazz.

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

 

The Challenges With Rotor Valves

There are many problems with rotary valves. Maintaining them requires skills in tying knots, gentle tapping with special hammers, not to mention all those little screws and bumpers. Then after they are completely apart, they must be cleaned off all the dirt and debris on the valves and inside the casings. Lubricating and returning them to their proper casing and reassembling are the next hurdles.

This first picture here shows valves from an instrument that the valves were barely working on. You can see the oxidation and staining on the valves from lack of lubrication turning them almost black. Prolonged lack of lubrication along with dirt and debris caused this build up inside the casings and prevented the rotors from turning smoothly. Sometimes it is so bad we have to forcibly, but gently, drive the valves out of the casings. We then have to clean the valves and the body of the instrument in our ultrasonic cleaner to get them back to new condition.

In the second picture you can see the valves after they have been cleaned just before they are re-installed in the instrument. Proper lubrication will keep your valves looking this way and prevent sluggish action due to oxidation and build-up. Even when you instrument is not being used for prolonged times it is very important to keep lubrication on the valves, and slides, to keep them from freezing up.

In the Repair Shop we use Hetman’s Oils. They are a synthetic oil that lasts much longer and therefore does not need to be re-applied as often as petroleum based oils which dry out faster.

If you have any questions about our blogs or need more specific information please don’t hesitate to contact us here in the Repair Shop.

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?

cork-and-headjoint

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.

cleaning-rods

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.

Can I Payoff My Instrument Rental? – FAQs

Did you get some cash for Christmas and want to put it to good use? You could pay off your instrument rental contract early and save!

If you choose, you may pay off your instrument balance in full and save 40% off your remaining balance. You can do this at anytime during your contract. There is no penalty for paying your instrument off early.

To do this, please call our accounting office at 1-800-382-1099.

You can also complete this process online. Please refer to this earlier post that explains how to make a payment on our website.

As always, please give us a call if you have any questions.

Upgrade Your Student’s Instrument For The Perfect Gift

Are you still looking for that perfect gift for the musician in your family? We may have one that you haven’t thought of yet…an advanced instrument from Paige’s Music!

Our Premier Rental Program is an easy, affordable way to transition your student from a beginner instrument to one that will support their rapidly- increasing skills as a musician. There are several great advantages of an upgraded instrument.

premier-horns

  1. Builds Enthusiasm and Commitment – Nothing brings out the commitment level and enthusiasm in a child more than something new. If the student has been using their beginning instrument for a couple of years, a new Premier level instrument will help them get excited again. Your student will feel the urge to practice more to see how good they can sound with the better instrument.
  2. Better Sound – Student instruments are built to be durable in the inexperienced hands of a beginning player, sometimes at the sacrifice of sound quality to keep the cost down. With a more advanced instrument, manufacturers are able to retain the durability, but also take more care in making sure the instrument performs at a high level as a more experienced player will be using and taking care of it.
  3. More Advanced Features – Many of the features on the step-up instruments are not found on the student level instrument. Many of these features are designed to make the instrument “speak” more freely and increase range.

It’s been our experience that the need for a step-up instrument arrives as early as the student’s second year of playing. By selecting a higher-quality instrument at this juncture, you will provide your student with room to grow as a musician, create renewed excitement and pride, and enhance your student’s development.

Need a bit more information? Watch this video by the Paige’s Retail Staff. Or, if you’re looking for a flute, you should watch the Indy Flute Shop Manager, Erin Nichols, talk about the advantages of open-holed flutes!

If you have any questions, please give us a call at 1-800-382-1099.

That Brittle Time Of Year – Tips On Caring For Your String Instrument During Winter

snow-car-cello

Winter is approaching with its cold, snow, and low humidity. This scares the bejabbers out of any self-respecting stringed instrument. Can’t you just see or hear wood shrinking, pegs loosening, cracks splitting a top rib in two … These are sights and sounds that one might think would bring a smile to a repairman’s face. Winter time does create special problems for the violin family instruments, but good common sense care will reduce the number of unnecessary repairs.

In most circumstances, instruments kept from sudden extreme changes in humidity and temperature stand an excellent chance of not cracking or coming unglued at the seams. Now, take the same violin in the same well-balanced conditions. If you bang it on a wall, floor, a friend’s head, etc., that violin (not to mention your friend’s head) will come apart somewhere.

An instrument taken from one environment to another, i. e. from a warm room to a much colder outdoors, will also suddenly be subjected to less humidity in addition to lower temperatures that can stress the instrument to the breaking point. Keep the instrument closed in the case for a more gradual exposure to the change.

Cold weather makes wood, plastics, leather, and metal more brittle. Avoid blows to the case, bag, or any accessories.

Peg compound used sparingly can be a good thing. Using too much will cause well-fitting pegs to slip.

Dirt on a violin, viola, etc., is unsightly and detracts from the sound. Keep it wiped off. A soft rag used appropriately is enough to keep rosin, perspiration, or fingerprints from accumulating on an already clean instrument.

Sometimes accidents are unavoidable. Paige’s repair shop is here to help whether general maintenance or major repair is needed.

It is a fairly sure bet that everyone has heard the joke about the difference between the violin and the viola. The punch line is, of course, the viola burns longer. It is an old joke but serves to illustrate that violin family instruments are made of mostly wood. Instruments made of wood can and will wear or even break, but they will, with good care, last for many years of enjoyment.