Tag Archives: clarinet

Product Review: Rico Reed Vitalizer Case

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About a month ago, I received a Rico Reed Vitalizer Case in the mail. I had given the folks at Rico Reeds some feedback about one of their products and they sent the case as a thank you gift for my input.

For a long time now, I have been a throw-the-reed-on-the-mouthpiece-and-leave-it-there-kind-of-guy. I decided to give this reed case a try to see what would happen.

Based on my experiences over the last month, here’s a description of some pros and cons.

 

Pros:

  • The case can hold up to 8 reeds and there are numbered slots to help keep track of them.
  • The case can hold any size reed from Eb clarinet to baritone saxophone.
  • The design is compact and would easily fit in just about any case.
  • The humidity pack that goes in the case has kept my reeds in good playable condition. I just wet them a little bit and I’m ready to go.
  • None of the reeds I’ve kept in the case have warped at all.
  • The case comes with stickers to help keep up with which reed case goes with which instrument.

 

Cons:

  • The numbers for each slot are the same color (black) as the rest of the case and can be hard to see especially in low light (backstage/onstage) situations. I will probably use my label maker to make some stickers that have some contrast.
  • The spot on the case for the instrument sticker is on the bottom. I would prefer it to be on the top, but that’s not a big deal. If you only play one instrument, it wouldn’t be a problem at all.
  • Having this case means that you’ll have to regularly purchase the humidity packets (Reed Vitalizer Packs). They recommend changing them every 45-60 days. It would be a yearly expense of probably $35-$45 depending on where you buy the packs.

 

Having put that all out there, I can tell you that I would definitely recommend the Rico Reed Vitalizer Case to anyone looking for a reed storage solution. My reeds have been in better condition and have all lasted much longer than they previously did. I was a little put off at first with the idea of having to buy humidity packs on a regular basis, but it looks like keeping my reeds in this case will actually save me money in the long term.

I am using one case now for my tenor reeds and I just bought another one to use for bari and bass clarinet reeds. Thanks for putting out a great product Rico!

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not a Rico Reeds Artist and do not have any affiliation with them.

How It’s Made. Videos for all the woodwinds.

 

While browsing youtube the other day, I came across a video of saxophones being made at the Keilwerth factory. I am a geek of the highest order when it comes to this kind of stuff and could watch it for hours. This, of course, meant that I looked up other videos and I want to share some of those with you today. I was looking for videos for all of the woodwinds, but couldn’t find any oboe or bassoon videos. If you know of any, please feel free to post them in the comments and I’ll add it to this post.

Brannen Bros. Flutes

Buffet Clarinets

Selmer Saxophones

Fox Bassoons – Thanks to Bret Pimentel for this one!

This is the first video of 7. You can find all of the videos here.

Bonus video! Reeds

 

Video: Robert Dick on Breathing

Here’s a video of one of the great flute players/teachers, Robert Dick. Some of the information is flute specific, but the mechanics of breathing that Dick describes can apply to everyone. I found the part about opening the ribcage intriguing and I want to spend some time with that.

 

Clarinet Overtone Exercise

Here is a clarinet overtone exercise I got from Caroline Hartig. She is a complete and total clarinet badass. I studied with her for a couple semesters when I was at Ball State before she made the move to teach at Michigan State. I really like this exercise because it forces you to keep your air moving as you cross registers and it’s great for working on voicing and tongue position.

Of course, the overtones on the clarinet are different than on the other woodwinds. For a very, very detailed explanation of this phenomenon, check out this page.

This exercise covers the fundamental tone and the 1st and 2nd overtones of the clarinet. The exercise, as written, goes straight through each group with only a breath mark separating one from the next. I practice it like this sometimes, but most of the time I take a few beats after each group to prepare for the next one. Also, I would suggest playing around with the tempo and rhythm of the exercise. I think it is better to err on the side of going slower than the marked tempo rather than going faster.

As with any overtone exercise, the concept of prehearing is very important. When I say prehearing, I am referring to the ability to hear a pitch before you play it. To help with this process as you work on this exercise, first play each group twice. On the first time, use the standard fingerings for the written pitches. When you play the group a second time, use the overtone fingerings (Those are the notes with the diamond noteheads.). Over time, you will be able to hear the pitches without the need of playing the standard fingerings before trying the overtones.

A final note – If you look at the exercise, you’ll see that each group has the same intervallic content. Consider the first group (E, G, C). The 1st pitch descends a Major 6th to the 2nd pitch which descends a Perfect 12th to the 3rd pitch. If you move reorder the pitch names from (E, G, C) to (C, E, G) it spells a major triad. This is true for all of the groups except for the last one. The group built on the low E has (G, B, E) which reordered is (E, G, B), a minor triad. I don’t know the science behind this change, but the exercise sheet is correct. The top note of the last group should be a G natural.