Saturday, April 7, 2012

News, Reviews, and an Update

There are two interesting reviews coming your way.  I'll be reviewing a mouthpiece by Morgan Fry, who is highly regarded for his refacing skills and puts those skills into his own line of mouthpieces. Look for that in the next few weeks.

Intro to the Reed Vitalizer Case

Today is day 1 of a new review I'm working on. Yesterday I acquired Rico's reed case, the one that uses the reed vitalizer packs and maintains a constant humidity. It comes with the 73% pack, so supposedly it should remain at 73% humidity or thereabouts for at least 45 days. I checked my reeds that I kept in the case overnight. They felt dry to the touch, which is different from my usual storage method, however the dryer reeds do appear very straight and unwarped. Using my previous storage method reeds I played on yesterday are usually slightly moist to the touch the next day and don't feel dry until an additional day passes without playing them. I'll have to wait and see which lends method lends better for playing and reed longevity. Expect a full review in the next couple of weeks.

Update on the Minute Long Overtone exercise

Finally, I'd like to post an update on the long tone exercise I suggested in my last post. After some experimentation I'm back on my lower reed strength. However, after about 3 weeks of shedding that overtone exercise consistently I have more control over my tone color, inflection, and even technique. I have now modified the exercise and am equally concentrating on the low and middle range of the horn as well as the extended upper range. I have also noticed a huge benefit to my altissimo range. Most importantly, I'd like to warn to not overdo it with this exercise. It is very easy to get yourself into the bad habit of an overly tight embouchure due to the strain and workout it is to play the higher overtones for an extended period of time. I would suggest counteracting this tendency with a decent or possibly significant break in between this exercise and the rest of the practice session. Also, I'd suggest playing some long tones in the lower and medium range of the horn after playing so much in the high register concentrating on cuing your embouchure back to its normal more relaxed state. Remember, the corners of your embouchure will naturally go up in trying to support your efforts to play in the high register, so you'll probably need to pull down the corners of your mouth to counteract that tendency as well. Raised corners will distort your sound and reed response.

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