Monday, June 16, 2008

Reed Rant

I don't do this very often, but I'm writing a post today that will pretty much only be of interest to my fellow saxophonists. If you're not among them, feel free to look elsewhere around the blog (a click to the June 2008 archives will take you to some pretty cool pictures I took in Vermont a couple of weeks ago).

OK, fellow saxists: Have any of you out there been happy with the new Vandoren reed packaging. (If you haven't bought reeds in a while, they've now individually wrapped each reed in plastic and, in doing so, have dramatically increased the size of the box.) Their website claims that this was done to ensure "freshness," but I have several issues with this concept:
  • The extra packaging has made the reed boxes big. Big. Really, really freakin' big. Alto reed boxes are bigger than tenor reeds boxes used to be, and so on. For those of us who carry several different boxes at a time (i.e. classical and jazz reeds) in the limited storage space of our cases, this makes them take up even more room than they did before.

  • For those concerned about the environment (which I thought most Europeans were), is it really a good idea to have even more plastic out there, probably destined to end up in landfills?

  • The plastic covering is also really, really hard to open; of the two students who brought in these reeds today, none of us could open it with our bare hands. I used scissors in both cases today, but that would have been a pain if I'd been at school. (I obviously don't carry scissors in my case.)

  • And finally, the most annoying thing to me is that, after going through all the trouble to open the packaging, there's the possibility that the reed won't be to your liking--too light, too dark, unevenly cut, etc. With the old system, it was easy to look at all the reeds in fairly quick succession to see which ones were the best; now, you'd have to open every individual package (thus negating any of the remaining freshness factor) to do so.
I suppose that, if I'm not lazy, I should copy the body of this post and put it in an email to Vandoren. In the meantime, fellow saxophonists, feel free to chime in with your own thoughts on the subject.

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