Bernard Vandoren Answers
Questions About Reeds

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Daniel Miller, publisher of Windplayer Magazine , had the opportunity to discuss reeds with Bernard Vandoren and shared the following in January 1995:

"There was quite a bit of discussion regarding Vandoren reeds on this list a few weeks ago. Since I have fairly close contact with most of the major reed makers, I brought up some of the lists' questions and statements directly to Bernard Vandoren recently. I hope the list members are interested in his comments and this post. Please bear with the use of English, I tried to keep the spirit of what he said with as much clarity as possible. And *please* note they are *his* comments, not mine. If you have a question, want follow-up, like his reeds or hate his reeds, please address that to *him*":

Bernard Vandoren, Vandoren S.A., 56 rue Lepic, Paris 75018

Comment: All the good Vandoren reeds stay in France, and that what arrives in the U.S. is everything else.

Bernard Vandoren: "We cannot, for financial reasons, select reeds depending on where they will be sent. Our products are exported to over 50 countries, such a selection would be very difficult to manage and therefore be very expensive. Furthermore, the American musicians are, economic-wise, more important than the French ones, as the Americans are greater in number. Consequentially, there is no reason why we should favor the French to the Americans by giving them better products. This would not be logical."

Comment: The reeds tested or tried at your facility are special and the rejects are sent to the U.S.

Bernard Vandoren: "This is absolutely false, and would not serve our interest whatsoever. These tried reeds represent about 1% of our production. Trying reeds in Paris allows us to control our manufacturing process. That is why it is essential for these reeds to be a sampling of our regular, current production."

Comment: Is there any difference in the reeds shipped in France, and those shipped to the U.S.?

Bernard Vandoren: "Cane, being a natural product, is likely to change when the weather and the hygrometrical conditions change. When just finished, a reed may have all of the required qualities, but this same reed, after a period of time, may no longer be acceptable due to external factors which might have modified it. A great American musician recently came to choose his reeds in Paris. When he returned home to the States, he did not find them to be the same as when he had tried them in Paris. The reeds had changed during his trip.

"Reeds are likely to be compared with wine. A wine, tasted at the harvest has certain qualities, which, during travel and time, will be altered. To be able to re-live those same sensations it is necessary to be in the same state you were in at the time of the tasting (sampling). A wine has to be tasted regularly, as it is sensitive to time and external factors. In the same way, an excellent reed will change with time and climate. And in order for the reed to reach its best, it has to be played regularly."

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