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Posted on Klarinet, Tue, 27 May 1997

From: HinotesInc@aol.com
Subject: Re: Zonda Reeds

Hello everyone-

Thanks to all of you who had good things to say about Zonda Reeds over the last week or so. There is one comment (a concern) that I have seen repeated over and over, the issue of longevity, and I would like to offer my advice on that subject.

We grade our clarinet reeds to 20 different levels (actually with the proprietary strength grading machine we developed we can grade even finer than that, but we feel 20 levels is sufficient). Within the conventional half-strength system, which we use on the outside of the boxes, we have our "sub-strength" grading. This is an optional method which lets you really fine-tune your strength preferences. On the label on the back of the box you will find a 7 digit lot number. The right hand digit is a letter from A-T, and this represents the actual sub-strength of all the reeds in that box. This results in our being able to offer you a soft, medium, or hard in almost every conventional half-strength. This chart will explain it, I hope:

Strength Soft Medium Hard
2.0 A B C
2.5 D   E
3.0 F G H
3.5 I J K
4.0 L M N
4.5 O P Q
5.0 R S T

The differences between each sub-strength are negligable, and most people find they are comfortable playing more than one sub-strength. (They are already playing a range of strength that is equal to 3 of our sub-strengths). If you find that the reeds are not lasting as long as you would like, we have had very good success asking people to try the next harder sub-strength. They may not play as well right out of the box, but as the reed "settles" (as every reed does) it will still have the body that you need, and should last longer. If you break your last reed, and in an emergency need a reed to play immediately without break-in, play the lighter sub-strength. We have been able to fix most of the longevity problems people report to us by educating them about the sub-strength system, so I hope it works for you.

It is possible that your local dealer may have some reeds from before we began the sub-strength process. These reeds will only have a 6 digit lot number. They're still good reeds, but they will have a range of strength like a conventional reed. Ask them to get some sub-strength graded reeds for you to try.

We also offer a Ready To Finish (RTF) reed that has most of the manufacturing done to it. This is for the player who has the skills to make their own reeds, but not the time or the inclination. It's left a little strong so you can adjust it to your liking, and the tip is not cut so you can shape it to precisely fit your mouthpiece.

Good luck!

Mike Abbott
HiNotes, Inc. (a sister company of Verne Q. Powell Flutes, Inc.)

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