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Copyright 2009 Dale Clark
I received the following email from Mark Ortwein:
One advantage of using a fold over shaper is that by positioning the cane up a little higher you can get a bigger shape, or by using a longer piece of cane (125mm) you can get a smaller shape. When doing this you might have to change wire placement a bit, since the smallest part of the shape is now in a little different location. I do like Straight shapers too- in that you can do 3 pieces at a time and profile after shaping.
I always have several different shapes going so no matter what I need my reed to do, I have the right reed ready for that purpose. I too use the Rieger 1a quite a bit, but also make a lot of reeds using several different more "Wine Glass" shaped reeds for my my overall playing.
As you mentioned though, I'm experienced and know what I'm doing with my reeds. Beginners should pick a middle of the road shape like the Rieger 1a or Fox 2 until they have their reed making skills fairly well in hand before they start experimenting with shapes.
Glad you are doing this Blog Dale!
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
Thanks so much for your comments, Mark. That is a good point about the fold-over shapers and using longer cane to achieve narrower shapes. Gary Echols, my teacher from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, used to cut the end of his Knockenhauer shape off 1 mm with curved garden shears and then later narrow the assembled reed by cutting a little off each side at the corners (tip) with an x-acto knife and the file the sides with a permanent nail file. His result was wider in the throat with about the same width at the tip as the original shape.