I was hoping to announce this a week ago, on the anniversary of the ReedCast™’s debut, April 1, 2015,but things got a little delayed. Anyway, you can now get your guaranteed-accurate, highly scientific ReedCast™ on your Alexa device. Check it out!
A couple of years ago I introduced my Reedcast™ tool on this site, which uses my proprietary software code to predict reed quality for oboe, clarinet, bassoon, and saxophone based on environmental factors: I have spent the past few months compiling and studying as much research as I could gather about environmental factors’ effects on woodwind reeds, … Read more
Woodwind players know that the way a reed plays is subject to factors like elevation, temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. My new web application, ReedCast™, helps to eliminate some of the guesswork. (Or does it?)
I won’t make a habit of posting advertisements here, but I wanted to make you all aware of a new way you can support what I do here at bretpimentel.com while also increasing your own cool factor. Behold the woodwind doubler t-shirt: It’s a nice quality American Apparel tee available in a variety of attractive … Read more
Welcome to the third installment of the Internet Forum Field Guide, a look at the wildlife that inhabits woodwind-related online message boards and forums. (Be sure to check out the first and second episodes as well.) Today we look at common questions that are asked on the message boards. The diverse and varied answers as … Read more
See also: Stuff my students say (original flavor) What my students say What my students mean I’m sick. As you are aware from my prolific and detailed Facebook updates, I was up very late last night making poor health choices, and now wish to be excused from established course or lesson expectations. I’m not sick. … Read more
I am always pleased to hear from companies that want feedback on their products. And as you regular readers know, I try to be as thorough and honest as I can in my reviews. A couple of weeks ago I bumped into a Vandoren representative at a conference, and he offered to let me bring home some samples of a new product line for review. These haven’t shown up on Vandoren’s website or social media yet (though they do seem to have appeared on the Woodwind and Brasswind, a little prematurely!), so as far as I know this is an exclusive scoop. Update: WWBW has pulled the product listing.Update #2: read to the end for details on getting a free sample!
Vandoren has been doing some innovative things lately, and their new line of Maestro score-marking pencils is no exception. These are pencils specifically designed for the needs of the performing musician, and this focus is apparent in every detail. The pencils have a nice heft and balance to them, which the Vandoren rep tells me has to do with the hand-selected juniper wood harvested in the French Var Valley.
The premium erasers are some of the best I’ve used for score erasures—easy on valuable sheet music while removing the most stubborn pencil marks, with almost no smearing. They are currently available only in medium-soft, but my Vandoren source tells me they are “working on a medium-hard eraser, and a hard eraser geared toward professionals.”
But, of course, the real question is: how do they write? I’m happy to report that, when it comes to writing, these pencils have exceeded my expectations in every respect. The “lead” (graphite, actually) is, I understand, a proprietary formula designed for smooth, even writing on a variety of papers. But this is only part of the story.
My Vandoren source tells me that the real “secret” is the collars—the little metal ferrules that hold the erasers in place. While some “researchers” have suggested that the collar has little actual effect on the pencil’s writing characteristics, years of experience accumulated by some of the most respected woodwind players in the world say otherwise. And so I was not at all surprised to find that each collar has its own unique, shall we say, signature.