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 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.
Okay, folks, hang onto your hats: I have stumbled onto what appears to be some truly weird news about things going on at Rico Reeds. I use Google Alerts to keep track of lots of woodwind-related topics on the web. Most days they don’t turn up anything especially interesting, but this morning I awoke to an … Read more
Well, it has been a great ride studying, teaching, and performing on the instruments of the woodwind family. Thanks everyone for your support here at bretpimentel.com. I’ll leave this website up for now, but I hope you will all check out my new project: Bret Pimentel, brass
I am pleased to announce that, after several weeks of exciting and productive talks, I have signed on for an endorsement and development deal with an up-and-coming reed manufacturer. Here’s the official press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 1, 2010
Bret Pimentel Signs On As First FLAVOREEDS™ Artist
FORT WAYNE, Indiana.—FLAVOREEDS™ Flavored Clarinet and Saxophone Reeds, Inc., is pleased to announce the first in what it hopes will be a series of “fruit”ful relationships with professional woodwind players in developing and promoting its new professional line of premium cane instrument reeds.
The first FLAVOREEDS™ Artist to join the roster is multiple woodwind performer and educator Bret Pimentel. Dr. Pimentel has performed with such acts as Dave Brubeck, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, and the O’Jays, and is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Delta State University. He is an experienced performer on all the major woodwind instruments, and expects to bring this expertise to bear in consulting on new and current product lines.
“As soon as I made a verbal commitment to the company, I forwarded them some thoughts about their new Papaya-Mango Bass Saxophone Reeds™,” Pimentel said in a telephone interview. “I found them to be a little overpowering in the papaya department, with not enough mango. I’m working closely with FLAVOREEDS™ to better balance the flavors.”