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Harry Hartmann's Fiberreeds

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Moved over from another thread that I had hijacked.....

You're just a wealth of info saxhound. Thanks! I'll order some from saxplus.

Yes, I too miss ordering from Ed... Although he didn't deliver mine by bike. What's up with that? :emoji_smile: I guess 3,000 miles over icy roads was a bit too much for him. :-D

Before Ed got into selling Fibracells, I used to order mine from Charlie A. I miss him. I used to order all my reeds, Gig Dust & Crud Patches, & my Runyon mouthpieces through him. He was such a nice guy. I also tested the one of the prototypes of the BBQ tenor mouthpiece, and then bought one when they became available.

I recently ordered a couple of Fiberreeds from Harry Hartmann. I love the alto one, but I need to email him about the tenor, I think it might be defective. I just haven't gotten around to it because of a death in the family that happened on the day the reeds arrived. That put everything on the back burner, so I just started playing around on the reeds last week.

The Fiberreeds are quite a different animal to the Fibracell, but I really like the alto reed. If his tenor reeds are the same (no reason they wouldn't be) I will be happy to have a 2nd type of synthetic reed in my arsenal. I ordered the carbon one because of the style of music I play.

I found Harry a great guy to deal with. It's too bad that his reeds are not available at all in Canada, and only through a couple of sources in the US, and they all appear connected to WWBW--which I will not support, because I'm one of the people who has had more than 1 bad experience with them.
 
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saxhound

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Ed lives just a few miles from me, and is an avid cyclist. I offered to pick them up, but he was going for a ride, and dropped them off.

I used to order from Charley as well. What a gentleman, and a very nice guy to talk to. I had a BBQ 12 for a while (bought it used), but it was just a little too open for me.

I bought a couple of the Carbon Toptone reeds last spring. I liked them, but the tenor one started getting little chips in the tip after a week or two. The bari one is holding up better, but it hasn't been played as much. For over twice the price of the Fibracells, they didn't seem worth it. I've been thinking about trying the Hahn reeds.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Saxhound, who makes the Carbon Toptone reeds? Those aren't Harry Hartmann's reeds are they? I haven't seen anything with the wording "Toptone" on the packing.
 
Saxhound, who makes the Carbon Toptone reeds? Those aren't Harry Hartmann's reeds are they? I haven't seen anything with the wording "Toptone" on the packing.
Pardon me for butting in, but I believe it is Harry Hartmann. If you google "Carbon Toptone" you get some places such as this vendor that sell them as "Carbon Toptone" reeds, and others, such as this vendor, that refer to them by the name I am familiar with, i.e., "Carbon Fiberreeds". They are a bright version of the Fiberreed.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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No need to apologize LampLight. Thanks for the clarification. I see what you mean about the term "Toptone" being used in some websites. Since Harry Hartmann doesn't use that word on his site, and his packaging doesn't mention it, nor does his invoice, I can't imagine where this name could have come from... Unless this was a name they carried at one point in time, and was since dropped. Strange...

In any event, I do like the Carbon Fiberreed. As I mentioned, the problem that I was having with it was that is was not playing well on tenor, the alto reed was great. Part of the reason was that the tenor reed was slightly too wide for my Dukoff mouthpieces... And in hindsight now, perhaps the other mouthpieces I tried last week as well. (Only much less obviously so.)

I decided that before I emailed Harry to let him know about the trouble I was having with my tenor reed, I would see if I could get it to work on any of my other pieces. I only had a couple of mouthpieces left to try it on, and then low and behold, the reed suddenly worked on a 1970s Vandoren piece I haven't played in nearly 20 years.

I'm not sure if it's just because the Vandoren mouthpiece is just a hair wider than some of my other hard rubber pieces, or if it might have been the ligature on it. I'll have to experiment more. Try different combos and such. But on the Vandoren, the reed was responsive, the horn played beautifully from top to bottom from ppp to fff, subtoned wonderfully, and the altissimo range popped out with no problems whatsoever. I realized now why a sax player buddy of mine wanted to buy the Vandoren from me. It's a killer jazz piece. I just don't play jazz. :???:

One thing is for certain, the Fiberreeds are wider than the Fibracells, so if you play mouthpieces which are narrower than what Harry considers "normal", you are going to have to work on the reed to make it work for you.

My bad. I realize I've hijacked this thread a bit with all this talk about Harry Hartmann's Fiberreeds. I'll break off/copy the offending posts tomorrow and start a separate thread on it when I've got some time.
 
I had the same problem Helen, but I solved it by changing ligatures. I was trying a custom Mojo LAW LCD tenor mouthpiece, and the LAW ligature would not take the Carbon Fiberreed. A Francois Louis ligature worked fine. I don't remember if a Selmer 404 worked too. BTW, the Hartmann website describes the Carbon Fiberreed as having a "beaming upper register". That and the Sigurd Rascher book "Top Tones" may have led some marketer to use "TopTone" in the item description.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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That toptones reference makes sense Lamplight.

I spent some time this evening trying all my alto mouthpieces and ligatures, and the Carbon reed seems not to care what holds it to any of them. Weird...

The tenor reed, on the hand, is a different story. Since I've haven't yet exhausted all of my mouthpieces, I won't know for a bit how it will play on all of them, but for my main ones (my Dukoffs) the tenor variety is just too wide.

Harry had asked that I send him a note and let him know what I think about his reeds. Overall, I love them. I certainly will play them, but since I don't currently play alto, it won't be used very much other than maybe 30 minutes a month... If that.

The tenor reed is not usable for my main pieces at its current size. However, I'm not too keen at working on it given the cost, and the risk of damaging it. I'll have to get some really clear directions before I would want to to tackle that task. I am inclined to keep it as it is, and use it on my Vandoren piece (and any others I come across in the next day or so). That unfortunately doesn't solve my problem of getting some good reeds for the upcoming festival season.
 
NEWSFLASH !!!

After reading/posting in this thread, I finally got around to doing something I've been toying with for some time: Trying to special order some Natural Classic Fiberreeds (in this case, for tenor and soprano). Harry Hartmann describes the Natural Classic as "The classic reed with the warm sound. Strengthened heart with a steeper angle of the cut make this reed perfect for the "Vintage"-player and for (classic-)mouthpieces with smaller openings. Even sound and easy response throughout the entire register." I'm hoping for something like the Vandoren equivalent of the Blue box.

So what's with the "Newsflash" already? The upshot of my correspondence trying to spec order them from WWBW is that WWBW will be carrying them and advises me to look for them in roughly 30 days. Here is the punchline of my conversation with them yesterday:
Message from Natalie ... at Woodwind & Brasswind:
Dear Mike-

The good news is we are planning to add these to our inventory.
I'm told they should be available to order within 30 days.

Sincerely,

Natalie
Cross your fingers, although I might add that after abstaining from WWBW for a while, I've been pleasantly surprised with a string of very positive customer service experiences.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Message from Natalie ... at Woodwind & Brasswind:
Dear Mike-

The good news is we are planning to add these to our inventory.
I'm told they should be available to order within 30 days.

Sincerely,

Natalie
:emoji_smile::emoji_smile::emoji_smile: That's a good one. I rank that right up there with tales of the Bermuda Triangle & UFOs... Meaning, I'd believe it when I see it.

I hope it turns out. That would mean they've turned a corner, and there's hope again.

You could always try and order your first one from Harry directly and see if you like it though. It costs a bit more, but I've found him extremely responsive to questions. He doesn't charge for shipping, and it arrives within a few days of ordering. Mine came within a week.
 
:emoji_smile::emoji_smile::emoji_smile: That's a good one. I rank that right up there with tales of the Bermuda Triangle & UFOs... Meaning, I'd believe it when I see it. ...
I know you may be right, but I don't have an urgent need for a Fiberreed and WWBW has done well with my last few orders, so I'll give them some time.
 
... That's a good one. I rank that right up there with tales of the Bermuda Triangle & UFOs... Meaning, I'd believe it when I see it. ...
I know you may be right, but I don't have an urgent need for a Fiberreed and WWBW has done well with my last few orders, so I'll give them some time.
Pushing three months now and regrettably, Helen was right. :(
 
Hartmann for baris

Bari lovers,
If you are on the hunt for a punchy sound on the brighter side of your mpc, do try the Hartmann carbon version. Been using it for some months now on my 1936 Indiana Band Instrument Co (Martin) bari with a HR Berg on it with great, great satisfaction.
J
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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So did the Carbon Fiberreed fit the HR Berg as it was Jacques, or did you have to trim it? The reed I mean, not the mouthpiece. ;-) I wonder if will also fit on a metal Berg. I have both, although I play the HR more. Also, I'm curious to know what kind of ligature(s) you use on your mouthpiece, and if you've notice your reed responds better with some than with others.

I never did deal with the width issue of my tenor Fiberreed. It's still too wide. By now Harry must think I'm either completely dissatisfied, or satisfied, since he never heard from me after my reeds arrived. :emoji_rolling_eyes:
 
Fiber Reed and Berg Larsen: the odd couple ?

Helen,
As said in my post, the HR Berg, a 95/2/SMS is an excellent match for a Fiberred-carbon. The overall result is, in my case anyway, much punchier and brighter than with the Fibracell and Vandoren ZZ I used to use. As I do for my other mpcs, I now use the Vandoren Optimum lig only. Besides being extremely user-friendly and well designed, with its 3 pressure plates it delivers a nice additional sound-tweaking feature. For the bari Berg, I use the tenor model.
BTW, have you also noticed you have to choose a Fiberreed a notch stiffer than the approx equivalent they state in their comparison chart ?
I've not tried the Fiberreed with a metal Berg. This should come shortly.
All the best,
J
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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You know, for some reason I didn't think that the 3 pressure plates were usable on the Carbon reed. I thought they were only for the all the other Fiberreeds. When you say you use the tenor model, I assume you are referring to the pressure plate & not to the reed.

I haven't ever seen a comparison chart for the Fiberreed. I told Harry what strength reed I played in Fibracells, and he told me what strength to get in his reed. It was the same as the non-numbered Fibracell variety.

If you do get a metal Berg, do let me know how your Fiberreed fits it. There are so few people around using these reeds, that getting any kind of reviews about them is next to impossible. It's a shame, because they're really a great reed. I think supply here in North America is a real issue.
 
You know, for some reason I didn't think that the 3 pressure plates were usable on the Carbon reed. I thought they were only for the all the other Fiberreeds. When you say you use the tenor model, I assume you are referring to the pressure plate & not to the reed.

If you do get a metal Berg, do let me know how your Fiberreed fits it. I think supply here in North America is a real issue.
Helen,

The Vandoren pressure plates are absolutely no problem with Fiberreed and, yes, I'm using a Vandoren tenor Optimum lig, with corresponding pressure plates, with my bari HR Berg.

I still own a metal Dukoff in suboptimal shape (rails and tip to be evened out, etc.). I have retrieved it form its retreat, tried it with the same reed and compared with the Fibracell I used to use with it. Same (positive) difference as with the HR: brighter, beefier sound.

I join four pics: one with the HR and tenor Optimum lig, one with the Dukoff with a SOPRANO Optimum lig and one with the soprano lig alone. You'll notice I've inserted (soft soldered) a small brass band, ca 0.8 mm thick, 2 mm broad, to compensate the temper of the sop lig: Vandoren sop mpc are indeed more conical than a metal Berg and this works perfectly. I'm using the same lig for my main tenor mpc which is a super-great metal fluted Dukoff. The fourth pic is one of the bari, so you get acquainted with it.

I alas sold my two metal Berg some time ago when I definively lost hope to play in tune with them and my old bari. I miss them but am sure the Fiberreed would fit them like a glove.

As far as supply is concerned, I don't see many problems either: in Europe at least, Hartmann's delivery time from their site are very reasonable and there are no reasons it's not the case in the States.

All the best

J
 
FINALLY !!!!!

In stock at WWBW: Harry Hartmann Natural Classic Fiberreed Tenor Saxophone Reed

So help me: I broke down 10 days ago and an ordered two (2) of them directly from Harry Hartmann. It's like lighting a cigarette while waiting for a bus (only much better for your health).
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
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As far as supply is concerned, I don't see many problems either: in Europe at least, Hartmann's delivery time from their site are very reasonable and there are no reasons it's not the case in the States.
Of course, Helen's in Canada. I think the only difference might be a shipping charge, tho.
 

Helen

Content Expert Saxophones
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Although this was a few months ago now, and my memory isn't as fresh, the shipping from Germany to here was very fast. It took under a week IIRC.
 
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