Frequently asked questions
...answered by Nick Kückmeier
What does "Serving the best Players" mean?
We develop our products together with the world's best musicians – “Serving the best Players” means that our materials are made for the finest and highest demands in music. Thus, hobby musicians, students and amateur players can also enjoy top products, since the less time you have for your instrument, the greater is the need for good material.
What does "PlayEasy" mean and why does it function so well?
“PlayEasy” refers to our permanent system, a product series with adjusted combinations of a special mouthpiece and a synthetic reed, which enables a stable playing behavior on a high level for a long time. Quite simple – you take your instrument and make music.
The PlayEasy-mouthpiece and its special form of facing is a revolutionary, patented invention of Nick Kückmeier and enables an incomparable fullness of sound. That is also the reason why more and more well-known orchestra musicians, in particular the solo clarinettists of the Vienna and the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra, exclusively play PlayEasy-mouthpieces in combination with synthetic reeds. That makes a good synthetic reed audibly indistinguishable from an excellent wooden reed.
Can I also play a wooden reed on the PlayEasy-mouthpieces?
Of course, you can play a wooden reed on the PlayEasy-mouthpieces. In fact, this is done very often, as there is a suitable or workable wooden reed for every mouthpiece. Some musicians perfectly manage the combination of bought wooden reeds and our PlayEasy-mouthpieces. To play a PlayEasy-mouthpiece does not automatically mean that you only have to play a synthetic reed, it just offers the best possible conditions for it.
How should a synthetic reed ever sound better than a wooden reed?
It is not a question of material, but of what a material does or which characteristics it entails. For example, we also do not play on wooden reeds out of spruce, beech or cherry tree, because it simply would not work out. We also do not play on Arundo Donax because it is “wood” (strictly speaking it is a giant reed), but because it entails a beautiful, soft and flexible sound experience. If, however, a modern material contains even better characteristics than a grown reed, why should one not make use of it? Today, every modern violin uses nylon strings instead of the traditional gut strings, because the material properties of nylon are far more stable for the daily music business. In spite of that, a Stradivari still sounds like a Stradivari, a clarinet stays a clarinet and a saxophone further belongs to the woodwind section.
You have already tried a synthetic reed, but weren't fully satisfied with it?
You have to spend more time with a synthetic reed. Try different reeds and mouthpieces, test diverse ligatures, practice a little bit with it and maybe correct your choice afterwards. Come to us and seek professional advice! A great result is possible with synthetic reeds (if you want it). That is ultimately what many of the world's top soloists confirm.
If everyone plays a synthetic reed, doesn't everyone sound the same?
No, never – each musician still sounds as it complies with his/her idea of sound. Try to give your colleague your clarinet with your mouthpiece and your reed, and let him/her play with it. You will quickly realize that s/he does not sound the same. We always form the sound ourselves, but a well-adjusted and individually suitable system can enormously support us in the realization of our idea of sound. The best example in order to prove this fact is a piano competition. Fifty participants, always the same grand piano on the stage, but still every participant elicits different colors and sounds from the instrument – isn't that wonderful?
What if students totally forget how to adapt a wooden reed?
Of course, students should not forget how to adapt a wooden reed. It always has to stay a part of music studies. After all, today's law students also study “Roman law” and “law history” at the beginning of their studies, even though it looks different in praxis. Today, one buys five boxes of wooden reeds and hopes that there are at least some good ones among them. For such little talent in adaptation, very good synthetic reeds are available by now, which additionally last much longer than wooden reeds. Whatever someone ties to his mouthpiece (even if it is the stick of an ice lolly), it has to sound!
How long does a synthetic reed last?
The durability of a synthetic reed depends largely on your customary playing style and on the strength of the reed. Hard reeds last longer, soft reeds fatigue faster. If you tend to press with your embouchure, the reed also fatigues earlier. Ultimately decisive is the actual use – if you only practice once a week, your synthetic reed can last over years. However, generally one can say that (even with very soft reeds and a professional use of several hours per day) at least two to three months are well possible.
Why do I need an own mouthpiece for a synthetic reed?
You don't need an own mouthpiece for your syntehtic reed - the tone is just much better with a suitable mouthpiece. Ultimately, not every random reed brand suits to the mouthpiece you are playing now either.
How open is this or that mouthpiece?
We hardly give information on the opening and length of a facing, because our facings are rarely comparable with the usual descriptions of traditional producers. Finally, the decisive factor besides that is always the curvature of a curve, not the opening. Without any difficulties, I could produce 25 facings for you (always with the same opening and length of the facing). Due to the different curvature, however, you would have a choice of 25 totally different mouthpieces.
Can I get a copy of my mouthpiece?
Yes, we constantly copy mouthpieces of diverse orchestra musicians. For an accurate and entirely satisfying copy, however, your presence is mostly required. That is, because the very last details are hardly measurable and have to be worked out with you on location – it is well worth a visit!
Can I still return a mouthpiece after months if I have hardly played on it?
No, or would you also do this e.g. with a coat that you have hardly worn?