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Publication numberUS3759132 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateSep 18, 1973
Filing dateNov 6, 1972
Priority dateNov 6, 1972
Publication numberUS 3759132 A, US 3759132A, US-A-3759132, US3759132 A, US3759132A
InventorsBackus J
Original AssigneeUniv Southern California
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Composite woodwind reed
US 3759132 A
Abstract
A composite woodwind reed including a body portion having a butt end and including a tapered vamp portion terminating in a tip end. Embedded in the reed are laterally spaced, longitudinal ribs at least some of which extend substantially from the butt end of the reed to the tip end thereof. A low density filler material fills the spaces between the stiffening ribs, the filler material comprising hollow bodies having diameters of a few thousandths of an inch and embedded in plastic. The upper and lower sides of the reed are covered by plastic coatings bonded to the body portion and the vamp portion.
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Description  (OCR text may contain errors)

United States Patent [1 1 Backus 1 Sept. 18, 1973 [54] COMPOSITE WOODWINI) REED 2,296,737 9/1942 Peterson 84/383 [7-5] Invemor' 1233 gz g Palos Verdes Primary Examiner-Richard B. Wilkinson Assistant Examiner-V. W. Miska [73] Assignee: University of Southern California, Attorney-Ford W. Harris, Jr. et al.

Los Angeles, Calif. 221 Filed: Nov. 6, 1972 [57] ABSTRACT A composite woodwind reed including a body portion [21 Appl. No.: 303,700 having a butt end and including a tapered vamp portion terminating in a tip end. Embedded in the reed are lat- 52 us. Cl. 84/383, 84/380 erelly epeeed, longitudinal ribs at least some of Whieh 51 Int. Cl 826d 5/42 extend Substantially from the bull end of the reed w the 58 Field of Search 84/383, 380, 381, p end thereof- A low density filler materiel fills the 4,332 spaces between the stiffening ribs, the filler material comprising hollow bodies having diameters of a few 5 R f c Cited thousandths of an inch and embedded in plastic. The UNITED STATES PATENTS upper and lower sides of the reed are covered by plastic 1,779,522 10/1930 Widmayer...; 84/383 323 bonded to the body porno and the vamp pot 3,l65,963 l/l965 Bumsm. 2,9l9,6l7 1/1960 Brilhart 84/383 6 Claims, 6 Drawing Figures COMPOSITE WOODWIND REED BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION The present invention relates in general to reeds for single or double reed woodwind instruments and, more particularly, to a synthetic reed for such instruments.

The problem of making well behaved reeds for woodwind instruments is centuries old. It has long been the custom to use as reed material a species of cane, Arundo Donax, which is common in Europe, but may also be grown elsewhere. Unfortunately, this material suffers from the disadvantage common to all naturally grown materials, which is unpredictability. No two pieces of cane are alike, and reeds made to identical dimensions will consequently play differently. To get a reed that plays well is then a matter of altering the contours of a piece of cane by filing, scraping, sanding, and the like, until either it plays properly, or must be discarded. Quite a bit of folklore has grown up around the art of fashioning reeds.

In recent years, there have been numerous attempts to make reeds out of plastics of various kinds. Since plastics can be made to quite uniform specifications, reeds made of such materials should behave alike when made to the same dimensions. Unfortunately, plastic reeds have met with practically no acceptance by woodwind players. The tone produced by them is generally harsh and not as musically satisfactory as the tone produced by a good cane reed. The reason for the unsuitability of plastics is that its properties, such as elastic modulus and density, are much different from those of cane, and, until recently, no one knew what the properties of the reed material should be.

As a result of investigation of the properties of cane reeds, a number of factors were qualitatively isolated, and some important properties quantitively measured. The Youngs modulus for reed cane varies widely, but normally lies in the range of 700,000 to 2,000,000 pounds per square inch, and the density, when wet (which is the way it is used) ranges from about 0.8 to 1.0 grams per cubic centimeter. Common plastics, by contrast, have a Young's modulus of 200,000 to 500,000 pounds per square inch, and a density, wet or dry, of 1.3 to 2.0 grams per cubic centimeter. Given these differences, it is not surprising that reeds made of ordinary plastics behave differently from cane reeds. For example, that portion of the reed inside a clarinet players mouth has a natural frequency of its own which will lie above 2,500 cycles per second for cane, but which is less than 1,500 cycles per second for plastic. This difference has a great effect on the quality of th tone produced by the reed.

Reinforced plastics, e.g., combinations of resins with glass fibers, glass cloth, and the like, have also proven unsatisfactory. One reason is that the vibrating end of a clarinet reed, for example, must be shaved down to a thickness of 0.005 inch, or less, and most reinforced plastics lose too much of their strength when machined to this thinness.

As further background material, attention is directed to my U.S. Pat. No. 3,420,132, granted Jan. 7, 1969, which overcomes some of the problems of cane and plastic reeds, but not all of them.

OBJECTS AND SUMMARY OF INVENTION With the foregoing background in mind, the primary object of the invention is to provide a composite woodwind reed, for either single or double reed instruments, having a density and elasticity closely approximating those of natural cane reeds.

More particularly, an important object is to provide a composite reed having a density of less than 1.2 grams per cubic centimeter at the vibrating tip portion, and specifically an over-all density in the range of 0.7 to 1.0.

Another important object is to provide a composite reed having a Young's modulus greater than 700,000 pounds per square inch at the vibrating tip portion, and specifically a Youngs modulus in the range of 1,000,000 to 2,000,000.

Still more particularly, an important object is to provide a composite reed wherein the desired elasticity is supplied by longitudinal metallic ribs, which occupy a small fraction of the volume of the reed, and wherein the remaining volume is filled with a material of low density, the reinforcing and filler materials being so selected and proportioned that the desired over-all Young's modulus and density are achieved.

Summarizing the invention, it comprises a composite woodwind reed including a body portion having a butt end and including a tapered vamp portion terminating in a tip end, the reed having embedded therein laterally spaced, longitudinal metallic ribs at least some of which extend substantially from the butt end to the tip end. At least the vamp portion, and preferably both the body and vamp portions, include a low density filler material filling the spaces between the ribs.

Another important object of the invention is to provide a composite woodwind reed having the characteristics set forth in the preceeding paragraph.

Yet another object of importance is to provide a composite woodwind reed wherein the aforementioned filler material comprises hollow plastic or glass bodies .having diameters of a few thousandths of an inch and embedded in plastic.

Still another important object is to provide a construction wherein the upper and lower sides of the reed are covered by plastic coatings bonded to the body portion and the vamp portion.

The foregoing objects, advantages, features and results of the present invention, together with various other objects, advantages, features and results which will be evident to those skilled in the woodwind reed art in the light of this disclosure, may be achieved with the exemplary embodiment of the invention illustrated in the accompanying drawing and described in detail hereinafter.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWING In the drawing:

FIG. 1 is a side elevational view of a clarinet mouthpiece equipped with the composite reed of the invention;

FIG. 2 is a side elevational view of the composite reed of the invention;

FIGS. 3 and 4 are bottom and top plan views of the composite reed, respectively taken as indicated by the arrowed lines 3-3 and 44 of FIG. 2; and

FIGS. 5 and 6 are enlarged transverse sectional views respectively taken as indicated by the arrowed lines 5-5 and 6-6 of FIG. 2 of the drawing.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EXEMPLARY EMBODIMENT OF INVENTION Referring to the drawing, illustrated in FIG. 1 is a conventional clarinet mouthpiece to which a composite reed 12 of the invention is secured in the usual manner by a clamp 14 having clamping screws 16. The reed 12 includes a body portion 18 having a butt end 20 and includes tapered vamp portion 22 terminating in a tip end 24. The reed 12 has a flat upper surface 26 seated against the under side of the mouthpiece l0, and the tip end 24 of the reed is disposed adjacent and spaced below the proximal end of the mouthpiece. The lower surface of the reed 12 is rounded in cross section, as best shown in FIG. 6.

The configuration shown for the reed 12 is typical of a clarinet reed. However, it will be understood that the invention is equally applicable to reeds for other single reed instruments, or for double reed instruments, which would have substantially different external configurations.

Considering the reed 12 in more detail now, it includes laterally spaced, longitudinal metallic ribs 30 at least some of which extendthe full length of the reed. In the particular construction shown, all of the ribs 30 extend the full length. However, an alternative, not shown, is to provide ribs extending the full length, and additional ribs extending from the tip end 24 to or into the body portion 18.

The ribs 30 provide the reed 12 with the necessary stiffness and the desired elasticity. Preferably, they are made of magnesium, which has a reasonable Young's modulus, coupled with a low density.

In the body portion 18 of the reed 12, the ribs 30 are embedded in a solid plastic 32, the plastic being an epoxy or polyester resin, or the equivalent. The solid plastic 32 preferably extends more than half the length the reed 12 from the butt end 20 thereof toward the tip end 24. For example, the solid plastic 32 may extend to the transverse line 34 of FIG. 3. In this area, the stiffening ribs 30 prevent the body portion 18 from warpmg.

Throughout at least the vamp portion 22 of the reed 12, the spaces between the ribs 30 are filled in with a low density filler material 36. If desired, the solid plastic 32 may be replaced by the same low density filler material 36, the latter thus extending the whole length of the reed 12. Preferably, this filler material comprises Microballoons, which are tiny hollow plastic or glass spheres of diameters ranging fromabout 0.002 inch to 0.005 inch. These hollow bodies are pressed into the spaces between the ribs 30, and then are saturated with a mixture of catalyzed epoxy resin and acetone. The acmachined smooth on the bottom to form the flat side which will lie against the under side or lay of the mouthpiece 10. To strengthen the structure for further machining of the curved side of the reed 12, a layer 38 of plastic is bonded to the flat surface, this being necessary since the filler 36 is quite fragile. For example, the coating 38 may be Mylar 0.0005 inch thick, cemented on with a polyester cement. The vamp surface is then machined to the proper configuration and dimensions, and another plastic film 40 is then bonded to this side to further strengthen the reed. Thereafter, the tip end 24 of the reed is trimmed to the proper shape.

The foregoing construction results in a reed l2 having a density and Youngs modulus within the ranges hereinbefore specified, and, more particularly, results in a reed having the desirable characteristics of good cane reeds. The reed 12 plays well, with a good tone, and will play high notes freely, all of which are important features.

Although an exemplary embodiment of the invention has been specifically disclosed herein for purposes of illustration, it will be understood that various changes, modifications and substitutions may be incorporated in such embodiment, and that the invention may be incorporated in other embodiments, all without departing from the spirit of the invention as defined by the claims hereinafter appearing.

I claim as my invention:

1. A composite woodwind reed including a body portion having a butt end and including a vamp portion terminating in a tip end, said reed having embedded therein laterally spaced, longitudinal metallic ribs at least some of which extend substantially from the butt end of said reed to the tip end thereof, at least said vamp portion including a low density filler material filling the spaces between said ribs, the density of said filler material being small as compared to the density of said ribs.

2. A composite woodwind reed according to claim 1 wherein said filler material includes voids having diameters of a few thousandths of an inch and in plastic.

3. A composite woodwind reed as defined in claim 2 wherein the upper and lower sides of said reed are covered by plastic coatings bonded to said body portion and said vamp portion.

4. A composite woodwind reed having a butt end and a tip end and having embedded therein laterally spaced, longitudinal ribs at least some of which extend substantially from said butt end to said tip end, said reed including a low density filler material filling the spaces between said ribs, the density of said filler material being small as compared to the density of said ribs.

5. A composite woodwind reed according to claim 4 having a density of less than l.2 grams per cubic centimeter at the tip portion.

6. A composite woodwind reed according to claim 4 having an over-all Young's modulus greater than 700,000 pounds per square inch at the tip portion.

t I i i i

Patent Citations
Cited PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US1779522 *Nov 5, 1927Oct 28, 1930Widmayer Charles OReed for clarinets and saxophones
US2296737 *Aug 29, 1941Sep 22, 1942Wm R Gratz Co IncReed
US2919617 *Jun 30, 1955Jan 5, 1960Brilhart Arnold RReeds for woodwing instruments
US3165963 *Apr 16, 1962Jan 19, 1965Burns John Keith AnthonyReeds for musical instruments
Referenced by
Citing PatentFiling datePublication dateApplicantTitle
US4337683 *Jul 22, 1980Jul 6, 1982Backus John GSynthetic woodwind instrument reed and method for its manufacture
US4355560 *Sep 16, 1980Oct 26, 1982Shaffer David WReed construction
US6087571 *Feb 12, 1999Jul 11, 2000Legere Reeds Ltd.Oriented polymer reeds for musical instruments
US7902443Jun 4, 2008Mar 8, 2011Guy LegereOriented polymer reeds for woodwind instruments
US8586845Jun 29, 2012Nov 19, 2013Philip Lee RovnerReed warp mouthpiece system
US8841529Nov 21, 2012Sep 23, 2014Philip Lee RovnerClarinet mouthpiece and barrel system
US20090301284 *Jun 4, 2008Dec 10, 2009Guy LegereOriented polymer reeds for woodwind instruments
Classifications
U.S. Classification84/383.00A, 984/142, 84/380.00R, 84/383.00R
International ClassificationG10D9/02, G10D9/00
Cooperative ClassificationG10D9/023
European ClassificationG10D9/02B