“Something about unbalanced reeds that get exaggerated in certain conditions…”

There's nothing more frustrating than trying to perform and you can't stop your reed from squeaking no matter how much you soak it.

If you live in a dry area, or even a high-altitude location, you may find that your clarinet or saxophone reeds squeak most of the time. This can be due to them being unbalanced.

In part 2 of my interview, Tom talked about a few instances where he was giving workshops in areas that were dry and in high altitudes. Performers were complaining because they could not get their reeds to work properly. Listen to the interview for the rest of the story…

We also talked at length about how some of the great professionals are using the ATG System in all kinds of playing conditions, with great success. Folks like Eddie Daniels, Ricardo Morales (NY Philharmonic), and many others use the ATG System and depend upon it for solid performances day in and out.

You can catch up with  part 1 of my BAM Radio Network interview with Tom Ridenour, where he revealed his real inspiration for creating the ATG System.

About Tom Ridenour

Tom Ridenour is a graduate of Murray State University in Murray Kentucky, and Yale University. He received a BA and MM degrees in clarinet performance for those institutions, graduating with honors from both schools. 

Tom has taught clarinet at the University of Connecticut, University of Georgia, Hartt College of Music, and Wesleyan University. He has given numerous performances of chamber music all over New England and New York City, toured as soloist with the New England String Quartet, performed at Lincoln Center, given a solo recital at WGBH Boston, been chief acoustical designer and manager of the Woodwind Company at G. Leblanc Corporation, is the only American to design a full line of professional clarinets for a great French clarinet maker, and has written three books on various aspects of the clarinet.  Tom's clarinet models for Leblanc were widely praise and used by professional clarinetists such as Eddie Daniels, Larry Combs, and Ricardo Morales.

In 2000 Tom published the first complete pedagogy of the clarinet in the history of the instrument, The Educator’s Guide to the Clarinet. It has been widely praised at the best book written on playing and teaching the clarinet. 

Prior to that, he published “Clarinet Fingerings; a Guide for the Performer and Educator,” in 1985. It subsequently became the standard reference text for clarinet fingerings.

In 2005 Tom began Ridenour Clarinet Products, a company that sells and distributes his proprietary line of clarinets, hand made clarinet mouthpieces, and other products he has created, including the ATG Reed Finishing System, the world’s largest selling and most popular reed finishing method.

Tom ‘s clarinets are being played around the world and in several major orchestras.

Tom presently lives with his family, two dogs, and a belligerent cat in Dallas, Texas.

ATG Clarinet and Saxophone Reed Finishing System

Tom's ATG Reed Finishing System is so simple to use and will save musicians and clarinet and saxophone teachers tons of money on reeds because they can adjust every reed to work.


Music Education and Great Equipment

“Balanced reeds play much more consistently in all kinds of contexts…”

Many parents follow this route when it comes to their child's first encounters with learning a band instrument:

  • Not knowing any better, they seek out a cheap instrument (of questionable quality) because they are not sure that their child will continue.
  • This becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because the child struggles trying to play on faulty equipment.
  • Add to that unbalanced reeds with potentially poorly-made mouthpieces, and you have a sure-fire recipe for a beginner quitting within a couple of years, let alone months.

Here's some tips for music educators and private teachers that can help their beginner students succeed early on:

  • Consult with the parent about quality brands of instruments to rent
  • Places such as Music And Arts  and Paul Effman rent instruments to own, so that the beginner starts on a brand new (or like-new) instrument, and can continue on that same instrument for many years.
  • Start with high-quality reeds
  • Use a tool like the ATG Clarinet and Saxophone Reed Finishing System to balance their reeds

“Beginner students need great equipment and balanced reeds because they don't know if the problems are being caused by the instrument or themselves. They start to think they are really terrible.”

The great thing about the ATG Clarinet and Saxophone Reed Finishing System is that it is safe to use at home and in schools (no sharp objects or knives), is portable and you can safely travel with it for festivals and contests.

Action Steps

  1. Here's the link again for Part 2 of my interview with Tom. 
  2. Check out Tom's Youtube channel, where there's plenty of educational videos and instruction.


Want a fuller, richer Saxophone tone?

Click below to get your Free Video on 3 Tips to Fatten Up Your Saxophone Tone, and start sounding like your favorite player today!


Get Your Free Video ? Here