MARCA REEDS KNOWLEDGE

60 years of passion in making reeds

We ensure the maximum quality for the finished product.The musician who opens his box of reeds finds them wrapped “nice and warm” laid out in an orderly fashion, can hardly imagine the difficulties that had to be overcome during the course of their manufacture. Therefore, we want to try and present the manufacturing process of a reed. Not everything can be summed up in a few line, and point of view may differ, but these are always welcome since it is th only way to learn and to progress. This is complicated craft, in which the first worker in the process is nature itself, which seasonally produces the cane. Cutting of the cane is done in winter. The worker who do the cutting are faced with adverse weather, and their task is tiring and difficult. The manufacture of the reed requires great precision so as to ensure the maximum quality for the finished product. Following an interwship at our company, a young worker told us :

“As a reed instrument player, I will in future have so much more respect for this small piece of cane, for I now know of the many hours of work which are required to give it the quality that we musicians need so much !”...

PREPARATION OF THE CANE

The cane is cut during winter (From December to march) and is stocked on trestles in an upright position until May,  hile the initial drying process takes place, and while the sap contained in the cane slowly descends by means of capillarity. The cane is then stripped of its leaves and branches, and cut at a height 6.5-8 feet, only the lower portion being used for the manufacture of reeds. The selected tubes are laid out side by side to dry, being turned at regular interval so that the sun can bronze them and harden the varnish evenly around the circumference. This also enables the cane to develop a sustained yellow color, something which is difficult to achieve with cane from regions other than the Var region. The frying time varies according to the amount of the sun that the cane receives. The tubes are then restocked in a well-aired place. After a certain time while the cane rests and stabilizes itself, it is then selected for use in production of the reeds. The amount of cane to be stocked needs to be carefully planned out, so as to assure enough for one year’s production. Marca use 200.000 Canes by year for his production of reed. It is at this timethat still raw cane progressively begins its transformation process into Marca Reeds.

MARCA CANE FROM PROVENCE

The cane industry began to develop with the arrival of many basket makers, maintly Italian, who came to work in the basket industry. Ollioules found itself to be the center of this workforce, who were employed by one of their compatriots. As this material was more and more exploited along the Mediterranean coast, these workers gradually set themselves up as artisans in the areas around Nice, Antibes, Cannes Hyéres and Ollioules. To supply themselves with the raw material needed to weave their baskets, they would harvest the cane which surrounded them. Once the demand for cane for musical instruments began to grow, it was natural for them to involve themselves to the competences required for this new task. As regards my own family, we have been working on cane and on reeds for five generations.

HIGH QUALITY MADE SINCE 1957

The cane industry began to develop with the arrival of many basket makers, maintly Italian, who came to work in the basket industry. Ollioules found itself to be the center of this workforce, who were employed by one of their compatriots. As this material was more and more exploited along the Mediterranean coast, these workers gradually set themselves up as artisans in the areas around Nice, Antibes, Cannes Hyéres and Ollioules. To supply themselves with the raw material needed to weave their baskets, they would harvest the cane which surrounded them. Once the demand for cane for musical instruments began to grow, it was natural for them to involve themselves to the competences required for this new task. As regards my own family, we have been working on cane and on reeds for five generations.

The musician who opens his box of reeds finds them wrapped nice and warm” laid out in an orderly fashion, can hardly imagine the difficulties that had to be overcome during the course of their manufacture !

Franco GUCCINI - Founder of MARCA Reeds Company

THE MAKING OF REEDS

In teh heart of the Var, southern France, in Ollioules, the GUCCINI famaly has been growing the cane. The scientific name for the cane is “Arundo Donax”, a giant grass that is typically to be found in mediterranean climates. It doesn’t flower every year, and never yields fruit, its reproduction being vegetal. It takes place through rhizomes which grow and develop indifinitely. In the Var region, winter constitudes the plant’s period of rest, but as of March the rhizomes come into bud creating stems that continue to grow into September. Already the first year, the tems reach their final height, 7 meters (20 feet), and diameter. This one year old cane is used in basket making or in the manufacture of garden shades known in Provence as “ cannisses”. The seconde year the stems lignify and cover themselves with a natural varnish which is hard, shiny and impermeable, and banch out at the top. It is only this two year old cane which is used in the manufacture of the reeds, following slection according to ots diameter. The cane is cut with shears specialy design to avoid the bursting the fibeer of the cane. All cane is cut by hand , one by one, step by step, in the tradition. The tubes are then restocked in a well aired place.After a certain time while the cane rests and stabilizes itself, it is then selected needs to be carefully planned out, so as to assure enough for one year’s production. Marca use 200.000 canes by year for produce the Marca reeds… It is at this time that the still raw cane progressively begins its transformation process into reeds…

SAWING IN TUBE

A saw to remove any knots from the can, to leave a clean tube which is then sorted by diameter and thickness to deteermine its final use; Clarinet, Alto, Tenor or Baritone.

SPLITTING & SAWING TO THE LENGHT

The selected tube is split into four equal parts on a shaft. Each part is then cut to the appropriate lenght for the reed to be made from it.

Milling, Sanding & Blanking

The piece of cane is then milled to obtain the correct thickness and to achieve a very smooth surface for the underside of the reed, the part which will be mounted on the ‘table’ of the mouthpiece. The cane is then cut to the appropriate thickness, to provide the correct dimension for the tip of the reed, and to give it an overall slight curvature…

Making of the Reed

This is a delicate and important operation which consist of refining the facing of the reed by using a metal master model. This model is the result of discussions with top level musicians, and using all our acquired experience. After the tip of the reed is rounded off in the shape of a basket handle arch, using a gouge. The next stage in the process is the Calibration and stamping, which is done in order to determine the flexibility (strength) of the reeds.

Quality Control Process

From the growth of the cane to the making of reeds, all step are control for give to the MARCA Reeds the best of our Know-how. All Defective reeds are immediatly eliminated during making process. Marca process every day to increase the quality of reeds to give the best reeds you are looking for…

Your MARCA Reeds are special, 60 Years of passion..

We have taken care to manufacture of your Marca reeds. The musician who opens his box of reeds finds them wrapped “nice and warm” laid out in an orderly fashion, can ardly imagine the diificulties that had to be overcome during the course of their manufacture!

4 years for have a perfect reed...