I’ll be honest, the YamahaWinds team didn’t know much at all about how reeds are made. Good thing that our friends at Rico are just an hour up the freeway with a full production facility to show us exactly how it’s done.
We are very proud of the longstanding relationship between Rico and Yamaha. Currently, Yamaha is one of the distributors for Rico reeds within the United States. The wide product offerings of reeds provide excellent support for our woodwind instruments and dealer network.
Our trip started bright and early from the Yamaha offices as we headed north via the Golden State Freeway (that’s “the 5″ for those of you in So. Cal).
After the usual LA traffic and plenty of discussion about the lack of a carpool lane on the 710, we arrived to the Rico factory.
Right inside the front door is a beautiful showroom with all the latest products distributed by D’Addario.
Our tour was lead by Carlos – who was extremely detailed in giving us a complete overview of the reed making process. From the humble beginnings of the cane tubes to the finished product in the boxes, we saw nearly every single process.
One particularly interesting part of the tour was what Carlos referred to as the “museum” room. This give us a bit of insight into the traditional processes for sorting and categorizing cane, and provided a nice perspective for the automation we would later see on the tour.
Next we made our way into the hi-tech world of reed making in the 21st century. The combination of this relatively simple end product (the reed) and the creative processes for achieving consistency and control over nearly every variable was absolutely amazing. The video below give a nice 3-minute overview of the entire process.
Each of us left the visit thoroughly impressed with the reed manufacturing processes at Rico. Special thanks to the staff that hosted our visit: Mike, Rory, Carlos and Gary. We are very appreciative of the ongoing cooperation between Rico and Yamaha and look forward to many more years of the same.
If you’re interested in reading more details about the Rico factory from a different perspective, read what Victoria Soames-Samek had to say about her visit to Rico.
Filed under: Clarinet, Gear, Music Business, Saxophone, Factory Tour, Rico