Samek Music

Victoria’s Kit

D’Addario

"From the reeds to the mouthpiece and ligature; from the slings to the cork grease and mouthpiece patches, the outstanding quality I enjoy and can rely on in all the D’Addario products are the result of a company that understands the demands of us players and takes our needs seriously.  That is why I use D’Addario products and am proud to endorse the D’Addario brand. "
- Victoria Samek -

  1. I know my expectations when opening a new box of reeds will not be disappointed. While I am uncompromising in my selection I know I will find a minimum of 50% of reeds that meet my demands in tone colours and response.
  2. That they have the focus, flexibility, and security needed in all registers and all dynamics.
  3. That I can trust the reed and rely on a consistency that it will not change after the initial 3 day settling in period.
  4. That I don’t have to be afraid that the wonderful reed I am enjoying, whether on Bb, Eb or bass clarinet, soprano, alto or tenor saxophone, will be my last!

I am now playing on the X15E Bb clarinet mouthpiece, D’Addario’s new range of Reserve clarinet mouthpieces. After some consultation following trials of their initial prototypes, I was really delighted how my initial concerns have been resolved; proof that they really do listen to us players! The reeds, mouthpiece and all the accessories form a partnership which we must feel we can trust. I know I can trust the D’Addario brand whether on the concert platform or the recording studio.

Reserve Classics

Reserve Classics

Instrument: Bb/A Clarinet

 Tone, response and control but also allowing flexibility for colour subtleties throughout the instrument and full dynamic range, the Reserve Classics fulfil the high demands I expect from a reed.

Grand Concert

Grand Concert

Instrument: Eb Clarinet

Warmth and focus of tone, security in production, intonation and dynamics, the Grand Concert delivers on all counts!

Reserve Classics

Reserve Classics

Instrument: Bass Clarinet

High demands are made of a reed on the bass clarinet, not least in secure pitching and tonal control through the range of the instrument and dynamics range. Reserve Classics for bass clarinet are by far the top reed choice.

Reserve Classics

Instrument: Soprano Saxophone | Alto Saxophone | Tenor Saxophone

Whether playing soprano, alto or tenor saxophones, the Reserve Classics reeds, as with the clarinet reeds, ensure that the individual needs of the different saxophones are fulfilled in every respect. For me as a doubler, to be able to have parity in being able to use and indeed have the understanding and experience of the Reserve Classic as a brand is hugely important.

Cork Grease

Cork Grease

You might think it is geeky to be excited about good cork grease. But the newly developed D’Addario cork grease unlike the many look-alikes out there on the market, really does do what it should; keeping the corks healthy and joints easy to adjust but without excess mess. Added bonus is that it uses natural ingredients. In an emergency I’ve been known to use a bit on my cracked lips!

73 vitaliser

73 vitaliser

In partnership with the D’Addario reed boxes for clarinets and saxophones, the vitaliser ensures that my selected reeds stay consistent and healthy as like all D’Addario kit, it does what it says it does; keeps humidity of the reeds just right.

Reed Box

Reed Box

Instrument: All instruments

Storing 8 reeds at a time, along with the vitaliser, I love the reed boxes as not only does it keep the reeds safe, but it allows me to have a clear orderly system to my reed selection. Also important is that you get a sticker to label the reed box to avoid a mix-up. With budgets being an issue for everyone, these reed boxes are very well priced.

Padded Sling

Padded Sling

Instrument: Saxophone

Comfort, health and security are critical components when faced with a heavy instrument round the neck. These padded sax slings are quite honestly the best.

Leather /Hook Sling

Leather /Hook Sling

Instrument: Clarinet

Wrist fatigue must be taken seriously, so having recently moved to a clarinet sling, my concerns included having to adapt my thumb rest, ease of adjustment and that my neck with breath would not feel restricted. With the flexible leather strip which goes round the thumb rest (even my specially adapted thumb rest) and the beautifully crafted neck support and smooth adjustable strap, quite simply I am delighted.

Mouthpiece Reserve - Bb Clarinet X15E

Mouthpiece Reserve

Instrument: Bb Clarinet X15E

When I was introduced to the new range of Reserve mouthpieces, quite honestly I was not looking to change. I loved my current mouthpiece.  Initially my concerns reflected the concerns of some other D’Addario artists, always listening and responding to the needs of us players, made the critical adjustments. Trying the different models, the X15E not only matched all the qualities of my previous mouthpiece, but improved on them in terms of tonal warmth, focus and flexibility in every dynamic. Stability of intonation and control throughout the clarinet and including the extremes of the high register are also qualities which left me with no doubts that this was the mouthpiece for me. Always a feature of D’Addario, consistency is essential; I want to know I can find a matching spare mouthpiece with ease; and I did!

Mouthpiece Patches

Mouthpiece Patches

No fiddley packaging, the patches are the perfect thickness with a material which ensures the teeth feel secure and not leaving any indentation common with so many other patches, however gently the teeth rest. The material used is firm, but not too thick and the teeth do not slip and the patch itself stays securely on the mouthpiece, not slipping upwards again common with many patches on the market. Another success from D’Addario.

Gold H Ligature

Gold H Ligature

Instrument: Bb Clarinet

Like the mouthpiece, I was not looking to change my ligature on the clarinet. Indeed it sat on the side table in my practice room for some weeks! When I finally tried it, I was converted. Warmth but focus of tone (which I now understand is particular to the gold they use), but also that it holds the reed securely to the mouthpiece and is easy to adjust the reed. As with so many of the accessories from D’Addario, they have produced a high quality product but they have priced affordably and therefore can be used and enjoyed by all. 

Gold H Ligature

Gold H Ligature

Instrument: Soprano Saxophone Alto Saxophone | Tenor Saxophone

Having moved onto the H ligature for clarinet and always looking for parity across my instruments in terms of response and feel, it was totally logical to test the Gold H Ligature on my soprano, alto and tenor saxophones.  As with the clarinet, the saxophone H Ligatures gave me all the individual qualities I demand for each of the three saxophones.

Selmer Paris

I have been playing on Selmer instruments since moving from my loved Boosey & Hawkes 10 10 clarinets in my second year at the Royal College of Music in 1978. In selecting Selmer clarinets, they gave me the greatest flexibility to create my sound. That was what impressed me at the beginning of my relationship with Selmer and continues my commitment to a company and a brand which I have been proud to endorse since 1980. 

Selmer Recital

Instrument: Bb/A Clarinets

Initially I starting playing on the 10S model of clarinets, moving to 10S II instruments and ultimately settling on Recital instruments, which I had long admired for their dark but focused sound, while always allowing me the player that flexible framework in which to express the range of colours and dynamics I demand from an instrument.

Selmer

Instrument: Bass Clarinet (Model 1978)

It was in 1978 that I bought this bass clarinet from new. While there have been newer models bringing modifications and improvements, this instrument and I have recorded and performed extensively together. The sonority of tone, range of colours and dynamics combined with the fact that this bass and I have worked together over so many years and therefore have forged a relationship of understanding and trust. It has evolved with me and continues to be my instrument of choice!

Selmer - Super Action Series II

Instrument: Soprano Saxophone

Following a heart-breaking burglary in which I lost all my saxes, it was not easy to find a replacement. However after some extensive searches, I was incredibly happy to find this instrument. Intonation and tone are imperatives with all instruments, but never so much as with a soprano saxophone. This instrument for me combines a stability of intonation and warmth of tone and indeed as a doubler, the all-important feeling of a connection with my clarinets.

Gold H Ligature

Selmer Concept Mouthpiece

Instrument: Soprano Saxophone

My search for the ideal soprano saxophone mouthpiece has involved trials with mouthpieces shortlisted from both Selmer and Vandoren. Intonation, control, appropriate resistance, flexibility balanced with warmth and focus. Appreciating my input and responsibility to this wish list! While I had tried the Concept on Alto but had returned to the C*. When it was suggested that I try the Concept on Soprano, I was hesitant. However this is where the experience of specialist shops can be invaluable. Stuart at Howarth (who knew me and my setup well), advised me to try the Concept. I knew straight away that it was the mouthpiece for me. I am quite simply delighted with it.

Selmer - Mark VI (with low A)

Instrument: Alto Saxophone

The Mark VI Alto saxophones were legendry instruments, so when my original instrument was stolen, I never thought I would find a replacement and indeed one that would outperform my original instrument. Coming with a low A (attributed to only a select few), not only was the overall tone and feel fulfilled all that I demanded of my alto, but the additional length on the bell through having the low A, gave the lower notes greater stability; massively helpful for a clarinet/saxophone player. While I have embraced the newer saxophone models on soprano and tenor, having played on the Mark VI alto all my life, it remains my instrument of choice.

Selmer S80 C* Mouthpiece

Instrument: Alto Saxophone

It is no surprise that the C* S80 alto saxophone mouthpiece is one of Selmer's most popular mouthpieces. It offers a secure focus to the sound together with warmth, flexibility and ability to really push the boundaries of dynamics. It is also a terrific mouthpiece for the altissimo register!

Selmer Series III

Instrument: Tenor Saxophone

My tenor Series III is the only one of my instruments which I bought from new. I tried several Selmer instruments before settling on this model and indeed this specific Series III.  The tone which for a tenor needs to be both dark but also vibrant and able to project a range of dynamics, the fluid and comfortable key work and the stable intonation. As a classical player, this instrument has all the qualities which enables me to both blend within my saxophone quartet as well as in a more solo capacity. Refinement is not a word people would associate with the tenor saxophone, but the Series III is just that – a beautifully refined instrument.

Selmer C** Mouthpiece

Instrument: Tenor Saxophone

Originally I played on a Selmer D enjoying the dark warm tone it offered me. However for both playing in my saxophone quartet and the solo playing, I moved to a Selmer C** which offered a slightly brighter more projected tone, while still giving the warmth and darkness of the D. I’m hugely happy with my C** added to which all three of my saxophone mouthpieces compliment and have a compatibility with my clarinet mouthpieces. Whether Bb, Eb or bass. I believe as a doubler there has to be continuity between the clarinets and saxophones.

Selmer 105 Mouthpiece

Instrument: Eb Clarinet

This mouthpiece has been with me over a number of years and indeed has moved with me from my Noblet Eb!  Giving me stability with intonation and across the instrument and a wide range of dynamics; flexibility in tone colours, it is also compatible with swapping between my Bb X15E D’Addario mouthpiece. This is hugely important for a doubler to feel this continuity, particularly when responding to the high demands of an instrument like the Eb. It’s just convincing non clarinet players like my percussion duo partner that the Eb really can be a beautifully expressive instrument in certain repertoire…!

Rovner Eb Ligature

Rovner Eb Ligature Dark 1E

Instrument: Eb Clarinet

This is the only leather ligature I use on any of my instruments. Originally selected many years ago as the only ligature held the reed securely to the mouthpiece while also offering a warmth and depth which I did not feel with any of the metal ligatures on the market at that time. While I have from time to time tried different ligatures, I have always come back to the Rovner, which for me totally suites my setup.

Patricola

Instrument: Eb Clarinet

This is the only instrument which is not part of my Selmer collection.  It is for chamber and solo work that I felt the Patricola Eb combined the essential qualities. Warmth of tone in every dynamic and stability of intonation. In addition it has the most beautiful keywork which feels incredibly comfortable under the fingers. I should also add that it comes with 2 barrels, cloths, accessories presented in a high quality case which is both compact but has proper space for everything. A top quality instrument which has all the qualities of a custom made instrument with an affordable price tag.

Lomax 3 Mouthpiece

Instrument: Bass Clarinet

In any mouthpiece I would demand stability in production and a fundamental confidence in intonation across the range of the instrument; of course recognising that intonation is also up to me! While these are two components demanded when choosing any mouthpiece, never are these more critical than on the bass clarinet. Also special to the bass clarinet (the clue being in the title..!), having a mouthpiece which offers warmth in the low register, focus and depth of tone along with clarity and stability to articulate and punctuate staccato and accents, is quite a tall order. The Lomax for me totally fulfils these demands giving me confidence and security from which I know that the rest is up to me!

BG Gold Ligature

Instrument: Bass Clarinet

As with the Gold H Ligatures from D’Addario, this ligature holds the reed securely (in my books an essential job of the ligature) and gives me the warmth, darkness but clarity. Until D’Addario decide to make bass ligatures, this BG responds very much like the H ligature and therefore is very compatible for doubling.

Samek Music

Samek Music