Paez Music reed cases feature hand-crafted wooden exteriors, custom laser engraving options, magnet closure systems, storage for between three and ten reeds, and humidification options for their newest model (the Apertur HC). I reviewed the Premium reed case, which is their largest model. It features a sliding tray design, storage for 10 B-flat clarinet reeds, and a classy reddish enclosure.
Hand-Crafted Wooden Enclosure
Each and every Paez reed case is made by hand in the (very) small town of El Rubio, Spain. This in itself means that shipping will take a bit longer than your average Amazon Prime order these days, especially if you’re having the case customized. However, shipping time was still very reasonable and, as they say, good things come to those who wait!
Custom Engraving Options
One of the neatest features of the Paez brand is that you can request custom engraving for your case. Most people choose to get their name in a fancy font, but I naturally asked to have the Clarineat logo added prominently to the front of the case.
Honestly, I wasn’t too sure how it was going to turn out, but I have to say that it looks amazing! The customization process itself couldn’t have been any simpler. I just emailed the Paez team a graphic in the requested format (I think it was .tif file) and Paez did the rest.
Watch the Progress
It was exciting to see updates to the case appear on the company’s Instagram account. This kind of social media engagement is really brilliant on their behalf, and it seems to be working well for their brand. At the time of this writing Paez has close to 6,000 Instagram followers alone, and it’s growing every single day.
Anything You Like
Not into plastering your name on the case? Fair enough. Other ideas to consider include a number or letter so you can tell the reed boxes apart, your instrument (if you’re a doubler), or even your phone number or email address in case your reeds get lost. This happened to me once and I have to say that the anxiety of losing my best reeds before a performance was almost as bad as losing my entire clarinet!
Nueva joya #Premium fabricada en el taller de @paez_music para Alfonso Chen @achenarellano de la Orquesta de Cámara de Zapopan, México-. Gracias por confiar en nuestros productos. www.paezmusic.es #MadeinElRubio #madeinspain Handicraft, quality and innovation in musical instrument accessories. #MadeinSpain #MadeinAndalucia #madeinelrubio #sax #saxophone #saxophones #saxophonist #saxo #saxofon #saxofones #saxofonista #clarinet #clarinetist #clarinette #clarinetist #clarinete #clarinetistas #reeds #reedcase #case #reedguard #music #customized
Are you a bit of a minimalist? Of course, you can also skip the engraving entirely and let the natural beauty of the wood speak for itself. No second chances though! Since the wood needs to be engraved before the varnish is added you must do the customization before your order is finalized.
If you’re anything like me then you love magnets. And one of the things I liked most about the Vientos Bambu reed cases (which I reviewed last year) was the satisfying “click” that lets you know that your reeds are secure. Of course, magnets don’t break, wear out, or require any maintenance, so they are a great solution for reed cases.
However, as I also mentioned with the Vientos Bambu case, the click might actually bother some people. This is because it’s difficult to silence in situations where you don’t want to hear it, such as a performance. I think a small rubber stopper or coating on the magnet itself might be a solution, but it would need to be countersunk into the wood in order to prevent it from creating an unsightly gap.
While it’s true that the natural wooden design of the Paez case can help with humidification due to the natural “breathing” properties of wood, this is not much help in a very dry climate like Calgary. I personally found my reeds were almost always completely dry when I went to use them, and as John Mackey mentioned on the podcast, the wet/dry cycle itself actually increases the rate at which your reeds break down. So, keeping your reeds at an ideal humidity is more than just having them ready to play, it will actually help them last longer.
One idea would be to keep the Premium case inside of a plastic bag with a humidity pack, but it seems that Paez has already considered a better solution: the new Apertur HC case. This case uses the same Boveda humidity packs as the D’Addario Multi-Instrument reed case. And while it might seem like an ideal fix, this current model can only store three reeds at a time. But if you value the humidification, don’t need to carry a lot of reeds, and want something that fits in your shirt pocket, this might actually be a better reed case for you.
The Reed Tray
Your reeds are held in place with a polished plastic piece that really shows off their appearance, especially in the right light. I would personally appreciate engraved numbers or letters above each slot to keep track of which reed is which, and for this reason I’ll be adding little, self-laminating, waterproof stickers to the case so that I don’t mix them up.
Room for Improvement
The tray is one aspect of the case that I felt could be improved in two ways: how the reeds are held, and how it closes. A small, bendable lip of some sort of softer plastic would hold the reeds more securely. And it needs to be more clear which way the tray is inserted, because it is not reversible. Like the mystery of the USB cable, I found that I almost always tried the wrong way first, in spite of the fact that it should be a 50/50 chance.
This could be easily remedied by engraving little arrows, dots, or a line on the lid and case, and since Paez is already engraving each case this would be a very easy thing to implement, or perhaps even request. (See the mockup below).
The Paez reed case is a quality, durable, hand-made product available at a good price, and their service is friendly, efficient, and professional. The laser engraving is a really nice touch, and makes the product an instantly-timeless heirloom for its owner.
The Premium model (the one I reviewed) is very good, functions well, and looks gorgeous, but it is quite large, doesn’t feature humidification, and I don’t really need to carry so many reeds with me all the time. Perhaps this is a great case for keeping a bunch of reeds for backup in your clarinet case, but you might want to also consider an Apertur case for in your pocket on stage.
So, even though it’s not the model I reviewed, I would probably suggest going with the smaller Lux (6 reeds) case if you prefer the sliding design, or the Apertur HC (3 reeds) if you want the humidification option and aren’t a fan of the sliding tray design.
Where to Buy
If you’re interested in Paez reed cases, you can now purchase Paez cases directly from the Clarineat online store.
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