Monday, May 18, 2009

Applications For Rico Plasticover

Applications for Rico Plasticover

By Mike Zucek-North Central Regional Sales Manager

My blog this month gets away from packaging and instead presents the Rico Plasticover reed and its uses.

Plasticover has been around for decades, having been developed by a Hollywood musician named Herman Hansen, as early as the mid-to-late 1930’s. Herman was experiencing the usual problem for “doublers” in that the reed on his alto sax tended to dry out and wrinkle while he was playing his clarinet. As a result, it was not ready to play when he needed to switch back. He gave lots of thought to this problem and came up with the idea of spraying a very thin coat of a safe-to-use “plastic” on a natural cane reed. This tended to keep the reed “wet” while it was not being played; thus ready to play no matter how long his double instruments sat on their stands. This coating worked so well that the “plasticover “application was adopted by Rico, who quickly brought the Rico Plasticover to the market, and also provided a full time job for Herman at the Rico factory until his retirement in the late 80’s!

But Plasticover benefits more than just the woodwind “doubler”. The same properties that keep Plasticover ready to play also make it less susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature, making it a terrific outdoors reed and perfect for concerts in the park. And because the Plasticover coating provides greater projection, it’s a miracle worker for the marching band director who needs to help the woodwinds balance the brass! This same projection has also endeared Plasticover to many Jazz saxophonists; just ask Dave Koz!

Remember that the Plasticover reed is a real cane reed that plays with the response and sound that you’d expect from cane. You owe it to yourself to give Plasticover a try.


  1. Many professional players use them. Actually they are awesome and give a great saxophone sound. Altissimo is very good with them. Have to be aware that they tend to soften fast, but last very long once adjusted. Great reeds.