Monday 5 April 2010

Visitting the Rigotti reed factory.

In march 2010 me and my family were on maternity leave in the south of France. At the end of our month-long stay I had gotten a little restless and looking in the many guidebooks in our  rented flat I discovered that the nearby village "Cogolin" housed various wood-carving shop and also a woodwind reed manufacturer!

I sent a mail the small family owned company Rigotti (established in 1966 by Franco Rigotti) and the next day I was able to come and visit the factory and was promised a tour by Franco's son Daniel Rigotti (who is the CEO of the business since 2012).
Rigotti grow and cultivate their own reeds, which are seen all over the place in the"Var" area, very large canes rising up to 7-8 meters.

When I arrived Daniel met me outside the factory, speaking very good english and making excuses for his father Franco not being there, as he was overlooking the harvest of the reeds, which had been delayed due the very cold weather this year (the average temperature was around 12-15°C which was 5°C lower than normal).
After the harvesting the reeds are stored for a couple of years.Then they are cut in small tubes and sliced in plates which after a series of workovers becomes the reed.
Daniel gave me a tour of the 800 m2 large factory, a collection of very advanced computer controlled machinery and 3 employers overlooking the process in two big rooms.

After the tour I was trying a bunch of the Rigotti Gold reeds on my alto. I immediately liked them and have been playing them ever since, gradually using them on all my saxophones. Until then I have been using Rico Jazz Select, but I find that the Rigotti reeds are of a better quality and a much better (lower!) price. I order them directly from Rigotti and they arrive within days to my home in Denmark from France.

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