Reed Blog

Reed Tips

12_8_2014 - This week's tip focuses on reed care. 


Many of my bassoon students (but more often their parents) ask me how long a reed should last, and how to insure that the investment in reeds will last. Caring for your bassoon reeds is very simple. All you have to do is follow a few simple rules:


1. Never eat and play. When you play after eating (without brushing your teeth first), tiny food particles stay in the porous surface of the reed, and will likely get into your bocal and bassoon. The food particles that remain in your reed will start a small colony of bacteria that will eventually take over, and kill your reed. 

2. Allow your bassoon reed to dry after playing it. If you allow your reed to remain damp in between playing sessions, you can guarantee that there will be mildew moving in very quickly. 

3. Be gentle!!! Remember that bassoon reeds are small pieces of wood. The tips are thin and fragile. Always take the reed off your bocal before standing up with the bassoon, or really moving very much of any kind. 



That’s it! Three simple rules will help your reed stay healthier longer.



11_5_2014 - This week's tip for better reeds is all about . . . well, the tip!

The easiest and less invasive adjustment that you can make you a reed that is not responding as well as you would like is to adjust the opening of the tip. Use a pair of needle nosed pliers to squeeze the first and second wires.

By pinching the reed on both sides of the first wire (closest to the tip), you will have a larger opening, more resistance, a darker sound, and easier low register. If you pinch the first wire top to bottom, you will have a smaller opening, brighter sound, and easier high register.

If you pinch the sides of the second wire, you will have a smaller opening, greater stability, and easier high register. And if you pinch the reed from top to bottom on the second wire you will get a larger opening, more volume, easier legato, a darker sound, and easier low register.

Best of luck as you continue to improve your reed making skills!


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