Reed making tips and tricks
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Reed making tips and tricks

This list of reed making tips and tricks was put together by my University lecturer Peter Musson. It has been really helpful in diagnosing and adjusting my reeds over the years. 




Bassoon reed making - reed pitch

If you feel your reed is too sharp:

• 1st wire may be too flat or the tip too closed

• 2nd wire may be too round

• Tip may be too narrow

• Back 1/4 may be too heavy

• Blade may be too short - aim between 28mm - 30mm

• Cane may be too hard ( rare)

• Reed may be too thick

• Butt may be reamed too much

• Tip may be too thick

• 1st wire may be too close to the bark

• Throat may be too small or narrow

• Blade channels may be scraped too near to the spine

• Reed is simply too new

Other reasons

• You are overblowing

• Your throat is not relaxed or open enough

• Your jaw is not dropped or relaxed enough

• You lips are too tightly pressed against the reed

• Your instrument is too warm

 

If you feel your reed is too flat:

• 1st wire may be too round or the tip may be too open

• 2nd wire may be too flat

• Tip may be too wide (there may also be poorer projection in the higher register)

• The back 1/4 from the collar may be too light

• The blade may be too long

• Cane may be too soft

• Cane may be over scraped or thin

• Butt may not be reamed enough

• Tip may be too thin

• 1st wire may be too far from the bark

• Blade belly may be too wide

• The throat may be too big

• Rails may be uneven in their taper or too thin

• Blade channels may be scraped too far wide of the spine

Other reasons

• You may have a poorly sealed reed or instrument

• There is not enough breath support

• There is not enough embouchure support

• You tone holes on individual notes may be too small (rare)

• Your instrument is just too cold

 

Bassoon reed making - reed tone and resistance

If you feel your reed is too bright

• Your spine may be too weak

• Top wire may be too loose

• Cane may be too hard

• Tip may be too narrow or the reed too small

• The reed arc may be too short at the front third of the reed

• The throat may be too flat in shape

 

If you feel your reed is too dark

• Your spine may be too hard / thick

• Throat may be too round in shape

• Top wire may be too tight

• The cane may be too soft

• Tip may be too wide

• The blade sides may me too soft.

 

If you feel your reed is too resistant

• The reed may be leaking 

• The blade edges may be too heavy

• The crow may be undeveloped

• There may be residue in the bore

• The throat may be too wide. 

 

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