Topic: High D without a D key

I have a student with a Renard 222 who has problems getting the highest D to speak. In time she is going to have the D key put on her bassoon, but in the meantime anybody have suggestions? I went through the Cooper/Toplasky and did not find anything that worked. Or should she be looking at modifying the reed shape, maybe a little wider at the collar?

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Re: High D without a D key

I can usually pop a high D out with the C key just fine. It's harder, sure, but it works. Helps if you have a high note bocal, or at least a bocal with better high note response than a lot of "daily use" bocals I know some people play on. If she's playing on a stock Fox C bocal (normal for a 222) that's probably not helping matters in the top end.

I don't know that widening the collar would help at all. Narrowing the tip maybe would.

My basic fingering for high D, which works fairly well with just the C key:

     Eb
o o x | o o x Ab
 d         Bb

Pretty much the standard high D fingering.

If she's that advanced is there any chance of her affording maybe a used 220 or something? Might be time for more than a single key upgrade.

Are you able to play the high D on her setup?

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: High D without a D key

Thank you.

Trent - I am able to get the D out on her instrument. She was playing on a old beaten up plastic Fox and the 222 was all that she could afford. The plan is to add the D key and the pro-U tube maybe in the next year or so.

I'll have to check her bocal. I do not think it is the standard C Fox bocal, but can't recall off the top of my head.

RSW - I will have her try that fingering.

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Re: High D without a D key

I reckon experimenting with bocals is the first thing to try - even different samples of the same model can improve this sort of thing.

Re: High D without a D key

I hate to frame it this way, but my thought maybe is that the student maybe just isn't ready for that note? If you can get it out but she can't, it's probably just that she lacks the control of the instrument to get the extreme high register out. I would advise against making dramatic changes to her setup, but make sure she's practicing things that stress the notes she's able to play in order to build stability in the upper range in general, and occasionally putting notes she has not successfully mastered in.

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds