Topic: Tube Length

Hello All,

Over the years I have amassed a collection of various professional bassoon reeds for the purposes of comparing dimensions and observing how different people work towards the goals of response, intonation, etc. as well as having a little inspiration from time to time in terms of experimentation.  One thing I have consistently noticed is a general tube length of around 27 (give or take) mm in the reeds of many people that I respect.  About six months ago, I switched to the Fox 2 shape and for my first batch o' blanks cut the tubes to 27 mm.  However, after I put in a fairly unaggressive Herzberg-style bevel after forming/drying for a while and sanding (even when I didn't) I found my tubes very small and tight (and the walls at the butt became a bit too thin for my liking after reaming).  Since then, I have also moved up the collar on the profiler for a slightly wider throat, and in order to have more tube to work with for reaming/beveling and a consistent bocal fit I am cutting my tubes to 29mm (as well as shaping dry because I find that makes a significant difference in the width of the shape).

My question is, what are people's experiences with the effect (if any) of different tube lengths?
The effects that I could think of had to do with possibly changing the position of the third wire and how much you have to ream, and I could also imagine with a post-form bevel that the position of the third wire could have a reasonable impact on the leverage of the bevel (my bevel goes up to the second wire marking, which is always consistent). I seem to remember that someone once suggested to me that it was the equivalent of changing the position of the collar on the profiler but experientially and conceptually I have not found this to be true (as even with same blade length, actually moving the collar would access a different tip-width to throat-width ratio for most shapes, among other things).


Any thoughts on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

Many Smiles,
Adam Romey

Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.

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Re: Tube Length

ps when I cut the tip, I don't measure from the butt, so the blade length is not initially affected

Many Smiles,
Adam Romey

Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.

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Re: Tube Length

Most profilers are set up to do 30mm blade lengths, which leaves 30mm of tube on 120mm cane.
Most reeds I've found leave that length of bark, but the first wire placement varies. Usually the result that I have seen is that there is a pretty large distance between the first wire and the collar, up to 4mm in some extreme cases. I did this for a while, but found the low register response was no good, and the reed was just not "lively" enough for what I wanted.

So while that works for some people, I started re-cutting the collar back about 3mm, so the first wire was right on top of the collar. This was a lot of work, since I was basically re-profiling the back of the reed. Some profilers are set up for 33mm blade lengths or so, which will work with some shapes. When doing that I did clip the tip pretty darn far from the fold. This resulted in a narrower effective blade shape.

Depending on the shape you use clipping a lot from the tip could be good or really bad. It might mean the wires aren't in their optimum position for the shape. I think a lot of people neglect the relationship of the shape to the wire placement - you can't use the same wire measurements for every shape.

I recently had a custom shape designed so that I would use 30mm profiled cane, trim 3mm off each end of the tube, do a somewhat aggressive Herzberg bevel, and have the wires where I wanted them in relation to the tip/collar, and not have a blade that was too wide at the tip.

(If you want to stop by the shop to look at one of my reeds you're welcome to any time)

Balance... it's tricky.

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: Tube Length

You mention that your tube is very small. I don't have that problem with the Fox #2. I use a Rigotti mandrel that opens the tube enough so that I don't need to ream. Perhaps your mandrel is long enough to do this if you push in it a little further. As far as tube lengths, the longer the tube the less resistance the reed will have given that all other dimensions remain the same. So, you would have to create more resistance by narrowing the blades, cutting off the tip, making the profile thicker, having more wire tension or adjusting the tube shape, changing the tip opening, longer shoulder and I'm sure there are more tips I'm not mentioning.

Best,
Dale

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Re: Tube Length

I agree with what both Dale and Trent have said.  Any time you change something on your reeds, you are usually going to have to balance it out some other way.  My tubes are 29mm and have experimented taking them down to both 28 and 27mm.  At the time I was trying it out to be able to play A=442 easier.  In order to make the smaller tube work, I had to rethink my placement of the 3rd and 2nd wires, mostly to compensate for the added resistance from the shorter tube.  The one thing left that hasn't been mentioned, is how round your wires are - particularly the second wire.  I found a slightly flatter (less round) 2nd wire made the adjustment I needed.

Leigh

Leigh Munoz

www.gobassoon.com