Topic: Sagging E's

All my reeds right now are sagging and I can't figure out what is wrong.  Help?

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Re: Sagging E's

Hi Volson:

This is a common problem when the reed is too weak.  You can make the wires tighter or you can round the wires more from the sides but probably the best solution is to clip the tip.  I would clip as little as you can and then check it.  If that is not enough clip it again.  If response is poor after this and the tip is too thick then you can rework the tip.  Good luck, Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Sagging E's

If these same reeds played fine before then something else is probably causing he problem. For example, I play a marvelous Wolf bassoon but it has a very narrow threshold for holding the middle E up to pitch. We live in an antique house that has radiator heating and after the heat has been running a month or so my bassoon shinks just enough for the middle E to get very fussy. So, I do a number of things that help compensate for the dryness of our home. First I switch to a bocal with a narrow tip. This usually holds to E up to pitch. Recently I switched shaper tips from a Fox #2 to a Fox #1. With the narrower throat and tip I was able to go back to the bocal I prefer with no problem holding the E up to pitch.

You might try one of these remedies in lieu of clipping the tips of your reeds; if they work it will save a lot of reed adjustment. I play a very compliant free-blowing reed and if I do find it necessary to clip the tip of a reed it initiates what always seems like an endless cycle of adjustments and eventually a larger than normal martini in the evening.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: Sagging E's

I have also seen enough dirt accumulate in the E hole to cause sagging and one student had a piece of tape in that hole that was causing problems.  Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Sagging E's

It could still simply be the classic change of seasons-- dry(indoors, winter); to humid spring, in which case the reeds become weaker. One could always save the current reed for dryer times and make the stronger reeds for the current season...

David Bell
Alexandria, VA

David Bell
Alexandria, VA
amateur bassoon and contra bassoon

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Re: Sagging E's

The fourth space "e" is one of the most unstable notes on the instrument.  Matthew Ruggiero taught that the proper tension of the first wire is the first solution to the problem.  Tighten the first wire with the long mandrel inserted.  Do this only one or two turns at a time and test the reed each time you tighten.  You can also tighten the second wire with less dramatic results. If each reed I made had the same problem with the e I would make my profile a little thicker.  Cutting the reed tip is one of my last choices as I then may have to re-work the blades.  Bocal changes may help but will probably not completely solve the problem.  With natural variations of the cane I have to make wire adjustments often.  Usually, instead of tightening the wires, I round the wires (squeezing from the sides) that creates more resistance in the reed.  If you don't gouge, shape and profile your own cane then you may need to try more sources of GSP cane to find one that works for you.

Dale Clark
Clark Bassoon Reeds

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Re: Sagging E's

When i tryed out for aqll state band i had to play an exersise from the wissenborn book The one in lessoon 13 the andante (line 10 11 and12). When i slured from eb to e the e saged makeing it sound like another e its apain because it had never hapened before. when testing new reeds i use play this one.hopefully in the future i hope to find a metod to make the perfect reed and be able to make lots of them so i can never worry about stuff like this... and the cure for cancer too smile

MR.BASSOON
9th grade bassoon player
all district band member


"Man who throw piano down mineshaft get Ab minor"

Last edited by Mr Bassoon (2008-01-04 20:57:54)

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