Topic: Tricks of the Trade

Here's a topic that will give us a chance to reveal little things we do to make life as a double-reeder easier. To start...have you been confronted with the need to ship a single joint of a double reed instrument and wracked your brain to come up with the ideal way to pack it? Try this. Get a piece of 4" PVC sewer pipe at your local Lowes or other hardware supplier and two end caps. Cut it down to about three feet in length (shorter if your dealing with an oboe or English horn). Wrap the joint to be shipped well in bubble wrap so it fits snugly into the tube. Secure the end caps with approved tape, address the tube, and its on its way. The PVC pipe will provide outstanding protection without having to "over-pack" your instrument.

This is also a great way to ship bows for those of you with a string player as your significant other as I do.

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds

Re: Tricks of the Trade

Thanks Gene. I love it.

Nicholas Evans-Bassoonist, Bassoon Repair and Restoration Mechanic.

Re: Tricks of the Trade

This is a good thread, Gene. 
Here's a really inexpensive thumb rest cushion.  Purchase a package of pencil cushions from the pen and pencil department of the office supply store.

They come in lots of colors and different materials.  I personally like the foam type to keep my thumb from sweating.  Cut the end of the pencil cushion to fit the length of your thumb rest and just slip it over the thumb rest.  Voila!  If you have a strap ring above the thumb rest, just make a small slit to slide the cushion around the ring.

If you have a detachable/adjustable thumb rest, cut the pencil cushion to length, then remove the adjustable part of the thumb rest.  Puncture a small hole in the cushion about where the rod of the thumb rest will go.  Reattach the adjustable part of the thumb rest back to the instrument.

The pencil cushions have a certain amount of stretch so the cushion should stay in place for a long time. Teachers might want to "give" these to their students.  You can get "at least" 2 thumb rest covers per pencil cushion and the kids really like having a different color from their friends.

Oboe, English horn:  Amarillo Symphony, Chamber Music Amarillo, Amarillo Opera, Shepherd's Trio
Composition & Arranging Website:
"Ever notice how orchestra pits shrink through the run of a show?"

Re: Tricks of the Trade

The most comfortable neck straps always seem to have hooks on them that are too big for bassoon balance hangers.  So simply take a small key ring and attach it to the hole on the balance hanger and you've made a whole big enough for those nice, cushy neck straps from the saxophone section of the local music store.  This does add a tiny amount of length:  but I re-stitch the neck strap so it is an appropriate length for the bassoon.  I can post directions on how to do that as well.

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