Topic: Contrabassoon Reed Help

Now I know this is a rather vague and difficult question, so I'm not hoping for much, but just in case I figured I'd make a post anyways that might give me some ideas.
I've played a little bit of contra for the last year now, and I don't claim to be proficient on the instrument at all. The instrument is a questionable but playable Oscar Adler & Co contra, and the reeds I ordered from Forrests Music. The only problem I have with playing (despite my own inabilities and things I personally have to work on) is that Low C, C# and especially D tend to overblow if too much air is put into them. I don't know if this is a typical problem with contra and that it simply means you need to control the air and thus limit your dynamic on these notes, or if there is some adjustment I can try to make on one of the reeds that may remedy this problem.
I thank you in advance for any suggestions!

Chris DaSilva
University of Calgary


Re: Contrabassoon Reed Help

My first thought is not about the reeds but the instrument.

Are you sure it's sealing completely?  Especially check the register keys down the lead pipe (or whatever it's actually called) and the tone holes closed by the first and second fingers of the left hand.

If the instrument is sealing right you might try just opening up the reed by squeezing the wires, either the second from the top and bottom or the first from the sides.  That'd be my first thing to check.

I'm sure some "old pro" with more contra experience than me will have some further advice.

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