Topic: Bassoon reed side leak problem

I'm in the middle of Japan where there aren't any bassoon teachers, and I couldn't find anything online about my reed problem.

I'm working on a new reed, and air leaks out of the sides of the blades on both sides. Is there a way to close the gaps? Would filing or sanding work? I tried squeezing both wires to varying degrees, but it closes the tip too much.

Is this why the reed plays sharp?

Could someome recommend a website that will help me troubleshoot my reed making problems?



Re: Bassoon reed side leak problem

Are these reeds you made or blanks that you bought.  If you are making the reeds, it would be best to try to find out why you are making blanks that leak.  Are you beveling too far up past the first wire?  Are you twisting the blank too much as you form it and getting too much side slipping?  These issues can be avoided at the blank stage and then you shouldn't have any leaks.  If I had a reed leaking I would throw it out and try to make the next one better.  I know oboists use fish skin or plumber's tape to seal leaks but I don't think they are sealing the part that their embouchure covers.  If the reed has twisted too much, you might be able to twist it back and then have less blade slippage and this might seal the leak.   Good luck.  Let us know if anything works.

Here are some links about reeds to get you started.


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

Re: Bassoon reed side leak problem

Hi Kent.
Thank you for the quick response. The reed was made from Albion cane that was already gouged, shaped and profiled. Side leaks are a rare problem I run into when making reeds. Through it out? : (

I'll check out the websites.

- Michelle


Re: Bassoon reed side leak problem


If this is a "rare" problem for you as you say in your last post, I would have to agree with Kent. Throw this one out and start a new one. The only thing I can suggest to salvage this particular reed is to remove the top wire, realign the blades carefully, and put a new wire in place. If that doesn't do it, fall back to plan A above. If this were a regular and recurring problem it would be an indication that there were problems with the cane preparation process and that you should try an alternative source for your cane.

Good Luck!

Gene Carter, Owner
Linden Reeds