Topic: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

Hi Everyone,
I am an oboist, obviously. However, I have picked up bassoon in the last couple of years and have become proficient enough to be offered a couple gigs on bassoon. I have been using store bought reeds (I know....bad idea!) however I don't have the resources or the time to learn to make my own and still keep up with my oboe and EH reeds.

So -- any advice on adjusting store bought reeds to make them at least tolerable? I have been using Jones and Fox. I like the narrower shape of the fox. If I have this correct, I in general clip the tips but I still feel like they are slightly unstable and unfocused, especially in the upper register of the bassoon.

Any thoughts, to an oboist :-) on how to adjust store bought bassoon reeds for myself, and also for my students in my band program, are helpful!

Thanks,
Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

Shawn, I teach summers at Blue Lake Fine Arts Camp - usually have around 25 students. I don't have time to make reeds for them and a bassoon colleague here in New York told me about an _excellent_ student reed, sold by Forrests music store in Berkeley, CA. (You can google their website.)  You might want to try these reeds - they're the cheapest ones advertised - the 'Gold Bassoon Reed' - get a medium soft. (#N-09-MS). I've found them to be quite good, with very little adjustment. (After a week or so of breaking in, you can simply scrape the sides/tip gently with fine sandpaper, not much else needed, usually - perhaps open the 1st wire a bit if it closes up.) My colleague says she even uses them professionally, from time to time. I'm not affiliated in any way with Forrests - just thought you might want another good reed source!  Good luck - Jim

James Jeter, D.M.A., NYC Bassoonist
"To love human beings is still the only thing worth living for; without that love, you really do not live." Soren Kierkegaard
"Whatever you do will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it." Mahatma Gandhi  "Mach' es kurz! Am Juengsten Tag ist's nur ein Furz!" Goethe

Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

It is not a bad idea to use "store-bought" reeds.  Many semi-professional players have busy "other" lives and yet still want to sound good and be able to play on a reliable reed without having to commit the time to reed-making which is required.  May I suggest you investigate Danzi reeds, which are available from Justin Miller at Miller Marketing.  They are available in two grades, student and professional.

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Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

Shawn, What follows is shameless self-promotion: I have produced a 15 minute DVD "Improve Your Bassoon Reed" intended for players who purchase store-bought reeds. It is available for $10.00 from your favorite double reed dealer or from my website www.weaitmusic.com

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

I have heard good comments on GoBassoon reeds.

Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

I have never used store bought reeds, suffering along with reeds that I have made myself, which is, admittedly, still better than using store bought reeds...  (I make great blanks, but my finishing leaves A LOT to be desired.)  I tried, then bought reeds from www.bassoons123.us, and they are the best reeds that I have ever used.  I bought 5 professional reeds from him last October, and I am finally going back for 5 more tomorrow.  Some of the five I bought still work, but they are getting past their best, so it is time.  But at 18 dollars plus shipping, I think they are a steal.

Last edited by Dean (2011-03-24 15:02:07)

Bassoonist Ordinaire, all around nice guy.
If anyone needs a damn fool, I'm your man!

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Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

Herewith a few thoughts:

- There is nothing evil about buying and playing on store-bought reeds. The dilemmas are that not all reeds are created equal, reeds are not consistent (and some reedmakers produce more consistent product than others), and that even a high-quality reed of one style may not be compatible with you or your setup.

- A bassoonist and former student of Chris Weait is a colleague of yours: Dan Perttu. Have you asked him for reed advice? (Please send him my greetings.)

- There are quite a few sources of fine reeds. If you find that the Jones and Fox reeds do not meet your needs, you should be able to find a vendor whose reeds do work well for you. Here are two suggestions out of many:

For a medium, middle-of-the-road reed:

http://www.belcantoreeds.com/

For a harder, Eastern European-type reed:

http://www.millermarketingco.com/kji_reeds/index.htm

Last edited by William Safford (2011-03-26 15:11:30)

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Re: Fixing store bought bassoon reeds

Thanks for the advice William -- I will send Dan your regards. I had forgotten Dan is a bassoonist since he is not really the bassoon prof at Westminster. I will send your regards.

I am not so sure that the store bought reeds don't satisfy my needs, but rather I simply want to know the info on how to fix them, in a general sense, moreso for my students than anything else. I am playing a bit of bassoon these days and am testing the ideas on myself before I do the fixes to my students' reeds. As a public school teacher, it is difficult to get schools to put private vendors on our PO's and such. I also could deal with one of the many reed companies out there. However I want to start with what is "commonly" available at most music stores in our area for the sake of the students -- most of them REFUSE to purchase via the internet or a double reed company right now. Sort of the way it just is in this area.

Thanks again for the suggestions, I will look into them for my own uses of reeds,
Shawn

Shawn Reynolds
Professor of Oboe/EH - Youngstown State University
Howland Schools - MS (director of bands); HS (Asst. Dir of Bands, Marching, Symphonic)

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