Topic: cracking A's

Hi... I'm used to very wide reeds and am very comfortable making them.

Lately I've been trying to make thinner reeds (like dimensions of typical American or European players), and while a few turn out really good, most run into the same extreme problem. The A's become sharp and thin, and when I don't flick the one at the top of the bass clef, it cracks down and sounds like an incoherent mess, every single time. Now, I flick, of course. But to me that has always been an indication of a really bad reed, and it shouldn't be that way.

Can anyone offer suggestions on what causes this or how to fix it? I've heard scraping the channels can help, but that does not seem to have any effect. I guess I've never believed in a 'scrape-by-numbers' approach.

thanks
Kevin

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Re: cracking A's

I had a same problems on my moosmann with heckel bocal. After many experiments and destroyed reeds I find out that scraping at this point fix the problem. See if it works for you.


http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2566/5742128457_254dfa79fd.jpg

Last edited by bassoonkd (2011-05-21 03:36:56)

Re: cracking A's

A contributing factor to a cracking a (I hope you are speaking about A3 - just below middle c) is a bocal vent that needs cleaning. After cleaning your bocal be sure to use a soft bristle from an old toothbrush to clear the vent. After that, blow out any water that might be left in the vent.

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

Re: cracking A's

What I do when this note becomes to sharp is to run the knife over the spine, in the middle of the reed. A little further back than bassoonkd proposition. I believe that that Skinner used the term "No mans land" for this region, so be careful!

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Re: cracking A's

Hi,
I have tried (in the past) taking down the spine at the point JBJ described, to no avail. However, it is important to know that it is beyond the bocal- the reeds have an unattractive quality which I only notice when that problem is occurring. It's not just specifically the A's cracking, but the general state the reed is in. Definitely a reed problem (though I will be sure to clean the vent... never really did).

bassoonkd, I will methodically try your suggestion (which sounds like extending the tip area backwards) and let you know what happens, thanks everyone for the ideas so far

Last edited by kevinman4404 (2011-05-21 17:02:28)

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Re: cracking A's

Yes, I meant exactly extending the tip area backwards.
But you know... better 1 time to see then 100 times to hear.
Good Luck.

Re: cracking A's

Simple: VENT! Venting eliminates ever having problems of cracking anything!

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Re: cracking A's

costyb: I'm sure, for 99% of people, that would be sound advice, but I am not experiencing problems with cracking and never have. I flick all the time and my flicking is decent. What I was experiencing was an  undesirable reed quality, and that was merely the best way of explaining it. Even if I didn't get a single cracked note the reeds would still be undesirable.

bassoonkd was actually 100% right on. I have not had problems since, and to me what proved it was that a few days ago when I clipped one of my tips back a little bit (which I don't normally do), the problem appeared.

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