Topic: Reed respons - from the IDRS OnLine Archive
There can be many reasons for lack of response in the high register. Over the many years and numerous bassoons that I have played those reasons are correctible and include the following:
1. It is possible (probable) that the bassoon is leaking around high note inserts for high C and D. The wood around those inserts is not sealed well and air leaks between the insert and the surrounding wood. It is easy to remedy. Press some wax around the insert and then touch it with a hot needle. The wax will flow in any void around the inserts.
2. It is possible that the hole in the inserts is the wrong size. I can remember Fred Moritz prying out an insert and pressing one with a different size hole in its place. He obtained ones with different size holes from Heckel.
3. I had a Heckel bassoon with high note resistance. Benson Bell who was with Frank Marcus at the time suggested that a tapered insert with the taper starting large at the bore and getting smaller toward the pad might work. By the way, you must save the original inserts as you work in case you cannot improve the condition. We tried several different tapers and found one that was a definite improvement. The strange thing was that one taper out of the two inserts was all that was necessary.
4. Try an insert that projects into the bore slightly. Saliva will flow around it and not clog the hole.
5. Of course the bocal can be at fault. Try different ones, but don't settle for a bad one just because it gets the high note or is of pre war vintage!.
6. The D ring key around the third hole may be sluggish. It could rub against the groove that it is set in. The pad that closes the hole that it governs (on the wing joint) may be stuck or open too slowly. That will inhibit a quick response for high C and D.
1. The fault can be in the reeds you use. Contrary to common belief, reeds do not have to crow to be good. I have had bad reeds that crow and good ones that didn't. In fact, I can make any reed crow--does that mean all of my reeds are good? As an experiment, I took a good reed that did not crow and trimmed it so that it crowed. It was ruined!
2. Contrary to common belief, the wires MUST be tight! The second wire must be round! Any trimming of the reed should be done in the upper half!
3. The thickness of the reed at the shoulder should be -036--037.
4. For those of you who use the Herzberg bevel, start the bevel 3/8 of an inch up from the bottom of the tube.
Professor of Bassoon, U of Colorado at Boulder
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