Topic: Advice for getting started again

I started playing bassoon in HS (40 years ago) and did well enough for 1st chair all state band and orchestra. But sax was my main instrument with doubling on flute, clarinet and bassoon for show work. Here I find myself signed up for the Sweeney Todd bassoon book with a Buescher (Selmer?) student bassoon and wondering what I was thinking.

So I'm seeking advice on getting started again. Fingering is coming back slowly but embourchure is more work than single reeds. I have one of the Weissenborn method books but that seems more oriented to a student/teacher kind of thing as opposed to me working through getting my chops back.

I play a pretty resistent setup on my bari and tenor so while I can run scales, a medium Jones reed went really soft after about 10 minutes of playing. I have a med hard as well but mostly same result. Neither reed has been adjusted in any manner. Lower octave stopped speaking when the reeds got soft so I suspect that I might need to open the tip a bit more.

If no one helps me, then the alternative is to play the book on my dark bari setup which, as bassoonists, I'm sure you don't want me to do. :-)

charlie

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Re: Advice for getting started again

Your story sounds very similar to mine, with the exception that I never doubled on anything - just bassoon all those years ago.  One of the things I found, however, was that my embouchure was too tight and that I needed to learn all over again to relax.  Could that be why your reeds are closing up, etc?  Yes, try opening them, but if both a med. soft and a med. hard reed went south, it might be your embouchure.  Do you have nearly all the reed in your mouth? Playing on the tip of the reed will close it also.  Just my 2 cents........

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Re: Advice for getting started again

I came back to bassoon after an extended layoff, and I think embouchure was the biggest thing for me. Even though I thought I had a good handle on the basics from high school, and had spent some time to get myself into shape, when I started taking some lessons the first thing we did was work on fixing my embouchure. It was an eye-opening experience.

So I guess my advice would be to find yourself a professional bassoon teacher, if only for a couple of lessons. The teacher will be able to diagnose the problem, adjust the reeds (or sell you ones made for you), check that the horn is in reasonable shape, etc.

If you want to try adjusting the reeds yourself, the first thing to try is the wires. Pinching the sides of the first wire can open the tip, as does pinching the second wire top to bottom. If you don't like the change, you can put it back, so it's fairly risk free. Sites like http://www.steesbassoon.com/reedmaking/adjusting_reeds.htm have more reed advice. Good luck in any case!

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