Topic: Grugling Ds on bassoon

Among my current issues are the two Ds (D1 and D2 I think - not the lowest D nor the highest) get water across the interior hole and get either a gurgle or clicking (in performance of course). I don't have time to take the instrument apart to swab so I've been either blowing or sucking (yes, eewh) to clear the water. But once the bore gets wet, I find I need to do this alot and then the boot comes out of the strap and I run out of time, etc.

So I'm wondering how others deal with and/or have come up with some easier to administer solution. I'm thinking pipe cleaner but haven't tried it yet. Seems like a chunk of silk on a stick might be useful as well.

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Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

Definitely check for debris around the tone hole.

Do you have a water tube projecting into the bore on the third tone hole? Do you have problems on C as well (first finger tone hole of the right hand)?

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

3rd finger, left hand tone hole does project into bore but not by much. I don't have the same problem on C though the other night my first fingertip, right hand was moist but I suspect that it might have been due to blowing into the D tone hole too vigorously. And I've been trying to hold the bassoon to the left of my body since I read somewhere that this keeps water from running into the upper toneholes. I also have the normal wing joint swap so I could just pull out the bocal and run the swab through.

I try playing tonight until it starts to gurgle and get a flashlight to see if I can figure out what is happening. BTW, I think this is a student Selmer branded as Buescher from the 80s judging by its wear.

c

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Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

cwickham wrote:

I also have the normal wing joint swap so I could just pull out the bocal and run the swab through.

I don't know what you mean by this. I hope you're not using one of those "swabs" that's like this one:
http://www.wwbw.com/Micro-Bassoon-Swabs-420248-i1133378.wwbw
If so, discontinue using that immediately and switch to a pull through silk or microfiber swab.
Peer into the bore with a flashlight and look around the area by where the tone hole enters the bore. Look for debris there inside the bore. Clean out the tone hole with an appropriate bristle brush like this:
http://www.guitarcenter.com/Selmer-Key-Cleaning-Brush-467389-i1431069.gc?&source=4WFRWXX&CAWELAID=727539831
The fuzzy swabs-on-a-rod can leave stuff behind in the bore that likes to pick up moisture and dirt, causing more problems than they solve.

I try playing tonight until it starts to gurgle and get a flashlight to see if I can figure out what is happening. BTW, I think this is a student Selmer branded as Buescher from the 80s judging by its wear.

c

That could be part of the problem right there...

M.M.A., D.M.A. University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign: B.Mus. Lawrence University
Bassoon professor at University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire
Maker of the Little-Jake electric bassoon pickup and Weasel bassoon reeds

Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

The long fuzzy swab was what I was thinking of so solve this specific problem but I had switched to the silk swab with the chain a while ago. And I do have one of the key brushes so I'll go over the toneholes with that. When I'm finished, I run the silk through and then peer in the wing joint bore to make sure all the moisture is gone. The tonehole looks ok from that angle but I suppose that is not the full perspective.

Many thanks for the suggestions.

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Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

Get some pipe cleaners and use one when you get the problem.  It takes out the noise issues of blowing into the hole also.

Mark

Mark Ortwein
Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra
OrtweinWoodwinds.com

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Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

The following may work.

Clean well the tone hole with water and cotton swabs - dry completely.
Lightly soak a q-tip with liquid silicon (light and clear silicon lubricant aerosol spray). The key word is “lightly,” MUST void dripping.
Gently coat the tone hole with silicon with the silicon swab. Do not allow liquid silicon to touch the bore.

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, University of Colorado at Boulder, College of Music
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications

Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

A fundamental issue is how you rest the instrument when you have bars of rests? Also when taking a break.
Do not lay the instrument horizontally across your lap - this will lessen the tendency for water to collect in the bore or worse run back towards the bocal.  Neither should you lay the bassoon down across your chair or on a shelf or floor when taking a break. Always stand the bassoon in a corner without the bocal in place (narrow end down the bell is OK). Never stand it on a flat wall - it can slide sideways and crash. Better still swab it out and lie it in the case (horizontal is OK here, as the water has been swabbed out).

Another "solution" (literally) is to take the wing joint to your kitchen sink. Mix a very weak solution (no more than 10%) of liquid dishwashing detergent and warm water. Hold the wing with finger holes uppermost and dribble the solution down the bore  (easiest from the wider end) - let  it make a track and run out the other end.

This acts as a "wetting" agent which for a while at least will form a slick track down which water will prefer to flow as opposed to gathering in beads all over the bore.

This is a tried and true technique from the recorder world (in fact Moeck used to provide a weak solution of "anticondense" as they called it). Flowing it through the narrow windway of recorders lessened the beading of water which in a recorder can totally block the windway and prevent the instrument from speaking.

I believe it is the total opposite of Yoshi's liquid silicon which will make water bead - that's why you mustn't get silicon in the bore. In the tone hole silicon will act as a barrier to waterflow. Hopefully all these strategies will reduce or eliminate the problem.

Your bassoon is quite possibly plastic but these days all bassoons have plastic or rubber liners down the wet side. This means the techniques are valid for wooden bassoons too.

If all fails move to a drier climate smile

Neville Forsythe

Neville Forsythe
Christchurch New Zealand
Bassoonist / Teacher / Conductor

Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

If the problem holes are ones you can reach with your fingers inside the bore, you can also try wrapping a handkerchief (or other lint-free cloth) around your finger and reaching up inside the bore, rub rather hard around the problem tone hole.  This will encourage moisture to run around the rubbed place and make another pathway (for awhile).

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Re: Grugling Ds on bassoon

Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions.

I found something that is working fairly well. I went to a fabric/crafts store in our area (Jo-ann) and they had extra wide pipe cleaners. While not cotton (and that probably is a good thing) they are fuzzy and wide enough to clear the hole and water in the bore. I got a bag and cut them in half and keep a few handy on my lap. Last night: no gurgling.

I also bought some silk and a wooden dowel with the idea of using the dowel to plunge a long piece of silk strip into the tonehole but haven't had a chance to finish the edges of the silk with a sewing machine yet. However, the fuzzy pipe cleaner is working well enough right now that I might not proceed any further with experimentation.

I like Neville's idea of having a path via the wetting solution of dish soap since that oblivate the need for the pipe cleaners.

c

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