Topic: Polymer/Fibre/Plastic Contrabassoon Reeds

I suppose this doesn't exactly fall under the category of "making" bassoon reeds but it shall have to do.

I was quite simply wonder if anyone could direct me to a producer of Contrabassoon reeds of the plastic type. I am curious to try one out and see if it would work as a backup, I quite simply don't have the tools or material to make my own Contrabassoon reeds. A Canadian producer or distributor would be preffered, but definitely isn't esential.

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Re: Polymer/Fibre/Plastic Contrabassoon Reeds

In all my years of playing contrabassoon, looking through double reed catalogs and talking to colleagues, I've never seen a plastic contrabassoon reed. I'm afraid there just isn't enough demand for it. Best to try a lot of different brands made of regular cane from the various suppliers (Forests, Nielsen, Fox, Jones, etc.)

Sorry that's not the answer you were looking/hoping for.

If I'm wrong, somebody please speak up!

Harry Searing
Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Heckelphone
Faculty: Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (NY), Montclair State University (NJ) &  CUNY (NY)
President, LRQ Publishing - featuring the bassoon music of Francisco Mignone

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Re: Polymer/Fibre/Plastic Contrabassoon Reeds

I, too, have never heard of plastic contra reeds. A source with which I have had excellent results is David Brundage (david.brundage@verizon.net). His contra reeds are reasonable in cost and work extremely well. Good luck!

David Bell
Alexandria, VA

David Bell
Alexandria, VA
amateur bassoon and contra bassoon

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Re: Polymer/Fibre/Plastic Contrabassoon Reeds

Plastic contrabassoon reeds would be unsuccessful for economic reasons.  The benefits of using plastic come from volume production.  There isn't enough market in the entire world to support the sale of plastic contra reeds.  Without a large volume the cost per reed would be very high.  Plastic is an expensive material and low cost plastic goods are the result of a large initial investment combined with manufacturing technologies that substantially reduce or eliminate labor.  With the limited market for contra reeds the manufacturing costs would never be recovered.   

Ironically, plastic would probably do well for contrabassoon reeds.  In general, plastic reeds are more succussful for lower pitched instruments than for high pitched instruments.  It might be surprisingly good for contras.  I don't ever expect to find out.  While, potentially, plastic might work well for contra reeds, trying to market them would be a disaster. 

Chip Owen

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