Topic: controlling pitch of D above middle C

(Sorry, I'm not sure what the formal terminology is for that note!)

I seem to have bad luck with the overblown/flicked D - on many reeds (commercially bought from different vendors) it has a tendency to end up as two different notes, one of which is nearly halfway to E-flat.  I'm not sure how else to describe this, but it's very difficult to get it to land on the lower and correct pitch.  (I guess it's like the opposite of the sagging E?)  I haven't noticed any other notes with similar problems.  I can eventually get rid of the second "center" by trimming the channels but it requires so much trimming that it usually changes the character of the reed in other ways I don't like.  Is there a standard prescription for dealing with this problem?  And is there any chance it's a problem with my bassoon as much as the reeds?  (Old Fox 201, if it matters.)

Share

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

I have found that the Fox CVC series bocal has a more stable D above middle C then the CVX bocals that usually come with short bore (201's and 240's) bassoons.  A good Heckel post war 2CC (this is the model of the CVC) will also have a better scale in the middle register of the bassoon.  Some people don't like the resistance of these bocals because you need to push a little more to get them play in tune but I like the sound and stability of the scale.  You should make sure that the C#/D# trill pad (the one connected to the third finger left hand ring key that opens when you press the C# key as long as you are not closing the third finger) is closing all the way and that there is a bit of play under the thumb C# and High C keys.

Bob Williams

Share

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

I should have mentioned that I'm using a Heckel #2 VCD bocal.  But I will definitely check the C#/D# pad, because the mechanism there is not really working properly and I wouldn't be at all surprised if it's leaking.  Thanks!

Share

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

Yes, I agree with Bob, and would go further simply saying that it is vocal problem, not a reed problem.  Try getting a good Heckel bocal and your life will drastically improve.  It will significantly improve the scale of your Fox bassoon.  These 'flying D's" are very common.   

BK

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

Another thing to look at is the ring key on the butt - does it close tightly when no keys are depressed?

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

A Heckel VCD bocal on a 201 should be a fine enough fit as long as your reeds aren't too stiff.

But yes, that note can be fussy if the bassoon isn't sealing up well. Assuming nobody has messed with the tone holes of that instrument, an older 201 should be pretty stable on that D although I have played some that were wonky on that note.

You can add the low Eb key to stabilize it, this fingering is common outside of the US.

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: controlling pitch of D above middle C

I've also experienced som problems with the d3 going to sharp on some reeds.
For me the problem can be remedied by placing a piece of sand paper flat against the table. Squeeze the tip closed and do a few stroakes to the tip at a slight angle.
I use 240 WD sandpaper. A few stroakes should already give you an effect.
If you are as sharp as you describe there are probably some other factors involved too. Like the bocal.

Share

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

Several years ago, a friend asked me to try a Puchner he had on trial. When I played it, the D was very unstable, sailing sharp. I recommended that he not buy the instrument. He didn't.

If I ever encounter this again, I'll check the C#/D# trill pad.

Share

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

I can also say that the size and inside dimension of the waterrtube for that note is extremely touchy. I find alot of makers can make that tube way too short in overall length and while the inside dimension is spot on, the D's are excessively unstable. You may want to try putting a bit of tape in the top half of tube and see if that helps.

CT

Taylor Bassoon Services
723 Steamboat Ct
Ottawa, IL 61350
PH-815-343-2492

Share

Re: controlling pitch of D above middle C

I used to have a very similar problem on an older 201 and 601. I discovered two things that helped fix this issue. The first was adjusting the first and second wires for roundness/ovalness. I find that if I only adjust one with out doing the other I end up with an unstable D3. The other fix I learned from Mark Eubank's Advance Reed Tuning and Adjustment publication. It involves scraping so that the standard and harmonic fingering for D3 are in tune and match in tone.

Additionally, the purchasing of a well matched Heckel CC2 or R2 *CTC* can help tremendously.

Share