Topic: where to scrape: sharp D2

D2 (D in middle of bass clef): occasionally I will make a reed with D2 being stridently sharp, with the reed otherwise being quite excellent. Often when I start of the prelim then final finishing of a reed, this will be the case, but the entire lay is too thick, the lower register sharp and poorly speaking. I will generally see the D2 normalize as I finish the reed. But I am wondering exactly where the problem is when just D2 sticks out like this. Any ideas? I am playing on a Moosmann 222CL.

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Re: where to scrape: sharp D2

Hmm, this has been unanswered for a while. Scrape, reed shape or the level of the low G tone hole pad or F key can all be factors. A scrape in the channels in the middle of the reed can help that note. Shape, if a reed is narrow in the middle, sometimes D can be sharp, a shape that is fatter in the middle can help. The last is pad height, less likely since it's not all reeds, if the pad is too close, the C and D can get high in pitch, more in the overblown octave.

Principal bassoonist, Orquesta Sinfonica de Galicia, A Coruña, Spain. Bassoonist, bassoon dad, bassoon husband, bassoon uncle, bassoon brother and bassoon son.

Re: where to scrape: sharp D2

When we play, the reed does not simply flap around randomly.  It vibrates in an organized pattern.  The pattern is different for each note  The pattern is controlled by many factors such as the shape, wire placement, blade length, profile, etc.  It is also controlled by our embouchure and air flow. 
Assuming the reed has been constructed properly you can study the pattern by looking into the reed and closing it with your thumb and index finger.   First look for symmetry, then the relative strength between the heart, channels and rails.  Trim the reed thoughtfully!   It is easy to remove cane, but not so easy to put it back on.

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Re: where to scrape: sharp D2

If your instrument is not at fault, find a copy of Mark Eubank's excellent pamphlet "Advanced Reed Design and Testing Procedure for Bassoon" (1986). It has an informative chart of the reed blade showing where to scrape to improve individual pitches.

Christopher Weait,
Principal bassoon, Toronto Symphony (1968 - 1985)
IDRS Honorary Member; Emeritus professor Ohio State University
www.weaitmusic.com

Re: where to scrape: sharp D2

Mr Weait is right about trying to get a hold of a copy of Mark's pamphlet. It vastly improved the quality of my reed making and finishing. Make sure you look for a copy that has the amended appendix (I believe the 1991 edition). I spoke to Mark not to long ago and he said that he is putting the final touches on a new updated edition that should be available soon, if not already.

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