Topic: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

I'm especially interested in how people made reeds in the 19th century and earlier. Barring the fact that I'll still use my shape and profiler as a control, how did people make blanks? Any conceptually different things that are very different from the Skinner or Herzberg methods that seem to be most common in the USA?

I'm thinking of things like Chris Van Os' latest design where he "quick soaks" and "quick dries" in order to make a reed from the GSP stage to a playable reed in he claims 15 minutes. I've taken that as inspiration and made some blanks using a combination of sonic cleaner and boiling water, and a food dehydrator, in order to make the blanks very rapidly.

What else is out 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: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

I know you were probably tied up at the Midwest booth, but you should have attended Jim Kopp's lecture on Saturday morning of IDRS about this very subject--reedmaking tools and methods in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries--for both oboe and bassoon. Fascinating.

If enough of us nudge him, I'll bet Jim could be persuaded to publish an abstract in The Double Reed.

Christopher Brodersen
Maker of Historical Keyboard Instruments
Reviewer/contributor - Fanfare Magazine
Amateur bassoonist, baroque oboist, baroque bassoonist

Re: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

I spoke with him a few times, but didn't have a chance to leave the vendor area the whole time. Such is the life.

Maybe I'll poke him for his notes.

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: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

Start by reading Almenraeder's writing about reeds.

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

Re: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

Trent...I've recently been trying different forming mandrels and trying to deduce what difference they might produce.  I've got some Christlieb Long Mandrels, some from Barry Stees, some from Roger Tropman (from eBay), one from Mark Popkin, one from George Sakakeeny, and a few others.  All have subtly different tapers, and I'm trying to determine if one is any better than the others.  So far I seem to notice the biggest difference in the shape of the 1st wire, and hence that part of the tube section of the reed.  For example, the Sakakeeny Mandrel seems to produce the "roundest" 1st wire, the Christlieb mandrels seem to produce the flattest 1st wire, and the other mandrels fall somewhere in between.  I have used the Christlieb Mandrels almost exclusively until this past year, and recently seem to have gravitated to and enjoy the shape of the 1st wire, and inner tube dimensions (maybe?) of the Barry Stees Mandrels.  I would be interested in finding out what anyone else's experience with different mandrels might yield.  I find that I still use the same Reamers (Popkin and Satco) on reeds made from any of the mandrels I use, so I'm not convinced that the interior dimensions really vary much from the specific mandrel used, but more from the taper(s) of Reamers.  I do like the consistency of insertion depth afforded by the mandrels with a shoulder (Stees and Sakakeeny)...

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Re: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

I think Frank has an excellent idea for research, reed tubes. I really prefer a larger tube over the smaller more rounded one. I think tubes are almost as important as the shape to achieve what you are looking for in a reed. Contrary to what I have been told, I do not find the reeds to be bright, I prefer a pretty dark focused sound and I have no problem with high notes. I think it's inportant means to an end worth looking at. Tubes can be almost as individual as shape, number of wires, wire placement, gauge, type ( I use 4 different metals, recommended by Mark Eubanks), wire tension, etc. The Thunneman shape is an interesting idea, with the flair in the middle of the tube. I quite like the reeds I have gotten off of the Thunneman shape, although I think I need a special mandrel or reamer with a ball to create a larger chamber between the second and third wires. I have heard of someone doing that, not my idea. I think, like shape, there are many things you can do with a reed tube as long as you finish at the correct dimension to get a good seal and not wobble on the bocal.
Let us know what you come up with Trent, I was going to suggest James Kopp, I liked his lecture at the Bassetto demo in NYC.

Best of luck Trent,

Steve

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

Re: I want to do some reed experiments. Help me find things to try!

Where could you find Almenraeder's writings on reeds?

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