Topic: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

I have recently been having an issue with getting GSP cane that produces an "oxbow" tip opening when the blank is clipped. I bought cane from Arundo Reeds and Cane for many years bit since Mark Eubanks sold the company, the quality control and waiting time for product has become pretty bad. However I never had an issue with their GSP cane producing an elliptical opening. I recently tried a batch of Miller Select reserve cane from Justin Miller of Miller Marketing as well as some other GSP cane from major European companies and every single piece out of the 10 I bought from each seller resulted in an elliptical opening.

Is this because the GSP cane I am buying is to thick or hard? Can anyone offer some advice or suggest some alternative sources of GSP cane?

I should say that I form my blanks/reeds following Mark Eubanks' method as described in Secrets to A Better Bassoon Reed, and have never had this issue until switching suppliers. I know I could fix this issue if I had my own profiler but sadly can not afford to buy one currently.

Any help or ideas would be most welcome!

Much Thanks.

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Re: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

I'll take a random stab, could be too thin a profile. Maybe you are making your tubes too round and small. I find the oxbow shape and small tubes seem to happen together. To avoid this with Marks wires, I only place the second wire after the cane is dry to keep that stiff nichrome from strangling the throat. I know he puts the third wire over the binding but I use a wrap and put it under. I place the first and third wires, let the blank dry then add the second and fourth.

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

Re: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

I'm not entirely sure what you're seeing that is not pretty normal for a typical parallel scrape profile. You have to build the oxbow shape in with the scrape, because most profilers don't do the proper center-side-channel correctly to produce this out of hand, that's part of the finishing process. Mostly this comes from scraping the rails down in the tip-12mm back or so area of the reed, and building the fingernail shaped shadow in the scrape.

As you take those rails down more, the sides collapse more and create that shape you're looking for which gives you more control of the pianissimo and makes the sound less bari-sax like. Take too much off and the reed is dull and unresponsive.

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: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

Hello and thanks to Marydoob and Trent,

Marydoob - That is interesting about the tube size comment. When I was using Arundo cane I employed a long bevel on my reeds by cutting a slice of cane off either side of the tube. While doing this I never experienced this issue of overly elliptical openings. I have recently been trying out a short bevel on my reeds. There was a point where I stopped using Mark's suggested nichrome wire for the #2 wire and was just using a 22 gage brass wire. However I switched back to the nichrome wire a couple of years ago. As for tube roundness, I studied with Mark and I remember regular lectures during reed making lessons on "the need for a round first wire during forming" and have not known this to cause an issue in tip opening shape. I will give your suggestions a try on a few pieces of cane and see how they compare.

Trent - So maybe it sounds like the issue is more in terms of the thickness of the profile used for the cane? I have noticed that cane I have bought recently from Justin Miller was MUCH heavier overall (especially in the back and middle) than cane I have used previously from Arundo. This could have resulted in the Arundo cane producing a blank that was much closer to a "finished" reed than the blanks I have made recently with the cane from Justin. What do you think?

So I guess I should rephrase my question and ask if anyone can recommend some good GSP cane where the profile is a bit closer to  a "finished" reed (more of a medium thickness)?

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Re: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

geobassoon wrote:

Hello and thanks to Marydoob and Trent,

Marydoob - That is interesting about the tube size comment. When I was using Arundo cane I employed a long bevel on my reeds by cutting a slice of cane off either side of the tube. While doing this I never experienced this issue of overly elliptical openings. I have recently been trying out a short bevel on my reeds. There was a point where I stopped using Mark's suggested nichrome wire for the #2 wire and was just using a 22 gage brass wire. However I switched back to the nichrome wire a couple of years ago. As for tube roundness, I studied with Mark and I remember regular lectures during reed making lessons on "the need for a round first wire during forming" and have not known this to cause an issue in tip opening shape. I will give your suggestions a try on a few pieces of cane and see how they compare.

Trent - So maybe it sounds like the issue is more in terms of the thickness of the profile used for the cane? I have noticed that cane I have bought recently from Justin Miller was MUCH heavier overall (especially in the back and middle) than cane I have used previously from Arundo. This could have resulted in the Arundo cane producing a blank that was much closer to a "finished" reed than the blanks I have made recently with the cane from Justin. What do you think?

So I guess I should rephrase my question and ask if anyone can recommend some good GSP cane where the profile is a bit closer to  a "finished" reed (more of a medium thickness)?


Ah yes. "medium" thickness. ;-)

I find the Rieger cane processed by Rieger to be pretty OK in the back but needs the wings/sides/rails taken down considerably. So basically you'll do a lot of tip work.

Recently tried the Ghys GSP cane and that profile was pretty good, only needing a little work on the wings with a file and not a whole lot of knife work. This is available from MMI in the US (not sure about UK). Still determining if I like the cane quality but that's always a debate.

Danzi cane is good but the profile is very heavy.

Gonzalez cane is excellent but the profile from them is really heavy especially in the back. If you find other sources for the cane that profile it in house you might have better luck. I profile myself and this has been my cane of choice for at least 5 years now.

Last edited by Trent (2015-07-24 14:00:01)

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: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

Trent - Thanks for suggestions. I placed an order for some Rieger cane and will look into the Ghys GSP as well. I don't mind the tip/rail work at all, it is trying to shave down the back end of a reed that is to thick that drives me crazy. I always feel like I have less control in that area then when I am doing work on the tip or sides of the reed. A profiler is the next thing on my list but after the purchase of two new bocals and a tip profiler it will have to wait. Thanks again for the insight Trent!

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Re: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

geobassoon wrote:

Can anyone offer some advice or suggest some alternative sources of GSP cane?

I'm just about the laziest reed-maker on the face of the planet. If it weren't for the wonderful GSP cane from my friend and neighbor Bob Williams, I'd be up a creek without a paddle. I'd have to give up the bassoon and switch to sax, and that's a depressing thought indeed.

Try some of Bob's cane--I think you'll be suitably impressed. He can be reached at rswbassoon@gmail.com

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

Re: GSP cane that does not produce an elliptical opening when clipped.

Christopher - Thanks for the information. I will shoot Bob an email about ordering some cane.

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