Topic: Density gauge

Hello everybody, I just started using a density gauge and was wondering about how other people use the measurements. I do realize that there are other factors, flexibility, resilience, etc. I am currently adjusting the profile thickness for softer cane, slightly thicker, including side thickness. ( I am torn between reducing and increasing side thickness for softer cane. Thicker sides gives more strength and thinner sides give a darker sound). I know another bassoonist that adjust his gouge thickness based on the density of the cane when gouged thick, denser cane he make thicker, softer cane he gouges thinner to have a higher density. I know some people just throw away what they do not use, but similar to Jack Spratt in the nursery rhyme, I like hard cane and my wife likes softer cane, so we use it all.
People that use measurements, what do you do?

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

Re: Density gauge

Hi Steve,

I use the density gauge.  From what I have heard each machine is different so it may not be accurate to compare between machines.  So a 20 on my machine might give a different reading on yours. 

I used to like a reading of 19-22 but now that I live at high altitude I have been using softer cane to try to get the reeds to vibrate and so have been using 22-25.  But lately I feel I haven't been having much success with the softer cane and am going to go back to 21-22 maybe 23 and see if I get better results. 

I use a pretty thick profile already so I haven't adjusted my profile for the density reading.  Adjusting the gouge makes sense I think if you want to take the time to do that.  I just save cane that I don't use and give it to summer camp students to learn reed making.

Have you found a range of numbers that you like yet?

Have you ever tried the Flexter machine that measures flexibility?  I have always wanted one but have never "pulled the trigger."  There is an article by Poe who used both the Density Gauge and Flexter to come up with the best cane.

Kent

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Density gauge

Thanks Kent,
Just out of curiosity, what is your gouge thickness? Mine is around 1.32mm or .052 inches ( I think) a very eccentric (French) gouge. My normal profile is around 1.07mm (.042 inches), at the very back on the spine. I may just start with a thicker profile, 1.17mm (.045 inches) for soft cane, simply because I want to ask Lluis what numbers he looks for in the pre gouged cane. I will also try more and less wood on the sides to see if that makes a difference. My only issue with changing the gouge is that it will also change the tubes.
Best,
Steve

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

Re: Density gauge

I just measured some cane using a caliper and they average around 1.32mm like yours and they are eccentric gouge.

Some people use scraping wheels to scrape the inside of the cane to make the gouge thinner.  Skinner would also do this on only some parts of the cane.  You are right though, that this will not only change the thickness of the gouge overall but the center relative to the side.

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Density gauge

Dear Kent, a good friend of mine corrected me on the terms I was using for measurements. I think we were both referring to the Reeds n Stuff hardness tester. Rieger has the density tester that is not as expensive as I had thought it might be. The flex test machine is also a very cool thing, but I do not have the spare cash for either of these machines. That being said my initial experiments are interesting, based on hardness. I profiled the cane based on hardness thicker for softer cane and thinner for very hard stuff and found some good reeds for each level of hardness. One of the best reeds was the softest, a .30. The reeds need a good week or so to settle, but I'm still not ready to start throwing away cane. I think I may avoid the change of the gouge for now, I have never cared much for a thin gouge in the past. Thanks for all of the input!
Steve

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

Re: Density gauge

Hi Steve,

Yes, I usually call it a hardness tester and I was also referring to the Reeds N Stuff one I have.  It is a digital model which I bought used from someone who supposedly found another way of measuring.  I wonder what that is.  Perhaps just seeing how long each piece of cane takes to sink in water.  I didn't know Rieger made a density tester.  I'll have to look it up.

I have always kept my cane that I don't use and probably have 1000's of unused pieces with varying hardness values.  I give some to students but it also crosses my mind that one day I might use them for some reason or change what I like.  30 for me would be extremely soft on my machine.  I haven't tried anything close to that soft for a long time.  It would be fun if I had the time.  Your 30 may not be as soft as mine on my hardness tester. 

In case you haven't seen it, here is the article by Poe.  For me it is the 1st link and is a PDF.  https://www.google.com/search?q=poe+har … y:+-+Reeds

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University

Re: Density gauge

Barrick Stees of the Cleveland Symphony uses a hardness tester and likes 14-16.  That would be very hard cane for me on my machine and I rarely test any with that value.

Dr. Kent Moore
Principal Lecturer In Bassoon and Theory
Northern Arizona University