Topic: Herzberg shaper

Firstly, best wishes for the new year!
Somebody can tell me what shaper tip of Rieger is similar to Mr. Herzberg shaper. Or where could I buy the original shaper or shaper close to his dimensions.Thanks in advance

Bassoonist and contrabassoon solo in Royal Opera House "La Monnaie" Brussels

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Greetings:




      The Rieger tip that is supposed to be the copy is #14. However having tried the 14 tip and owning a original Herzberg flat shaper, They are a bit different. The 14 Riger tip ha a more convex shape near the tip and is a bit narrower overall. The only situation is when Mr Herzberg came out with his profiler he pretty much did away with selling shper individually, and now since he has passed away I dont know if they are being made at all anymore.


     My suggestion would be to go to www.herzbergprojects.com and see what all you can find out there.

                                                    Best Regards,
                                                     Chad

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

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Thank you Chad,

Do you know, maybe Fox makes a copy of Herzberg shaper? I know that Fox made a lot of straight shapers on special requests of well known bassoon players and sell them. I heard from others that Herzbergprojects doesn't sell no more.  Yes, I can buy this shaper tip by Rieger but after thinkings, I still prefer straight shaper. Sorry for my English

Thanks everybody  in advance for yours suggestions

Karen

Bassoonist and contrabassoon solo in Royal Opera House "La Monnaie" Brussels

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hi Karen:

Here is a listing with measurements of the shapers that Fox sells.  http://www.foxproducts.com/catalog/index.php?cPath=44_68_69_101&sort=2a&page=1   
I don't see a Herzberg shaper listed but perhaps one of them is close.  If someone has the measurements of the Herzberg you could compare.  Fox might even make one for you.  Welcome to the forum.  Kent

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

Re: Herzberg shaper

Perhaps Chip Owen at Fox could be pursuaded to describe custom shapers in terms of Riegger Shaper tips.  I feel it would be more helpful if Fox chose to describe it's Shapers as "similar to Riegger #14" for example, rather than by the name of the bassoonist who, presumably, commissioned a specific custom shape.  Maybe they have one that is based on a Herzberg Shape..just need to know which one.

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hello again everyone:




            The Fox flat shaper that may be the closest is the Dicker or DI shaper. Michael Dicker used use the Herzberg shaper mainly, but was not really into the flared tube end, He had Fox make him a shaper that had a straighter tube. I remember him telling me all about it when I was studying with him as he came out with the shaper the summer following me starting at ISU to study with him That would be my best guess as to what would be closest.


                                                   Best Regards,
                                                     Chad

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

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Thank you everybody for your valuable help. Ok, if I can't find the original Herzberg straight shaper, I'll choose between Rieger 14 and Dicker shaper. I saw this one on Fox site today. Pretty same dimensions. Regrettably the Dicker shape has straight tube end. I prefer the Herzberg flared end that  permits to do the Herzberg bevel without making the tube end too small with need to ream a lot.

Thanks

Bassoonist and contrabassoon solo in Royal Opera House "La Monnaie" Brussels

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Re: Herzberg shaper

I did, in fact, make a shaper based on the Herzberg shaper.  However, Mr. Herzberg asked that we not sell it and we agreed with him.  At this time I am still not prepared to make a Herzberg shaper available.  Perhaps at some time in the future, but not yet. 

Chad is correct about the Dicker DI shaper being almost the same as the Herzberg shaper.  The only difference is the final flare to the butt end.  Everything else is exactly the same.  At 10.3mm the butt width of a Herzberg shape is nearly the widest among all the bassoon shapers we make.  (I have two shapes that make it to 10.5mm!)  Anything from 10mm on is getting big.  Michael and I arbitrarily selected 9.5mm as a width more in line with most shapes. 

I don’t disagree with the idea of providing more information about the various shapes I’ve designed.  In the past it wasn’t practical to provide space in the printed shaper catalogs because the shape images required so much space.  Now that I’m providing more detail for each shape on our web site it might be possible to also provide additional background information.  The other side of the problem is that I often don’t have much information about the shapes.  I’m often working on samples cut from a tip someone got from a teacher years ago from a forgotten source and the customer wants to be able to provide shapers for his students that match his own.  Surprisingly few of the samples I’ve measured actually have good histories. 

Chip Owen
Fox Products Corp.

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hi Chip!

I'm gonna butt in here and stir up the proverbial bucket of [matter.]

Are you saying that if I ordered a shaper with the exact same measurements as Mr. Herzberg's that you couldn't (wouldn't) make it for me? Hmmm.

Maybe he just objected to you (Fox) using his name and him not being renumerated for it! But one can't copyright or patent measurements, I would think.

all the best,

Harry Searing
Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Heckelphone
Faculty: Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (NY), Montclair State University (NJ) &  CUNY (NY)
President, LRQ Publishing - featuring the bassoon music of Francisco Mignone

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hello Harry,

Everything you are saying is correct.  To the best of my knowledge it isn't possible to copyright or patent measurements.  No, I wouldn't sell a Herzberg shaper to you.  And the reason is that I would prefer not to stir up your proverbial bucket of matter. 

The world of bassoon is small.  There's no benefit to be gained by creating unnecessary problems.  Mr. Herzberg was offended when I made a shaper based on his shape.  We immediately apologized and promised not to sell them.  His death has not revoked that promise yet.  That will change in time, but not yet. 

Similarly, I would not be comfortable going out and blatantly producing shapers that purport to duplicate the shapers of Rieger or any other maker.  First of all, I would find the ethics of doing that to be questionable.  Beyond that, it can't be done.  One of the essential properties of shaper tips is that they do not produce consistent results.  (As I recall from a previous thread, that’s a quality you like about shaper tips.)  One person might be reasonably consistent, but several persons using the same tip will not be.  When I design a shaper for someone I prefer to base it on samples shaped by that person.   That allows me to design the shaper in a way that reflects his typical results.  That’s what he’s familiar with and that’s what he wants to get from a new shaper. 

Having said that, Harry, if you can provide me with a sample from which you wish a shaper to be designed, I’ll be glad to do it for you.  I won’t need to know how you produced the sample and the shape will be attributed to you.  It won’t matter if it is suspiciously similar to some other well known shape.  In that way we can both have what we want without stirring up the bucket. 

Chip Owen

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hello Mr. Owen, I understand what you mean but, in this case, for people who just want to try the famous Herzberg shape there is no solution. Because he is dead and anybody sell neither his profiling machine nor his shaper. But I think he did want to pass on his bassoon ideas and inventions to future generations of bassoon players. He haven't done all this job just for him. He couldn't even play him self and take advantage of his reeds many last years of his life. So I think there is nothing "criminel" to copy NOW his shaper and share with others also like a tribute  for this legendary bassooniste. But it's my opinion. Sorry for my English.

Karen Gevorkian

Bassoonist and contrabassoon solo in Royal Opera House "La Monnaie" Brussels

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hi Chip!

Thanks for your response.

First off, I think you might have misinterpreted my previous postings about shaper tips (vs. straight shapers.) I've mostly used tips, so I'm more comfortable with them, but I do recognize the problems and inconsistancies you've pointed out that happens with tips. And that also doesn't mean that I like 'em!

Experimenting with different shaper tips and straight shapers can be expensive!

It's funny how, even though the world of the bassoon is small like you said, we are subject to marketing techniques of other larger industries. I'm speaking of personalities and their endorsements. What does Mr. SoAndSo use? I must use his shape, it will solve all of my problems!! (Yeah, right!)

I have two shaper tips, one that was produced a few years ago before my teacher, Stephen Maxym passed away. It was made to his specifications and given his blessings. The other is a tip made by an unknown manufacturer, but purchased at the old Ponte store when it was on 46th Street. My wife studied with Harold Goltzer, and this tip has "GO" stamped on it, supposedly indicating that it is a Goltzer shape. He liked it and endorsed it.

And the funny thing is, they are almost identical!!!

I noticed recently that Fox is now selling a Weisberg/Goltzer straight shaper! So there you have it, three of Simon Kovar's top students, all with extremely similar reed shapes.

I wonder what Mr. Kovar's son-in-law's measurements are.

Back to shaped cane measurements. I'm curious why anyone would use a shape that produced a very narrow butt end, thereby requiring much reaming leading to a thin wall for the tube. Isn't is simple math? Aren't most bocal tips about the same diameter? And don't most people use a similar thickness gouge?

I like having thick walls on the tube. I feel they lend better structural integrity to the reed. With proper beveling, there's no leaking and no slippage. Tip openings are stable, etc. I like to think of the tube of a bassoon reed being the equivalent of a clarinet mouthpiece, at least the throat and chamber. Just a thought.

Harry Searing
Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Heckelphone
Faculty: Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (NY), Montclair State University (NJ) &  CUNY (NY)
President, LRQ Publishing - featuring the bassoon music of Francisco Mignone

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Hello Harry,

I think the objective of endorsement advertising is to exploit the natural insecurity we all suffer with to some degree.  We feel better about selecting an item that is used by a prominent person.  We might not know what we actually want, but “if so-and-so uses it, it must be right, because he is so much greater than I am.”  We all like to have that kind of reassurance. 

One thing about shapers I’m sure of is that almost no one uses only a single shaper throughout their career.  Claiming that a particular shaper defines what someone used throughout their career is a bit presumptuous.  If you’re good enough to achieve a position of prominence it is probably because you continually search for something better.  I suspect that shapers are the second most common item (after bocals) that bassoons experiment with. 

Goltzer shapers are a good example.  I have four shapers that are attributed to him: B3, HG, LM and WG.  Curiously, the only one that includes Goltzer’s name is the most different.  The B3 and HG shapes are very similar with the LM shape still being close, but the WG shape is a different style altogether.  (Check out their charts on the Fox website.)  Yet the source for the WG sample was secure in his claim that it was a Goltzer shape.  That begs the question of what exactly defines a Goltzer shape?  Much of the problem in the case of Goltzer shapes is the second hand claims.  Some players, such as Bernie Garfield, are never satisfied.  He is always seeking improvement.  What was correct yesterday is likely to get changed tomorrow.  That’s the way he is.  The G2 shaper reflects what he wanted when we designed that shaper.  I doubt that he would claim it today. 

When I brought up the width of the butt of a Herzberg shape my comment was that it was much wider than typical.  I was suggesting that it’s wider than it needs to be.  I agree that too much reaming is not desirable, although I do like to ream just enough to true up the taper to fit the bocal. 

Chip Owen

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Re: Herzberg shaper

Norman Herzberg’s shaper is part of his profiling system. Herzberg designed the shaper to work with his profiler. Together, the shaper and profiler produce absolutely symmetrically shaped and profiled cane. Without a compatible Herzberg profiler, the shape is as good as any other precision straight shaper with similar measurements. The Herzberg shaper inserts an indentation on the inside of the shaped cane. This indentation matches the pin on the Herzberg profiler, which results in a symmetrical profiling of both blades.

Herzberg did not want his shape duplicated for one reason only. The use of his shaper alone without the profiler would produce a misguided understanding of his reed-making system. He also believed that following his approved method of manufacturing process could only produce the symmetrical shape and the acceptable tolerance in his shaper.

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, U of Colorado at Boulder
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications
Administrator, IDRS Forum

Re: Herzberg shaper

Yoshi, you're mistaken about Mr. Herzberg's shaper being inseparable from his profiling machine. While the reverse is most certainly true, I've used a Herzberg shaper my entire career without the profiling machine. I learned to profile by hand from one of Mr. Herzberg's former students, and he taught us that Mr. Herzberg required his students to do the same. Furthermore, I purchased a shaper from Mr. Herzberg several years ago before he released the retooled, second version of his profiling machine. He sold shapers without the indentation pins specifically for people such as myself.

I've heard from two of Mr. Herzberg's former students that Mr. Herzberg left everything related to his reed-making business to his son, with the intention that he would continue producing the machines. I'm not sure how to contact him, but a good place to start might be the afore mentioned Web site for Herzberg Projects.

Finally, although I have no first-hand knowledge, I suspect that Mr. Herzberg objected to other people copying his shaper because he spent a great deal of time designing the shaper and was very proud of its careful production process. I think anyone here would object to someone essentially copying our work and then directly competing against us in the marketplace. If that wasn't the case, then there wouldn't be any copyright laws.

"It's not my job to give you the pulse! It's your job to figure it out!"
-An Allegedly Professional Conductor

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Re: Herzberg shaper

I stated that “…Without a compatible Herzberg profiler, the shape is as good as any other precision straight shaper with similar measurements.” I know that Norman Herzberg sold shapers separately. One of my students has one. Norman Herzberg told me personally that he did not want to just sell shapers for the reason that I stated in my previous post.

The hand profiling technique, over the use of the profiling machine, was strongly advocated by Hugh Cooper. I studied with Hugh Cooper, and he taught me the technique of hand profiling. Everyone hand profiled before the invention of profiling machines in ???? Hand profiling is a very useful method for making reeds. I hand profiled exclusively until I studied with Norman Herzberg. I do not know if Norman Herzberg required his other students to hand profile reeds. He did not teach it to me, but Hugh Cooper did.

Hugh Cooper made his reeds strictly by hand using his "yellow" pocketknife. Hugh even made his own shaper with a grinder without any sophisticated tool. Hugh was not into symmetry and he even slipped his blades, which is in total contrast to how Norman made his reeds. Hugh believed that profilers compressed cane and altered its vibratory characteristics. He believed that hand profiling maintained the natural state of the cane.

On this very subject of hand profiling, Norman Herzberg told me a very interesting story about his encounter with Hugh Cooper at the 1978 IDRS conference in Los Angeles. Although I did not attend this conference, Hugh Cooper also confirmed this story. Norman presented his profiling machine at this conference. Hugh Copper was in the audience. At Norman's presentation during questions and answers, Hugh challenged Norman and claimed that he could make a beautiful reed in a matter of minutes with a pocketknife without the aid of a profiler! Hugh essentially told Norman that a profiling machine, such as the one introduced by Norman, was not necessary to produce good reeds. Hugh’s “challenge” was very upsetting to Norman. This was the beginning of an interesting relationship between Norman and Hugh.

Yoshi Ishikawa
Professor of Bassoon, U of Colorado at Boulder
Editor, IDRS OnLine Publications
Administrator, IDRS Forum

Re: Herzberg shaper

Come on, Yoshi!!

Don't leave us hangin'!! Who won the challenge?

The World Series of Reeds.

Probably was a draw, they both were artists.

Interesting bit about Hugh and hand profiling. I've often thought that about profilers. Wouldn't the same apply to gougers however? It points out the necessity for a sharp blade or knife so that you're removing cane and not crushing the fibers into one another.

Harry Searing
Bassoon, Contrabassoon, Heckelphone
Faculty: Manhattan School of Music Precollege Division (NY), Montclair State University (NJ) &  CUNY (NY)
President, LRQ Publishing - featuring the bassoon music of Francisco Mignone

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