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Bamboo vs Arundo Donax

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Home Forums Reeds The Bassoon Reed Room Bamboo vs Arundo Donax

This topic contains 9 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  Christopher Brodersen 2 years, 10 months ago.

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  • #100898

    Steve Harriswangler
    Participant

    I have found little information on the subject, but when did reed players settle on Arundo Donax? My student collected some bamboo and it seems to be way to hard and brittle. Are there other related plants that have been used for reed making? The node on the tube can also be quite large, I am loathe to use my good equipment on processing the cane because of dulling the blades, so I will give a whirl with my old equipment. My student mentioned that there is a grower using bamboo, but there is much confusion on the web with calling Arundo Donax, Bamboo. I am really curious- Steve

    #118918

    Christopher Brodersen
    Participant

    Steve –

    We might start by asking if any other members of the Arundo genus are suitable for reed-making (copied from Wikipedia) –

    Arundo collina Ten.
    Arundo formosana Hack. – Nansei-shoto, Taiwan, Philippines
    Arundo mediterranea Danin – Mediterranean
    Arundo micrantha Lam. – Mediterranean
    Arundo plinii Turra – Pliny’s Reed – Greece, Italy, Albania, Croatia

    I have no experience with or knowledge of any of these, but perhaps somebody on this Forum does. Apparently, A. donax (correct abbreviation–not “Arundo d” as seen in recent articles in The Double Reed) is the only member of this genus that grows large enough to yield suitable material for reeds.

    #118917

    Steve Harriswangler
    Participant

    Thanks! I was just looking at bamboo, I think there are 115 varieties. I’ll give it a try, just because I am curious. My student hand gouged, profiled shaped some and the reeds were quite hard, but I think that was also because there was too much wood.

    #118919

    David A. Wells
    Participant

    I believe that some traditional Chinese and other East Asian reed instruments use bamboo reeds. I’m certainly no expert in this though, so which variet(ies) might be used for this is your guess. There must be performers and/or ethnomusicologists out there who could answer this definitively.

    On a related subject, an artist with whom I recently collaborated has asked me to try making a reed out of sugarcane. I don’t think it’s going to work, but I’ve got some sugarcane drying now so I can at least give it a try. I’m hoping to at least get a reed-shaped object out of the process, which might be enough for her purposes, anyway.

    #118920

    thirteenthcory
    Participant

    I bought a quadruple-reed (!!!!) instrument in India and the reed is made of palm leaves. I’m sure many things could serve as reeds for us, but a. donax is cheap, plentiful, easy to grow, and seems to do the job.

    #118921

    Trent Jacobs
    Participant
    David A. Wells wrote:
    I believe that some traditional Chinese and other East Asian reed instruments use bamboo reeds. I’m certainly no expert in this though, so which variet(ies) might be used for this is your guess. There must be performers and/or ethnomusicologists out there who could answer this definitively.

    On a related subject, an artist with whom I recently collaborated has asked me to try making a reed out of sugarcane. I don’t think it’s going to work, but I’ve got some sugarcane drying now so I can at least give it a try. I’m hoping to at least get a reed-shaped object out of the process, which might be enough for her purposes, anyway.

    Sweet!

    #118922

    David A. Wells
    Participant
    Trent wrote:
    Sweet!

    Groan…

    #118923

    Trent Jacobs
    Participant

    I’ll be here all week.

    #118924

    Steve Harriswangler
    Participant

    I hate bamboo and yes, Arundo is cheap and easy to use. Fortunately I know how to sharpen my blades. It was fun to try, but too hard and frustratingly brittle.

    #118925

    Christopher Brodersen
    Participant

    I’m not surprised that bamboo proved to be too hard and brittle for reeds. After all, bamboo is being used a lot now in flooring, where it makes sense because of its durability and sustainability.

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