Herzberg Bevel Without Drying?

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Home Forums Reeds The Bassoon Reed Room Herzberg Bevel Without Drying?

This topic contains 21 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  HansBassoon 1 year, 9 months ago.

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    Kent Moore

    I wonder if anyone is doing a bevel similar to the Herzberg bevel but without waiting for the 2 weeks minimum to dry the reed. You would have to do each side separately instead of both sides together since you don’t have that rounded tube. Do most of you who use his bevel, use the short 3/8? I see in another thread that Gerald Corey mentions to start the bevel only 7mm back. http://www.doublereed.org/IDRSBBS/viewtopic.php?id=92 This is less than 3/8. Thanks.


    Chad Taylor

    Hi Kent:

    I dont wait 2 weeks. I usually wait 24-48 hours after the cane is relatively dry and bevel. I use the 3/8 bevel.

    Best Regards,


    Yoshi Ishikawa

    I usually wait 48 – 72 hours. Here is a video of Herzberg bevel as explained and demonstrated by Herzberg.

    Member login to http://www.idrs.org required.



    Kent Moore

    Thanks Chad and Yoshi. It is nice to hear 2 weeks isn’t essential though I imagine Herzberg would say I should have enough reeds on the assembly line that 2 weeks shouldn’t be a problem. That video is great and I bet is the reason so many are using this bevel even if they didn’t study with Herzberg.


    Kent Moore

    Does anyone know when Mr. Herzberg developed this style of bevel? Is it relatively new or has it been around a long time.


    Harry Searing

    Great video, Yoshi!

    For some reason, students seem to have trouble with this concept of beveling and thus encounter problems with slippage and/or tip opening that won’t stay open. I’m gonna make them all watch this.

    As great as that Cooper article about “magic splinters” (or was it triangles) is, this is much more to the point.

    I’ve always been convinced about the importance of beveling thanks to my father. He was a machinist and knew absolutely nothing about reed making. But he was curious because it involved tools. So he watched me as I started to make my very first reeds. He saw what needed to be done and before I performed any beveling (as instructed by my teacher, not that I understood anything about its importance at that point), my father said to me, “You’re going to bevel, aren’t you?”

    The rest is history…


    Nancy Duncan

    Thank you for that wonderful video, Yoshi! So informative! And so provocative, since at the very end, Herzberg says, “and now……..” and there the video ends! Did anyone make a part II? ;)


    Yoshi Ishikawa

    …let’s eat lunch, if I recall.

    To view other Herzberg interview video clips, go to http://www.idrs.org/multimedia/video/findrecords.php?-db=video&-lay=video&
    and enter “herzberg” in the “artist” field.



    I use the tried and true method of letting my blanks dry a minimum of two weeks, (usually much longer), but my friend Jim Poe has shown me a method that seems to get the same results when forming the reed the first time. I believe he was given this method by Hugh Cooper. He takes his blanks and takes a 30 degree sliver starting at the first wire mark and cuts to the end of the cane. By the end the cut is full. When you form the reed and tighten the third wire it pops open the front of the reed as does the “Herzberg Bevel”.

    FYI Jim will be teaching the reed class at the Glickman/Popkin Bassoon Camp again this year and will also be a guest at the Ball State Bassoon Camp. I can’t say enough about his approach to reed making. It is about how a reed functions, very similar but different from Herzberg’s approach. He treats reed making as a science, not as magic and there is a reason and a function for what we do to our reeds when we make and adjust them.

    If you can make either camp I strongly recommend them. All bassoon, great guest artists and you can learn a great deal in a short period of time.

    Bob Williams


    Kent Moore

    Thanks for that information, Bob. This is pretty much what I do for beveling and I wondered if it would have the same or similar effect as the Herzberg bevel. I don’t quite start at the 1st wire though. But lately I have been trying to do it a little closer.


    Mark Ortwein

    Bob, I use this type of bevel quite often, but usually do it 9mm from the butt (with the 3rd wire at about 7-8mm from the butt) and get great results.
    I recently made some reeds the Hertzberg way and am getting the same results as what I’ve been doing for years without having to take the reed apart.
    If I want a smaller throat I will bevel all the way up close to the collar or just in front of the 2nd wire.




    I think that Jim starts from the second wire spot, not the first. Herzberg taught two different bevels. The “short” bevel is very close to what Mark is describing and it it supposed to help make the reed more vibrant and keep problem notes like the C# in the staff from going flat. You can make a lighter reed and still get the E and C# to hold pitch. The “long” bevel was started much further up the reed, closer I believe to the first wire and that was supposed to help the high register come out. Two different bevels for two different results. I’ve never tried the “long” bevel myself.



    Trent Jacobs

    I used to do the method of cutting the sliver like Bob mentions, but I could never get it accurate. That’s why I switched to Herzberg’s method. Doing it after the cane has been formed gives greater consistency for me in making sure the bevel matches straight on every reed. I was just not accurate when using a razor blade, both in angle and in how much I was removing.

    I also feel like when a reed sits in blank stage (before any scraping but after forming a round tube, whether there are wires on it or not) for a long time the final product is better. I made far too many blanks early in my master’s degree and three years later I still had blanks from some of those sessions. The ones that had sat for a long time were typically very consistent compared to one that I would just make and then make a reed from. If that made any sense. So in a way, the two weeks + of drying for me are less so much about making sure the cane is dry and more about just letting the cane stabilize.


    William Safford

    I want to second what Bob wrote about Jim Poe and Glickman-Popkin Bassoon Camp.

    According to the web site, there is one opening left for a male camper, due to a cancellation.




    Jim Poe made a fixture for me that will cut the cane at the correct angle for beveling. It works much better than doing it freehand but controlling the amount of cut is still tricky. I’m sure he will have it at bassoon camp and demonstrate it. I believe if I put some time into learning how to use it it would save the disassembly involved with the Herzberg system.

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