Love Your Double Reeds

Please log in to view tutor details
Bassoon By: Please log in to see tutor details
Subject: Bassoon
Last updated: 26/09/2017
Tags: bassoon reeds, maintenance, reed making tools

Any one hoping to play a double reed instrument will have to learn to love their reeds.

Reeds are quite literally dried grass cut into a particular shape which vibrates to create the sound on your instrument. They are fundamental to the success of any reed instruments. Clarinets have a single reed and it is standard for most players to buy them and throw them away when they are no longer working. Bassoonists, however, need to learn a few skills in order to get full use of their reeds which are a little more expensive then clarinet reeds.

You should invest in a mandrel, plaque, pliers and scraping knife in the first instance. These allow you to adjust reeds to make them work for you. 

Once you are a little more confident the next tools to buy are a reamer and rats tail file. These allow you to adjust the reed internally and ensure it fits snugly on the crook of the bassoon.

If you get very serious and decide you want to start making reeds you will need a splitter, gouger, profiler and shaper. These are very specialist and are only for the very dedicated.

Be aware that many items are purchasable in none specialist shops where you can get them significantly cheaper (there's no such thing as a "specialist" pair of pliers for example).

Always take your time and let the reed rest if you've taken a fair amount off. The back and sides help improve response in the lower register and the tip improves the top. Always try adjusting the wires first as you can always put them back if you get it wrong.

Be patient even the worst reed that comes in the post can be made to do something even if it is never going to be a performance reed.

Finally you are looking for a balance between response and sound quality so try not to make it too soft. 

Adam Summers MMus Bassoon Teacher (Manchester)

About The Author

Hello. My name is Adam and I have been an avid music lover my entire life. I am am passionate music teacher with 10 years experience. I hope to answer any questions you have below but please do not hesitate to get in touch should you have any.

Tutors Wanted

  • Tin whistle teacher Southend on Sea Essex for a beginner
  • Piano Tutor - home visits SW London 4-8pm Tues/Weds DBS.
  • Piano Tutor to join team SW London 1-1, home visits, beginners, 6-8hrs/week
  • trumpet tutor Richmond, London (TW9) dbs, experience rqd
  • piano tutor Ilford DBS check, previous exp rqd
  • harp tutor sw15 6ad DBS check, experience
View tutor jobs
Tutors: Download your free e-book!