English Horn Bocals – A Basic Guide

February 27th, 2013 by Jeff

An important part of any successful English horn performance is not just having a great reed, but also the right bocal.  Just like with bassoons, finding a good match for your English horn or oboe d’Amore is a process that takes some time and effort, and there are a lot of questions that come up along the way.  The most common question we receive is what are the differences between the makers and the different styles?  We’re proud to stock a wide selection of new and used bocals by Hiniker, Ross, Laubin, Dallas, and Loree, and we’re hoping this guide can answer a few of these questions for you if it’s time to consider a new English horn bocal! Read the rest of this entry »

Update to Stevens Oboe Staples

February 21st, 2013 by Jeff

Effective immediately in 2013 – Stevens Double Reeds will be discontinuing the thickwalled version of the oboe staples.  We have a decent stock in both the #2 and #3 in silver and brass but this will be the last that we will have.  The next stock of both the Student and Pro staples will be thinwall only.

Get your thickwalls while you can!

Great Tips for Bassoon Reed Balancing and Adjusting

February 19th, 2013 by Trent

Jessica and I have long been fans of Christian Davidsson’s really simple reed balancing guide.

Before you get to the finer details of the scraping points of the guide, if you’re using Gouged, Shaped, and Profiled cane, the first thing you probably need to do is crape out of what Christian labels (18) on the reed. My strategy for scraping out of that area is to scrape against the grain of the reed from the center out towards the corner, like so: Read the rest of this entry »

Clarinet Reeds Guide

February 13th, 2013 by Brandon


Reeds can be one of the most frustrating, but important, parts of playing any woodwind instrument. Reeds are expensive, and many times parents opt for the cheapest box of reeds available but this can have serious effects on a young player’s musical development. Cheap reeds can be stuffy and hard to play, making it difficult to produce a good sound. There are many different brands of reeds and they come in different strengths, shapes or cuts. Read the rest of this entry »

Clarinet Mouthpieces and Ligatures

February 11th, 2013 by Brandon

Mouthpiece Setup

Your mouthpiece setup (Reed, Ligature, & Mouthpiece) is a critical component of any total instrument setup, and may be more important than the clarinet itself in the early stages of playing. Assuming the main body of the clarinet working properly, spending a little extra time and money on mouthpiece setup can greatly improve the response, intonation, tone quality, and easy of playing of the instrument. After all, this is the part of the instrument that produces the actual sound. It’s important to remember that choosing a mouthpiece setup is an extremely individual process and just because a particular setup works for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you. A good clarinet teacher or our clarinet specialist will be able to point you in the right direction so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Read the rest of this entry »

Packing and Shipping Expensive Instruments

February 5th, 2013 by Trent

Our customers are often rightly concerned when shipping their instrument to us for consignment, repair, or on return from a trial. No need to worry! If you pack the instrument well and ship with a trusted carrier, your instrument will arrive safe and sound. Here are some basic things to keep in mind when shipping your instrument (or bocals) to us. Read the rest of this entry »

New Howarth Oboes have Arrived!

February 5th, 2013 by Jeff

Some Thoughts on Howarth Oboes from our Oboe Specialists –

Since the company was founded in 1948, Howarth oboes have become known as some of the finest in the world.  American professionals have recently taken an interest in Howarth oboes for their ease of playing and consistency of sound from oboe to oboe.  The student models share many of the qualities of the professional oboes and are a great value.  The professional oboes, the S5 and XL, are first-class.  The XL has thick bore walls and has a sound that is immediately smooth and complex. The S5 has slightly thinner walls, making for a lighter instrument that still has plenty of projection.  The keywork of all Howarth oboes is comfortable and maintains its adjustments. Read the rest of this entry »

Minnesota Bassoon Association presents Per Hannevold masterclass

February 4th, 2013 by Trent
World acclaimed bassoonist Per Hannevold will be presenting a Minnesota Bassoon Association sponsored bassoon masterclass on March 9, 2013 from 2 pm to 5 pm. The MBA inviting six people of any age or ability to play for him.
The masterclass will take place at the Lorenz Auditorium in the Fine Arts Center at Normandale Community College in Bloomington, MN. Please click here for detailed directions.
The Per Hannevold masterclass is free to paid members of the Minnesota Bassoon Association and their families. If you have not paid dues since September, 2012, please plan to pay at the door:  $20 general, $10 students, and you will be an MBA member until September, 2013.  Ask for Ye Yu or John Miller, who will be happy to accept your membership fees.

Per Hannevold

Choosing the Best Clarinet Brands

February 4th, 2013 by Brandon

We stock a wide variety of clarinet brands appropriate for absolute beginners through the most consummate professionals. We’ve created this clarinet buyer’s guide to the instruments we carry to help you make an informed decision on what instrument is right for you. As always, if you have any questions feel free to call our clarinet specialist. Read the rest of this entry »

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