Great Tips for Bassoon Reed Balancing and Adjusting

February 19th, 2013 by

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:

ScrapeRight1ScrapeRight2 ScrapeLeft1ScrapeLeft2

(click any image for a larger view)

You can also scrape the articulating edge (5) in this manner like so. I’m focusing the knife angle to only come in contact with the very tip of the reed:

ScrapeTip1 ScrapeTip2

We often think that using gouged, shaped, and profiled cane results in a reed that is pretty heavy in especially the back of the reed. The tips for scraping “Too heavy in the low register” are some of my own most common scraping strategies. I will often use a file for this, so I know I’m not taking deep cuts out of the reed.

Once you have a reed that vibrates you can start to do some play-testing and determine where you need to scrape, or what wire adjustments you need to make, based on Christian’s guide, to get to a more refined and finished reed.

Happy scraping!

About

Trent Jacobs received his bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and completed MM and DMA degrees from the University of Illinois. He is a member of the improvisational new music ensemble The Cherry Spoon Collective.

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