Beveling the bassoon reed, one method

May 14th, 2013 by

There are many ways to make and adjust a bassoon reed. The proper method of adjustment can vary depending on your shape, profile, forming method, cane density, wire measurements, and even which tools you use. Explore many different reed making styles and adjustment techniques and you’ll continually develop your own personal style. In an attempt to make an ongoing series on bassoon reed adjustments, here are some simple pointers to try on your own reeds.

How to improve the tip opening from the tube:
Some basic adjustments in the tube when you form the reed can have a dramatic effect on the tip. Just like how you can squeeze the second wire from the top and bottom to get the tip of the reed to open more, you can create more spring and opening in the tip from farther back in the tube. If you bevel the tube correctly the third wire will act as a fulcrum to open the tip. Beveling is done by removing a sliver of cane (with a small blade) from the position of the 2nd wire back towards the tube. The sliver should start very small at the 2nd wire and gradually get wider towards the butt of the tube. You only need to take off the “sharp” edge of the cane. When you’ve done it right the end of the tube should look like this after forming:

BeveledTube

It takes some practice to get the angle of your blade right. For more details on this method of beveling, check out the Bassoon Reed Making book by Christopher Weait, which has an excellent series of pictures describing the process.

This is not the only method of beveling the tube, but it is a very common one that is very effective with most common shapes.

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